VENTURES AFRICA – South African hotel chain City Lodge has begun its African expansion, launching a lodge in Botswana which will open to visitors in mid-December.
The company’s new three-star facility will be opened under the group’s Town Lodge brand name, and will encompass 106 rooms available for travelling customers. Investment in the new lodge currently stands at 50 million Pula ($6.25 million), and it is expected to create at least 30 new jobs.
The South African chain currently operates 55 facilities across South Africa under four brand names – City Lodge, Town Lodge, Road Lodge and Courtyard.
The group hopes to see rapid expansion across the African continent – targeting the opening of 20 new hotels over the next 5 to 10 years -, and in launching the Botswanan lodge in December the company hopes to establish a well-located hub to begin said expansion. Teams have already been sent out in to Kenya, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Zambia, and Zimbabwe with a view to potential expansion.
Located in Gaborone, the new facility will be strategically located in the proximity of the Airport Junction Mall – one of Botswana’s biggest shopping outlets -, while also being well placed for travellers needing good access to the country’s main airport.
The concept behind moving into Botswana is based on capitalising on the chain’s existing customer base in South Africa. The chain has identified that the majority of its existing client base travels to Gaborone on a regular basis – whether for business or pleasure – and as such the company’s strategy relies on said customers providing an immediate uptake of the new facility.
Indeed, the company’s South African marketing team will be heading up Botswanan marketing, in order to tap in to a similar consumer base in its on-going expansion.
Chief Executive Officer of the City Lodge chain, Clifford Ross, explained that the company is targeting a niche market and as such does not expect competition from other large hotel chains, according to Mmegi. He also noted that the location near to the shopping mall will be a key selling point for the Gaborone-based lodge, as it is hoped retail outlets at the mall will provide room-service according to an agreement with the chain.