The CEO of Tintswalo Lodges, Lisa Goosen heads up the three distinctly different Tintswalo properties. Tintswalo Atlantic in Hout Bay is right on the shoreline, commanding an incomparable view over the ocean; Tintswalo Safari in the Manyeleti Nature Reserve offers the ultimate safari experience; and Tintswalo at Waterfall in Gauteng is a sophisticated escape from Johannesburg’s hustle and bustle. Here, she looks at Tintswalo Lodges’ focuses for the year ahead, her leadership philosophy, and what she would tell her 21-year-old self.
Explain who you are to the industry in a couple of sentences
I head up Tintswalo Lodges, which consists of 3 family owned and run hotels and lodges (Tintswalo Atlantic; Tintswalo at Waterfall, Tintswalo Safari Lodge). I would describe myself as a hard working woman who loves our Tintswalo team and the family I have around me.
How is the South African hospitality industry different from those in different countries that you’ve worked in?
I have never worked in other countries but I think as South Africans we have an amazing sense of hospitality.
What are some of the overall issues that you’ve seen affect the hospitality industry in SA?
The most obvious is crime. This is something that affects all of us in this industry. Foreigners being hit by crime in our country is devastating in terms of PR and guests affected by crime will just not come back – the story they tell the rest of the world on social media and face to face could be crippling. Secondly, politics has a huge affect. We get watched by the world and have to defend our stability as a country. Lastly, a lack of training in terms of industry staff. I think the smaller companies who have found the niche of training house keepers, barmen and waiters in-house, are worth every cent and support.
What are some of the challenges that Tintswalo is facing at the moment and how are you addressing these challenges?
The guest always needs to feel safe so, at our Cape Town property, we offer our own transfers to and from the Waterfront to ensure that they feel safe.
What are some of Tintswalo Lodges’ focuses at the moment and going into the New Year?
At our end of the market, a good bed and stunning sheets is a given. Now we have to start thinking outside of the box in terms of giving the guests more than what they expect – surprising them and making them feel extra special.
How do you see Tintswalo Lodges fitting into the South African hospitality industry?
Tintswalo is a respected hospitality brand in SA as a collection of top end, family owned and managed hotels/lodges.
Where do you think its place and brand is, and what makes the company unique in SA?
Tintswalo is unique as we offer a very special guest experience in amazingly special and unique venues.
Lisa Goosen’s Pop Quiz
We are very proactive in creating local ‘special offers’ to encourage South African to support the brand and we have for instance just launched a special with the SANparks Wild Card (15% discount offer on accommodation at Tinswalo Atlantic and 10% discount on food). This in itself supports SA National Parks too.
What are the company goals for future excellence in the local industry?
We are always looking for more opportunities but are very selective in terms of location and offering. We will be patient and see what the future presents us.
Let’s talk Sustainability and the steps you have taken to make a difference here?
Staff training of course is a big focus point for us at Tintswalo. But when it comes to caring for the environment, in Cape Town at Tintswalo Atlantic we have, for instance, installed water saving devices on all of our taps, showers etc and do our best to educate guests as to the severity of the water plight in Cape Town.
How do you incentivise and motivate staff as an organisation?
We have a very inclusive policy with Management and staff enjoying a true sense of ‘family’. We do not baby sit staff to the extent that they feel they are not self-determined and as such create a strong team where people are proud to participate in achieving goals.
Trend Prediction for the local industry?
Prediction or a wish? Let’s hope 2018 is a whopper! But I think with our currency holding fast we are an amazingly inexpensive luxury destination for international guests, so this should bring good support. Cape Town certainly remains a bucket list destination as does a safari holiday as a once in a lifetime experience for many international travellers.
What’s one assumption people make about you that is dead wrong?
Hard work means good rewards, nothing falls in your lap. Some people presume it does!
Who is your mentor/s and what recent challenge/s have you sought their advice for?
I call my mother on a daily basis – what’s not to discuss? We chat about it all!
Tell me about a time when you had to make a tough business decision that supported your company’s purpose, but may have had a negative, short-term financial impact.
During planning and early construction of Tintswalo Safari Lodge we changed architects and it delayed the project. It was a very stressful time!
If you could go back and give your 21-year old self a valuable piece of advice, what would you say?
I would say slow down and appreciate more. We sometimes take things for granted that we have done or created, and often you get what you put your focus on – so do not fret too much about mistakes made along the way!
As you think about your career, who is a team member you had a huge impact on and what are they doing today as a result of your leadership?
I think that I have worked well with most of the people in our team and that we as Tintswalo have had a positive impact on them. I am proud to say that many of our staff members have risen to new heights, challenges and adventures – many of who are still working in the Tintswalo family.
If you could work on solving any problem in the world, what one problem would it be?
I would work on the eradication of racism. We could do well to stop feeling hatred towards others.
What is your leadership philosophy?
Spend less time on reprimand and more time in inspiring! My staff often say I am good at delegating – well, that would be my philosophy! Let them do it themselves and ensure their successes are noticed and validated.
What specific mental, physical, emotional and/or spiritual activities do you engage in to keep yourself operating at your optimum level?
My family keeps me grounded and time spent with my children is my soul food.
What are you learning right now?
How to be patient in Cape Town (having moved down here from Johannesburg recently)
Favorite Inspirational Business Quote
“Never regret yesterday. Life is in you today and you make your tomorrow.” – L. Ron Hubbard