An awards ceremony that took place in The Venue, Melrose Arch, Johannesburg revealed winners in the hospitality industry. Protea Hotels by Marriott® was named as the winner in service excellence in the hotel industry as measured by the 2017/2018 Ask Africa Orange Index benchmark.

Runners up were Sun International in second place and City Lodge in third.

The award reflects the drive towards enhanced visitor experiences within hospitality as well as technological advancements that have allowed for increased personalisation within the processes that drive sales campaigns, booking and the stay itself.

Danny Bryer, Area Director of Sales, Marketing and Revenue Management of Protea Hotels by Marriott, says,“This award highlights that the focus on the customer has always been prioritised, across all platforms and stages of the customer journey. From marketing campaigns to bookings and the hotel stays themselves, hotel groups must walk the talk and provide service excellence. This is evidenced in everything from welcoming customers by name to listening to the customer to hear their expectations and experiences. Our customer base across South Africa is loyal to the brand, a reality that reflects a culture of great customer service.”

The Ask Afrika Orange Index® is the largest and most widely-referenced service excellence benchmark in South Africa. It was launched in 200l, and has a tracking history of service in South Africa for the past 16 years based on robust sample sizes. The Orange Index’s longevity is testament to its relevance to both the public and private sector with regards to providing a reliable yardstick for service measurement in South Africa.

“Customer service and the journey to establishing service excellence has always been a key focus of organisations over the past two decades. However, in a changed landscape where consumer power has become a force that can no longer be ignored, many companies are grappling with their inability to effectively deliver on consumers’ expectations”. – Rod Jones, reputable customer service excellence expert.

“Where customer service has become the differentiator and customer expectations are evolving, it’s essential to stay ahead of trends and reach your customers in ways that speak to them. Ours is a diverse market that expects, and deserves, world-class service, our challenge to ourselves is to ensure that this is what we deliver at all times,” Bryer concludes.

This article was first published by The Meetings & Event Planner on 6 November 2017.