Olugbenga Omotayo is the General Manager of Grand Capital Hotel, Akure, Ondo State, a trained accountant and banker turned hospitality manager, with over 10 years experience in operational positions in different hotels in Nigeria, in this interview with WALE OLAPADE, he shares his knowledge on hospitality and tourism in Nigeria.
HOW was changing from banking industry to hospitality sector like?
After my exit from banking industry, I discovered that both industries have common relationships in terms on the ground that banking is service oriented industry and that is quite applicable to the hospitality sector. That made it easy for me to cope in the hospitality industry easily.
What are your views on the prospects of working in hotels industry to the younger generation?
The tourism Industry is very huge. It has a lot of sectors based on the fact that people moves from one place to another and that will continue to be which will always prompt the need for hospitality services with hotels playing a key role delivering these services. Each hotel has at least 10 departments like Food and beverage, house-keeping, admin, accounts, security, front desk, maintenance among others and all these required qualified personnel to handle. From a recent statistics on hotel management, it was discovered that hotels contributed 60 per cent which is like N1.7 billion to the economy of Nigeria today
So what is the significance of hospitality sector to tourism industry in Nigeria
Tourism and hospitality are inseparable. Tourism cannot thrive where there are no appreciable hospitality services provided, mostly by the hotels. Hospitality is a sector that takes care of the need of the tourists. It is vital to state that every tourist needs water, food, shelter to mention a few, so these fall back to hospitality because they are strangers wherever they find themselves. So for a tourist to have rated a destination with good grade and thought of returning again, the hotels must have provided friendly and satisfying services.
With the trend of things in the industry, don’t you think there is need for hotel classification and grading?
Grading of hotels help in raising the service bar and activities of operators at giving prompt and excellent services at all times. It also helps players not to fall below the minimum standard in terms of facilities, staff quality and customers’ services. However, these are key factors to sustain tourist expectations. It is also a standard driven procedure that tells you the difference between a five star from three star and other categories of stars. Also, the grading and classification of hotels makes it a priority for keeping to standard and gear hoteliers to aspire for higher level in terms of service upgrade to sustain value for customers’ money needs.
No doubt, it is not all that easy to run hotel business in Nigeria, what do you think are the challenges facing hotel business?
The number one challenge is the erratic power supply. It is a major problem because good percentage of profit that would have been injected to sustain the business goes to providing electricity through fuelling and maintenance of generators. From experience, hospitality sector lacks manpower as many of the employees are not patience enough to grow in the industry and lastly is the multiple taxation that hit hoteliers from all corners. It is important to state that most of the hotels find it very difficult to have access to loans from the banks for expansion.
You have been in the hotel industry for over 10 years, so what would you say are the keys to success in the business?
For any hotels to succeed, attention must be paid to every little thing. Starting from the hotel entrance, which is the first point of call before going to the front office. The staff must be friendly and courteous in welcoming the guests. It goes a long way in building a lasting relationship. Also, the preventive maintenance culture must be cultivated. security of guests must not be underrated and provision of good culinary services.
What is in for tourists and potential customers visiting Grand Capital Hotel Akure?
Grand Capital Hotel is a three star standard hotel that offers the best desired comfort and hospitality for business or leisure visitors.
Situated at the serene landmark of Alagbaka GRA in the ancient city of Akure, the Ondo State, Grand Capital Hotel has 33 tastefully furnished rooms of different classes that comprises of Presidential Suite, golden suite, apartment, deluxe, studio, superior and classic rooms.
With the growing number of MICE in Nigeria is you hotel looking at sure area?
For any hotel serious with its business must take MICE on are small scale if one can’t go for big programmes. For us at Grand Capital Hotel, we do small and medium meeting rooms and halls to take care of 20 to 150 people and capacity of about 300 guests for cocktail party.
We also have other services that keep guests relax. Our 28-seater restaurant is one of the best among hotels in Akure. We have an international chef that specialises in local and continental dishes to meet the culinary delight of guests at all times.
Also, we treat our guests to an excellent services at the swimming pool terrace bar, provision of 24 hours internet service and uninterrupted power supply to take care of guests on business, social, seminar and training purposes.