Tourism grading as a marketing instrument in bed and breakfast establishments in the Durban metropolitan region : an entrepreneurial approach
Tanner, Charles Frank William
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This dissertation documents research that has been motivated by the growth in the bed and breakfast tourist accommodation sector as a result of the increasing number of visitors to and within South Africa and, particularly in the Durban region. In addition, the political and socio-economic transformation during the past decade has opened the way for entrepreneurs to develop alternative forms of tourist accommodation so that more people can benefit from tourism-generated income and contribute to the wealth of their communities. IV Urged on by large hotel companies and the government's aim to raise the quality standards of tourist facilities, the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) launched a new and voluntary star grading system in November 2001. While this still competes with other grading and quality assurance schemes, bed and breakfast (B&B) establishment owner-managers are becoming more familiar with the benefits of star grading, a process that plays an important role in the marketing of their facilities. The purpose of this study was to theoretically and empirically explore and evaluate the way that grading assists entrepreneurs to perform the marketing function of B&B establishments. It examines the opinions and perceptions of owner-managers who are members of the local KwaZulu-Natal Bed and Breakfast Associations (KWABABA) as well as a number of tourism personalities who, inter alia, are professionally involved in promoting the quality standards of accommodation establishments. The conclusions that have been drawn from the literature review, interviews and questionnaire surveys demonstrate that the majority of B&B owner-managers are somewhat familiar with the star grading system, though only a few have been graded while some still have negative perceptions of the scheme. In order to promote a positive stance it has been recommended that KWABABA and other associations, with whom the B&B hosts network, should become more involved in sharing information, training and assisting B&B employers and employees so that these can become more professional in marketing their products and services to meet the expectations of corporate and leisure tourist.