The Furn City Experience!

We’re always happy to promote Livingstone business on The Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring JayHillz – The Experience is our weekly radio show airing at 20.30 hrs every Sunday night on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. So it was a pleasure to welcome Limba Mumbi (above) a sales consultant at Furn City, one of three furniture and household equipment suppliers in Livingstone, as our Guest on the most recent edition of the show. Limba told our listeners that he was ‘a regular guy, fun loving and fun to be with but with a serious side when it came to serious matters’! He had first come to Livingstone with his parents when he was in Grade 4 and had been living in the city for the past 24 years. He had completed his secondary education at Linda Secondary School in Livingstone.

Limba told us that his job had a lot of challenges due to the intense competition between the various furniture suppliers in the city but said they were all surviving, as Livingstone ‘was growing’. Furn City have 12 branches in Zambia altogether including Choma in Southern Province, the Copperbelt cities, Lusaka of course and Solwezi. The company offers different types of deals to their customers, including hire purchase and Limba said Furn City’s deposit amounts required for hire purchase/lay-by were amongst the lowest available. Their Clients include commercial operations like hotels and lodges, as well as domestic customers.

The music on the show was good and included latest smash hits from David Guetta and Vankelmut with Emma Louise. Milli Jam and Jay chose numbers from Kachanana, Chris Brown, Adam Levine and B1 featuring the brilliantly named Jerry Fingers – by all reports a really good Zambian producer. Our oldie of the week was by Cash n’Music ft Slap D but the prize went unwon! My pick of the week was Labrinth’s ‘Let It Be’ and we closed with Taylor ‘I’ll never sing country music again’ Swift’s new pop smash ‘Shake It Off’.

Limba told us that he likes all types of music but particularly ‘old school’ but his favourite artist is John Legend. It was unfortunately revealed that at one time Limba had been an Arsenal supporter but had since changed his allegiances to Manchester City. Jay and Milli Jam declined to throw our guest out of the studio at my request! He said his favourite player was someone called Yaya Toure. We moved on.

Limba is single but hopes to be married soon. “At least you won’t have to worry about getting a big bed for you and your wife” I added sarcastically – still smarting about the revelation of his ex-Gunner status! Limba gave a big shout out to his 9 year old daughter Wiza ‘the light of my life’ he said! Milli Jam reminded listeners that back in the day Limba had been an active rapper and pageant organizer before he turned to more serious matters like selling furniture! He was in fact one of Livingstone’s first rap artists. He further claimed that he had once bungee jumped!

Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing in ten years’ time, Limba said that above all he would like to be his own boss. We wished him the best of luck.


Google Glass

We’re miles away from even being able to provide fast, uninterrupted broadband wifi to all rooms and Guests at our lodge. How I wish we were able to consider stuff like this from Larry Mogelonski at Hotel Interacitve.

“No doubt you’ve heard about Google Glass by now. If you haven’t, you better do your homework. As well, I highly recommend you scope out a tech gathering near you so you can try on this piece of hardware and learn firsthand about what it can do. I was amazed when I had the opportunity to wear a pair in late June.

As Google segues from search engine hegemony into all other areas of tech, one item in its scope is your glasses, beaming information about your surroundings directly onto the inside of your lens. A bit sci-fi, yes. But rest assured, this multi-billion-dollar company is making it happen.

Helping them usher in this new fashion age is Virgin Atlantic Airlines that is rolling out a plan to equip their flight attendants and check-in teams with Google Glass headpieces alongside Sony Smartwatch accessories. The idea: speed up service delivery and heighten its personalization. The technology integration will give passengers the latest updates (flight times, weather, local events, etc.) as well as assist with other potential areas of conflict like language translations.

So, if companies like Virgin Group are trying out this new device, why not your hotel? Yes, Google Glass isn’t the most fashionable ornament for your face, but it’s the concept behind it that is important – utilizing new tech to heighten the guest experience.

