Design Factors

Publish on
In today’s global village, there is increasing pressure for differentiation.  There was a time when hotel chains prided themselves on the uniformity of their properties – “anywhere in the world, you’ll know that you’re in one of our hotels” – sure, but where in the world am I! In Africa, designers want to bring local…

Equity Investors

Publish on
I have written in previous editions about the interest that the international hotel chains are showing in Africa, seeking to expand their network in the face of increasing demand for hotel accommodation and other services.  So if there is so much increase in hotel development, why isn’t the map covered in hotel flags?  Progress is…

Extended Stay Concept

Publish on
I have been travelling around various African capitals in recent months, and it strikes me that, whilst most developers are talking about constructing new 5 star hotels, they seem to be missing an opportunity in the market, that is the extended-stay hotel.  Many of the cities I visit are absolute naturals for this type of…

Hot spots for development in Africa

Publish on
I wrote last month about the “march of the chains” – how for the first time the international hotel companies are devoting serious resources to increasing their presence in Africa.  Why?  Because their presence here is still woefully inadequate, compared to the coverage they have achieved in most of the rest of the world.  And…

Middle East Investment in Tanzania

Publish on
Tanzania is one of Africa’s rising stars, with economic growth of a healthy 6 to 7 per cent, and a working democracy.  Tourism is one of the main drivers of the economy, and the country benefits from its “twin” product of safari and beaches.  Both, in my opinion, are the best in East Africa, with…

Prospects

Publish on
It’s an exciting time to be in Africa, and 2008 is going to be even more fun! Never before has there been so much interest in the development of new, internationally branded hotels in sub-Saharan Africa, fuelled most recently by an inflow of finance from the Middle East, as investors there seek new destinations to…

Ethiopia

Publish on
Long-dominated by the luxurious Sheraton Hotel, Addis Ababa is seeing a huge expansion in its hotel stock currently, with at least 1,250 mid-market to upscale new rooms actually under construction, and a further 800 to 1,000 in the planning stages.  The Sheraton, and the other branded hotel, the somewhat aged Hilton, are likely to be…

Oil And Diamonds Drive Angola

Publish on
Oil and diamonds drive Angola’s economy, and both commodities are experiencing high prices, resulting in GDP growth at exceptional levels – some 20 per cent in 2007.  And this translates directly into demand for hotels.  Luanda is experiencing occupancies above 90 per cent year round, with bookings required weeks in advance – and even paying…

How To Price An Investment Target?

Publish on
Kenya’s government has been brought to a standstill and finance minister Amos Kimunya has been forced to resign at news that Nairobi’s showpiece Grand Regency hotel was secretly sold to the Libyan Arab Africa Investment Company at a vastly undervalued price. The hotel was sold without negotiation for an official figure of KSh 2.9 billion…

Success Of Hotel Investment

Publish on
How to make a success of hotel investment? In Djibouti, the 177 room Kempinski Hotel was built in just nine months.  In Accra, the 100 room Labadi Beach Hotel took a little longer, all of 10 months, but still a record-breaking length of time, that would be the envy of any developer in the west.…

Grand Regency Hotel Nbo

Publish on
Who would have thought it?  The government of Kenya is shaken to its core, the Finance Minister has had to step aside after a vote of no-confidence, a foreign country’s (Libya’s) sovereign fund, is involved in the scandal, and a commission of enquiry has been established, all because of the sale of a hotel.  Our…

Kenya

Publish on
Having experienced several years of stagnation, Kenya’s tourism industry was on a veritable bull-run.  One million visitors in 2002 increased to an estimated two million in 2007, accompanied by an increase in the length of stay from 8.5 nights to 12.1 nights (2006).  And that in turn meant a tripling of earnings, vitally important to…

Hotel Funding

Publish on
HOTEL FUNDING IN TODAY’S ENVIRONMENT The causes and impact of the global financial crisis are on everyone’s lips right now, with everyone an instant expert on macro-economic theory all of a sudden.  And much has been written about where Africa stands in the rather complicated scheme of things. The “experts”, real and instant, have good…

Management And Branding

Publish on
I have written in previous editions of Ai Tourism Investor about the inroads that the regional and international chains are making into Africa – companies such as Protea from South Africa, France’s Accor, the Brussels-based Rezidor with their Radisson and Park Inn brands, and Starwood’s Sheraton and Four Points brands.  A recent survey undertaken by…

