Work on your business and not in it
How continuous self-growth is at the core of this Tzaneen-based lodge’s success
Adri Kruger, winner of the 2014 Entrepreneur of the Year® competition sponsored by Sanlam and BUSINESS/PARTNERS, is the owner of Tzaneen Country Lodge, a beautifully-appointed, four-star country-style hotel located near Tzaneen in Limpopo – a mere 95kms from the Phalaborwa Gate of the Kruger National Park.
Situated on 170ha of farmland and indigenous forest, the lodge was established in 2000 when Adri, together with her husband, turned a dilapidated farmhouse into what has now become a roaring success. What had been originally planned as a 4-bedroom guest house, quickly became a 22-bed hotel, which now boasts 67 luxury en-suite rooms.
Adri holds a BA (Hons) in theological studies. With no qualification in hospitality or management, she was determined to make a success of the lodge. In order to expand her knowledge, Adri enrolled in courses that focused on management studies, finance for non-financial managers and many more.
In the same spirit of self-growth and development, Adri’s staff compliment has grown. Starting with just four staff members in 2000, Tzaneen Country Lodge now employs a workforce of 69, excluding the maintenance, gardens and farm employees who bring the total to 215.
Like Adri, most of the lodge’s staff started with little or no hospitality experience. She believes that the quality and dedication of her employees is at the core of the hotel’s success, and her passion for training and upskilling staff also bares multiple rewards for the surrounding community. The lodge’s current business model suggests that one employee supports approximately eight people, so an average of 1 720 lives are positively impacted.
In addition to running a socially responsible business, Adri is committed to eco conservation and sustainable practices. Back in 2013, the lodge was recognised by industry association SATOA as being the best responsible-tourism business in Africa. Adri adds that they continue to be eco conscious not because it is “fashionable”, but because the lodge’s ethos and founding statement is imbedded within their environmental commitment.
In 2017 and 2018, Tzaneen Country Lodge went on to win three PMR Diamond Awards, namely Best Spa, Best Wedding Venue and Best Country Lodge in Limpopo. In addition to conference facilities, a restaurant, wedding chapel, the Mhangela Animal Touch Farm and luxury Earth Spa Wellness Centre, the Tzaneen Country Lodge offers a range of activities including mountain biking, canoeing, nature walks and bird watching. There are also picnic spots, three swimming pools, and four dams with catch-and-release bass fishing.
Since being named the Entrepreneur of the Year®, Adri has had to take over the reins of the business as a result of the passing of her husband and business partner. This has challenged her to continuously expand her skill set and become more financially prudent. Adri says she is “riding the wave again”, by finding new and innovative ways to work ON her business and not IN it.
She concludes by saying she will continue to improve her own skills and invest in those of her staff. From podcasts, to videos on business and entrepreneurship – Adri believes that constantly learning and keeping up with new trends is key to staying ahead in the industry and a sure recipe for continued success.
For more information on the business, please visit http://www.tznlodge.co.za/ and follow on @TzaneenLodge, Twitter and Facebook.
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