Best western premier Accra airport hotel – “Welcome to the premier life”
Ghana’s hospitality industry has witnessed a massive transformation in the last decade owing to the vast influx of foreign
visitors to the country. The industry includes hotels, restaurants, and tourism. Across the globe, there are large markets for countries all over the world that develop their hospitality industry.
The hospitality industry is a comprehensive list of all of the things that someone visiting an area would need. In Ghana, the hospitality industry is the fourth largest contributor to the country’s foreign exchange earnings after gold, cocoa, and oil respectively. The industry shows a sign of positive prospects as the country’s economy is fast developing.
According to provisional figures in the 2017 budget statement, the hotels and restaurants subsector grew by 1.2% in 2016 as compared to 1.5% recorded in 2015. According to a Bank of Ghana report on the tourism industry and the Ghanaian economy, international tourist arrivals and receipts have shown steady and positive trends since 1991.
Tourists, holidaymakers, business travelers, etc., all require one of such facilities in the industry to make their stay worthwhile. Accommodation plays an essential part in such persons since it involves a stay away from home. Hospitality services are wide-ranging and include hotels. Ghana’s Hotel business is actually growing by a certain margin.
Unfortunately, it is not easy to quantify the margins into percentages. But physically counting, one can notice the rising skyscrapers that are within a certain mile radius in the capital city. This rapid transformation is as a result of the influx of foreign brands establishing their footprints in the country alongside local entrepreneurs establishing grander facilities to run like hotels.
One such hotel is the Best Western Premier Accra Airport Hotel. Best Western Premier Hotel, one of the many hotels in Ghana is fast becoming the reference point for excellence and the well-acclaimed Ghanaian hospitality.
The Vaultz in an interview with the Sales and Marketing Manager, Mr. Elliot Nortey, shares some insights on the Ghanaian hotel industry and tells the success story of Best Western Accra Airport hotel.
The Premier Life at Best Western Premier
Best Western Premier, a member of the Best Western Hotels & Resorts brand, offers guests the chance to experience Best Western in a whole new light. The upscale hotel offers a truly refined atmosphere and style, with deluxe amenities and features, along with superior comfort and service for a truly memorable stay.
The premier life at Best Western can best be described in its amenities and features that scintillate the eyes of its guests such as:
- 109 guestrooms and suites
- Conference and Meeting Rooms
- Complimentary high-speed internet &Wi-Fi
- Outdoor Pool and Fitness Centre
- Complimentary Airport Shuttle
- Business Center plus
- Modern amenities and features
Best Western Premier Accra Airport hotel will mark its 7th year since its inception in April 2017. The hotel is a privately held brand and a subsidiary of the Yamusah Group. The group includes Best Western Premier, Airside hotel– a 2-star hotel, Zara realty, and others.
The Premier life is also experienced through the unique guest relation and customer service experiences provided at Best Western. The hotel has an open-arm system to whatever a guest says. “We listen, take notes, do the necessary corrections, improve and provide excellent services”. One of the yardsticks used to measure these things is “the client’s feedback scheme”. The hotel strives not to compromise on excellence.
The habits of workers that translate into productivity originate from the top as “the Chief Executive himself is an example of good order”. This means workers have no cause for indiscipline. The workers at the hotel are trained to meet the best standard practice that is expected to represent the brand. “You must know your focus if you want to work here.
The affiliation to an international brand also means we have to follow the high standards set by the Best Western Hotels and Resorts brand. To be able to follow it thoroughly you have to be disciplined enough, you need the right direction to be able to achieve this.
From the moment you step into the Best Western ambiance from the front desk; to guest relations; to house-keeping which forms the most important part; everything is done with excellence”, Mr. Nortey established.
Best Western Premier Room classifications & other facilities
Best Western Premier Hotel is a leading hotel with 109 luxurious rooms and suites equipped with high-quality bedding, wireless internet, air conditioning, well-equipped bathrooms with our brand of toiletries. The rooms are classified into the Premier Suites which is a penthouse of 2 and 3 bedrooms. Then followed by the Junior suites and the Standard rooms.
