• Wednesday, July 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

Swiss hotel kicks off brand expansion plan in Niageria, West Africa

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Riding on its successful launch in Nigeria, Swiss International, a Switzerland-based hotel chain and hospitality management company, is making frantic efforts at furthering its brand presence and appeal in Nigeria, West Africa, and the continent at large.

The brand, which berthed in Nigeria and Africa for the first time in 2012 after 32 years of operations, is targeting a minimum of 20 hotels within West Africa before 2018. Already, the brand runs three functional hotels in Nigeria with 10 in the pipeline. The projects to be delivered in partnership with its Nigeria investors include one in Benin City, two in Makurdi, as well as one in Kano, and Abuja.

It is offering Nigeria and West Africa at large four variants: Swiss International, its upscale market-four-star brand; Royal Swiss, its up-end market, about five to six star; Swiss Spirit, its mid market, and Edges by Swiss International, designed to show attraction to Nigeria.

The brand’s signages in other West African countries include two hotels in the Republic of Benin, one in Mali and one in Togo. It is kicking off its East African plan with Tanzania.

Speaking on its hunger for the African market, Wasiu Babalola, managing director, West Africa, Swiss International, said the brand is positioning itself to take advantage of about 48 percent of hotel construction in Africa that is coming to Nigeria alone.

Babalola, who is also on the international management council of the hotel chain, and is a member of the advisory board of Swiss Business School, observed that quality of service, product and manpower delivery, make the difference between the best and the rest in the Nigerian hospitality industry, and that Swiss International is already offering its guests some respite on these scores.

He observed that the brand is also offering more investors opportunity to grow with cheaper fund.

“We do not just bring money at cheaper interest rates because we know that getting funds for hotels in Nigeria is expensive. We support our brands by bringing cheaper funds and world class business models”, he noted.

Explaining the difference the brand is bringing to the table, Babalola said that instead of the usual franchise where the owners deliver the properties to brands and walk away only to forward their invoice at the end of the month, Swiss International is offering ‘manchise’, a business model that offers involvement of all stakeholders at every point.

“We do not operate franchise in Nigeria. We are bringing what we call ‘manchise’ and management. Under franchise, I release my system to you and walk away, and at the end of the month I send you my invoice. But under ‘manchise’, I release my system to you, but I am still interested in your profitability and what you do with my system. So, we do not walk away. I send people on my payroll to work with you in ensuring you achieve what we agree you are going to achieve. The model works for us”, he said.

While most of the properties in countries where Swiss International operates are owned by the indigenous people, Babalola noted that the Swiss branded hospitality company is looking at owning investments up to 25 percent of the properties going forward.

On completion and delivery of the hotels across the West African region, Babalola assured that they would open at the specified time because the brand also suggests equity participation to hotel investors, in order to raise funds and ensure completion and operation of the properties at the specified time framework.

OBINNA EMELIKE