Olugbenga Omotayo is the General Manager of Grand Capital Hotel, Akure, Ondo State, an accountant by training and a banker turned hospitality manager, with over 10 years of experience in operational positions in various hotels in Nigeria, in this interview with WALE OLAPADE, he shares his knowledge about hospitality and tourism in Nigeria.
HOW did the transition from the banking sector to the hotel sector go?
After I left the banking sector, I discovered that the two sectors have a common relationship on the grounds that banking is a service industry and it applies very well to the hospitality sector. This allowed me to easily adapt to the hospitality industry.
How do you see the prospects of working in the hotel industry for the younger generation?
The tourism industry is very huge. There are a lot of industries based on people moving from place to place and it will continue to be, which will always drive the need for hospitality services with hotels playing a key role in delivery. of these services. Each hotel has at least 10 departments such as food and beverage, housekeeping, administration, accounting, security, reception, maintenance, among others, and all of this requires qualified staff. From recent statistics on hotel management, it was found that hotels contribute 60%, which is equivalent to 1.7 billion naira to the economy of Nigeria today.
So how important is the hospitality sector to the tourism industry in Nigeria
Tourism and hospitality are inseparable. Tourism cannot flourish where there are no meaningful hospitality services provided, mainly by hotels. The hotel industry is a sector that takes care of the needs of tourists. It is essential to clarify that every tourist needs water, food, shelter to name a few, so these fall back on hospitality because they are strangers wherever they are. find. Thus, for a tourist to have rated a destination with a good rating and considered returning, hotels must have provided friendly and satisfactory service.
With the trend of things in the industry, don’t you think there is a need to classify and classify hotels?
Ranking of hotels helps to raise the service bar and the activities of operators to offer fast and excellent service at all times. It also helps players not to fall below the minimum standard in terms of facilities, quality of staff and customer service. However, these are key factors in supporting the expectations of tourists. This is also a standard procedure that tells you the difference between a five star and three star and other star categories. In addition, the ranking and classification of hotels make them a priority to meet standards and inspire hoteliers to aspire to the next level in terms of service upgrade in order to maintain value for the financial needs of guests.
No doubt, it is not so easy to run a hotel business in Nigeria, what do you think are the challenges facing the hotel industry?
The number one challenge is erratic feeding. This is a major problem because a good percentage of the profits that would have been injected to support the business go to the supply of electricity through the supply and maintenance of the generators. From experience, the hotel sector lacks manpower because many employees are not patient enough to develop in the industry and finally it is multiple taxation that hits hoteliers everywhere. It is important to clarify that most hotels find it very difficult to access loans from banks for their expansion.
You’ve been in the hotel business for over 10 years, so what do you think are the keys to success in the business?
For any hotel to be successful, you have to pay attention to every little thing. Starting from the hotel entrance, which is the first stopover point before going to the reception. Staff should be friendly and courteous in welcoming guests. This greatly contributes to building a lasting relationship. Also, the culture of preventive maintenance must be cultivated. the safety of the guests should not be underestimated and the provision of good culinary services.
What are the benefits for tourists and potential clients who visit Grand Capital Hotel Akure?
The Grand Capital Hotel is a standard three star hotel that offers the best comfort and hospitality desired for business or leisure travelers.
Located in the serene landmark of Alagbaka GRA in the ancient city of Akure, Ondo State, the Grand Capital Hotel has 33 tastefully furnished rooms of different classes, including Presidential Suite, Golden Suite , an apartment, a deluxe room, a studio, superior and classic rooms.
With the growing number of MICE in Nigeria, is your hotel looking for a safe zone?
For any hotel serious with its business, you have to take MICE on a small scale if you cannot opt for large programs. For us at the Grand Capital Hotel, we realize meeting rooms and small and medium sized rooms that can accommodate from 20 to 150 people and a capacity of approximately 300 cocktail guests.
We also have other services that allow customers to relax. Our 28-seat restaurant is one of the best hotels in Akure. We have an international chef specializing in local and continental dishes to cater for the culinary delights of guests at all times.
In addition, we provide our clients with excellent services at the pool terrace bar, 24 hour internet service and uninterrupted power supply to take care of clients for business, social, seminar and training purposes.