March 2016 CEO's Message

March 2016 CEO’s Message

Autumn has arrived and one quarter of the year has rushed bye. It is amazing how time goes when you are busy.

As per usual Orion is a hive of activities with many projects either in progress or in planning stage.

Much has been said about South Africa’s political and economic situation. No need to add further comment other than to say that the Rand Dollar exchange rate always has and always will be the simplest and clearest indicator on where South Africa stands in relation to the rest of the world. Unless my maths is failing me the picture is not pretty. We as a nation need to take responsibility and FIX this.

Despite the surrounding circumstances we need to take credit for and be proud of what is being achieved at Orion.

The Best Western Hotels Franchise is signed and delivered and the first three hotels namely Velmore Hotel Estate, Promenade Hotel and Magoebaskloof Hotel will be rebranded as BEST WESTERN in the next few months.

The Virgin Active RED health gym in Braamfontein is taking shape and will be opening on 26 May. This 1800 sqm world class facility will change the face of Orion House and will be an added attraction for The Devonshire

The Devonshire Arms English pub and The Basement cocktail and evening lounge will be opening by July 2016

The new 1000 sqm conference and wedding centre at The Venue Country Hotels is being constructed and will be ready for business later this year

OFM property management is relocating to their new headquarters in Bramley by May. The capex for this amounts to close on R2 million. These facilities will create a better working and storage environment for the technical team as well as agents and managers. I am sure they will invite us for a Friday Afternoon braai.

The new Devonshire Conference Centre on the second floor of the office tower will have direct access from the hotel plus a beautiful open air meeting and entertainment deck. This facility will increase The Devonshire’s potential tremendously.

After some hick ups the Orion Corporate bond issue is back on track and this platform will make fundraising a lot easier.

We are confident that we can put the Elma Park body corporate litigation behind us shortly after which we can commence the long overdue redevelopment of this landmark property.

Orion Hotels keeps on racking in industry accolades from Trip Advisor, and others.

The Safari Lodge fire insurance claim is also heading in the right direction with the insurance company having made a settlement offer which we rejected. We will secure a much larger sum.

The recently opened Boxer Supermarket at the Promenade centre in Nelspruit is trading exceptionally well. Mr Price want to increase the size of their store from 1200 sqm to 1600 sqm. They also want to relocate their sheet street brand to our centre. The car park is full. The hotel is trading well.

We upgraded our Maximiser CRM system to a new version and indications are that this will enhance our sales team performance. The on-line channels are showing tremendous growth which vindicates our decision to relocate from the service provider in Mauritius to STAAH in Cape Town.

The Bakwena Spa brand is growing in leaps and bounds with good revenue growth and a further spa to be taken over in the Western Cape.

Our Stay Now Pay Later (SNPL) project is taking shape with the imminent appointment of all the service providers. This exciting new venture will launch in July.

Star storage is another one of our upstart venture. It is up and running. The containers are in place. The brand new forklift is operating and customers are finding us.

The old adage “if it were easy everybody would be doing it” is certainly true.

I am very proud to report that amongst the Orion Team members we have a number of emerging bright STARS who will add huge value to our enterprise.

Now more than ever


Franz Gmeiner