The following people are on the MidBABA Committee:

Des Morgan [Chairman]
Margie Williams [Secretary]
Phumzile Mamashela
Trevor McCalgan
Mila Pesek
Monica Phillips
Michele Main

Please feel free to contact them should you have a question or suggestion.
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AGM Feb 2015

Midbaba Chairperson’s Annual Report – 2016

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Midbaba (Midlands Bed & Breakfast Association) was launched in November 1997, and so it is with a sense of achievement that I present this report at the 19th Annual General Meeting of the Association.  Our original purpose remains and that is to have an informal association that meets regularly to network and discuss common problems.

We are affiliated to KWABABA and the National Accommodation Association of South Africa, which now has well over 1000 members nationally and is by far the biggest grouping representing our industry in the country.  Regular meetings of KWABABA and NAA take place to discuss challenges in the B&B industry.  

Midbaba ends this year with 41 members and as such we occupy a valuable space in the Tourism and Hospitality sector in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands area. We remain committed to seeing our Association include all small accommodation establishments in the Region.  The stronger we are, the greater the benefits derived will be from being a body that represents this sector in the Tourism industry. All present members are encouraged to get other B&Bs to join us, so we can safely say that we represent the whole sector in the Region

2014 has been a quiet year for MIDBABA when it comes to having to fight for the future of the industry in the Region. The work done by the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business this time last year ensured that the Municipality did not hike tariffs for municipal services and so several B&Bs that felt they would have to close for financial reasons, have not. I said in my 2014 Report that we trust that the Accommodation industry, so essential to the Events status of our City and thus to its economy, is given some breathing space in this next year and we can facilitate the opening of more registered B&Bs in our City. I trust this has happened as we want to see our City thrive and the many Event Organisers need to be given the support they deserve.

The energy crisis nationally has had a significant impact on us locally and Midbaba is committed to serve the B&B sector in finding ways to help B&Bs become less dependent on Eskom for electricity. We will engage discussion later in this meeting to find solutions so that we can more easily ensure that our guests are not too greatly inconvenienced by loadshedding, a new word in the English vocabulary. We would like to thank the sterling effort made by the Pietermaritzburg Chamber of Business to keep the lights on and to marked extent we in the Msunduzi municipal area have been saved the inconvenience of the loadshedding woes. Congratulations also the Msunduzi officials who have sympathetically worked with the PCB in the initiatives implemented. With the increasing threat of the water supply becoming less reliable, this is another area, which we in Midbaba would like to provide solutions to B&B owners.  At our B&B we are in the process of installing a rain harvesting system, with the capacity to store 30 000 litres of water. I know other B&Bs have already done this and we look forward to informing you on the success of this operation.  

The staging of the MTB World Cup in Pietermaritzburg in April 2014, was a major boost for the B&B industry with many establishments experiencing high occupancies in August.  The week of eventing drew over close to 1000 international visitors to our City making this probably the top event from an international perspective ever held in our City. We also benefitted from hosting the World Marathon Championships during 2014. Congratulations to Alec Lenferne for his initiative in getting the UCI to make Pietermaritzburg the Cycling Capital of Africa.

MIDBABA continues to receive greater recognition from the City as the representative of the B&B industry in the City.  I have been asked to serve on the Interim Msunduzi Municipal Tourism Board.

We are pleased to see that to a degree logjam of big events scheduled in Pietermaritzburg during May/June each year is seemingly beginning to be sorted. An initial meeting of Event organisers as already taken place and it is hoped that this sort of meeting will continue. The Msunduzi Municipal Tourism Board will hopefully help facilitate this. This year’s Royal Show is being held a week later and the Comrades Marathon will return to its original date of the Sunday before 16 June and so will not co-incide with the Royal Show.  This will be of great benefit for us as accommodation suppliers and to the whole Tourism industry in the City.

I would like to conclude by repeating what I said at last year’s AGM. We are in a very competitive space and one which is rapidly changing.  For some running a B&B may just be a hobby, earning ‘pocket money’ from a spare room and I know many do an excellent job in providing quality accommodation for the guests that come their way.  For those who would like to make a living out of the industry, this is not going to come if time, energy and financial resources are not committed to marketing your B&B. You can achieve 80+% occupancy and even higher, by recognising that you are in this competitive space and going out and actively marketing your business.  Networking is invaluable and even your attendance at Midbaba meetings, provides an invaluable means to promote your business.  You need to be seen and heard by other businesses in the City; grab every opportunity to meet with them. I regularly meet other business people in the City and they invariably show great interest in what we are providing. One needs to be out there in the space from which we will derive guests.

We continue to develop & improve our website –  It provides opportunity for people to advertise themselves, both as B&B operators & suppliers.  We are pleased to see that the number of suppliers listed in the site has greatly increased this last year. This is in no small measure due to the efforts of the members of Midbaba.

The Committee has done an invaluable service in keeping the Association up to date.  I would like to thank Michele, Phumzile, Lara, Mila, Trevor, Margie and Karel for all that they have done for MIDBABA in 2014/15.   

Have a great 2015 and thank you for your support in 2014.