Namibia

Publish on
Is Namibia Africa’s next tourism success story?  The World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC) certainly thinks so, ranking it number one in terms of expected growth in sub-Saharan Africa.  Some achievement for a country that was one of the last to gain its independence (from South Africa in 1990) and where tourism only achieved real…

Green Hotels

Publish on
Search the web for “Green Hotels Africa”, and you’ll be surprised – at how few hotels there are listed!  One hotel in Egypt, a couple in South Africa, and that tends to be it.  Even responsiblehotelsoftheworld.com, surely an organisation that every hotel in the world would want to be part of, has only two hotels…

Tourism Investor

Publish on
Countries fight over it, communities fight over it, and individuals fight over it.  The possession of land is one of the fundamental rights of man, but when contemplating a hotel development, whilst possession mat well be “nine-tenths of the law”, it’s that other 10 per cent that can be the deal breaker. Generally speaking, land…

Investing For The Long-Term

Publish on
Ed: This article aims to examine hotel supply and demand dynamics, advise that hotel markets are cyclical, and therefore a long-term view is essential. Having enjoyed several years of growth, the worldwide hotel industry is now experiencing a significant downturn, along with every other industry.  Forecasts from PricewaterhouseCoopers are for an 8 per cent decline…

Star Ratings

Publish on
After 35 years in the hospitality industry, I still can’t tell you what a five star hotel is. There. I’ve said it. This so-called expert in the hotel industry doesn’t know something as simple as that! Think about it, however.  Hotels are really complicated things, selling services (e.g. overnight accommodation), manufactured goods (steak pie and…

CASA

Publish on
CASA – not just the Spanish word for “house”, but also an acronym for Conflict Affected States in Africa, a two-year old International Finance Corporation (IFC) programme looking to promote economic recovery in four African countries, namely Central African Republic, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Liberia and Sierra Leone. It would not be easy to…

Hotel Pricing

Publish on
A recent survey says that Nairobi has some of the highest hotel room rates in the world.  Customers in Lagos and Luanda complain about the “crazy” prices charged there.  Hotel rates in Cape Town and Johannesburg soared by almost 50 per cent in the 12 months to August 2010. Why does the price of a…

Building Systems

Publish on
I saw a headline the other day on Huffington Post.com – “Super Efficient Crew Builds 15-Storey Chinese Hotel in Just six days”.  There was a video with it, which showed – well, yes, this steel frame structure did go up in six days, but I think it was a bit of a stunt, and the…

Personnel

Publish on
Being in a service industry, it will come as no surprise to learn that the payroll is the largest cost a hotel incurs.  In some environments it could be as much as 30 per cent of revenue, whilst in others below 15 per cent may be the norm. Hotels need staff in all areas –…

Hotel Chain Pipelines

Publish on
Each year the West Africa-based W Hospitality Group carries out a survey of the main hotel brands’ development activities in Africa.  Based on information supplied by the chains themselves, this research tracks signed and confirmed deals for management contracts and other deals (management contracts are by far the majority of agreements signed) in the 53…

Conferences And Events

Publish on
One of the mainstays of the hotel industry in Africa is hosting conferences and other events. The experts once said that video conferencing and other technology spelt the death of the meetings industry – everything would be virtual! Wrong again – a survey by the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) of a specific segment…

The March Of The Chains

Publish on
If you look at the world map, with all the little lights representing an international hotel chain property, Africa is still “The Dark Continent”.  There are a couple of exceptions, of course, namely Egypt and South Africa, but even in the latter there are not many, and of late the number has reduced with rebranding…

Off The Beaten Track

Publish on
Announcing a new hotel opening in Chad recently, Hilton stated that their ambition is to have a hotel in “every major city in Africa”.  This is an advance on a previous announcement that they wanted to be in every capital city (54, at the latest count!), and is a recognition that there are many opportunities…

North Africa

Publish on
We watched the revolutions on television.  Night after night we were shown pictures of riots in the centre of Cairo and Tunis, and we joined the revolutions in our sitting rooms, willing the demonstrators to succeed.  And we reached for the telephone and cancelled our holiday plans, withdrawing our economic support for the same countries…

Casinos

Publish on
In sub-Saharan Africa, the casino industry is biggest in South Africa, where gaming giants such as Tsogo Sun, Peermont and Sun International dominate the land-based industry.  All three companies have casinos located in hotels that they manage, as well as stand-alone operations.  Elsewhere, Kenya has a reasonably large gaming industry, although most operations are quite…

