By Dikachi Franklin, in Owerri
In the South-east and South-south geopolitical zones of Nigeria, Owerri, the capital of Imo State, occupies a strategic location as the heartland of the east with proximity to other major towns, including Umuahia, Aba, Onitsha, Elele, Port Harcourt, all of which could be reached within two hours’ drive.
Owerri is known for its avalanche of luxury hotels in scattered across the city – New Owerri (Imo Concorde axis), Ikenegbu Layout, Works Layout, World Bank, Federal Housing Estate etc, and they operate at full capacity, especially at weekends. One of these hotels is Benchmark.
Benchmark Hotels limited is located in a conducive place, precisely at Ikenegbu which is one the best residential layouts in Owerri municipality, Imo State and is easily accessible.
Benchmark, as it is usually called, is about nine years old. It is outstanding for its high quality of service, where you would be treated well, especially after the day’s stress and tensions.
On a visit, guests will get the most of good and quality foods, drinks and whatever good thing a hospitality and leisure centre of that standard can offer to its publics.
Speaking in an exclusive interview with business a.m., a professional and seasoned leisure and hospitality administrator, OgunyemiOdunayo, the general manager (GM) of the hotel said, “you can see for yourself, how glittering the environment is, Benchmark is easily accessible, our high quality of service speaks for us.
“We offer comfortable, clean and fun facilities for guests, family vacations, parties, corporate retreats, saddle clubs and weddings and facilities for romantic getaway for local and international guests or visitors”.
He said that Benchmark is being run by professionals, and that apart from the main services hotels are known for and provide for customers and guests, there are other ancillary services offered in the hotel such as, laundry, gymnasium and other sports and leisure facilities.
The hotel has 30 rooms, each has a well-functioning air conditioning system with the latest internet facilities for guests, to enable them transact their business.
And guests who eat at the restaurant would always remember the blend of exotic cuisine, a flavour that had been perfected; “it is a taste that will nourish the body and the soul”, he said. Also wine and dine facilities are available, including serving breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he added.
In spite of the advantages of the environment, tight security, location to its advantage, Benchmark is easily accessible from Okigwe Road by prison junction, Wetheral Road by Cherubim junction, Benchmark has some challenges that try to sap the gains and profits made.
“The major challenge is power, the epileptic power supply; we almost run the hotel with our generators which are expensive, eating almost the profits or gains we make. The Enugu Electricity Distribution Company (EEDC), which supplies power to Imo State, has increased its tariff. The high rate of tariff goes a long way to reduce the profits, it is a very big challenge to us,’ Odunayo said.
“There are also challenges of multiple taxations in Owerri; because of too many tax agents that demand payment. The government can come in and do something about this because if we cannot make profit the business will not go on. And the multiple taxations will also discourage both local and international investors who would want to come to the state to invest,” he said.