Google Glass is still in the early adoption phase, which means there are still some bugs to work out. Nonetheless, it might just be the ‘next big thing’ for your front desk, butler or concierge team. By projecting information onto glasses, it will allow your hotel staffers to maintain a better rapport with guests for two main reasons.

First, eye contact; using Google Glass ensures that team members are better able to actually converse as opposed to constantly flitting their eyes onto a computer monitor. Second, by providing a heads-up display for basic information, it leaves more room for interactivity, like both guest and staffer looking at the same website on a big screen or desk clerks leaving their posts to personally direct the visitor somewhere without missing a beat.

There are a ton of possibilities to investigate here. And even if it isn’t Google Glass that suits your fancy, surely another snazzy new device will. I mentioned above the term ‘early adoption’, which implies that Google Glass is still in its infancy. This also means that you can make a serious impression on your guests, whereas once it’s mainstream (if it reaches that point) that ability will no longer be available.”


It’s The Guest’s Story!

As usual, HotelInteractive making a whole load of sense via Larry Mogelonsky!

“One of the better trends that’s taken hold in the hotel industry of late is the notion of delivering an ‘authentic local experience’, or at least thinking in terms of a holistic experience instead of merely a room with its features, all the other property amenities and the staff. We often discuss a hotel in terms of the ‘narrative’ it offers to who visit. But in order for us to successfully deliver what consumers want, this narrative must change from the hotel’s point-of-view to that of each individual guest.

Although it’s a step in the right direction to even contemplate what a property’s narrative is, any efforts along these lines may prove to be a tad blindsided or self-centered if you are only considering what the hotel is doing. In terms of coalescing all operations – guest services, décor, amenities, loyalty member perks, local authentic experiences – into the semblance of a unique ‘narrative’ for your property, you should instead aim to meld them from a guest’s perspective.

It’s a minor tweak in how you approach guest relations, but it can elicit very positive results. The key here – and I say this as objectively as possible and without any inherent misanthropy – is to assume that your guests are selfish. Assume that they are rushed for time, tight on cash and only have enough energy to serve their immediate needs. Superseding any ‘narrative’ you bring to the table, you should be asking: How will this (whatever ‘this’ is) benefit a guest’s story?

Even though it’s your hotel, your property, your team, your operations and your amenities, each guest can only see things his or her own way. It’s all in the eye of the beholder. Notice the repetition of the word ‘your’ though. If you really want to deliver an exceptional experience for your guests, you have to steer away from the attitude of bringing guests into ‘your’ narrative and instead focus on helping guests fulfill ‘their’ needs and realize ‘their’ dreams.

As such, you should set each new customer as the protagonist, and then train and position your staff to be attentive supporting characters for each new story that graces your domain. How this philosophic shift is applied in real time to your operations is a far more complex matter that is best articulated on a case-by-case basis. And most of those cases will come through in the form of day-to-day, bread-and-butter interactions between your staff and hotel guests.

These are the fine print changes that might go unnoticed if not otherwise instructed. For instance, instead of starting a reply to guest request with a “We can’t…” or “Our policy is that…” begin with a positive response to bring you both onto the same page. Or, rather than introduce new features of your hotel, ask guests first what their plans were and what they hope to gain from their stay with you (and then launch into the sales pitch!). It’s subtle changes like this that will make your staff feel compassionate and win over guests.”


The Chanters Lodge Experience With The Milli Jam Ingredient Featuring Jay-Hillz!

Meet Paul Larsson (above left) and Lars Skimmerland (above right) recent Guests at Chanters Lodge, Livingstone as well as stars on the most recent edition of the lodge’s weekly radio show, the name of which is in the title above! The show airs every Sunday evening live from 20.30-21.30 hrs on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s longest established and leading commercial radio station. Milli Jam the show’s host is one of Livingstone best known club and radio DJ’s, while Jay is co-host of 107.7 fm’s great Breakfast Show 06.00-08.30 hrs Monday-Friday.

