Picture Source: Core Eductaion Solutions
2015 started out quite slowly with hotels still trying to recover from the Ebola crisis as well as the terror threats which ended 2014. The elections and handing over in government as well as the change in economic policies also added to the slow pick up of room occupancy in the industry. This resulted in the need for hotels to take measures to reduce operational costs, including downsizing. Multiple taxation from the government was also a key complaint for hoteliers and the issue has still not been addressed. There were also more deaths recorded in hotels this year compared to last year as seen on our news page.
However, it was not all doom and gloom in the industry as there were some high points in the year. 3 hotels from Nigeria won the World Trade Awards - Transcorp Hilton Abuja, Hotel Bon Voyage and Amara Suites came out winners in 6 different categories. Transcorp hotels was listed in the Nigerian Stock Exchange and is doing well. Improvement in e-commerce was also an achievement this year with an increase in online bookings through sources like Jovago, Hotels.ng, Hotel Now Now and Zowasel. Despite the economic challenges, there were some new local and international hotel openings like George Hotel, Golden Tulip Airport Hotel, Sun Heaven Hotel, Lilygate Hotel, Fahrenheit Loft Hotel and many more. Furthermore, Radisson hotel Lagos re-opened for business after it was closed down for 6 months. There were also a few cases of re-branding with key emphasis on some Protea Hotels being bought over by BON Hotels and Marriott Hotels.
The year also ended well for most hotels as there was an increase in occupancy during the Christmas holidays as many Nigerians in diaspora returned home to spend the holidays with family and friends. Many hotels also offered good rates during the Christmas season encouraging local tourists to stay in the hotels. Many hotels were seen to have capitalised on this demand and this season offering exotic Christmas brunch increasing the revenue from Food and Beverage outlets.
According to analysts, 2016 does not look promising with the new policies on importation, forex trading and the devaluation of the Naira. Hoteliers will have no option but to look for ways to get and retain guests in today’s competitive environment. Each hotelier has to make a personal effort to be outstanding and to remain valuable to their establishment. According to ‘The Nation’, the most impactful policies have revolved around the restriction of forex flow to importers of 41 items, the ban on cash deposits into domiciliary accounts and the imposition of daily spending limits on foreign purchases by card users.
Purchasing managers have to come up with ways to source for products that are usually imported without paying too much on tariffs. Such measures may include using local producers and suppliers but this all depends on the brand standards of each hotel. International hotel brands could consider having their sister hotels in the rest of the world help purchase the amenities on their behalf while they workout payment methods that will not affect their bottomline.
As unpredictable as the future may seem, staying optimistic is a key to success. So here is wishing everyone a Happy New Year and all the best in 2016
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