A digital hospitality platform would not only provide a major avenue for other small businesses in the value chain to grow, but would help revive Nigeria’s hospitality industry in general, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 global pandemic.
This was the summation of Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, SAN, on Thursday night in Abuja where he was special guest of honour during the official launch of “Aura” by Transcorp Hotels PLC, described by its proponents as a digital platform designed to connect people to quality accommodation, great food, and awesome experiences in several places.
At the event, which was also attended by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN; Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Mr. Ade Ipaye; Chairman of Transcorp Group, Mr. Tony Elumelu; among other dignitaries, the Vice President stated that a digital innovation like Aura is a welcome idea.
In what was an immersive experience, the launching event featured delectable Nigerian cuisine, video presentations and life performances by leading Nigerian artists and celebrities including Tiwa Savage.
Prof. Osinbajo said, “yes, there are a number of digital hospitality platforms already, but I think the unique offering here is that Transcorp, possibly Nigeria’s foremost luxury hotel, is putting its huge reputation behind the service of helping customers choose the best accommodation restaurants, and experience tours available in Nigeria. The advantages of this service are varied.
“First, the customer can rely on the experience and judgment of world class personnel at Transcorp in choosing hotels and restaurants. Second, Transcorp helps to build other smaller hospitality businesses, and even those simply offering their apartments simply as short-let apartments, by recommending their accommodation to potential guests.
“A Transcorp recommendation is more or less an accreditation that the accommodation or other hospitality service meets the high standards for which Transcorp is known. This is great all around and will help revive the hospitality industry, especially since the downturn in the aftermath of COVID-19.”
The Vice President added that he found the app easy to navigate, with a copious offering of hotels, short-let apartments, experience tours.
“They lure you into it by showing you a photo of an incredibly mouth-watering meal, and I saw a few that almost convinced me to break my fast early. So, there was an amazing looking Chicken Cheese Pizza from Barnyard lounge in Asaba, some irresistible chicken meal – a 5-star chicken – from Platino in Lagos, and some ‘carry go suya’ spice prawns at 355 here in Abuja. So, from the photo of the meal that takes you to the restaurant itself, you have booking options, dine-in, pick up or delivery.”
The VP added that, “I think the feature many especially property owners will find most fascinating is the host feature; as this enables you to put up your own property. And there are terms and conditions you need to meet for your property to be accepted. Same for whatever other entertainment facility you may wish to put out there for letting.”
Prof. Osinbajo commended the Transcorp team, including Mr. Elumelu; Group CEO of Transcorp, Mrs. Owen Omogiafo; and CEO of Transcorp Hotels, Mrs. Dupe Olusola; for designing such digital platform at this time.
“This is an excellent innovation, a service that leverages smoothly on technology and one that will be a tremendous boost to the hospitality industry as a whole. And because I have checked it out myself, I can say that my Aura experience has been quite good,” he stated.
In her remarks, Mrs. Olusola noted that, “Aura is a digital hospitality platform that gives the opportunity to all our stakeholders and guests to actually be able to book accommodation and experiences just at their fingertips.
“Aura is an opportunity for us to diversify our economy, an opportunity to create jobs and employment, and to develop domestic tourism and leisure travel.”