Hunting Tourism

Publish on
The hunting of animals and other creatures for sport, choosing individual “kills” or trophies, with exceptional physical attributes such as the biggest horns, must be the most paradoxical sector of the global tourism industry.  Not only paradoxical, but also the most controversial, depending on your point of view.  There are some 23 countries in Africa…

The Art Of Hotel Valuation

Publish on
As the number of branded hotels in Africa increases, so too does the probability that a hotel asset transaction market will emerge, as investors see the opportunity to purchase well-designed, well managed hotels.  That means that owners will be thinking more about the valuation of their hotels, pursuant to a sale. Sometimes there is nothing…

Travelling around Nigeria has never been a simple task

Publish on
Travelling around Nigeria has never been a simple task, but since the tragic crash of a Dana Air flight back in June, it has got more complicated and more expensive. Two major airlines, Dana and Air Nigeria, are no longer operating on domestic routes – the reason for the former is obvious, but the latter…

Hotel Prices In Africa

Publish on
I commented last month about the high prices in Lagos hotels, and the reasons for that – high development costs, high operating costs, and so on.  Maybe you took pity on the poor hotel owners and managers?  Well, despite all those issues, hotels in Africa can be highly profitable at the operational level, partly because…

Hiccups In Lagos Hotels

Publish on
Ever complained about Lagos hotel prices?  A lot of people do!  A standard room is going to cost you upwards of US$500 per night at the city’s leading hotels.  Let’s be honest, none of these hotels can be said to be deluxe, and problems encountered by guests are frequent, ranging from power outages to water…

Lagos Hotel Market

Publish on
  An Update on the Lagos Hotel Market Over the years, many observers and players have warned of oversupply in the Lagos hotel market.  Ten years ago there was very little to choose from, but in 2003 there was a surge of interest in developing new hotels, attracted by the high occupancies and room rates…

Fast Growning Brands In Africa

Publish on
Rather curious, methinks, that the country with the largest hotel industry in Africa, and with the largest number of home-grown brands, hasn’t got a larger presence of those brands elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa. I’m talking, of course, about South Africa.  Travellers who live there, or who visit, will be familiar with a long list of…

Hotel Businesses In Africa

Publish on
The City’s Airport Recommended Business Hotels General impressions or tips with regards to travelling on business in the city Abuja It’s difficult to know whether this airport is finished or not!  The arrangements for domestic arrivals are bizarre (“use the little door round the side there”), and then trek through the international hall to the…

Hotel And Urban Regeneration

Publish on
It is a universal truth that cities ebb and flow, enjoying good times and bad times.  Look at Johannesburg, where the CBD degenerated into a no-go zone, having once been a proud, thriving place.  Look also at Lagos, where the original city, Lagos Island has, behind the frontline of skyscrapers housing mostly banks, become a…

Ways Of Maximising Returns From Your Hotel Investment

Publish on
How to maximise the returns from your hotel investment Hotels are often seen as a necessary first step to attracting international investment into an under-developed area, as without a decent base to stay International Investors are less likely to come to the country to discuss other business opportunities. In recent years there has been a…

If I see one more hotel claiming that it is offering

Publish on
If I see one more hotel claiming that it is offering “hospitality redefined”, I shall scream.  Probably, like the little girl in the rhyme, until I am sick. It is normally in the “bush-est” of hotels that you see this claim, in hotels which have been built by an owner with a “professional” team who…

TTT Exclusive: Soy sauce drought hits Lagos

Publish on
Reports emerging from the Centre of Excellence, aka Lagos, reveal that an alarming shortage of soy sauce has hit the city. Our intrepid resident, Trevor the Ward reports in a state of shock. ” I no lie! It's a true! The Oriental Hotel, that Chinese built, owned, designed, outfitted, cuisined(?!), get the gist, it's PRC…

Restaurants in lagos

Publish on
I drove (my goodness, two words in and I’ve lied already!  I don’t drive anymore around Lagos, the colour of my skin is irresistible to our brave boys in blue/black/khaki, even pink sometimes, and it just got too expensive) from Ikoyi to Victoria Island (both districts of Lagos) the other day, a journey of about…

Investment Conferences and 2013 Pipeline

Publish on
I’m just back from the International Hotel Investment Forum, held every year in Berlin, just before ITB.  I’ve been every year since it started back in 1998, that’s 16 times, and I still wouldn’t be able to find my way around the city – it’s the classic airport-hotel-conference venue-hotel each time!  If only life would…

