Michell Zvanyanya, Features Reporter
The award-winning Pote Holdings Group has proved beyond doubt that it is the only outstanding business entity in Zvishavane and the whole of Midlands through the exceptional entrepreneurial skills that it feeds into its operations.
Competency reflected in its business operations have seen Pote Holdings spreading its wings by venturing into hospitality, an area where it is equally exceptionally doing well in.
What was once popularly known as Pote Hill Lodge in Zvishavane which scooped an award of the Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce Hospitality Category in 2012 has grown into a 46 roomed-state-of art-hotel and conference centre now known as Pote Hill Hotel.
The staff carries a carefully planned programme in running the hotel and has asserted it as a centre of attraction in Zvishavane.
In narrating how the idea of venturing into hospitality became a success, Pote Holdings General Manager Mr Tamso Mtombeni said:
“In 2009 when the country dollarised, we managed to make a lot of revenue as Pote Holdings from our retail commercial centre. Our Chief Director Mr Antony Clever Pote suggested that we venture into hospitality using the revenue that we had made. With the money and resources we had we implemented our idea and for the first phase we built 13 rooms which started operating as a lodge in 2012. For the second phase we managed to get loans from the bank and built 21 more rooms. For the third phased we also built 12 rooms. We are still planning to climb the mountain and build something on it and turn it into a scenic area,” he said.
The diversification model adopted by the group has seen it continue thriving despite the economic hardships that are severely crippling the business operations of many in the country. The company has strength in the diversity of its business portfolios that include supermarkets, wholesales, gold mines and transport services.
It continues to boast of its viable business entities that are supporting the running of the hotel.
“The major contribution to the hotel was our diversification model. Our strategy has always been based on the need to make our business units serve and support each other. We have established various business entities in order to ensure that we thrive in this economic hardship. We have mother companies such as Makanaka Investments which is also a mother company to the Clevers Investment that primarily operates Pote Hill Hotel,” said Mr Mtombeni.
“Before the hotel we were running supermarkets which enabled us to put the hotel to where it is today. We run a chain of supermarkets and wholesaling businesses in Zvishavane and Mberengwa. As Pote Holdings we also own hardware and kitchenware shops in Zvishavane Town, Mandava suburb, Shurugwi and Gweru all trading as Pote Hardware. Red Granite Milling is another division of the Pote Holdings group, its core business being gold milling and our latest edition is the red granite quarry where we are processing quarry and do brick moulding. Our vibrant transport section consists of a fleet of haulage trucks, which carry loads locally and regionally.”
The hotel provides quality services that have attracted a large share of visitors and clients in Zvishavane coming from various corners of the world.
Pote Hill Hotel Guest Relations Officer, Ms Nerera Manyara said their primary agenda is to give their customers exceptional services and have since the beginning of its operations excelled in doing so.
“The 46 rooms in the hotel consist of single rooms, standard twin rooms and executive suites which are all air conditioned. Apart from the rooms, we have two conference facilities in which the first one houses about 150 delegates and the second one houses about 30 delegates. It can also be used as a private board room. From the conferences we have our garden that is a scenic feature of the hotel and can be used for wedding functions with a capacity to take about 1 000 people,” she said.
Ms Manyara said the hotel also has a 24-hour reception centre where customers can have access to services at any given time.
The services are a true reflection of how the staff goes an extra mile to meet people’s demands and cater for their various interests.
In the hotel there is a classic restaurant. It serves three balanced meals a day and that is breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Pote Holdings has embarked on various corporate social responsibility investment programmes in Zvishavane town and the Midlands area as a whole to show that its investment is not only in financial terms but is also done to create a good reputation of the group.
What the group considers as its milestone achievement in its social responsibility model is how it has managed to transform the town of Zvishavane through creation of employment and service provision that has promoted the well being of the community.
One of the Pote Holdings directors Mr Takudzwa Clever said the Pote empire currently has about 900 dedicated employees from all corners of the country that work in the business entities including the hotel.
From the number of employees one can deduce that a huge number of people now directly and indirectly depend on the Pote business empire for a livelihood, if one includes the workers’ families.
Mr Clever said their hotel clientele currently largely consists of Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and hopes to be able to even attract more local business people.
“In our operations we are really motivated by our guests who largely include NGOs. We also seek to add more rooms in the hotel so that we can serve about two NGOs at once. We do not only encourage NGOs to come but also the local companies to come and conduct their meetings in the hotel and any other portfolios,” he said.
“As Pote Holdings we have self-motivated workers who are hard working. The compliments or complaints we receive from our guests motivate us to put more effort in correcting our mistakes. We are actually looking at expanding and establishing more hotels regionally and internationally because we have a bigger dream as Pote Holdings.”
With the interests of their clients at heart Pote Holdings seeks to put up a solar system that will power the whole hotel to ensure that their clients and guests have continuous electricity supply to combat challenges posed by excessive power cuts in the country.
One might wonder what the secret behind this success is. Mr Mtombeni revealed the secret in just three words — commitment, resilience and perseverance. — @michellzvanyanyan2