Lindy Rousseau: DOSM of Singita Group

My NativeAdVice:


Cape Town born and bred, Lindy Rousseau is the Sales and Marketing Director of the Singita Group, a world-renowned photographic safari and conservation organization. Previously the marketing director at the Cape Grace Hotel in Cape Town, she was responsible for developing the strategy that resulted in the hotel becoming the No. 1 Best Hotel in the World. In 2003, after five years at the Cape Grace, Lindy started her own business as a marketing consultant specializing in the tourism industry. She developed a portfolio of clients that included the Cape Grace Hotel, Pezula Resort Hotel and Spa, Victoria Falls Hotel, Software Colours and many more.

Prior to entering the world of tourism, Lindy attended Stellenbosch University where she received a BSC Honours Degree in Food Science. She quickly put her degree to use and became a development chemist at Colman Foods where she continued on as marketing director after receiving her marketing degree from Damelin.

In 2008, Lindy was recruited to join Singita as the group sales and marketing manager. As an integral part of the Singita team she is now the Director of Sales and Marketing and is responsible for overseeing the formulation of strategy for the business as well as directing the activities of the sales, marketing and reservations teams. Lindy was also appointed to Singita’s Board of Directors in 2012 where she continues to be a driving force for the business.

(Courtesy of Singita)

How did you get into the hotel industry?

By default – I started my career as a food chemist and migrated across to marketing as I found it more exciting. I worked in the food industry for 12 years before being head hunted by a start up hotel in Cape Town as they were specifically looking for someone with marketing experience outside of the hotel industry

Define Success. What does Success mean to you?

A state in which all of the different disciplines within the business are totally aligned and moving in the same direction together …a bit like lining up the atoms in a magnet – if all of the positively charged particles are facing the same way, you achieve optimum magnetic strength. Once you achieve this, introducing flexibility and nimble responses to change become a lot easier. The landscape is changing at such a rapid rate that the development of a business mindset that embraces continual change is a pre-requisite for success.

(Courtesy of Singita)

What is your favorite travel destination?

Zimbabwe – it is the most beautiful country and has an honest naiveté about it. Apart from its diversity and natural magnificence, the Zimbabwean people are of the gentlest, kindest and warmest people I have ever met. 

What is your most successful marketing strategy? Do you utilize social media and to what capacity?

Successful marketing strategies rely on an unwavering focus on the end consumer, the ability to interpret what they value and the insight and courage to continually adapt product offerings  ahead of what customers expect. Once you have this discipline in place the commonly understood cornerstones the marketing strategy (branding, sales, PR, communications and messaging, promotional strategies) need to be carefully crafted  and interwoven to achieve the best possible access to and engagement with customers. Internal marketing is equally important – once every employee embraces the marketing strategy, they become true ambassadors, playing an integral role in the delivery of exceptional guest experiences. 

Social media has become a fundamental component of any communication strategy. It simply cannot be a tick box item on the list of things to do anymore. The past 12 months has been characterised by a focus on the generation of relevant, exceptional quality content - images, copy, video – often requiring the skills of content specialists as these skills seldom reside within organisations. Exploiting good content is dependent upon the degree to which target audiences are engaged. The key is to continually scour the environment and measure following to identify opportunities to promote 2 way conversations that build communities who choose to stay in your world.

How do you differentiate your brand from all other luxury hotels - Have you found "co-branding" successful and in what way?

There is a strong sense of why we exist – our purpose is well-defined, articulated and part of the daily speak. We believe that our reason for existence is to protect and preserve large tracts of land in Africa for future generations  - it is a 100 year vision that requires the buy-in and support of every employee, business partner and  the communities we operate in. This strong sense of purpose drives a passion and commitment that supports an understanding of the quality of the experience we need to deliver to guests in order to generate the revenues that will create the sustainability that will ensure our success.

We differentiate by leveraging what luxury travel consumers value most – space, exclusivity, privacy and fresh air in a sophisticated environment that excels at every touch point.

(Courtesy of Singita)

What’s next for your hotel?

We have great expansion plans into Africa. The 2 major projects on the cards are  Mozambique – our first coastal property that will include a marine experience as well as a game experience. Both the marine and terrestrial animals are under severe threat in this area so our involvement will not only provide exceptional guest experiences, but support our 100 year conservation purpose. The second is in Rwanda  where we plan to develop a luxury gorillas experience. The addition of these 2 destinations will increase the land that Singita has under management in Africa, to over 1 million acres. 

Who is your role model, either living or past, whose beliefs you would like to emulate?

The late Keith Floyd – Restauranteer, Chef , author and TV personality. I have a passion for food and travel and love how he was able to enjoy both without being too serious! 

What reading material is on your bed stand?

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini and Lean In – Sheryl Sandberg

(Courtesy of Singita)