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Lagos Continental Hotel reopens, promises quality service

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Marcel Brekelmans, GM Lagos Continental Hotel (left), Selasie Atadika, Ghanaian chef, and Ekene Nnabuihe, Director of Sales & Marketing, Lagos Continental Hotel at the reopening retreat.

Having gone through a management change, which also led to the total renovation of the facility, the Lagos Continental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos, on October 15, 2020, reopened its door for customers. This is coming seven months of shutdown occasioned by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Alongside the opening is the noticeable refurbishment and upgrade projects in the hotel to meet the highest standard of hospitality.

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According to the management of the hotel, it used the lockdown period wisely to make continuous improvements to the hotel in order to meet the needs and demands of the modern business traveler, who looks for honest luxury without all the bells and whistles.

However, having stayed long out of business, the management of the Victoria Island-based hotel spiced the reopening with unique activities including; media launch, reopening staff retreat, reach-out to guests, among others.

To prepare staff for the task ahead, the hotel also hosted a special retreat where top players in the hospitality industry engaged staff on how to give their best to customers, who are seeking quality service. Aside from in-house experts, who shared a winning tips with the staff, Michael Idakwo, a hospitality consultant, and chef Selassie Attadika, a Ghanaian culinary expert and winner of one of the 100 Chefs of the World 2019, also had sessions at the one-day retreat.

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In his presentation titled Exceeding guests’ expectations, Idakwo noted that exceeding expectations is not a wish but a work, which must be diligently and consistently done by the entire hotel staff.

He argued that the recession had an impact on the hospitality industry, but that the pandemic came with unprecedented impact, which means that only hotels that offer exceptional services can survive post-pandemic.

“Only happy staff can make a happy customer. So, learn, improve your skills, and jettison any excuse that will impact negatively customers’ expectations. If you do that, there will be more referrals from the happy guest and your exceptional service will be rewarded,” he told participants.

According to Idakwo, customers expect good feelings, to be respected, celebrated, informed, served, among others services, which can be delivered only by exceptional staff, who often hone their skills, create magic and differentiate their services.

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In her presentation titled Africa Excellence, award-winning Chef Selassie Atadika motivated the participants with her success story in the food business, with thriving African-themed restaurants.

“You can be that staff every guest is looking forward to the meeting if you put your mind in what you do and also make consistent efforts to improve on your knowledge and skills required to render exceptional service,” she said.

She noted that local delicacies are part of African culture, and delivering them in a more appealing way would encourage guests from other parts of the world to taste and appreciate them, as well as, help in preserving African heritage.

To be exceptional and portray the ‘African Excellence’ in their service, the chef urged staff members to understand the important role each plays in the new team, to be detailed in delivering even the smallest service and create amazing guest experiences that would change the usual narrative to African excellence.

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In a chat with the General Manager of the hotel, Marcel Brekelmans, he assured guests of quality service delivery, even as he noted that the management of the hotel is beginning to see the motivation and passion to be exceptional among the new and returning staff.

“We have made adequate preparations for our guests’ return, with their safety and that of our colleagues as our topmost priority”, he assured.

While assuring of strict safety measures already put in place, Brekelmans said, “Our rooms are rigorously cleaned and disinfected for in-house guests. After departure, rooms are left for a minimum of 24 hours, and decontaminated prior to another guest’s arrival”.

According to him, the hotel’s in-room directory now comes in a newspaper form, enabling the hotel to change it on a daily basis to avoid paper contamination.”

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Other upgrades in the hotel include; the installation of full-size luggage scanners on the entrance door, upgrade of rooms and public areas, the reconceptualisation of the restaurants and bars, and the implementation of staff development programmes.

Also, the hotel’s technical systems were not left out, especially water management, power, management, AC, and cooling systems.

The GM informed that as part of the hotel’s strategic reopening, several appointments (both domestic and expatriates) were made in the last five months, within the executive leadership team and top management with a focus on key areas within the business to support the next phase of growth.

“We enjoin you to consider a visit or tour of our property, where we will be more than pleased to show you our efforts in the past seven months,” he said.

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While speaking with journalists, Ekene Nnabuihe, director of sales and marketing of the hotel, noted that the facility upgrades were necessary in order to offer guests the best value for money in a very safe and secure environment, while the hotel strives to maintain high standards across its offerings.

The 358-room Lagos Continental Hotel was shut down for facility upgrade on July 31, 2020. Before the upgrade, it was earlier closed for the period of lockdown. A 5-Star hotel lying in the popular highbrow area of Lagos, at Plot 52, Kofo Abayomi Street, Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria, it is the tallest hospitality building in Nigeria.

With its terraces, it offers splendid views of Lagos city, most importantly the Lagos Port and Lagos skyline.11 Plc, formerly known as Mobil Oil Nigeria Plc, acquired Lagos Continental Hotel through its subsidiary company.

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