Lagos Rocks

Publish on
It is so exciting!  Hard Rock has chosen Lagos as its second city in sub-Saharan Africa to open one of its iconic Hard Rock Cafes! OK, so Johannesburg beat us to it, but that’s a long way away, and this is right here, in Victoria Island, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  I went to the opening…

Hotel Funds

Publish on
For someone wanting to invest in the hotel industry in Africa, but who wants to mitigate their risk, the emergence of several dedicated funds is worth a close look. Investing in hotels brings with it all sorts of risks.  True, any investment has some risk, even sovereign bonds.  Stock markets can go up or down,…

Star Ratings

Publish on
There was a time, before the mobile phone, the internet and blogs, when hotels used to put brochures into envelopes and post them to customers who had requested, via a letter, for “further particulars”, and used to place small ads in the classified columns of newspapers, extolling the presence of hot and cold water in…

ACCRA

Publish on
I was in Accra a couple of times recently, after an absence of about six months.  Boy, that town is booming!  Some would say, with justification, that it is creaking at the seams, certainly the traffic has become a real bore, on a par with Lagos’ notorious “go-slows”.  And like Lagos, Accra is seeing an…

Traffic

Publish on
By the time you read this, the brand new Lagos InterContinental Hotel should have opened.  With almost 360 rooms, it’s the largest internationally-branded in the city, and the views are stunning!  They’re offering an introductory internet rate of US$360 (or ten times that in the Presidential Suite, if you need more space!), which isn’t bad…

Trends In Hotel Funding

Publish on
As Africa’s economies grow, the demand for hotel accommodation is also growing apace – in those countries and cities where the main demand is business-related, there is a direct correlation between GDP growth and the increase in demand for hotel rooms.  The more diverse the economy, and the greater the share of the tertiary sector…

Vexed About Visas

Publish on
If Africa is to realise its potential, much needs to be done.  Not least, there needs to be less of a reliance on exports to other continents, and more on inter-African trade.  Incredibly, African countries’ trade with their neighbours is just 11 per cent of the total, compared with 70 per cent in Europe.  On…

ABUJA

Publish on
I have been in Abuja several times over the past month, looking at proposed new hotel projects there – just ideas at present, and it will be several years before any of them are ready to welcome you. For those who don’t know Abuja, it is the capital of Nigeria – Lagos was the capital…

Hotel Staff

Publish on
I was at a presentation at the Wavecrest College in Lagos recently.  Wavecrest specialises in the hospitality industry, turning out really excellent graduates with certificates and diplomas (including HNDs).  Professor Peter Jones, a UK-based educator, came to Lagos to look at Wavecrest, and to make a presentation regarding his thoughts and his activities in this…

Fortune Telling

Publish on
A client recently asked me what my crystal ball said about the future of the Nigerian hospitality industry.  A fair question – after all, I have spent the last 13+ years living and working in Lagos, and adding the time I was travelling backwards and forwards from London, I have 25+ years’ experience of this…

Retail And Hotels

Publish on
September and October have been my personal conference season this year – first the Africa Property Investment Summit (APIS) in Johannesburg, then the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) in Nairobi, and I’m just back from the International Society of Hospitality Consultants’ (ISHC) annual convention in Panama.  Quite a diverse selection of events and destinations, but…

Leisure Tourism West Africa

Publish on
Research from the World Travel & Tourism Council tells us that the global Travel and Tourism Industry in its entirety represents 9% of GDP and 1 out of 11 jobs.  In 2012 there were just over 1 billion international tourist arrivals, and an estimated 5 to 6 billion domestic tourism arrivals.  That’s pretty big, bigger…

Department Cost

Publish on
Hotels are complicated animals, some developers say they are the most complicated type of building they have come across.  And complicated means time and cost, which sometimes mean the same thing.  Add in to the mix the need for quality, and you have a threesome that can be very hard to manage! When we analyse…

Top 7 Countries In Africa

Publish on
There were several openings of branded hotels in sub-Saharan Africa in 2013, as the previous years’ efforts by the developers, investors and operators to “cover the map” started to come to fruition.  Remember that the opening of a hotel is a joint effort – the international and regional chains very rarely put any money on…

