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Showing posts with label Royal Swazi Sun. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Royal Swazi Sun. Show all posts

Wednesday, 25 June 2008


I wondered out loud last week why it was that the Times of Swaziland had done a hatchet job on a Swazi hotel chain.

The Times had said that a customer survey had found that there was a lot of dissatisfaction with the Royal Swazi Sun chain of hotels.

I said that even a cursory look at the full customer satisfaction data would tell you that the hotel was actually serving its guests rather well, although there was some room for improvement.

I asked why it was that the Times decided to misrepresent the survey.

I haven’t had any answers to my questions, but the Times itself has now put its hands up and admitted it was wrong and ‘unreservedly apologised to management and staff at the hotels’.

This is what the Times said on Tuesday (24 June 2008),

‘It has since been brought to our attention that an article which appeared in the Times of Swaziland on Monday [16 June 2008] entitled ‘Royal Swazi Sun staff sulk at guests over pay’ contained some factual inaccuracies. In particular it was alleged that the standards in the Royal Swazi Sun Hotel, and / or Lugogo Sun, and / or Elzuwini Sun Hotels were not up to the expectations of a significant proportion of the Resort’s guests.

'We therefore would like to withdraw the contents of the article entirely and we unreservedly apologise to the Resort, its management and staff for any inconvenience this may have caused.’

As apologies go it’s a pretty fulsome one. Maybe a lawyer’s letter helped the Times make up its mind to apologise.

But, my main point remains unanswered. Why did the Times make such an obvious attack on the hotels with absolutely no evidence? I think the Times’ readers are owed an apology and an explanation.

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Wednesday, 18 June 2008


What has the Times of Swaziland newspaper got against the Royal Swazi Sun Hotel?

I ask because the newspaper did an extraordinary hatchet job on the hotel in its edition on Monday (16 June 2008).

The newspaper used a whole page to report, ‘Almost half of the guests who stayed at the prestigious Royal Swazi Sun hotel in May declared they were not happy with the attitude of the staff at these hotels.’

The report went on to say that of 57 guests who gave opinions about staff attitudes at breakfast time, 30 said they were dissatisfied. At dinner, 30 guests were not happy with the staff and 21 were.

What concerns me is that the newspaper also reproduced the full data from the customer survey and on reading this you can see an entirely different picture of customer satisfaction. When asked about their attitudes to a variety of personal services (reception, telephone operators, porters etc) a total of 89 percent had positive responses. A total of 86 percent were positive about the guest rooms and 84 percent were pleased with the overall breakfast facilities.

When asked ‘how do you rate Royal Swazi Sun Valley’, total of 100 percent were positive.

So I ask the question again: why did the Times do a hatchet job on the hotel?

There may be a number of reasons. The first that comes to mind is this is a typical example of ‘attack journalism’ - that is when you attack someone or something for the sake of it, because you have a grudge against them, or because it just makes a good story. I don’t know what the Royal Swazi Sun has done to upset the newspaper. Did the reporter have a bad experience in the bar one night?

Another reason might be that someone led the reporter by the nose to write the story. As well as giving the statistics the reporter also writes about how dissatisfied some of the staff who work at the hotel are and how they feel underpaid.

Did the reporter allow himself to be carried away a bit by the workers so as to write a favourable story for them?

I don’t know the answers, but what is clear is that even a cursory look at the full customer satisfaction data would tell you that the hotel is actually serving its guests rather well, although there is some room for improvement.

I think by distorting the figures so obviously the Times has cheated its readers.

By the way, I am not employed by the hotel to write good things about it. In fact, I have never stayed at the hotel. But should the Royal Swazi Sun feel that they would like to reward me for my support by offering a complimentary ‘run of hotel’ stay, I am free in early July.