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Which option do you prefer?
Poll ended at Fri May 06, 2011 7:20 pm
a. Check in / check out times 14:00 / 10:00 daily 11%  11%  [ 24 ]
b. Check in / check out times 12:00 / 09:00 daily 89%  89%  [ 187 ]
Total votes : 211
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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 1:52 pm 
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Twigga you were very fortunate.
My daughter and her family had to wait >90 minutes at Skukuza.

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Last edited by gmlsmit on Thu Dec 15, 2011 3:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Thu Dec 15, 2011 2:23 pm 
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Thank you for the ongoing effort, gmlsmit. And also to Joep for seeking a resolution to this matter.

We went to Kruger when it was quiet, and most of the camps were fairly lenient; however, I can imagine the chaos in peak season. Afternoon drives will not be an option if one is waiting an hour to book in, considering setting-up and/or taking possession of the unit has to still take place. If one is staying only a night, it is hardly worth going to a particular camp, in my opinion!
:thumbs_up: :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:07 am 
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Here below is the correspondence with Mr. Joep Stevens General Manager Tourism Operations SANParks.:

My letter to Mr. Stevens.

SANParks announced earlier this year that the check in/check out times were changed to 14:00/10:00.

This was not satisfactory to their clients and SANParks were informed, the report back was that this was in line with the hospitality industry practice.

Further correspondence was generated and the feedback from Wanda was "well that is how it is going to - take it or leave it".

A survey was done on the SANParks forum which ended May 2011 and the result was that 24 respondents were satisfied with the new times and 187 dissatisfied. 11% were satisfied and 89% not.

The mods of the forum undertook to forward this issue to the SANParks management, which I am convinced had happened as it was reported in August 2011 by Thobeka that the matter will be investigated and that feedback will be available, no feedback was received.

What is of concern is that there again was no consultation with your clients before it was implemented. Neither myself or any of my friends who all are regular visitors knew anything about this possible change.

My daughter and her family visited the KNP during the first 10 days of December 2011 and believe me that they and many other visitors not find it enjoyable awaiting the strike of 14:00, in the heat of the day.

It is stated that guests are allocated their accommodation earlier when ready, believe me this did not happen. The reception staff was also not prepared to inquire whether the accommodation was ready. Who in any case will hope that the units by chance will be available after one had left your previous accommodation at 04:30 on a hot day.

My request is that the times be reviewed and changed to 12:00/09/00 for at least the hot months of the year being the period 1 October to 31 March.

Your cooperation in and understanding of this as well as feedback will be appreciated.

Kind regards.

Gerhard Smit


I received the following email:

From: Joep Stevens
To: Gerhard Smit
Sent: Friday, December 16, 2011 2:11 AM
Subject: RE: "Check in/Check out times" in thedie NKW.

Dear Gerhard,

Thanks for your prompt feedback regarding the check in / check out times, my comments are as follows:

1. The matter of check in/check out times should not be seen in isolation , it is part of our effort to improve service delivery, by ensuring that the units are ready for occupation before being allocated to the guests.

2. The approach of the industry- also our policy, is to allocate the units only after being certified ready for occupation irrespective of the time whether 11:00 or 14:30.

3. The survey is probably not representative of the current visitors to our national parks, and should be considered with paragraph 1 above in mind. As an enthusiastic visitor to our national parks , I would also prefer checking in at 12:00 than at 14:00, however if I was asked whether I would rather prefer my unit to be ready I would also prefer this. Perhaps both are not always possible. I have personally changed my reservations and daily routine to match the new arrangement. I plan my game viewing and move less from one camp to another, something that is also to the benefit of SANParks.

4. The policy has been clearly spelled out by the CEO that when units are available before 14:00 they are to be allocated to the guests, I am well aware that this is not always done by the operational staff. This to please be reported in order for us to take corrective measures.

5. I accept that there are visitors (possibly the minority) who would prefer checking out later possibly after a morning game drive (SANParks or private) or a breakfast and a shower.


These are some comments on the issues regarding the check in/check out times.

Yours sincerely.

Joep.
My reply this morning:

Dear Joep.

You mention better service delivery, this sounds very noble however after the guests have been travelling in the heat of day during the hot periods this is not really a consideration.

I am repeating my request that the times be reviewed and that the check out 09:00 check in 12:00 be implemented at least for the hotter period as per my original letter. The early cleaning of units and the readiness of them is dependent on the responsible manager, you can be assured that this will be well appreciated and will also polish the image of SANParks.

You can also be assured that the survey although done 7 months ago is still very relevant, however should you prefer so, I am prepared to arrange for another one to be run.

I am again requesting that the times be reviewed and changed as requested.

Regards
Gerhard

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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 4:46 pm 
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Firstly, thank you and well done to GMLSmit for taking the initiative to try and have this situation improved.

Also, thank you to Mr. Stevens for his dedication and responsiveness. I have no doubt that this flawed policy is not of his choosing.