Business Traveller

Publish on
Trevor Ward, Managing Director, W Hospitality Group, Lagos trevor.ward@w-hospitalitygroup.com The international press seems to have latched on to what’s going on in the African hotel scene recently, with articles about the expansion of the major chains into hitherto “uncharted territory”.  Last year we tracked over 200 new branded hotel deals with 40,000 rooms in the…

Hotel Lobbies

Publish on
In many West African capitals, the hotels are the social centres and business hubs of the city.  Look, for example, at the Hilton in Abuja, the Mövenpick in Accra, the Pullmans in Abidjan and Dakar.  The lobbies are never idle, packed with informal business meetings, social encounters and, of course, guests of the hotel “chilling”…

Ghana

Publish on
Ghana, one of Africa’s smaller countries, ranked 31st in terms of area and 12th in terms of population, is certainly punching above its weight when it comes to investment in the hotel industry.  Unlike many countries, where hotel development is focused almost entirely on the capital city, Ghana is seeing investment in a number of…

Hotels As A Contributing Factor To Economic Growth

Publish on
Economic growth is all about creating jobs.  The demographic dividend in sub-Saharan Africa, where the population under the age of 25 (i.e. the working age population) is 50 per cent of the total, is not a dividend if the African youth is unemployed.  Then it becomes a social liability, as learned skills are unused and…

Lagos Hotel Prices

Publish on
For over ten years now, I’ve heard stories about oversupply in the Lagos market, because of “all those hotels that are under construction”.  And, they continue, that means Lagos’ room prices are going to come down. Well, consider the following. Since 2003, the number of “acceptable” quality hotel rooms in Lagos has increased from about…

Activities Of Hotel Chains In Africa

Publish on
We recently launched our 6th annual survey of what the international hotel chains are doing in Africa – their pipelines of new deals, hotels to be opened over the next 5 years.  We came up with a total of 215 hotels, with almost 40,000 rooms, an increase of 10 per cent on last year. For…

Environmental Impact On Travellers

Publish on
Travel used to be really exciting, didn’t it?  Especially travel by air – going to the airport, seeing all those planes, boarding and taking off,heading for pastures new.  Even travelling around Africa could be fun, with travellers’ tales abounding about how awful this and that airport is,which side of the aircraft to sit to see…

Economy Benefit Of Abuja To The Hotel Industry

Publish on
International travellers to Nigeria often return home with their “war stories” regarding the urban jungle of Lagos, the lack of infrastructure and the chaos on the roads – chaos, by the way, that we learn to live with (but never get used to!), and which we call home. It amused me recently to read online…

Conferences

Publish on
I remember many years ago when the experts predicted that video conferencing and other technology spelt the death of the meetings industry – everything would be virtual! People would have no need to travel to conferences, they would go to the nearest video-equipped venue, and join the conference from there. Business meetings would be held…

South Africa Tourism

Publish on
So, does anyone know the answer?  Was the FIFA World Cup in South Africa a success, or not? The world, of course, is divided into optimists and pessimists.  The former are either the saviours of the nation, driving forward progress, or naïve and hopelessly foolish Franks.  The latter are either never-happy Harrys, or saviours of…

Manageent Agreements

Publish on
As far as I can tell, the agreements that owners sign with hotel management companies are unique to our industry.  They are frequently misunderstood, not only by those who have no previous knowledge of such agreements, but even by those who sign them! In a nutshell, the owner of a hotel invests his money to…

Views From West Africa

Publish on
There’s only one real news item in West Africa right now, and that’s the impact of the Ebola outbreak.  It is a human tragedy, with Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, fragile post-conflict states before this, now crippled, and with any improvement in their international reputations destroyed.  The stigma will remain for some time. Here in…

Africa Investor

Publish on
 Many people know me as being extremely bullish about Africa – after all, I have livedand worked on the continent for almost 12 years, and I have had an involvement in the African hotel industry, particularly in West Africa, for more than 25 years.  I have written in this journal for some years now, explaining…

The MICE Market in Africa

Publish on
One of the fastest growing sectors of the global tourism industry is that which goes by the acronym of MICE, which stands for Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Exhibitions.  The common denominator is that the events all involve groups of people, sometimes but by no means always travelling together, coming to the same place (destination) with…

Airport Hotels

Publish on
BT Jan 2015 Travel around Europe and you’ll find that virtually every major and small town airport has a hotel right there on its door step.  Travel around Africa and – well, outside of South Africa, there is a dearth of airport hotels. Many airport hotels in Europe and elsewhere are not just located in…

