Written by Comfort Adebayo, Janefrances Ibezim, Esther Julius, and Blessing Kamanu.
The hotel industry is one of the many industries that has witnessed a lot of transformations in the past decades. Globally, there has been tremendous growth in the hotel industry and this has helped in promoting tourism to a large extent.
Before we go further, what is a hotel?
A hotel is commonly defined as an establishment providing accommodation, meals, and other services for travellers and tourists. A hotel is a place where one can sleep away from their home. This could be for a holiday, business purposes, or convenience when travelling for other reasons such as a hospital appointment in a different area. Hotels are also establishments that provide paid lodging on a short-term basis, which ranges from one night to a few weeks and even months. Hotels take all shapes and sizes and there are varieties of them found throughout the world today.
FROM WAY BACK…
The first hotel in the world named Nishiyama Onsen Keiunkan was established in 705 AD in Japan but before that time, it was recorded that inns were opened by most people in different towns to accommodate and keep guests or travellers but it was mostly businessmen, travellers, and mail carriers that patronized these places as of then, because of the difficulties while travelling and safety too. These were predecessors to the modern hotel we have today.
The different technological, economic, and social development in the world around the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries led to huge changes in the hotel industry. The advent of leisure cruising that started with the formation of Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Company in 1822 led to growth in the hotel industry. The company started as the shipping line between European countries but grew quickly and cruised to other continents as well. Transatlantic liners made the travel industry richer and hotels more sought.
Travelling also became more accessible and appealing as a result of the industrial revolution that brought about regular but structured work, more income and more time off. The increase in the number of people travelling led to increasing in the demand for suitable hotels, and as their social statuses differed, the hotels were also created to suit the different social classes.
EVOLVING WITH TIME…
At the beginning of the 1800s, the Royal Hotel was built in London. Holiday resorts began to flourish along the French and Italian rivieras. In Japan, Ryokan guest houses sprang up. In India, the government-run Dak bungalows provided reliable accommodation for travellers.
Mivart’s Hotel opened in London in 1812 (later becoming Claridges), In 1822, in Venice, a certain Giuseppe Dal Niel transformed an old palace into a hotel and gave it his name, “Le Danieli”.
Tremont House in Boston, USA opened later in 1829 and it was an American architect Isaiah Rogers that designed and constructed this luxurious hotel in Boston, Massachusetts USA.
It was the first hotel with a private attached bathroom and lock on the doors. “Tremont Hotel” had set a benchmark for luxurious hotels in those days. It was the first hotel to have indoor plumbing with toilets and baths, as well as free soap (a tourist favourite) and a proper reception desk area that did more than just take payment.
The Holt Hotel in New York City was the first to provide its guests with a lift for their luggage.
The invention of trains and cars also contributed to the fast growth of the hotel industry because there was now an easier way for people to travel, visit friends, explore the world and also have fun at their leisure.
THE EMERGENCE OF MODERN HOTELS…
By the 1900s, there were many hotels around the globe. The hospitality industry had by this time expanded and also recorded continuous growth, and had more modernized hotels.
There were changes from Europe to America to Asia and the rest of the world.
The introduction of Funiculars (the ropeway) made high altitude mountains accessible, leading to the growth of many hotels in the Alpine ranges. Burgenstock and Giessbach are among the hotels in Switzerland that owe their existence to the development of the ropeways.
The two world wars, especially the second (1939-45) took their toll on the hospitality industry. The massive destruction caused by the war and the resulting economic depression proved to be a major setback to the travel business, but the post-war consumer boom brought some growth to the travel industry.
The 1950s brought the Club Mediterranean SA and this company was selling all-in holidays in exotic locations.
The coming of the jet aircraft in the 1960’s skyrocketed the evolution of the hotel industry.
International and even intercontinental travels were significantly shortened and that gave the visitors more time to explore their destinations and created income for the hoteliers. Passenger flights were now common, and throughout the years, became cheaper and available for wider traffic of travellers.
In 1983, the hotel real estate market came to life, more people were interested in building and buying hotels. The interest in creating more of them grew and hasn’t stopped growing ever since. That is why today we can choose from over 17.5 million guest rooms all around the globe.
