August CEO's Message

August CEO’s Message

Summer has almost arrived and the tell-tale signs of imminent Spring activity is literally in the air. Jasmine blossoms  ll the cool evening air with their sweet fragrance. Rose bushes are sprouting and birds seem to have urgency in their chirps. Winter months in most parts of South Africa are dry, dusty and cold. In the Western Cape we have gale force winds and sweeping rains. Needless to say such climatic conditions also impact negatively on business activity. Hence the prolific “Winter Special” adverts all over.

July indicated the end of the lean Winter months with a 21% growth in Hotel Division revenues. With Magoebaskloof Hotel and Safari Lodge leading the pack by far, the other hotels can learn from them. Forward bookings are looking much better and we are looking forward to a good summer season.

 The Refurbishment project at Hotel Devonshire is taking shape with 34 on Melle looking good.  The first floor dining room is also very pretty with new state of the art buffet station with cooking & grilling equipment. The lobby lounge, piano lounge & bar are now looking modern & very attractive.

Many other smaller projects are taking place all over the hotel division.

Orion Real Estate has also been very active in securing new tenants.  The lease for an 1800 sqm Virgin Active Gym at Orion House  first floor in Braamfontein has been finalised.  The project team has been appointed and we are expecting to hand over this R25 million project by May 2015. Pick ‘n Pay are planning to open a 2000 sqm supermarket at our Orion Centre in Edenvale. Choppies or Boxer is taking the 1800 sqm space in the Promenade centre in Nelspruit. A number of tenant installations have been undertaken recently and the OFM bakkies are  flying out in all directions every morning at 7am.

OFM is making good progress with the rehabilitation of an old double storey house in Bramley. We were told it needs to be demolished. After putting in a serious effort and repairing some structural defects the house is safe and sound and will be converted to office premises. Once completed this property will be worth R2 million. Our quest to secure more trade exchange deals is bearing fruit. We have so far secured deals worth over 3 million Rands. We are in negotiations with various suppliers and service providers. Trade exchange/ barter deals will be one of the strategic interventions undertaken that will lift Orion Hotels to the next level.

 The roll out of new Telecommunications technology is taking shape and we anticipate the benefits of these big investments to come through in the months to come. WiFi is becoming a standard feature at our hotels.Implementing the free funeral benefit plan for all Orion
employees is just another indicator that we care for our employees and that core to our business philosophy is “happy and contented employees”.

Despite various challenges at departmental and business unit level we can see that “It’s happening” @ Orion.