Paul and Lars told listeners that they are both from Norway and working in Oslo the capital. Paul originally hails from Bergen, Lars from Stavanger. They explained that they were on a short weekend break in Livingstone, following a week’s work in Lusaka, Zambia’s capital. Milli Jam wondered where they stayed while in Lusaka and our Guests told us that they used the city’s Hotel Intercontinental and that it was ‘great’. Paul and Lars both work for the Norwegian Ministry of Finance, tax department, and were in Zambia conducting a study for ZRA – Zambia Revenue Authority. We swallowed. It was their second visit to Zambia for this purpose, the first had been in March 2014. Paul is a qualified political scientist and statistician, whilst Lars is a lawyer. They have both worked for the Norwegian Ministry for a long time.

The music on the show was latest as usual, opening with Avicii’s ‘Hey Brother!’. We dropped Ed Sheeran’s ‘Sing’ – top of the UK top 40 as we went on air. Tracks from Rehab ft Nervo, T-Sean, Katy Perry, B1 and Aloe Blacc followed, interspersed with chat with our interesting Guests. The prize we give to the first person to text us the name of the artist on our oldie of the week was quickly snapped up by regular listener Gift – the answer? The Ting Tings! My pick of the week was a new Lily Allen number and we closed with a track from Lethal Bizzle. Who else?!

Paul and Lars told listeners that since they arrived in Livingstone they had enjoyed their first sight of Victoria Falls even though, while they were looking, they got very wet from the spray! They had taken the sunset cruise on Lady Livingstone and had felt Livingstone’s winter chill as they came off the boat after the sun had gone down. “We thought you Norwegians were well used to the cold weather!” We said. “Africa’s supposed to be hot not cold!” The swift retort from lawyer Lars. The gentlemen also said how much they had enjoyed their one day safari to Chobe NP in Botswana on the day of the show and had been lucky to see lots of game, apart from big cats.

Lars told us he is a life long supporter of Leeds United, Paul that he is not much interested in football. They both thought Brazil would win the World Cup. Paul told us he loves jazz music and that they had enjoyed a performance by the Sakala Brothers when they had gone out to the Kalahari Club in Lusaka. They had not had time to rock the Livingstone clubs!

Asked where they would like to be and what they would like to be doing ten years’ from now, Paul, a bachelor was not sure, Lars, married with three teenage children wanted still to be working with the Norwegian Ministry of Finance but edging very close to retirement. “Grand children?” I asked. “That too” he said.


Another new Lusaka Hotel!

A 148-room property in Lusaka is set to become the first hotel in Zambia for Hilton Worldwide’s Garden Inn brand, the company has announced. Hilton Worldwide has signed an agreement with investors National Pension Scheme Authority to open the Hilton Garden Inn Lusaka City Centre in 2015.

It will form part of an integrated, mixed use development alongside corporate and government offices in the heart of the central business district Hilton Garden Inn global head Adrian Kurre said: “The introduction of Hilton Garden Inn in Zambia marks a new chapter in the brand’s ever evolving global portfolio.

“We are delighted to help meet the growing local demand for affordable, quality accommodation in Zambia’s blossoming capital city and look forward to welcoming guests to Hilton Garden Inn’s award-winning hospitality.”

The hotel will incorporate the brand’s functional signature features of a business centre, complimentary internet access, comfortable guest room desk chair and quality bedding. Guest amenities will also include an outdoor pool, fitness centre, all-day dining facility together with a garden lounge and bar.

“Today’s announcement is significant as we prepare to enter another capital city in Africa and further our strategy to provide quality services and products to the continent’s expanding market,” said Hilton Worldwide Europe and Africa senior vice president, development Patrick Fitzgibbon.

“Lusaka’s influence and prominence as a commercial centre continues to grow and we are inspired to grow with it.” Zambia is currently benefiting from steady economic growth and, according to the African Economic Outlook for 2013, is expected to continue to grow by an average of 7.9% per annum


The Mudaala Experience!

Actually every edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring Jay Hillz is a ‘Mudaala Experience’! Why? Well Milli Jam’s real name is Milimo Mudaala! ‘The Experience’ is our weekly radio show airing on Zambezi 107.7 fm at 20.30hrs (CAT) every Sunday night, and we were delighted to welcome Milli Jam’s younger brother Munyama (pictured above) as our Guest on the most recent edition of the programme. Munyama is Sales and Reservations Manager with Robin Pope Safaris, based in Lilongwe, Malawi.

