In a bid to tackle the tough business environment occasioned by inflation and floating of dollars, hoteliers and hospitality companies in Nigeria at the recently held 2023 Hotel Expo Nigeria,, (HEN) explored business trends, innovative ways of staying afloat.
The 2023 HEN themed: ‘Connecting sustainable partnerships’, a two-day event treated subject matters such as sales, insecurity, quality and standard in the hospitality industry in Nigeria among top industry practitioners such as Abhay Bhargava, Chairman/Founder, I-Field Interior, Wole Fayemi, MD/CEO, Heirs General Insurance , Judith Atibi, Broadcast Journalist, Scarlet Gomez, Digital Media Strategist, Kunle Remi, Filmmaker, Chinedu Ani Emmanuel, Media Personality and Amiola Aguda, Media Personality.
The industry, which has been hard hit at short intervals since the out-break of the pandemic in 2020, is now thinking out of the box to stay afloat mid networking to learn how best to handle the current harsh economy.in view of that, industry stakeholders, hospitality related businesses, investors among others gathered in Lagos at this year’s hotel expo Nigeria (HEN).to hobnob once again and learn trends that will help their businesses thrive despite the challenges. Now in 4th edition HEN, a premier West African Hospitality Exhibition networking and conference event, witnessed the gathering of over 60 exhibitors in the industry and related fields from across Nigeria to a two day hospitality expo at the Landmark Event Centre Lekki, Lagos.
It also paraded industry think tanks featuring some of the best hands and those who shared their success testimonies and practical solutions to stay afloat now. They included: Belinda Nwosu, faculty member, Lagos Business School and Hospitality Consultant, Karl Hala, group general manager, Continental Hotels Nigeria, Raymond Herrington, principal consultant, Herrington Consulting, Wole Fayemi, MD/CEO, Heirs General Insurance , Abhay Bhargava, Chairman/ Founder, I-field Interior, among others.
In their panel session themed “Career development and its relevance in the hospitality industry the speakers insisted that any hospitality business that needs to stay afloat in the face of the economic realities , should be innovative with its offerings, good packaging, ensure sustained standards, security and also priorities the growth and welfare of staff. Earlier in the first session of the first day on AI in the industry, the experts carefully dissected the relevance of AI, its effects on the hospitality industry and why everyone should get onboard. They also cleared the air on the fear that AI will take all the jobs, noting that hospitality is all about service, personal touch and feedback, so AI has its place and not taking over from humans.
“We delivered on our promise that we are going to do this, we were able to bring the best of the best, and we were able to create that connection that everybody is enjoying”.
Those who stayed till the last day of the expos gained from the insights provided at the CEO’S Talk by industry experts on insurance in hospitality, an issue they have always evaded.
At the talk, Wole Fayemi MD/CEO. Heirs General Insurance and Abhay Bhargava, chairman and founder, i-field interior, each rendered credible insights into the impact of partnership, technology and innovation in hospitality. They summed their points into three salient points: First, a business plan should be quite futuristic and prepared for eventualities that may or may not happen, secondly, it is very essential to insure your business to cover uncertainties and finally to ensure periodic training and welfare packages for staff members to aid with the workflow in the business/ industry.
Speaking at the expo, Joe Hanson, Convener/Founder of HEN, expressed his excitement over the solutions proffered by industry experts and gainful networking at expo. “It is amazing that despite the economic challenges that AFRICA is facing, the hospitality industry is still thriving.
“It navigated the covid-19 pandemic challenges, many other challenges at short intervals and even the current economic hardship. “but we need to network, hobnob, exchange and learn innovative and trendy ways to stay afloat and adjust in the face of the current economic realities in the country. “Hanson said” The expo , according to him, also offered the participants an out of office advertising platform. There is nothing like hobnobbing with your fellow hoteliers, sharing ideas and making sales. It is like marketing outside your office. And just as you put billboards, do radio and TV adverts, the exhibitors and visitors did all of that here, “he said.
Speaking further, he noted that HEN 2023 was able to deliver, provide and connect hoteliers and hospitality firms in a way that addressed critical issues and provided solutions that could move industry forward.
“We delivered on our promise that we are going to do this, we were able to bring the best of the best, and we were able to create that connection that everybody is enjoying. He said in the vein Uchenna Ibemere of Cavitas Group, one of the exhibitors, which was represented by glocient hospital limited(operators of Ikogosi warm springs and resort), noted that HEN2023, offered the group opportunity to further showcase the stakeholders of the hospitality industry and the general public the improved offerings at Ikogosi and more reasons to choose the resort over foreign destinations by Nigeria Holiday Makers. Some of the trends and innovations unveiled at the expo include the ones by Jara beach, heirs life insurance, among others.
Jara Beach Resort came up with an innovative idea on how hotels and destination managers can get people to plan for their weekends and establish good holiday culture, instead of the usual rush during holidays that cost more. They also unveiled some efforts at promoting domestic tourism in a stylish way.
However, the exhibitors at the expo include: Martell, Heirs life, vitafoam, konkere, Aplus Drinks, Cavitas Group, Lagos Continental. The Wow Both, Park Inn by Radisson Jara Beach, MTN Business, Konga among others.