Ever wanted to help save the planet but weren’t sure what to do or where to start? iNkosi Eco lodge aims to change this whilst still giving their guests a comfortable night’s rest.
We chatted to Ursula the owner, mom, self-employed accountant and all round eco fairy to find out about her inspiration, her advice for dealing with challenges and of course – what she thinks of Yoco.
Ursula purchased, what was then iNkosi Lodge, 12 years ago and ran it the same as any other guesthouse. Her introduction to sustainability came when she followed her now husband to Durban and began work with the Bluff Environmental Society. They worked to transform a caravan park into an eco park – and thus the love affair with sustainable living began.
When Ursula and her family returned to Cape Town two years ago she immediately knew she wanted to transform the iNkosi guesthouse into an Eco Lodge. In the 2 years since, the team has implemented many initiatives to turn the lodge into an eco-friendly haven, including:
- Energy and water savers such as a heat pump and flow regulators
- Vegetable, herb and indigenous gardens
- Supporting enterprises and organisations that promote sustainability such as Boer and Butcher, Harvest of Hope, BeeKind and GreenPop.
- Supporting rural areas by making use of their local products, such as StarNation Art Gallery, S.O.O.N. Furniture and Eureka Mills flour. This is because sustainability is not only about supporting the environment, but the economy too.
The whole philosophy behind this is education. To get to a point where iNkosi is not just a guesthouse, but also a vehicle to teach. Ursula and the team aim to show people that living an eco-friendly life is simple and won’t impact the convenience of their lifestyle as heavily as they think.
“People tend to think living sustainably is expensive, but it doesn’t have to be. You can do small things that make a big impact on your carbon footprint.”
Managing your time in the hospitality industry
When you have a great passion for something it’s natural to commit a lot of your time to it. Running a guesthouse is also an “always on” venture because your guests often need you to be available at odd hours. The combination of being a mom, running a guesthouse, having another job as an accountant and being incredibly passionate about sustainability means time is a constant challenge.
“Your time is 100% connected to your guests’ time,” she says. For example, guests may let you know they’ll be arriving at 4 pm but arrive at 11 am or even 11 pm. And it’s your responsibility to be there for them. This is an aspect of hospitality that people don’t necessarily think about when going into business, but is a good challenge to be aware of beforehand.
Ursula’s tip? Be aware of your time and manage it intentionally.
“Remember that your time is your own, and don’t feel bad to go for a nap at 2 in the afternoon, because that might be the only time you really have.” Don’t try and fit your lifestyle into a 9 to 5, because it’s not a 9 to 5 job. It’s a 6 to 10 and then 4 to 12. Or whatever time it happens to be on a certain day. It’s always changing and you have to adapt your expectations because your time is a little bit different to other people’s.
iNkosi and Yoco
This past holiday season was the first time iNkosi used Yoco to accept card payments. The Yoco mobile card machine is used to accept guest payments, to accept payment in the gift shop and at their regular wine appreciation evenings.
It’s a big plus that there is no dealing with cash, as the money transacted goes straight into the bank account. This not only adds an element of safety, but also saves valuable time. There is no need to count notes, do recons or visit the bank to make a deposit.
The Yoco App and Business Portal also allow Ursula to see a detailed real-time record of all transactions. With time being such a crucial factor, Yoco has provided Ursula with convenience and simplicity.
In addition, Yoco improves the experience not only for the iNkosi staff but also for the guests. “All my guests are very impressed. They especially like the fact that I can send a receipt via SMS or email.”
This is convenient for travellers because they can keep a digital record of their spending and not have to worry about saving slips of paper. The paperless system is also eco-friendly and helps to reduce iNkosi’s carbon footprint!
For more information on iNkosi Eco Lodge, or to make a booking, visit their website. Also keep an eye out for Ursula’s advice for seasonal businesses in the upcoming article on our blog.
To find out more about how Yoco can help save your business time, visit our website.