Robin Pope Safaris launched in 1986. The blurb says they ‘have always believed in offering exceptional customer care and bespoke holidays’. Munyama confirmed that this was true telling listeners that he has been with the company for seven years. The firm specializes in walking safaris in the South Luangwa National Park. Munyama went on to tell listeners about Robin Pope’s extensive business interests including Stanley Lodge in Zambia near Victoria Falls as well as lodges in Malawi. Robin Pope himself he described as a ‘legend’ in South Luangwa. The company has a justifiably awesome reputation.

Jay asked most of the questions on the programme as Milli Jam already knew most of the answers! We wanted to know if Munyama was married, whether he had children and if so whether his family was there with him in Malawi. He confirmed yes, yes and yes, revealing that he and his wife had married on Livingstone Island during the days he worked for Tongabezi here in Livingstone. “Did you swim in Devil’s Pool after the ceremony?” I asked. Unsurprisingly they had not! . “Does your wife work in Malawi?” I wondered. “She works for me in the office!” Was the sharp reply – “a real family affair then!” I said.

The music on the show was good. We opened with tracks from Avicii, Rita Ora and the Common Linnets. Jay and Milli Jam featured tracks from Calvin Harris, Eddie Black, Runnel and Trey Songz. Our oldie of the week, for which we give a prize to the first person to text us the name of the recording artist, was ‘Hope’ by Twista and the prize was snapped up by one Sanford. My pick of the week was Ed Sheeran’s ‘All Of The Stars’ and we closed with 5SOS’s ‘Don’t Stop’.

Munyama told us that he had completed secondary school at St Raphael’s in Livingstone before going on to study hotel management at HTTI in Lusaka. He supports Manchester United FC naming his favourite all time player as Roy Keane and current star Wayne Rooney. Milimo and I quickly reminded everyone which club had won the 2014 FA Cup the day before the show! Milimo revealed that his young brother Munyama had gone as far as bribing Milimo’s kids to switch support from Arsenal to Man U. Such devious tactics came as no surprise to those of us familiar with Man U supporters and their methods!

Musically Munyama revealed that he has broad taste and that his favourite acts are Boyz 2 Men along with Bob Marley. Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing in ten years’ time, he said he would like to have retired and be living on his farm back here in Zambia. We closed by thanking him for appearing on the show and holding him up as a great example to young Zambians of how you could make good with hard work and application.


A Beijing Hotel

 Thanks to Joseph Richard Conte on Facebook for this gem!

A friend went to Beijing recently and was given this brochure by the hotel. It is precious. She is keeping it and reading it whenever she feels depressed. Obviously, it has been translated directly, word for word from Mandarin to English.

Getting There:
Our representative will make you wait at the airport. The bus to the hotel runs along the lake shore. Soon you will feel pleasure in passing water. You will know that you are getting near the hotel, because you will go round the bend. The manager will await you in the entrance hall. He always tries to have intercourse with all new guests.

The Hotel:
This is a family hotel, so children are very welcome. We of course are always pleased to accept adultery. Highly skilled nurses are available in the evenings to put down your children. Guests are invited to conjugate in the bar and expose themselves to others. But please note that ladies are not allowed to have babies in the bar. We organize social games, so no guest is ever left alone to play with them self.

The Restaurant:
Our menus have been carefully chosen to be ordinary and unexciting. At dinner, our quartet will circulate from table to table, and fiddle with you.

Your Room:
Every room has excellent facilities for your private parts. In winter, every room is on heat. Each room has a balcony offering views of outstanding obscenity! .. You will not be disturbed by traffic noise, since the road between the hotel and the lake is used only by pederasts.


Your bed has been made in accordance with local tradition. If you have any other ideas please ring for the chambermaid. Please take advantage of her. She will be very pleased to squash your shirts, blouses and underwear. If asked, she will also squeeze your trousers.