Be that as it may, I have the following comments:

1. I cannot accept that this has much to do with improving service delivery. How is it possible that a system which seemed to work very well for many, many years has suddenly become ineffective? Is it because the alacrity of cleaning staff has deteriorated? Perhaps the increased popularity of the Park is also a reason. What about the number of cleaning staff...has it increased, decreased or remained the same over the last number of years? Tariffs have certainly been blazing new trails so surely funding cant be an issue. (Although we do know that the critical field rangers division is always in need of private fund raising initiatives)

2. Its all very well doing what the rest of the industry does, but this approach fails to take into account the fact that SANParks is UNIQUE in the industry. A one size fits all approach is certainly not going to work. SANPark's guests are not arriving at a destination in the City nor are they anticipating a beach style holiday (I recently stayed at a coastal location and was required to vacate by 09:00 on day of departure). Visitors to SANParks are, for the most part, up before dawn and generally out of their accommodation well before 8:00 let alone 09:00 or 10:00.

3. Why is it that despite the CEO's numerous communications to staff, that we are so often confronted with soviet style beaurocracy even if the accomodation has been ready for hours before 14:00?...this is anything but good service delivery.

4. Pushing check in time all the way through to 14:00 is simply too much. Check out time at 09:00 is more than sufficient and the check in time should be no later than 13:00.

5. My experience of these check in times has been unpleasant. I once stood in a long que at Skukuza from about 13:30 with many guests from all backgrounds and parts of the world, who had no option but to sit around and wait, with food still packed in the hot car, after a long morning. The rooms were ready but we had to wait for that magical moment when the second hand finally completed the 60 strokes that made the difference between 13:59 and 14:00. It was then that the "impossible" suddenly became possible and were permitted to check in. This policy has turned hospitality staff into inflexible civil servants.

6. I am pleased that the policy is to allow guests to check in earlier, even many hours earlier if the room is ready, this has not been my experience.

The matter is in desperate need of reconsideration.

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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 5:07 pm 
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True, our survey may not be representative of the overall Kruger visitor population.

BUT

That to me means that either 1) SANParks undertook a survey of their own so that their decision to improve service delivery via the change in times is fact-based or, 2) their decision was not data-driven specific to KNP visitors.

Trust me, the customer IS NOT always right. But changes/improvements to how you service the customer SHOULD ALWAYS be measured from the customer experience.

SANParks should not overlook the anecdotal evidence presented from first-hand experiences with the later check-in times, nor the anecdotal evidence that service delivery quality and experience has decreased with the time changes. Seems to me it should be a good reason for SANParks to learn more about the situation...

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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Fri Dec 16, 2011 10:39 pm 
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gmlsmit wrote:
<snip>

Thanks for your prompt feedback regarding the check in / check out times, my comments are as follows:

2. The approach of the industry- also our policy, is to allocate the units only after being certified ready for occupation irrespective of the time whether 11:00 or 14:30.

4. The policy has been clearly spelled out by the CEO that when units are available before 14:00 they are to be allocated to the guests, I am well aware that this is not always done by the operational staff. This to please be reported in order for us to take corrective measures.

<snip>


Okay! All is needed is to focus on the two points I've left above. These are official explanations.
This whole thing goes away if the policy stated at point 4 is followed.
So .... Please SANPARKS can you post that policy clearly on the website. All I as a guest need to do is present the policy if staff once in a while 'forget' to follow it. Easy peasy.

Most hotels have a check-in policy, almost all allow you to check-in before the official time IF the room is available. KNP seems to have the same policy but doesn't set it out (so staff can avoid following it).


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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 2:19 pm 
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What happened with this poll? Still no answer?? :(


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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:07 pm 
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The majority of voters indicated that the previous times - 09:00 out and 12:00 in were preferred.

I communicated with the SANParks Tourism about this and was quite bluntly informed that the decision will remain - in a like it or lump it fashion.

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No to Hotels in and commercialization of our National Parks.
Done 144 visits to National Parks.
What a wonderful privilege.


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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:16 pm 
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Well I'm in the minority that prefers the new times. :thumbs_up:
We like the extra hour it gives us to check out, and just plan our day so that we don't arrive at the next place till 2pm or after.
We don't have children and we don't camp, so it isn't a problem for us. :thumbs_up:


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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 3:48 pm 
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I voted for the old times as I prefer the 9 out 12 in time

I don't think we can read too much into the opinion of 211 people who voted here as KNP get more than a million visitors per annum.

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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:16 pm 
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I'm with Val on this. For us overseas visitor, being able to go on an early morning drive, come back, pack and shower without rushing around before the long journey home is essential. We just work around the 2pm check-in by planning our camps and journeys before hand.

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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Sun Jul 01, 2012 5:41 pm 
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Really the new times didn't bother us, and we were in the park for 14 days.

The only one that got me was the different times for roodewal. I just assumed all times were the same for check in. :) No big deal.

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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 1:52 am 
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To be honest, I can't easily see that Kruger will change the new times anywhere in the near future, irrespective of what we vote. :hmz:

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TR: NECTAREAN NICETIES OF THE NORTH
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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:21 pm 
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To be honest
been in Kruger in May (out of high season) and check in times were flexible
could check in sometimes at 13.00.
No problem
And when the new check in times were introduced were sometimes told that its only at 2 that we could receive a key.
So imo, the camps i have visited were not so rigid anymore :wink: :thumbs_up:

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 Post subject: Re: Which check in times do you prefer?
Unread postPosted: Mon Jul 02, 2012 4:38 pm 
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It also seems to depend on who is on duty at the time and what mood they are in.
Some people are most helpful and friendly, and others surly!
Someone checked what time our bungalow was going to be ready, but then went off duty.
The next person told us she didn't know if our bungalow was ready and come back at 2 o' clock .
Luckily we knew it was ready and we were less than an hour early by then.


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