08 Nov Why Lindani Is Not Graded
In Lindani’s early days nearly 20 years ago, when we had a lot less experience and confidence than we now have, we looked at the possibility of applying to the Tourism Grading Council for Lindani to be graded. In our investigations, we encountered a variety of bureaucratic obstacles and a pricing system that effectively discriminated against smaller operators. The Council insisted that each lodge be graded separately at a fee that was much higher than if all our lodges had been graded as one. On top of this, if the lodges achieved different ratings, we would not be allowed to market them under one banner.
So we left it. Looking back that was a wise decision. In fact the Tourism Grading Council grades accommodation and not the tourism experience. While we put a great deal into our accommodation, we believe the Lindani experience outside the lodge is equally important – naturally the grading Council cannot be expected to grade the performance of our staff, the quality of our Mountain-biking and Hiking trails and the beauty of our Waterberg mountain bush-veld property. We also give our guests a wide choice of services and activities. How would that be graded?
But this does raise the question as to how can we assure our guests that, despite there being no Grading Council inspectors to check on us, we do maintain a quality control system.
We do it in three ways.
Firstly, we try to build quality control directly into the work of the staff that prepare the lodges so that they check themselves. When they are under pressure to meet turnaround deadlines, this is not easy.
Secondly, our Hospitality Manager has the right to inspect all the lodges including those for which she is not directly responsible. She does this.
Thirdly – and this is most important to us, we encourage our guests to give us feedback both while they are with us and when they get home. Most of our lodges are in fact old farm houses and it is not easy to ensure a hundred percent 24/7. Our guests are in fact a critical component in our quality control and we are most grateful for the manner in which they do this for us. Naturally when they identify a problem, we attempt to deal with it immediately.
This is just another way in which Lindani is a partnership between the staff, the guests and the owners.
Sam van Coller