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; and with its proximity to towns and cities like Umuahia, Aba, Onitsha, Elele, Port Harcourt, these could be reached within two hours’ drive.
Owerri is known for its high concentration of hotels, many of them luxurious. By locations they can be found in the New Owerri (Imo Concorde axis), Ikenegbu Layout, Works Layout, World Bank, Federal Housing Estate parts of the city, with many of them known to operate at full occupancy, especially at weekend. Benchmark Hotels is one of the many hotels located in this hub.
Located in a conducive area at Ikenegbu, which is regarded as one of the best residential layouts in Owerri municipality, Benchmark is easily accessible.
The hotel is about nine years old and is said to be outstanding for its high quality of service; a place where you are can be sure to be well treated, especially after the stressful and tension filled day.
On a visit, guests get the best experience of good and quality foods, drinks and whatever good thing a hospitality and leisure centre of that standard can offer to its publics.
Speaking exclusively to business a.m. Ogunyemi Odunayo, a professional and seasoned leisure and hospitality administrator, and general manager, Benchmark Hotels 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 Benchmark was 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 available at Benchmark including laundry, gymnasium, as well as other sports and leisure facilities.
The hotel has 30 rooms, and like most modern hotels, are well equipped, with each room having well-functioning air conditioning system with the latest internet facilities for guests to enable them transact their businesses.
And guests or customers 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 of breakfast, lunch and dinner,” he added.
In spite of the advantages of the environment, tight security and location that it has to its advantage, Benchmark can easily be accessed from Okigwe Road, by prison junction; Wetheral Road, by Cherubim junction; Benchmark has some challenges that tends to make the business seem really tough.
“The major challenge is power, the epileptic power supply; we almost run the hotel on generators, which is expensive and eats up nearly all the 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 the 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.