Q&A: The Potential is Enormous

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What’s the first year of operations been like for the hotel? 

It’s just great to see things blossoming. At the start it wasn’t easy, but demand was extremely really strong and when you have strong demand, you have to make sure you can meet those expectations. Maintaining standards has been a big challenge, with a lot of inexperienced staff doing the job for the first time. Regarding the competition – I think it’s an interesting time, but I’m not worried. Everybody is looking for their own market niche and I believe we have found ours. In the past it was a case of only one or two hotels to choose from, but now there’s a lot more variety and everybody can find a hotel according to their preference.

What have been your biggest challenges?

There are things you can influence and things that are more difficult to change. For example, power supply. Guests expect a constant power supply for the category of hotel we are. However, we need to have a mix of public electricity and generator support. It’s expensive, not very good for the environment and sometimes the public electricity comes with high voltage and results in fluctuations. All of this is difficult for us to balance and it’s a big challenge.

What’s your unique selling point?

We are not trying to be a chic hotel. We are trying to offer a friendly and relaxing environment, and if you look at why, you could look into our different services and facilities. For example, the Café Cappuccino. It’s a relaxing environment where people can sit down for chats and little meetings, have snacks and coffee. If you look around, there’s hardly any hotel that offers something like this. In other hotels you have a bar and restaurant in the lobby, and you do not have a place where you can hang out and really relax. Guests also really enjoy our outside environment, where they can listen to live music. We’ve got the Adrenalin Bar, which is a sports bar, and it’s a fun place where people can watch their favourite sport. We also have our spa and fitness centre, which offers massages and treatments, and is open to people who want membership of our facilities. We also have a friendly and relaxing family brunch on Sundays, which has proved very popular.

What’s been the reaction of your guests to what you offer?

Guests appreciate our facilities and, most importantly, they love the smile of our staff. Our vision was to be a home away from home, and we only selected the staff that could really drive that vision. We believe that has worked out. The patronage has been great and we strive to keep it at the very top.

What can guests expect in the future?

It’s definitely a case of fine tuning our services and maintaining our image. Our motivation is to keep it up and do everything we can to have consistent delivery of better services. So, training is something we look at on a constant basis. We have professional trainers coming in to train our staff, ensuring that we keep up to standard. We also have to maintain the building, which is another challenge. In this environment the wear and tear is enormous, so we have to invest a lot of money in the facilities. We don’t want to have a diamond in the beginning and after a while let it become something else.

How would you describe the hospitality industry in Nigeria?

The potential is enormous. People are looking for more entertainment opportunities, so if you look at Victoria Island and Lekki, there are a lot more restaurants popping up, lots more entertainment opportunities and hotels as well. It’s financially supported, because there’s the rise of the middle class. If you look at the cars on the road, compared with the cars ten years ago, you will see that there’s more money being spent. 

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