These classifications reflect in the rates and charges that the customer is made to pay. The higher the class of suite, the ‘beefier’ the amenities the customer enjoys and that translates into the price paid. “The hotel has had the opportunity of hosting some very important dignitaries such as Heads of State of some foreign countries; quite a number of foreign ministers; ambassadors and lots of foreign dignitaries/delegates” Aside from the 109 rooms, the hotel has other facilities that make it one-stop-shop for guests and business organizations.
These include 2 restaurants– Zara continental and Mma Zara African restaurant; 250-seater auditorium and 150-seater banquet hall and a variety of conference halls, entertainment lounge, a pool, a gym, a bar, etc.
Mma Zara– The African Restaurant
Best Western Premier as part of providing top of the range continental recipes launched an African restaurant in its bid to boost Ghanaian and other African traditional recipes. The Mma Zara African restaurant, the African bit of Zara continental, prepares some of the best African recipes for guests who love to taste some of the continents recipes.
The restaurant has one of the continent’s best chefs whose versatility sprawls across various African countries' special menus. Local dishes such as fufu, Gari Fortor, Apapransah, Waakye, Kenkey, Banku, eba, semovita, etc. can all be gotten at the Mma Zara African restaurant.
Being a member of the Best Western Hotels & Resorts brand, the largest hotel chain in the world, comes with a lot of added value to the operations of the firm. Known for its excellence in service delivery, this has become a brand signature among the 4100 hotels worldwide in the group. As a result of this membership, the hotel receives referrals from other hotels in the chain across the globe.
“There are four rules to the game: they include referrals, repeated business, satisfaction, and excellence. When a guest walks into any of the Best Western Hotels & Resorts brand for the first time and is greeted well and enjoys the facilities, when they go back to their destinations it is easier for them to refer Best Western to someone else.
So with such referrals, customers travel across the globe looking for such treatment and that can also be gotten at Best Western Premier Accra Airport hotel.
So for the Best Western brand, every guest that walks in is very important and this makes the difference in such a competitive industry”. “Also, the group sets its goals and objectives for the year.
For us to achieve these objectives, we align our activities to these objectives and streamline our operations towards such even though we set our own objectives here to achieve a certain percentage of occupancy which translates into figures forming the basis of our target for the year”.
Known for its excellent customer service, it comes as no news to Best Western Premier to be decorated with tons of awards in the industry. The institution has received various kinds of awards for their sterling performances in the industry both locally and internationally.
“There are quite a number of various organizations that monitor the hotels in Ghana. There are some awards that we have received locally and internationally.
We have received an award from Premier Brands Ghana, one of the companies that have the mandate to monitor hotels in customers’ service and client response. At the end of every year, there are awards that are given out and the basis for getting awarded is the positive feedback/comments on Trip Advisor and another site called Medallia”.
Rates and Charges
When it comes to pricing, Best Western, however, is not rigid with the rack rates. “There are times that we would look at what the client wants and if there is something we can do, we negotiate. Some clients knowing the standards and the quality they don’t complain and will pay what is on the table but there are others who will want to negotiate”.
There is a front desk manager whose duty it is to handle some of these things. The marketing department oversees a lot of these with the help of the General Manager. “We have a rooming package and that of conferencing and banqueting packages as well”.
Impact of a Tax increase and Cedi Depreciation
Generally, taxes affect businesses especially when the increments come at a time when companies are not prepared for it. At the beginning of the year, companies prepare their budgets and make room for miscellaneous expenses and conduct their businesses based on the budget for the year.
These expenses as and when they surface are catered for “but when you have a 200% increment in tax, it is going to release shock waves across your operations. It is like a Bomb! And everybody would be asking what is happening?” This affects your operations for the year because the firm has not made allocations for it in its budget. It cripples business activities.