Above All:
When you leave us at the end of your holiday, you will have no hope. You will struggle to forget it.


Hotels Are Booming Again In USA!

This piece from Glenn Haussman on HotelInteractive is about America – it’s not about Livingstone, Zambia – I only wish it was! The picture? MGM Grand in Las Vegas, Nevada, the USA’s biggest hotel! Hope the good results over there spread worldwide! Soon!

“All hail the upswing! The lodging industry is in record breaking mode. After the depth of the Great Recession it’s great to see the amazing heights the industry is achieving. And the best news is there is still so much upside profit potential to be mined during the next few years. People just have to be savvy enough to take their share.

As we have discussed here in the pages of Hotel Interactive before the hotel business is perfectly positioned in an amazing sweet spot as a confluence of factors play into the industry’s favor. More people are traveling than ever before and those same travelers feel wealthier as 401k values and home values soar, which makes them willing to pay more for a hotel room. Plus, supply in most markets is below demand levels. That’s keeping hotels filled while investors are just getting started on projects that won’t really impact raw supply numbers until 2015 and beyond.

When you look at industry fundamentals, records are being broken everywhere, including most industry revenue ever at $122 billion. Other records broken in 2013 were ADR, RevPAR, and most room night sold at 1.1 billion.

According to numbers supplied, final 2013 occupancy was 62.3 percent and is expected to rise to 63.2 percent and 64.4 percent for 2014 and 2015 respectively. It’s also expected that ADR will increase 4.8 percent to $115.60 this year and rise another 5.6 percent to $122.12 in 2015. ADR and occupancy increases together will help propel RevPAR from $68.69 (5.4 percent increase from 2012) up another 6.6 percent to $73.10 in 2014 while rising an additional 7.5 percent to $78.62 in 2015.

Even better news is the economy is soaring, both in and out of the hotel industry. The general economy is seeing record high stock market valuations while large type sale items such as homes and cars are doing very well. Plus, more things are being made in America than in a generation.


The Chrismar Hotel Experience

We were delighted to welcome Robert McCarron (above) as our Guest on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George da Soulchild Kaufela. The Experience is our weekly Sunday night radio show airing on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. Rob is general manager of Chrismar Hotel, one of Livingstone larger hotels located on the Royal Mile near the Boat Club, close to the entrance to Mosi-o-Tunya National Park and of course the Zambezi. “The hotel currently has 59 rooms but is in the process of extending by an additional 40 rooms”, Rob told listeners. It was the first time we’ve had one of the general managers of Livingstone’s big hotels on the programme and Milli Jam asked him how he felt to be the first. Robert replied “you have the country’s best known hotel manager on the programme every week, so I’m hardly the first!” I guess I blushed!

Rob told us that he has been in Zambia for 3 years and has, for most of that time, been the manager at Chrismar. He’s an American, a graduate in business management, travel and tourism from Plymouth State University in New Hampshire. “Why did you come to Zambia?” Milli Jam wanted to know. “For a change” the reply. We were not told the type of change required! Rob said the hotel had had a great year in 2013 with increased occupancy and room revenue, enjoying a thriving conference trade, with the majority of Guests coming from within Zambia.

The music on the show was good, we opened with two top Christmas hits from the UK by Sam Bailey and Pharrell Williams. George dropped Zambian tracks from Petersen and Mampi, while Milli Jam chose records from One Direction and Tiwa Savege. Our oldie of the week was Bruno Mars’ Grenade, and we had two prizes on offer to the first people to text us the name of the recording artist on the track. Robert had kindly contributed a dinner for two at Chrismar Hotel to add to the dinner for two with drinks at Chanters that we give away each week on a regular basis, and the two prizes were quickly snapped up by our listeners!

Robert told listeners that he’s married to a Zambian lady with whom he has twin one year old little boys, and yes, they do keep the family awake at night and busy, but he said he himself is a ‘deep sleeper’ so not that disturbed! Rob said that he comes from a family of musicians, his mum is a musician with the Boston Symphony Orchestra while his dad plays piano in piano bars across America. Both his brothers play in bands. He said his own musical tastes were wide and that he especially enjoys rap, rock and reggae.

