Twenty-five-year-old Daniel Godwin is a fresh graduate. He tells SULAIMON OLANREWAJU how a challenge he encountered in booking a hotel turned out to be a unique business idea, and the difference, his start-up called Noxiae, has made in the hospitality industry.
Tell us your background
MY name is Daniel Godwin. I am 25 years old. I am from Edo State, born and grew up in Lagos State. I am a graduate of the University of Lagos with bachelor’s degree in Insurance Business. Prior to my university education, I attained a certificate proficiency in system management and a Google certificate in digital marketing after my university studies. I am also a member of the Chartered Insurers Institute of Nigeria. During my university studies, I worked during holidays at Jumia Nigeria as an online sales consult for three years, from 200 level to my final year; this served as my first work experience which exposed and built me as a person.
What was the motivation for Noxiae?
It all started one day when I tried booking a hotel for myself online and I had no information about hotels with recent updated hotel facilities or a single portal that housed all information that could save me the time from opening several hotel websites. I wanted to know the hotels that had good security and I wanted to be sure that proper value and service offered by the hotel I was to book would be commensurate with the money I would pay. That was when I found the gap in the hospitality sector and I grew more curious at the absence of experiential reviews in hotels.
I wrote the problem in my journal and brainstormed on a solution for a whole day, drew up a plan and made further research which led me to finding out the huge hotel numbers in Nigeria and how much the people really deserved this service.
I was hugely motivated to make a difference in the Nigerian hospitality sector and offer quality and decent service first to the Nigerian people and to tourists that visit Nigeria.
Noxiae which is a Latin word for the word“launch,” was conceived in my mind.
I built up an online platform that would cater for hotel experiential reviews, up-to-date information on hotel facilities with dates, videos and pictures and private consultation services to help the busy people who are pressed for time make the right decisions with their available budget and preferences in hotel bookings
What difference does Noxiae make?
As the first of its kind in Nigeria, Noxiae is an indigenous trip advisory platform that aims to aggregate the best hotels and living situations across the country.
Noxiae goes first hand to visit and review hotels, takes panoramic pictures of all they entail and offer experiential marketing of the hotel services to tourists and locals who may need to book the right hotel tailored to their requirements.
We also make sure there is a check and balance with these hospitality facilities and services discovered in the hotels with what they share to the public and maintain accurate and updated information on our platform.
We also revisit hotels three to five months after first engagement to make sure that any changes made in prices, services and facilities would be reflected on our platform.
How does it work?
We pick hotels that offer good security and services and maintain a required standard
We list the full information of the hotels on Noxiae with their contact information and we review the hotels. We go first hand to hotels, get experiential pictures and videos to aid our reviews.
You make better decisions from all the information provided on our website that would aid your booking. This first-hand insight into each hotel, helps you make better choices for the future.
How has the market responded to it?
The response has been great and quite overwhelming so far. We get frequent rise in our traffic and calls each day to help people tailor their choices in booking the right hotels according to their budgets.
We are currently working on more exciting features that will be added to our platform in the near future to make user experience better and exciting.
What challenges do you encounter?
It was hard at first, knocking from one hotel to another, building up confidence and pitching our offers to make the hotels better especially in an environment where nothing like this had existed.
Some hotels were quite averse to opening their books, but we were blessed to have the best and enlightened ones sign up to our service. These hotels were even more helpful knowing I was a start-up entrepreneur who just graduated and was trying to make a difference in the society.
I got motivated day-by-day by the amount of ground we covered and we started to offer private consultation services to people who have a hard time choosing the right hotel that fits their budget.
We also try as much to look into tiny details like which hotel has wheel chair facility, baby-sitting services, clean cutlery and free pickups; doing this is quite time-consuming.
Where do you see your product in five years?
Our long-term goal is to make sure that the people have enough credible and unbiased sources of information to make the right and informed decisions regarding hotel choices, based on individual needs and preferences. We want to continue to create a reliable and dependable platform where people get nothing but the truth.
What is your counsel for young entrepreneurs?
My advice to young graduates and Nigerian youths who are about to start their own businesses is to keep moving forward. It gets tough and hard along the way, but let your effort be fuelled by the amount of good and quality changes you want to impact on the future of Nigeria.
If you do tomorrow what you exactly did today, you will get the same results. But if you always move a step forward daily, without fear of failure, there is a bridge towards success.
I dream of a Nigeria where every youth has a future and where the barriers to a bright future such as high unemployment rates are broken. Any youth with an imagination a little resources can build to make a difference in the country and create better living.