Also, when the cedi begins to depreciate against the dollar, it affects patronage of the hotel services in that the cost of accommodation increases. For example “if I used to charge 100 dollars per standard room, now with the cedi depreciation I’m forced to charge 170 dollars or 180 dollars.
Trust me; most clients weigh their options before they pay their hotel bills. If he used to sleep in a 4-Star and it is now 170 dollars, he will rather consider a 3-Star and pay 120 dollars. Then, what happens? YOU lose the client or forced to reduce your price!
Challenges Confronting the Industry
Every industry is posed with its own unique set of challenges. The extent of these challenges and their impacts on the nation’s economy are sometimes more serious than we often expect.
Some of these challenges experienced in the hotel sector cuts across as it comes as no news to know that the industry lacks adequate and quality skilled personnel, inadequate investment in the Hotel Industry, poor infrastructure and lack of proper maintenance culture, high tariffs on energy and taxes on services, energy crisis just to name a few.
Most of these factors affect the growth of the hotel industry in Ghana. However, strategies to curb these challenges and provide solutions must be immediately put in place if development is expected in the short term. The Government needs to invest more funds into the training of skilled personnel as well as reduce taxes and tariffs on energy consumption.
Private brands must also take steps to ensure a high maintenance culture. If everyone plays their part, the hotel industry will develop into a more profitable industry than it is now. Outside these enumerated challenges, industry players face other internal challenges such as pricing. Even though there are base rates that various classifications of the hotels in the industry are not permitted to go below but during off-seasons, some do in order to maintain their liquidity.
“Though there are different classes of hotels in the country as we are a 4-Star hotel, at times we are willing to go as low as how much a 3-Star hotel will charge because at every point in time most customers look at the market competition in terms of price”, Mr. Nortey revealed. Even though a particular percentage considers service quality ahead of price “I don’t want to lose that percentage that considers price either”.
Lack of credible information on the industry plays another critical role in impeding the operations of the players. In Ghana, information inadequacy is a major problem confronting the various sectors of the economy not limited to the hotel sector alone.
“When you begin to look for information that’s when you realize there is a problem. You would get bits and pieces of the information but then to put them together to make a projection and then strike an average is when the difficult sets in because it’s incomplete.
We don’t have a system where we can say this is a one-stop-shop where you can get all the information statistically on the hospitality or hotel industry”.
Hotel Classifications in Ghana
The hotel business in Ghana is classified based on the quality of service each class can render. The class ranges from 1-Star to 5-Star hotels. The Stars allocation does not correlate with the size of the structure. The structure may be a gigantic edifice but the service delivery may be below standard. The service ratings by guests determine the number of Stars a facility is worth.
“There is a website called a Trip advisor. There are a lot of hotels on it and when people travel and share their experiences in the hotel they stayed on the trip advisor, it records. If it is a positive experience they give ratings.
The more positive feedback a hotel receives, the more the hotel moves up the rankings.” The size forms only one basis for the classification and also the quality of service plays another. The other thing that also plays a crucial role is “brand affiliation”.
The Future of the Hospitality Industry and Expectations of Government
The government in the 2017 budget says it is focused on the medium-term to achieve sustainable growth and transformation of the sector through a variety of targeted interventions to develop and grow domestic tourism, arts and culture infrastructure throughout the country.
The prospect of the hospitality industry, hence, is very bright. Despite the fact that the growth rate can’t be quantified in physical terms, the hospitality industry is growing year-on-year. “On top of my head, I can identify about six new 4-Star hotels coming up and within a year they will be in operation. If they are well marketed and have a proper strategy, most of these hotels will couch their niche market and they will be in business.
Whether we like it or not the people that run in and out of the country to do business on a daily basis is huge and will keep growing”. In developing the industry, the government’s policies should be more favorable towards the hotel industry because the industry plays a pivotal role in the hospitality industry.
There is a lot more government can also do to help the industry such as reducing taxes, energy tariffs and also organizing trade exhibitions to promote Ghanaian owned hotels. “Government has to roll out targeted interventions for results. Let’s catch the world’s attention to what is attractive in Ghana”.