In the last five years, Radisson Hotel Group has been empowering and elevating its deserving African workforce to higher positions, hitherto occupied by expatriates.
Chidi Joseph Okocha, one of the beneficiaries, was recently elevated to the position of Sales and Marketing Director at Radisson Blu Hotel Ikeja. In this interview, the new director tells Obinna Emelike about the feats achieved so far, innovations, targets, and his passion, among others.
Congratulations on your new role at Radisson Blu Hotel Ikeja. Can you give a brief account of yourself and your career?
My name is Chidi Joseph Okocha. I am the director of sales and marketing at Radisson Blu Hotel Ikeja Lagos.
I studied Marketing at Moshood Abiola Polytechnic Abeokuta. I was born and brought up in Abeokuta, Ogun State, in a family where hospitality runs in our blood. My mother is a caterer and I apparently ran her business for over 15 years where we fought with known brands for market share.
That tutelage equipped me with how to deal with competition.
How do you feel in your new role as the Sales and Marketing Director?
I do not see much change, only that I have to make more decisions now. I am always a hands-on person and I work in harmony with my team. The difference is not much, it is more of a responsibility.
What innovations are you bringing to the hotel’s sales department?
I would say, I am lucky to have corporate team members, I trust their decisions and it makes them to believe in themselves. However, I have built a more cordial relationship with our corporates ensuring they get full value beyond their expectations and this has been extended to both walk-in guests as well.
I always say, if you can think about it, it can be done.
What is the sales volume now and where do you want to take it?
When I assumed office, I changed a lot of things. Today, the changes have positively impacted occupancy, outlook of the hotel and revenue generation. We have matched our revenue and occupancy records in the past 3 to 4 months. It shows that we are doing something right.
What is the occupancy level now and what is your target level?
Right now, we have been able to close from 75-percent to 95-percent and to 100 percent almost every night.
This is the reason I said that we have been able to break records that have not been surpassed since the inception of the hotel. We have been breaking those records every month.
How were you able to break the sales records?
Well, it is through our better service delivery, increase in our rates and also targeting ourselves for better profitability.
In terms of increase in our rates, there are different segments and there are certain ones that we discovered that we are losing revenue as against competition when they were yielding on that. So, we had to look into that and also not to outprice or undersell ourselves in the market.
What sales incentives do you have for guests?
For us, it is quality service because everyone comes into a hotel wanting to be pampered. Every guest is valued here and we have increased the value they get from our services and products.
Part of our incentives is the high-quality service delivery, we have revamped our rooms to make sure that every guest has a memorable experience with us.
Being in the same location with Radisson Hotel, your sister property, are there collaborations in sales?
Radisson Hotel is our sister property, owned by Avalon Intercontinental Nigeria, the same owning company.
At every point, we collaborate. Once we have a business where we cannot fully accommodate the demands of the client, we sell our sister property to them, which is the Radisson Hotel Ikeja.
On the other hand, when they have events or groups they cannot handle, we come in to collaborate and it is almost a daily or weekly thing for us.
What is the difference between the two hotels?
Radisson Hotel is a 94-room hotel, while we (Radisson Blu) are a 155-room hotel. We are side by side and are the big brother to Radisson Hotel. We are of higher brand and they are the next in terms of Radisson Hotel Group ranking.
What is your target market?
We are a business hotel and a business brand. So, our target markets are corporate organisations, government agencies, aid agencies and multinationals.
Our proximity to the airport makes us the preferred hotel for most travellers. We also have proximity to the town in general, to Ikeja and Victoria Island.
What is the unique selling point of the hotel?
We pride ourselves for having the biggest room in the market, that is 48 square metres. Our leisure amenities are world-class for every guest’s need and we are price-friendly too. Our top-notch quality service delivery differentiates us from others and our cuisines are next to none in the market.