By Anton Constantinou
There’s more to South Africa than just sunsets and wildlife. As well as being a popular tourist destination, the country has a highly developed serviced apartment market that makes it popular with foreign investors.
Recent findings show the region’s hospitality sector is the most mature in Africa, with a strong grading system in place, ensuring properties are vetted to a high standard.
The Capital Hotels and Apartments are a national property provider in South Africa specialising in corporate accommodation in key business districts including Sandton and Cape Town. Capital prides itself on delivering high-quality, fit for-purpose apartments that intuitively meet the needs of business travellers.
Capital’s Chief Operating Officer, Garnet Basson and Director of Sales, Sanjaca Cameron, paid a visit to our London office to carry out a presentation on their properties with staff members. We used to the opportunity to ask them questions about their brand offering and position in the market.
So, Garnet, it’s our understanding that you and Sanjaca work closely together. To what extent do your jobs overlap?
I oversee the entire sales team, including operations for the group. Sanjaca, likewise, drives sales for the business.
For how long have Capital focused on long stays?
Long stay apartments have been a core focus of ours from the very start. Our first properties included kitchens, along with the combined services of a hotel, and this has proven to be a winning recipe. As a combo, it provides the perfect balance of long and short stays.
Which apartments are your most popular?
That really depends on what your needs are as a guest: if you’re a long-stay corporate travelling by yourself, then you’ll enjoy our apartments. Equally, if you’re travelling as part of a group or several people from the same company, our 2 or 3 bed apartments work nicely. Our spacious lounges, for example, can be used as meeting spaces or chill areas.
On your website, you talk about a second gold rush and its links to your latest development, The Capital OnThe Park. What more can you tell us about this relationship?
The Capital On the Park is our exciting new flagship property that’s due to open in early 2018. It’s located just off Katherine Street in Sandton, and sits alongside a beautiful park.
The gold rush in question refers to the investment offer we made when selling apartment space in property’s building. The complex will boast more than 300 rooms (our biggest venture yet), and offer excellent facilities. Amenities include a kids play area and a high-tech indoor golf practice system. The property will also feature a world-class conference area, made up of special spaces like The Pod.
Wow, that sounds like quite an undertaking! What other developments await Capital in the future?
With an average occupancy of around 85% per month, our group is not slowing down. We’re growing and will continue to open more properties in the coming months.
How do the conference packages you offer help drive occupants to your apartments?
Large conferences often mean large groups of people need a place to stay. Having world-class conference facilities in the same place as your apartment makes for easy organising and allows you to save on unnecessary expenses like transport.
Good point. You advertise yourselves as a provider that doesn’t waste money unnecessarily. In what way does this honesty help you to stay ahead in the market?
We cut out the frills you don’t need, and focus on real value. We know who our customers are, and what’s really important to them.
We add value where it counts: high speed, uncapped Wi-Fi; complimentary parking and shuttle services etc. These are things that we know will make a good stay, great!
We keep our overheads low by only offering services and products that our guests need. Our entire time is focused on saving money – our ethos is “A penny saved, is a penny earned!”
From a general standpoint, what’s the serviced apartment market like in South Africa?
In all honesty, it’s a niche market – but one that we see huge growth potential in. As an industry leader, we’ll continue to evolve as a business and improve on what’s out there, and this will drive the market even more.