As a Bostonian he loves all his Boston sports teams and, because the owner of the Boston Red Sox is also the owner of Liverpool FC in UK, he’s a fan of that club. This made George very happy. Rob’s first sporting love however is basketball, and he revealed that he is the coach of the Hillcrest School basketball team here in Livingstone as well as the team for Southern Province. As for tourist activities he loved white water rafting and felt that everyone should do that once in their lives. He had swum in Devil’s Pool but had not done the bungee jump. “No time!” He said. “It only takes 7.5 seconds” I replied, and we laughed!

Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing in ten years’ time Rob revealed that he wanted to be the team coach for the Zambian national basketball team while training his 11 year old twin boys in the art of the game! He also mentioned that he would like to have more children. Nothing about hotels we noted!

We closed by wishing all our listeners a very happy Christmas and prosperous 2014.


Akafekwa Mututwa

Akafekwa (above) stepped in as our Guest on the most recent edition of the Chanters Lodge Experience with the Milli Jam Ingredient featuring George Soulchild – that’s our weekly Sunday night radio show airing at 20.30 hrs every Sunday night on Zambezi 107.7 fm, Livingstone’s leading local radio station. The Guest whom we had booked was a ‘no show’ and we were very grateful to Akafekwa for filling the gap. He was a great Guest too!

Akafekwa told listeners that he is the sales manager of a newly established company selling porcelain tiles in Livingstone – ‘Tile Giant’ and that he enjoys the job. An accountant by profession he holds both a certificate in accounting as well as an accounts technicians diploma from NIPA in Lusaka. Before joining Tile Giant he had worked for Chrismar Hotels in Lusaka and here in Livingstone. Tile Giant is located in the same premises as The Hard Rock Cafe in Livingstone which provoked a few questions!

How come Akafekwa was on hand to Guest on our show? Well, he had come to the studio with George following a show that George – a rap musician – had been playing at Taonga Safaris who have a great location on the banks of the Zambezi. The place rocks on Sunday afternoons, just ask the elephants! “How long have you known George?” Milli Jam wanted to know and Mr Mututwa explained that they had been school mates together in Mongu, Western Province and had met up again when he, Akafekwa, arrived in Livingstone some 2 years ago. Akafekwa claimed to be George’s manager and Milli Jam immediately wanted to know ‘where’s the album?’ an FAQ in recent months. “It’s coming, it’s coming” we were told angrily!

The music on the show was good, we opened with our theme ‘Feel The Love’ by Rudimental featuring John Newman. The theme will change in the new year and we already have a few ideas for a new theme for next year. We dropped tracks from One Direction and Calvin Harris. George played Zonefam’s ‘Lobola’ noting that this fab Zambian band had picked up a Channel O Africa award just the previous night! He also played his own track featuring Maji – ‘Enter Enter’. Milli Jam gave us tracks from Alicia Keys and Avicii and our oldie of the week from Justin Bieber. The prize we give to the first person to text us telling us the name of the artist on our oldie of the week was quickly snapped up.

Akafekwa told listeners that his favourite type of music is R&B and that his favourite artist is R Kelly. He is, he explained, a big fan of Manchester United and was quite sanguine about the fact that they had only been able to draw with Spurs that afternoon. Milli Jam and I spent a few moments discussing Arsenal’s position at the top of the EPL while others listened! Akafekwa said he had done quite a lot of the tourist activities available in Livingstone but had never done the bungee jump nor swum in Devil’s Pool. He told listeners that he was married with two sons, the youngest of which was just over one month old. “Awwww” we said! His wife is a teacher at Faith Academy Trust School in Livingstone.

Asked where he would like to be and what he would like to be doing in ten years’ time, our lively laughing Guest told us that he wanted to be a happily married family man with a very successful country wide tile company to his name – a real tile giant in fact! We wished him the best of luck.

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