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There are indications that this year’s holiday season is likely to show an improvement over last year, following severe water restrictions in Cape Town due to the harsh drought. Other destinations in South Africa have also been affected by the drought, as foreign tourists have traveled to other countries. With the relief of water restrictions in the Cape, there is hope that tourism (both domestic and foreign tourism) will get a head start this year.

Quarterly figures for September show an increase in the following sectors compared to the same period last year:

  • Foreign spending increases by 8.8%
  • Duration of stay up 6.6%
  • The number of bed nights increased by 13.8%

Tourism is experiencing a worldwide boom and visitors are finding new and easier ways to find and book destinations and accommodations. The hospitality business owners should use the opportunity to review the implications of commercial guests from an insurance and accountability perspective.

 

It is always advisable to review the following aspects (and the coverage you provide) before the upcoming holiday season:

  • Injury or death suffered by a guest. It will cover everything from a guest who may fall from a set of stairs to the aftermath of a house robbery during guests’ stay.
  • Where guests’ belongings are stolen, insurance will usually only pay out if there are signs of forced entry. Make sure you take the necessary safety precautions to ensure the safety of your guests.
  • Are you covered if guests steal or damage your property?
  • The premises are damaged by fire or something similar and must be repaired. Are you covered for repairs and loss of income?
  • Does your business benefit from claims that arise if your business is found not to comply with the appropriate zoning or health and safety regulations?

 

The hospitality industry is regulated and because of the growth in the “informal” tourism sector, overseas countries have already begun implementing rules for the short-term rental market. It is therefore important that business owners ensure that their insurance meets requirements such as adequate fire protection. Failure to comply with these regulations will affect the validity of the coverage.

 

Understanding and communicating insurance coverage

The best advice that can be given to business owners in the hospitality industry is to sit down with your insurance broker and understand exactly what your current policy will cover and what the options will be to increase coverage.

It is important to keep in mind that insurance coverage is typically subject to the proper use of alarms. Some foreign visitors may not necessarily be familiar with how it works or fully understand the need to set the alarms. Providing guests with a comprehensive, easy-to-understand set of instructions on how the alarm works and why it matters is advisable.

It is also recommended that the safety instructions for guests using your accommodation facilities be comprehensive. For example, include the emergency numbers of the nearest SAPS, doctors, hospitals and ambulance. A simple emergency plan in the event of a fire, robbery or other unforeseen emergency will make your guests feel more prepared and safe.

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Author: GASVRY

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