One big move for the hotel real estate industry was the sale of the Intercontinental Hotels to the Japanese Seibu Holdings, Inc. by the Grand Metropolitan. It was one of the first major acquisitions that started the trend.
The inception of the Internet in the late 1900s also contributed to the growth of the hotel industry.
This global system of computer networks changed the World. It was the beginning of the hotel websites. Hotels could now promote themselves and as a result, gain more guests. Also, the guests could rate their stay and either warn other travellers or persuade them to go to give it a try.
It was easy for people to find the hotel they like, in the perfect location, and even make the booking without leaving the comfort of their own house. The birth of smartphones and tablets in the 21st century made the booking process even easier. People could now control almost every aspect of their journey from any place and at any given time. Each day new apps emerged, not only for the hotels and Online Travel Agencies but also to proffer innovative solutions for travellers and guests. They make trips easier and solve a myriad of problems.
The often-exaggerated expectations of guests in this present century have led to the creation of new hotel types. Modern hotels are bigger, more technologically advanced and even extravagant. You can now enjoy your stay in a designer hotel, an overwater bungalow or even an ice hotel or glass igloo. Recently capsule hotels are a novelty. These tiny rooms, called capsules or pods, are perfect for travellers seeking a cheap stay, without excessive luxuries.
We may actually observe a duality in the industry. With the rising popularity of both budget and luxury hotels. It is the answer to the division between the travellers. While some want to save as much as possible, others like to use their holidays as an excuse to splurge on anything they want.
We’ve discussed the past and present of the hotel industry, but what could be its future?
The answer is automation!
Machines will become a vital part of many hotels and with time we believe they will be crucial for their growth.
Today we can already see robots as receptionists and janitors They can give you fresh towels, bring your food, or greet you at the entrance. The hotel rooms themselves are also technically advanced, with voice detection devices and advanced electronics.
The only logical next step is the incorporation of Artificial Intelligence (AI), which is already happening in some top range hotels in places like Dubai. Although technology may probably not take over completely, it will be the major driver of future hotels.
We certainly look forward to what’s next for the hotel industry in the coming years.
Written by Augustine Burutolu with contributions from Nneoma Chikeka
The dust is yet to settle over the unfortunate incident at the 94th Academy Awards (commonly referred to as the Oscars) on the 27th of March, 2022, which was held at the Dolby Theatre, Los Angeles, USA, in which actor Will Smith slapped comedian Chris Rock over a joke about his wife which touched a raw nerve.
There have been numerous talks about the incident with many taking sides with one of the parties involved. While the talks continue, we believe that there are lessons in this incident that brands can take away as highlighted below:
1. There is always a better way to handle grievances.
Always weigh your options and choose the best option available, do not be solely driven by emotions or sentiments.
While slapping Chris Rock may be an option, choosing to wait and give a speech or a press conference addressing the issue would have been a better and more impactful approach.
As a brand, you must always think with a broader perspective, how will your response affect or portray the brand, how will it influence perception towards the brand and the reputation already built.
Brands should always seek the best option in addressing issues.
2. Choose in advance your preferred mode of addressing issues.
Brands should not fly off the handle to address issues concerning their brand. There should be an established order or mode of engaging the public and addressing issues. This is why having a good PR strategy in place is paramount for every brand.
3. Know your limits and don’t cross them.
In as much as you would want to exercise freely your rights, know that there are limits and when you cross them, you will receive blows (or slaps for them).
It takes a long time, blood sweat and tears to build a loved and respected brand, it takes only a silly mistake to smear all of the good works and effort.
There are rules that guide every game and profession, know them and play by them (using them to your own advantage).
4. Be skilled in defusing tense situations.
There may be some tense situations with clients, vendors, regulatory bodies, or a random person interfacing with your brand, be skilful and professional in handling such situations and de-escalating them. Training in customer relations, handling conflicts and emotional intelligence should be prioritized.
5. Be swift to get back on track.
Mistakes are part of the game and will happen. When they do, we should be quick to apologize and get things back on track.
