MD/CEO of Transcorp Hotels Plc, Dupe Olusola said the key priority of its properties, Transcorp Hilton Abuja and Transcorp Hotels Calabar, is safety amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. She said this at the Africa Tomorrow Hospitality conference during her spotlight discussion led by Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, Founder and Chairman on APO Group, a pan African communications Consultancy.
The focus discussion was to deep dive into the leading hospitality brand’s strategy to keep both its hotels open at the onset of the pandemic, the ancillary revenue streams it tapped into and their post COVID-19 plans for recovery.
Commenting on the impact of the pandemic, Dupe Olusola said “The COVID-19 crisis is challenging for all industries. However, the hospitality industry has been one of the hardest hit due to the lockdowns implemented globally. The African Union estimated that Africa’s tourism industry lost about $55billion in Travel and Tourism revenue. Bringing this home, we witnessed a drop in numbers in our occupancy and revenue metrics when the virus hit. Regardless, we set our priorities at the onset of the lockdown which was to stay open to cater to our extended stay guests, make their safety and that of our employees our topmost priority and also keep operations running at a minimal level”.
“Not closing down the hotel during the lockdown was one of the best decisions we made. It gave our hotels clarity on the hygiene standards we wanted to maintain, constantly training the staff on operating cleaning protocols and set guidelines from health experts to get to where we are now. Our learning curve has been quick as we are better prepared more than ever to welcome all our loyal guests back.”
When asked by the host Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard to shed some light on the guidelines the hotels are working with, she referenced that being part of the Transcorp Group, which also owned a power plant with hundreds of staff who were in full operation during the lockdown, gave her insights into some things that needed to be done. Also, the strategic partnership with Hilton birthed the Hilton CleanStay Program which Transcorp Hilton Abuja has currently employed.
Mrs Olusola expatiated on the program saying that it emphasizes on extra disinfection of frequently touched areas in guest rooms such as light switches and door handles, increased cleaning frequency of public areas including elevator buttons, hand rails etc. Other aspects of the program include the use of a Hilton CleanStay Room Seal applied on the doors of all cleaned guestrooms to let guests know that no one has accessed the rooms since they were thoroughly cleaned and disinfected. Also, the application of an anti-viral solution to sanitise the air within the hotel space regularly, amongst many other guidelines.
The focus on enhanced cleanliness is visible to guests throughout their entire stay experience from check-in to check-out.
She further said “Amid the chaos that the virus birthed, there has been a lot of learning to improve on our already heightened safety standards and to create innovative solutions to maintain top of mind awareness with our guests. One of such solutions is the Drive-in cinema launched at Transcorp Hilton Abuja which provides guests a unique entertainment experience in the comfort of their vehicles, while adhering to the physical distancing guidelines. She stressed that Transcorp Hotels has so much to offer to the leisure market and those looking for fun activities and good food while at it.”
“The easing of the lockdown, coupled with the confidence our guests have in our standards, have seen our occupancy slowly increase. As we continuously evolve on our hygiene and cleanliness guidelines during the pandemic, we are incredibly mindful of providing excellent customer experience and delivering exceptional quality and service that we are known for across our Group.” She noted.
The Africa Tomorrow Conference was organised by Africa Hotels and Investment Forum (AHIF) a top-level gathering of investors, developers and business leaders, connecting the industry’s key players from both local and international markets.