NIGERIAN HOTELS ,SAFETY ISSUES AND THE RITUAL MURDER CONTROVERSY
By Emeka Ezekwe
With all the controversies bordering on safety of hotel guests in Nigeria in recent times ,it might be safe to conclude that Nigeria is still struggling to have and maintain hotels with international standard best practices .International standard in the sense that there’s no framework yet to regulate its operations and activities not minding whether it’s one star or seven star .Hotel grading depend chiefly on its infrastructure as well as its services,and should be done by a government grading authority,maybe this explains why we have branded hotels whose management is always different from its ownership.
How do we begin to explain that someone checked into a hotel and gets murdered for ritual purposes by the owner or management of a hotel that’s meant to be a place of comfort and safety?Apart from safety issues ,most of Nigerian hotels lacks the alluring and inviting facade that welcomes ,not minding whether it’s 2 star or 5 star.One needs to always grapple with lots of issues from unkept,dirty environment,unhappy,rude ,unprofessional and untrained staff to dilapidated facilities.
One major problem of Nigerian hotels is lack of regulatory frameworks governing its operations.Most people who build hotels without regulatory supervision,also lacks professional expertise to manage them and still refuse to hand them over to competent hotel management companies to run.It usually starts with the owner retiring there most evenings and convening his village and political meetings,then things will begin to go down ……
Hotels are vanity investment,you do not own a hotel to become rich overnight,rather,you own a hotel when you’re already rich because ,hotels does not give the type of money that most of its investors expect except when it’s run professionally and the country or state has tourism potentials or deliberate policies that make people to move or visit .Infact, managing a hotel have never been an easy venture,it requires a lot of professionalism,running cost and continuous investment.
Another issue in hotel management is maintenance.Hotel facility maintenance takes almost all the income most times,it usually starts with minor plumbing,electrical,refurbishment or civil works ,before you say jack some rooms become uninhabitable.In a country like Nigeria,you need alternative source of power ,so,most times ,the resources you need to run the facility when you have full occupancy is also what you need when it’s 10%,cooks ,doormen,receptionist,cleaners ,generator ,et al.
Seeking and engaging professional help at the concept stage will go a long way in giving your hotel an enduring but permanent appeal .A professional should design the rooms ,toilet,lounges and open areas.
Biko, for safety reasons ,if you have a choice,always chose branded hotels ,they are better managed than owner managed hotels and pose less risk to your safety than the ones managed by the owner and his family,anything can happen or go wrong .If you’re an aspiring hotel investor,do not attempt to design,build,manage or run yourself by yourself, e get why