Last Christmas, I took a road trip to my hometown in Imo State and as is my practice when I do, I like to split such trips into two; Start the trip from Lagos, stop over at a hotel in between cities, and continue my trip the next day. I did the same thing last December and only one hotel was on my mind.
Back in the early 2000s while I was still in the University, everybody wanted to visit this particular hotel. It was luxurious, expensive and laden with several facilities. While I never went to the hotel in those days, I decided to give myself a treat and I stopped over with my kids.
My experience almost brought tears to my eyes.
The rooms were in a sorry state. In fact, the first room I got nearly caught fire as smoke was coming out from the Air Conditioners.
Interestingly, the swimming pool looked clean and well maintained, but the entire surrounding was deplorable. The changing room smelt of dead mice and the lockers were old and falling apart. I looked at the surroundings and remembered its past glory.
Being a hotelier myself, the experience was a wakeup call for what could happen to my own business if I chose not to put appropriate measures in place. This brings us to the “why?”
Why Do Hotels Fail in the Long Run?
Given my experience as a hotelier, I can think of a few reasons:
1. Sole Proprietorship:
The sad truth is that many hotels fail in the long run but this hardly applies to the established age old hotel chains as a result of decentralization of controls.
Most hotels in Nigeria are built based on the dreams and passions of a single individual who had the desire to own a hotel.
However, like most businesses run by a single individual, once the Proprietor becomes sick, aged or dead, the hotel begins to suffer. Hotels need to be run like proper businesses, especially because of their high maintenance costs.
When we began our Boutique Hotel Chain, Loomzy Suites, the business was run by a single individual. However, with the notable growth and prospects that the Brand has shown within such a short time, the company is now on the lookout for investors and partners with whom it will form the much needed structures and hierarchy responsible for accountability in every business; especially with its current plan to acquire an 80 room facility in the Lekki Area of Lagos.
This way, the company will not be run by the whims and caprices of just one person, but by decisions made by a Board of Directors who collectively have the interest of the business in mind and will set down the strategies and policies for the business.
2. Standard Quality Controls
For a business as serious as hospitality, quality control should be of key concern to the business. Hotel guests are very sensitive and competition is stiff; therefore, there must be a system in place to ensure that the standards continue to improve.
From the food, to services, to hotel facilities, it is important for guests to always have something to look forward to.
Where this is not in place, Hotel Managers unfortunately run the affairs of the hotel according to their experience and knowledge base (with little or no Standard Operational Procedures).
3. Non-Deployment of Technology:
With every known sector having fully embraced technology, the hospitality sector must not be left out. Hotels ‘ booking, inventory and other systems must be managed with technological innovations in order to prevent leakages. Such technologies must consider factors like customer data analytics and algorithms in order to be up to date with customer needs and desires.
This is why at Loomzy Suites we are tweaking our model to accommodate the deployment of IT systems which will not only take care of the booking process but will also ensure that customers can make requests online and be kept abreast of discounts and offers being offered by the hotel. Information will also be provided on places of interest to enable guests to have a wholesome experience.
- Training and Re-training of staff:
This cannot be over emphasized. Hotel staff must be adequately trained and retrained. Daily briefing by managers is a must in order to ensure that staff are familiar with processes and procedures. This makes for standardization in terms of guest needs and customer experience.
Regardless of the presence or absence of a hotel’s initial founders, a hotel should be able to run continuously. Business should be a going concern and there should be appropriate structures put in place to ensure that the business is run as a separate entity with a life of its own and laid down systems and procedures.
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