The CEO of Fortis Hotels, Grant McLachlan has a long history in South Africa’s hospitality industry. His family first opened Boulevard Hotels in 1954, which later converted to the Protea Hotel brand and this year began trading under their own brand, Fortis Hotels. The group is also the first in SA where 40% of each hotel’s equity will be owned by the staff in each relevant property. We chatted with Grant and found out more about this leader in hospitality.

What is your story?

A bumpy ride

Explain who you are to the industry in a couple of sentences

The CEO of a privately held group in the commercial sector with seven hotels

What are some of the overall issues that you’ve seen affect the hospitality industry in SA?

Security and debtors.

What are some of the challenges that Fortis Hotels is facing at the moment?

The branding change from Protea to Fortis is going to be challenging

Grant McLachlan’s Pop Quiz:

What are some of Fortis Hotels’ main focuses at the moment and going into the new year?

Pushing our existence strongly through the personal and social media platforms.

How do you see Fortis Hotels fitting into the South African hospitality industry?

Training, branding and staff involvement.

Where do you think your company’s place and brand is, and what makes the company unique in SA?

A significant staff equity ownership – we own our hotel – and concentrate on our slogan – it’s personal

 How do you engage your brand to the local SA market?  Any engaging media initiatives and marketing campaigns that you run?

Fortis bucks – rand value for your support that can be converted.

What are the company goals for future excellence in the local industry?

We have a partnership with the Capital Hotel school and we are going to intensify training at all levels

How do you incentivise and motivate staff as an organisation?

There is a 40% staff equity ownership. There are meaningful incentives for GMs and lesser, but not insignificant, incentives to the rest of our staff.

2018 Trend Prediction for the local industry?

Because of Cyril’s ascendency, I am hopeful!

If you were going to teach a college course, what course would you teach?


Which leader or leaders do you look up to? 

Winston Churchill

Who is your mentor/s and for what recent challenge/s have you sought their advice?

Angus Buchan

Tell me about a time when you had to make a tough business decision that supported your company’s purpose, but may have had a negative, short-term financial impact.

Taking on the role of CEO

If you could go back and give your 21-year-old self a valuable piece of advice, what would you say?

Marry the right woman

As you think about your career, who is a team member you had a huge impact on and what are they doing today as a result of your leadership?

My ex MD

If you could work on solving any problem in the world, what one problem would it be?

Chemical toilets

What is your leadership philosophy?

Have fun!

What specific mental, physical, emotional and/or spiritual activities do you engage in to keep yourself operating at your optimum level?

Sport and stirring the pot

What are you learning right now?


Favourite Inspirational Business Quote?

May our thoughts be pure, words be pure, intentions be pure.