Growing Pains In Lagos

Publish on
The hotel industry in Lagos is experiencing some quite extraordinary “growing pains” right now. A bit of history– when I was first travelling from my London base to Nigeria in the early 1990s, getting a room in a decent hotel (and there weren’t many of them!) was a real struggle, with occupancies in the high…

Hotel Design

Publish on
Really, when you look at it, nothing much has changed in hotel design since – well, since the introduction of ensuite bathrooms.  The Savoy Hotel in London, which opened in 1889 was, the tale goes, the first to have ensuite bathrooms, and the owner, Mr Richard D'Oyly Carte, faced criticism, along the lines of “why…

West Africa Wins Again!

Publish on
In the hotel development stakes, West Africa is once again the winner!  Our 2015 Hotel Chain Development Pipeline Survey shows West Africa with 53% of new rooms in future new hotels in sub-Saharan Africa, more than twice that in East Africa, and five times Southern Africa. These are deals signed by the international and regional…

Extended Stayx

Publish on
In my travels around the capital cities of Africa, it strikes me that, whilst many developers are talking about constructing new 5 star hotels, they seem to be missing an opportunity in the market, and that opportunity is the extended-stay hotel.  Many of the cities I visit are absolute naturals for this type of hotel,…

Nigeria and the UK have long had many things in common

Publish on
Nigeria and the UK have long had many things in common, and this year there’s a new one – shock election results!  The pollsters in both countries got it wrong, predicting close results, but in the UK David Cameron’s Conservatives trounced the opposition parties, to retain power, and in Nigeria, MuhammaduBuhari’s APC won in a…

Hotel Industry Comparison Between Nigeria And Angola

Publish on
You might think that travelling between Africa’s two largest oil producers, Nigeria and Angola, would be a piece of cake.  Not so. Having obtained my visa to enter Angola, a Herculean task, I booked on the Arik flight.  Lagos to Luanda c3½ hours direct, the alternative being through Addis, Johannesburg or Dubai which, as anyone…

Opportunities For Local Providers To Hotels

Publish on
Is there an article to be had on the opportunities for local providers to hotels? Interior decorators, IT companies, furniture providers, etc.? Are they competing with international providers? Especially in regards to big chains? Some 270 hotels with almost 50,000 rooms are in the hotel chains’ development pipelines, as reported in Ai [DATE].  Using an…

Visa Rant

Publish on
There’s been a lot in the news recently about the new visa regime implemented by South Africa, and the negative impact on visitor numbers, acknowledged by both the Tourism Minister and the Ministry of Home Affairs.  “The government needs to ensure a balance between national security and growth in tourism” said the Tourism Minister according…

Oversupply

Publish on
As evidenced by the record number of new hotel deals signed by the international and regional (African) hotel chains (see Ai May/June 2015 edition), there are likely to be more hotels built in Africa in the next five years than in any previous period.  There are several markets which are in need of new hotels,…

Oversupply

Publish on
The international anhotel chains signed a record 79 deals for new hotels in 2014, and there are likely to be more hotels built in Africa in the next five years than in any previous period.  There are several markets which are in need of new hotels, either because of a shortage in the face of…

Sierra Leone

Publish on
At long last, Sierra Leone has been officially declared as Ebola-free, with no new cases for 42 days.  Indeed a cause for celebration, and the famous Cotton Tree in the centre of Freetown was the scene of all-night rejoicing at the beginning of November. The hit to the economy has been severe.  In 2014, real…

Shifting Sands

Publish on
From west to east I was walking down a Nairobi street the other day, and a local chap falls into step with me and greets me in a most friendly way with “How do you like Africa?!”.  I was so surprised, I just said “Fine” and hurried away.  I wasn’t concerned for my safety, despite…

Dilemma Of Lagos

Publish on
Lagos, Nigeria.  Two words that evoke polarized emotions!  Some people who have lived here for decades think it is great.  Others, mostly short-term expatriates and business visitors, can’t wait to leave.  After 13 years here, travelling in and out of the country sometimes three of four times a month, I can understand both points of…

Budget Hotels

Publish on
It’s no secret that hotels in West Africa are seen as being expensive, particularly if you are “travelling with Rand”.  I have written before about why the prices are high – here in Nigeria we have to provide our own power plants, bore holes and treatment plants for water, sewage tanks, and even some times…

