Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja
BON Hotels International has begun the launch of 11 new hotels across the country with the unveiling of BON Hotel, Maitama, Abuja. This brings the total number of hotels being managed by BON to 25.
The Chairman, BON Hotels International West Africa, Mr. Otto Stehlik, while speaking yesterday at the launch of the newly refurbished BON Hotel Abuja, said he was extremely pleased at the progress of the BON group, adding that BON Hotel recognised the need of skills development when it began operating in Nigeria.
He said this idea formed an ideal base for future growth in Nigeria on all levels, stressing that BON Hotels have a sincere strategy of tapping into the skills and expertise of seasoned hoteliers of upskilling local talent.
According to him, “We put together a transformation program, which the board identified as a priority. We are finally in a position where we have a team of elite Nigerians who have been trained, educated, skilled and, importantly, mentored to head up and be supported by senior executive management and head office.”
Also, the Executive Director of BON Hotels International West Africa, Mr. Bernard Cassar, said the organisation is proud that its hotels across Nigeria is peopled by mainly Nigerians and a few expatriates staff have devoted their energy into transferring their knowledge and abilities to eager Nigerian recruits.
He stated: “Of the 25 hotels which BON hotels manage across Nigeria, 80% of their General Managers, Deputy Managers, Senior Management, department heads and executive chefs have, over the last two years, been trained, skilled and promoted to senior level positions by the group.
“We are able to boast from the rooftops that more and more of our hotels are managed on a senior level by locally trained Nigerian staff. This strategy has been a work in progress, when as far back as 2001, Nigerian individuals were identified and fast tracked to form a new generation of localized senior managers”.
He explained that the Nigerian management headed by a Nigerian, Mr. Paul Umoh, who, from his position as executive director and major shareholder at BON Hotels International West Africa, has been one of the many local Nigerians who have been fast-tracked through the transformation policy, adding Umoh heads up the on-the-ground operational management of the Nigerian hotels.
Casser lamented that most multinational Nigerian hotel sector has been run and managed by expatriate leaderships from countries such as the United Kingdom and South Africa in the past, saying that predisposed support of imported staff, imported raw material, and imported supplies with very little local encouragement is one that BON Hotel has come to address.