Five-star luxury hotels close in up-market urban areas are proving to be the preferred choice for international guests visiting for the 2010 FIFA World Cup, with many of these establishments either fully booked or rapidly approaching capacity for the duration of the four-week soccer tournament.
The latest example of this accommodation preference is Pepper Club – the yet-to-be-opened R400 million five star luxury hotel and spa located in the heart of Cape Town – which has recorded pre-bookings for the tournament period of almost 95%.
These figures stand in stark contrast to reports from owners of local guest houses, private homes and backpacker hostels, who say the expected rush for 2010 World Cup accommodation had not materialised, with some fearing rooms will stand empty during the tournament.
However, David Solomon, Chairman of Solomon Brothers Property Holdings, the developers of the Pepper Club hotel, says that owners of these establishments should not be overly-concerned with the current status of their bookings, as they stand to benefit from the significant overflow once hotels reach their booking capacities for the tournament. “As long as rates are competitively priced, smaller players will benefit increasingly as the tournament draws nearer.”
(Left to right: Graham Smith, David Solomon, Mark Boucher – Pepper Club on the beach launch)
Solomon says that hotels located in South Africa’s urban areas close to amenities such as shopping centres, tourist attractions and nightlife are best placed to attract the majority of international visitors. “The feedback we have received from customers is that one of their main priorities is to be as near as possible to the action. It seems proximity to host cities and stadiums is a significant, and in many cases crucial requirement, among international guests.” He says that although the overall aim for the local tourism sector is to offer visitors a truly African experience, providers should not lose sight of the fact that many visitors still expect first-world amenities. “When compared with other accommodation offerings, South Africa’s luxury hotels are still best placed to offer a combination of a secure environment, proximity and direct access to top attractions, as well as top-class facilities that many well-travelled visitors have come to expect.”