Sunshine Coast Tourism Excellence Awards

BY SANDY BIRCH, SUNSHINE COAST TOURISM - FEBRUARY 25, 2015

Sunshine Coast Tourism (SCT) in partnership with GuestRevu and Stenden University dazzled the local tourism community last Friday night as they celebrated the SCT Accommodation Excellence Awards in Port Alfred.  

The awards program, a first of its kind in South Africa, saw local hotels, lodges, bed and breakfast and self catering establishments recognised based purely ont eh feedback from their guests.  

The event brought togher 41 competing businesses, members of the tourism industry, dignitaries from local government and event representation of SA Tourism in the form of Thembi Kunene the Chief Quality Assurance officer of S.A. Tourism.

In a huge vote of confidence for the area, 58% of the 510 guests that provided reviews for the period 1 December to 31 January said that they would recommend the property they stayed at to friends and family.  Valuable statistics gathered mean a more informed tourism body and more guest savvy properties.   Of visitors to the area, 35% were local, 37# national and a massive 29% international.  

More tourists are relying on opinions of other guests when making their final travel choices.   This year, 52% of all the guests revealed that their bookings were internet based and 17% by recommendation.  

Winners were announced at a glitzy ceremony held at My Pond Hotel.  15 Awards were handed out to 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners in each category, plus 2 overall awards based on Net Promotor Score.  

Participants integrated their Guest Revu accounds with Trip Advisor - the average of this integration increased TripAdvisor reviews by 337%.  

The winners wereL

Net Promotor Score Winner : 3 Sisters Trails Accommodation

Net Promotor Score Winner, Micro Properties Winner:  2Perfect Holiday Apartments

Lodges:  1st - Pumba Private Game Reserve, 2nd Shamwari Game Reserve, 3rd Sibuya Game Reserve

Hotels: 1st - My Pond Hote, 2nd Portofino, 3rd The Historic Pig and Whistle Inn

Bed + Breakfast:   1st - The Lookout; 2nd The Beach House; 3rd Coniston House

Self Catering:   1st Place onthe River; 2nd 3 Sisters Trails Accommodation, 3rd Bretton beach Holiday Cottages

Micro Properties:   1st 2Perfect Holiday Apartments, 2nd Travellers Lodge; 3rd Dunwerkin and Kellys Self Catering Apartments

Sandy Birch, manager of SCT celebrated the awards as a show of committment for the promotion and development of tourism and an opportunity to pause and celebrate the amazing service offered by establishments in the community.   GuestRevu CEO Chris Alexandre said that more tourists are relying on the opinion of other guests when making their final travel choices - thus a program such as this is important.  

GuestRevu provided the cutting edge techonology to collect the reviews and Dr Wouter Hensens, Dean of Stenden University, saw to the adjudication and transparency of the results.