Djibouti

Publish on
As one of the smallest countries in Africa, both by size and population, it rarely features in any of those “African top 10” lists.  And for some reason, the IMF classifies it as a Middle Eastern country in its World Economic Outlook.  But the Republic of Djibouti is indeed in Africa, strategically located in the…

Hotel Investment In Africa

Publish on
I attended a hotel investment conference last week in Abu Dhabi.  Focused primarily on the Gulf and Indian Ocean, I did manage to steer some of the conversations around to Africa, seeing as we have a very, very long coastline on the Indian Ocean! The delegates were primarily investors from the Middle East, as well…

Eye on West Africa

Publish on
It is so exciting!  Hard Rock has chosen Lagos as its second city in sub-Saharan Africa to open one of its iconic Hard Rock Cafes. Okay, so Johannesburg beat us to it, but that restaurant is a long way away, and this one is right here, in Victoria Island, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. I went…

Serviced Apartments

Publish on
For business and leisure travellers, serviced apartments hold a certain type of appeal, becausecompared to a “traditional” hotel they provide greater flexibility, more privacy, the freedom to serve yourself as and when required, and space to entertain, and they can work out to be greater value for money due to the absence of extensive facilities…

Hotel Opening Delays In Africa

Publish on
Eye on West Africa I have to say that getting new hotels open in Africa is so frustrating. I looked back at an article I wrote for Business Traveller Africa last year, welcoming the forthcoming opening of such hotels as the Noom in Conakry, Marriott in Accra, Four Points in Ikot (Nigeria), the Ramada Plaza…

Sidebar – Comment

Publish on
Arriving on an international flight at Lagos airport can be a real test of one’s patience. Grin and bear it. Most flights from Europe, plus SAA, arrive in Lagos in the early evening, and the airport is hot and chaotic. For that reason don’t wear thick clothes and take a good book to read in…

Nigeria Today

Publish on
Everybody has an opinion about Nigeria, don’t they?  An opinion based on one of three things – personal experience, someone else’s personal experience (friend, relation, business colleague etc.) or on what they see, hear and read in the media.  Or a combination of two or more of these sources.  Many opinions are negative (corruption, noise,…

Attack On a Hotel In Africa

Publish on
There has been yet another attack on a hotel in Africa, this time in Mogadishu – again. A suicide bomber first detonated a car with explosives at the gate of the Naso-Hablod Hotel, after which the attackers moved into the hotel shooting wildly at guests and staff, according to officials. This is just three weeks…

Hotel Brands

Publish on
A Proliferation of Hotel Brands! Once upon a time there was Hilton and Sheraton and Marriott.  We knew where we stood with them, a Hilton was a Hilton, a Sheraton and Sheraton, and so on.  Then they started widening their horizons, becoming global players, and expanding the number of brands in their portfolios.  According to…

Hotel Cycle

Publish on
My mantra has always been “don’t generalise about Africa”, a continent of 54 sovereign states, each as different from one another as are the 50 states of the USA, and the c50 countries in Europe (the exact number  depends on how you count!).  We used previously to group the African countries into three “blocs” –…

Airbnb

Publish on
Everyone seemed to have an opinion about how Uber wouldn’t work in Africa back in 2012. Four years down the line, the Uber bug has spread to 11 cities in Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, Morocco and South Africa. There are also plans to open shop in more cities like Abuja and Accra. Airbnb finds itself in…

Three To Watch In West Africa

Publish on
Living in West Africa is, as I’ve written before, a bit of a rollercoaster ride! Up, down, upside down and turnabout – except that this rollercoaster never comes to a gentle stop! Gambia is, God forbid, looking at the prospect of internal conflict after, yet again, a disputed general election, and the incumbent refusing to…

Environmental Responsibility

Publish on
Have you ever felt slightly guilty about leaving that half-used bar of soap for the housekeeper to throw away when you check out? Especially those nice big ones?!I sometimes take mine with me, to use up at home! As consumers of hotel services, we travellers must contribute a whole lot to the degradation of our…

Aviation In West Africa

Publish on
What goes up, must come down, and in West Africa that applies not only to planes, but also to entire airlines! Here in Nigeria, as if we didn’t have enough problems, with the economy in recession since the beginning of last year, the currency in freefall and a drastic shortage of foreign exchange, the aviation…