The most noteworthy aspect of this whole issue between Chris Rock and Will Smith is the apology statement from both parties – knowing when you’ve crossed the line and accepting responsibility.
Do not allow pride and strong headedness to pull you further into the pit of infamy and cut you off from the goodwill of present and future clients and partners.
These are valuable brand lessons as well as life lessons that should be applied especially in handling crises and sensitive situations.
Share this with others to spread enlightenment.
Written by Maple Dappa
I was certain that they were all above 50, possibly the youngest among them was 55 years old. They looked well-fed, they were jovial, and of course, they were all old enough to father me. My colleague accompanied me there and we were both pleasantly surprised to see her Dad as one of these amazing men. My guess was that they all started working in their 20s because they’ve all worked for about 30years.
They were employees of Indorama, a multinational firm, at a training session organised to prepare them for retirement. I was invited to facilitate the session on relationships and networking. At first, the look on their faces was “this young man, has he seen what we’ve seen? has he experienced retirement before? well, let’s hear him out”. To break the ice and help them get into the mood, I acknowledged the age gap and voiced the thoughts I perceive they had on their minds. It worked, as I saw them ease down in anticipation.
In Africa, Fathers typically talk to their Sons, but there was a context and opportunity for a Son to talk to his Fathers. I had once spoken to Professors and Senior Lecturers at the university I graduated from during a breakfast meeting, and the Professor who was VC in my time was quietly seated in the audience as well. So, I was very mindful of this privilege as I led these would-be retirees into my presentation. They paid rapt attention and kept nodding their heads to my thoughts and illustrations on how to rekindle old friendships, start new friendships and connections, be more involved with their family, the sober look on their faces reflected the reality of transiting into retirement.
Some of them had turned their back on their old friends as they went neck dip in the corporate world, and then they didn’t really create good connections at work. Many of the work relationships they’ve had will end as they go into retirement.
So the major concern was how to forge new relationships and revive old ones. Some of them will always be missed by colleagues, others who were too curved into themselves will probably fade away into oblivion. One thing we all agreed on as I concluded was that relationships matter.
When I was done, many of them walked toward me and shook my hands with gratitude and said things like “you did a great job, this was really timely, needed and very helpful. God bless you.”
Below are seven lessons I gleaned from that experience:
1. Good relationships are more valuable than money.
2. 30years is not such a long time as we may think. Start investing as soon you can in relationships, assets, etc
3. Each birthday you celebrate, your energy level and agility is dropping. What safety nets are you weaving for yourself?
4. Procrastination could last you an entire 30years. Do what you have to do, at once.
5. Habits you don’t form now may be harder in your later years.
6. Listen to elders, they have a wealth of experiences that will serve you a lifetime.
7. Live life to the fullest in each passing moment, you can’t rewind time.
I hope you found this helpful in some way.
“Declare something worthwhile at customs.”
“Children of Palau,I take this Pledge,To preserve and protect your beautiful and unique island home.I vow to tread lightly, act kindly, and explore mindfully.I shall not take what is not given.I shall not harm what does not harm me.The only footprints I shall leave are those that will wash away.”
A couple of weeks ago, precisely on 23rd March 2021, a blockage occurred at the Suez Canal in Egypt when one of the biggest vessels in the world got stuck in the canal. This happened after the ship (Evergreen) was hit by a strong sand storm which made it run into the sidewall of the canal and became non-steerable. This became a major global challenge due to the high number of vessels that use the canal to cut down voyage time.
Seeing this, Burger King as a food brand decided to take advantage of the situation to market their burger. However, it appears the move was not welcome as many commentators found it distasteful and insensitive considering the hardship the situation was causing globally.
Most of the comments reflected the following concerns:“Your burger blocks arteries and veins”
“Burger King, the Artery clogger”
“For a blockade that caused loss of millions of dollars, this is a bad PR by Burger King”
“I get the humour but this makes me wonder what this does to my digestive system”
There were also some comments that reflected a common thought:
When trying to leverage an event to promote your brand, pay attention to the nuances and emotions of people, so you can swing a really brilliant copy and advert.
