Afolake Olagunju |
In the midst of the hustle and bustle of city life and the recurring challenges of family issues, demanding jobs and the traffic wahala in Nigeria cities like Lagos, taking a much-deserved break from all the drama, sometimes, is all one needs to be fired up again.
Imagine yourself in a luxury room, safely tucked in the duvet, with the television on and an efficient room service answering to your every need for some days. Well, you deserve treats like this and so much more, at least, once in a while. And, what better place would you grab this luxurious experience other than to run away to one of the numerous exquisite hotels springing up in different Nigerian cities by the day. You should go with your loved one, of course, as that would make the experience all the more worthwhile.
Asides the get-away value, many business people find hotels as the best place for business activities that could offer concentration for meaningful business discussions, conferences, meetings, trainings and other engagement, yet devoid of the stress of regular every day life. So it is not strange to see hotel and hospitality businesses booming in the country.
According to a report by W Hospitality Group, a hotel, tourism and leisure consultancy firm, in 2013, Nigeria has been experiencing a visible growth trend over the last ten years, with the feet of foreign investors firmly set in the Nigerian market, as they have realized the potentials latent in the country’s hotel business climate.
The origin of the modern Nigerian hotel industry dates back to 1942, with the opening of the Lagos Airport Hotel, which was then a small “pub with rooms” operation, but has become one of the largest hotels in the city today.
The 1950s saw the opening of hotels like the Bristol Hotel (1956) and the Federal Palace (where Nigeria’s Declaration of Independence was signed) amongst others. Between 1960s and 1970s, more hotels began to spring up in the country, most of which were developed by the government, as there were no private investors then.
The oil boom of the 1980s occasioned a higher demand for hoteling services, and three significant hotels opened in this period, namely the Sheraton Ikeja in1985, the Hilton Abuja in 1987 and the Sheraton Abuja in 1988.
After the oil-related boom in the mid-90s, the country witnessed a drop in the demand for hotels, as Nigeria’s military government was isolated from the international community.
However, the demand picked up again after the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999, as improved economic and political stability resulted in an improved business environment, and encouraged foreign and local investment in infrastructure, oil & gas and telecommunications, amongst other sectors.
From 2001 there was an influx of regional and international chains, starting with Protea, who now have 12 hotels open and under development in Nigeria. Since then, regional and internationally branded hotels have continued to flourish in Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt, three of the largest cities and the commercial, political and oil capitals of Nigeria.
Today, Nigeria boasts of hotels like Eko Hotels and Suites, Park Inn by Radisson, Four Points by Sheraton and Hilton Garden Inn, Federal Palace, Intercontinental amongst many others.
Asides these branded hotels, there are also the smaller and unbranded hotels and guest houses, which have found their way into the market and are growing steadily. Offering cheaper, but competitive, products and services than the branded hotels, many of these hotels can truly wow the visitor who is not prepared to spend anything near the charge of some branded hotels, where a room could go for as high as N400, 000 per night.
According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), the Nigerian hospitality industry is expected to see an increase in the number of hotel rooms in the next five years, rising from 8, 400 in 2013 to 24, 000, in 2018.
The projected growth would see overall hotel room revenue expanding at a 22.6 percent compound annual rate to $US1.1 billion in 2018 from $413 million in 2013.
The report also pointed out that the projected growth was based on Nigeria’s booming economy, sustained in part by regional and international investment in the hospitality industry, which also grew hotel room revenue to 59 percent between 2009 and 2013.
Picture Credit: Protea Hotels