There are some interesting stirrings in the West African hotel industry

Publish on
Whilst the Nigerian economy, which dominates the region (and the continent) continues to experience no or negative growth, and a consequent serious downturn in the hotel industry, new kid on the block Mangalis is making waves, with no fewer than three hotels opened in the last six months. Mangalis, who most travellers will have never…

Hr In Nigeria

Publish on
The future of service standards in the tourism, hospitality and leisure in Nigeria If you’ve travelled to Nigeria, there’s always a recollection of some intense experience that one tends never to forget. Going over these memories sometimes brings with it a sigh of nostalgia perhaps? Maybe of the wonder with which you experienced how things…

A Delegates Guide To Mice Events In West Africa

Publish on
MICE Events in West Africa: A Delegate’s Guide Observe any airport lounge in Lagos, Accra, Abidjan or Dakar, and you’ll notice thesheer number of travelers in the sub-region travelling for business, be it for meetings, incentives, conferences or exhibitions or any other type of event. This observation is certainly not unique to West Africa, but…

Hotel development in Nigeria

Publish on
There’s a new kid on the block in Lagos!  The George, a 62-room boutique hotel, opened in June, and is managed by the Mantis Collection.  It’s a stylish young thing, and was opened by the new Governor of Lagos State, Mr. AkinwunmiAmbode, in early July, who said “This is a happy occasion because it has…

Business Evaluation

Publish on
Assessing an investment in any business means looking at supply and demand – who wants to buy the product or service, now and in the future, and who is playing in that market as suppliers of that product or service, today as well as tomorrow. Current demand and supply is a matter of market research,…

Hotel Chain Pipelines

Publish on
Each year we collect information from the major international and regional (African) hotels chain, to find out what they are doing in terms of signing new deals for the branding and management of new hotels in Africa.  At the beginning of 2013, the chains which contributed to our survey reported a total of 207 hotels…

Lagos Hotel Market

Publish on
Is Lagos the hottest hotel development market in Africa? Look at the fundamentals: a city of some 15 million inhabitants, projected to be one of the world’s 10

So what were three guys doing in my hotel room at 1am?!

Publish on
Real life, huh? Can you believe it? You watch the TV sitcoms, and think “how silly, it could never happen”. Read on. The safe in my hotel bedroom won’t open. Inside is stuff I need, passport, air ticket, money, spare toothbrush, a used train ticket, yesterday’s socks and a boiled sweet, the things you just…

Arriving in Malabo (where immigration gives you the finger)

Publish on
I flew from Lagos to Malabo, the island capital of Equatorial Guinea, last week. Malabo airport is a distinct improvement from the muddy concrete hut I remember from six years ago. All the same, it’s the first airport I have arrived at where the immigration officer gives you the finger. We’re off the plane, and I’m first in the queue…

Arriving in Luanda

Publish on
Just arrived Luanda. Hasn’t changed (yeah, well, see below, this was 2008, it’s a bit different in 2010) – total chaos in the arrivals hall viagra naturel net. If you can, dress as an American football player when arriving here – you might get less bruised. You’ll get the idea when you see the entrance –…

Arriving in Luanda 2

Publish on
I just came into Luanda again (did someone say “masochist”?) and the left hand lane went the fastest, as it was feeding into three desks.  Yes, I know, it’s a bit sad to get excited about things like this, but it keeps me going). If you’re travelling with other people, elect the biggest one of…

Hotel Presidente, Luanda

Publish on
I’m staying at the Hotel Presidente, the old one at the north end of the Marginal. Great views of the bay (which is fast disappearing, as they sand-fill – catch it while you can). Apart from the strange shade of green paint that they have used (at some time in the past, a painter stood…

Yenagoa, a Chinese food-free zone

Publish on
Should you ever find yourself in Yenagoa, the capital of Bayelsa State in Nigeria, I can recommend a Chinese restaurant there which is well worth not going to. Should you have a craving for Chinese food (like I did), don’t go to the Sweet Tomatoes restaurant on Azikoro Road – go instead to a supermarket,…

An Eye on West Africa

Publish on
[caption id="attachment_1476" align="alignleft" width="236"] Trevor WardMobile: +234 803 321 0646trevor.ward@w-hospitalitygroup.com[/caption] It was such a pleasure to stay in the new Fraser Suites hotel in Abuja recently.It had been a long time coming,and before opening was the only internationally-branded hotel under construction in central Abuja. It is now the first such property to open in Abuja for…

Publish on