Franchise of foreign hotel brands not helping the economy –Eruotor

As top international hotel brands and restaurants continue to set up shop Nigeria, the President of White House, Lagos, Mr. Austin Eruotor, said the local brands are not threatened by the development in this interview with ADEDEJI ADEMIGBUJI

How has it been easy for to build a brand name for a local hospitality business in Nigeria?

It is not easy at all. The running cost is high. When you talk about power for example, the immediate problem we have in Nigeria is that of power because it is messing up our economy. Here, we run our generator 24 hours because there is no way a visitor or an expatriate will come here and you tell him you don’t have power supply.

We even have three generating sets running the hotel. We cannot rely on one. So we have lots of obstacles, starting from power. We also have the problem of multiple taxation.

We are having lots of franchise of global hotel brands in Nigeria, how do you see it?

Generally it’s a very large market.

To tell you the truth we don’t have enough hotels in Nigeria. I don’t think we have a five-star hotel in Nigeria. Imagine we have an event here today like World Cup, I don’t think we will be able to host it because we haven’t got enough accommodation for people that will be coming in and for those franchises that are coming in, I think they are just creating employment for their own country instead of our own people because I don’t see any way they are better than our own hotels on ground. The government needs to look into this to encourage more local hotels.

Why do you think Nigerians go for foreign brands?

Most people don’t want to start; they don’t want to go through too many risks. Those people who are investing in the hospitality business might not really be into the game, they believe if they build the brand they will be able to recover their investment quicker but at the same time it is good to build a brand. I don’t believe in imitating a foreign brand, I believe in building a brand.

Once you give a quality service, people will accept you and you become your own brand. Most people just want to bring a brand and make their money quickly but it doesn’t work like that. I believe in building the Nigerian brand.

What is your target market, beyond entertainment celebs?

In GRA we have a lot of oil and gas expatriates here. GRA is upscale so we do a lot of direct marketing with oil companies especially. So most of our customers are not mostly entertainment personalities but corporate clients.

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