1. Tell us about yourself?
I am the co-owner and Managing Director of Hoyohoyo Hotels & Resorts, a hospitality business comprising a group of Hotels and Lodges. I had humble but loving beginnings in the Sabie area of Mpumalanga. I am also a mum to two wonderful girls (Nkateko and Munene) who are also entrepreneurs.
2. What inspired you to get in the hospitality industry?
Before starting my business, I worked in the sales and business development department at the Protea Hotel Group, from 2003 to 2007 which provided key insights into an industry I’d always been curious about. But my career has been an evolving one. I owned a Chicken Licken franchise and an Excel Petroleum service station. That’s when Hoyohoyo Hotels & Resorts followed when I decided to act on my entrepreneurial desire by turning my own home into a home-away-from-home for people who travel for various purposes.
3. What inspired the name Hoyohoyo?
Hoyohoyo is a Xitsonga word which essentially means the enthusiastic welcoming of guests. It is a spirited tradition involving the playing of drums and ululation to usher in valued guests. So, it was fitting to incorporate that into the name of my hospitality business. The word ‘Hoyohoyo’ inspired the ethos of the company from which we function.
4. What are some of the challenges you face in the industry?
The industry is a very seasonal one, highly dependent on the time of year, school holidays and the like. There are times when my lodges are absolutely buzzing and full to the brim. But then there are also very quiet times – that’s when you really need to be creative with your marketing approach. Also, big and new challenge keep emerging, this is why it’s crucial that hospitality businesses stay abreast of developments in digital and know how to differentiate themselves from traditional hotels.
5. Did you envision yourself being this successful?
When you come from humble beginnings, you’d think success is just a completely unattainable pipe dream. but, it happened for me and I feel very blessed. I remember only getting my very first pair of shoes when I was 12 years old! My success is a testament to perseverance, hard work and the support of family and friends who believed in me.
6. Do you intend on opening more lodges across the country and beyond?
I certainly hope so. The business began as a single establishment in Chartwell in 2009 and since then we have expanded to 6 more lodges across Mpumalanga namely Hazyview Villas, Eagle’s View Eco Estate, Machadostud Lodge, Acorns Lodge, Koeltehuis Farm Estate and Kruger Park Lodge.