We guess Burger King didn’t mean to disrespect the sensibilities of people but it is a lesson to look beyond ourselves when promoting our brands.
We are not sure if this affects the customer loyalty for the brand, and like it is widely believed that every publicity is good publicity but it is always better when the publicity wins the affection of more consumers. It improves your brand perception, loyalty, and equity.
Drawing from the lessons of 2020, we decided to start a support community for entrepreneurs and those aspiring to be one sometime soon. It will be a full-blown business community (in the form of an Academy) for those who are seeking to go beyond mere hustle and survival to building sustainable companies and reputable brands.
Many business ideas will be shared.
Statistics and data from various sectors of the Nigerian economy will be shared.
Even foreign networks and opportunities shall be shared.
Hacks and contacts for funding and other access will be shared.
But being a part of this community will not be free. So we can have only committed people on board.
We will learn together without anyone lording it over.
The many questions of members can be answered by different persons, not just one person.
We will have breakout groups according to areas of interest and unique challenges.
There will be an exchange of experiences, resources, and support.
It will be a community for those who want to be inspired and pushed beyond their limits without feeling less of themselves.
There will be hand holding for the weak or inexperienced.
There shall be no talking down or shaming of anyone.
Both the sprinters and crawlers are all welcome on board.
Do you think it is a good idea?
All members will have access to the following:
– An overflow of business tips and insights
– Answers to business questions and challenges
– Access to our resources (ebooks and online courses) at no extra cost
– Discount on our MBA courses in the works
– Access to professionals in various areas (Legal, Accounting/Finance, and many others)
Members of the community will set goals for 2021 and be paired for discipline, focus, and accountability:
– Saving goals
– Investment goals
– Business objectives for the year (You want to attend a global conference or change office or just get the business started? Etc)
– Travel goals
– Self-development goals
– Compliance goals (Your personal tax, company taxes, contract eligibility papers, annual returns, etc)
As we mentioned, it is a full-blown business support community.
Does this interest you?
Do you have someone to sponsor?
Click on REGISTER to enroll.
We can achieve more, one day at a time, with the right community.
We can #DoBusinessBetter
When we took over the management of a restaurant brand, most of the staff were problematic and gave the outgoing manager headache, particularly the cleaners and cooks.
Over ten months after, the same workers are mostly well behaved and improving daily. What changed? Leadership style. We will use a story to explain what we mean.
A few years ago we had a conversation with a restaurant owner who was frustrated by the attitude of her workers. When we inquired to know the grooming process for her employees, she revealed that they were trained by an international expert. We got further information and discovered what the problem was, the workers were trained with the standard template, not bad, but not enough.
These workers live in ghettos and slums. They fight to use the bathroom every morning. They even quarrel to empty their bowels. Then drama with yard people, keke driver, bus conductor that abused them that morning, and the underlying challenges of life they grapple with.
You cannot rework their attitude without addressing the underlying influences of their background. What works in Milan, Madrid, or Copenhagen, will not work the same way in Nigeria. You must adapt to local realities.
So for our restaurant client, we paid close attention to the background and environmental influences on the workers and gradually established a new way of relating to them.
One thing that provided this insight to us was a song by Phil Collins titled “both sides of the story”. In one line of the song, a ghetto kid with a gun grabbed a passerby by the shoulder and asked “would you respect me if I didn’t have this gun?”
We’ve had very personal experiences with three ghettos and could relate to that question, it is the same mindset behind most low cadre employees in businesses. They want to be respected, they want to be heard, they want to know that they matter, they don’t want to be trampled upon, that desire for dignity in humans is also in them.
When next you feel frustrated by your workers, also do a self-evaluation on yourself.
Do you treat them with disdain or respect?
Do you let them talk or you always hush them?
Do you pay attention to where they are coming from or it doesn’t concern you?
Their presence WILL rub off on your brand, it is a guarantee!
This matter is a major hindrance to the transition of many businesses into fabulous brands. You are putting in the effort but workers are messing things up, it is a real struggle and you have to find a way around it if you want to grow. Some of these workers are set in their ways and I advise for such, you work towards easing them out of your system.
We hope these perspectives will enable you to handle your workers better.