How do we change the visitor experience of Joburg’s neighbourhoods? We believe it’s by changing the perception of locals first.
In October 2019 we launched an innovative walk series for hotel concierge and front desk staff. We designed different half-day walks with the aim of introducing hotel teams to unique attractions and experiences within the neighbourhoods where they work.
We believe that to change a visitor’s experience we need to make frontline tourism representatives feel welcome in the neighbourhoods in which they work. We want their contact to shift visitor experience – to make people recommend Joburg as a destination, return or extend their stay. As a long established international guidebook brand we also believe that to be able to truly recommend a place to a visitor, you need to go there and check it out yourself first.
For many people working in hotels, long commutes to work and limited free time during a regular demanding work day mean there is a challenge when it comes to familiarising oneself with the hotel surrounds. Added to this is the need to tackle and undo negative perceptions of Johannesburg as a destination (often held as much by locals as by visitors).
The Neighbourhood Concierge Walks bridge this knowledge gap and instil hotel teams with a confidence in the quality of the places and experiences they recommend.
The walks we designed cover a variety of attractions, from shopping and dining to arts and culture, within the area surrounding a hotel. We engage the management of the venues we visit to ensure hotel teams connect with the right people and get an in-depth understanding of the space. Crucially we also focus on walking neighbourhoods, familiarising teams with the geography of the space and dispelling myths about Joburg’s lack of walkable streets.
Our Walks are highly customisable. In addition to destination knowledge we also focus on training teams to be aware and ready to welcome and help guests who are unfamiliar with the neighbourhood, and keep up to speed with guests expectations in these complicated times.
Some feedback we received –
Q: Did you learn something new about the neighbourhood?
“Rosebank is actually safe to walk around and explore on foot.”
“Absolutely, I recently moved to the Rosebank area and I didn’t know the history and the beautiful spots around the area. This tour had so much insight and I am more confident to talk about Rosebank with my guests and fellow colleagues.”
“Yes, the fact that there is so much to explore in Rosebank and I was not even aware of it.”
Q: Would you recommend the lunchtime walkabout to your colleagues and why?
“I will gladly recommend them to join the lunchtime walkabout because it will keep them updated and as well as give an opportunity to network with the other concierges.”
“Yes, because like me i don’t think they know that Rosebank has more than just hotels and malls to offer.”