OGUNYEMI ODUNAYO, the general manager of Owerri-based Benchmark Hotels Limited, speaks to business a.m.’s DIKACHI FRANKLIN on the readiness of the hotel to receive a whole lot of guests and customers during the Yuletide.
THIS is a season when some people would want a quiet place to spend the Yuletide with their families or friends, could you share with us some of the preparations you have made for the comfort of your customers and guests?
As we all know, in Igbo land, we don’t joke with Christmas, we celebrate Christmas. Those that are far away from the East will come home to celebrate Christmas with their families and friends. So, we in the hospitality industry are always here, to welcome them and our guests from outside the state and beyond.
Definitely some of them may not have a quiet place to stay or a place of comfort because the house may not be ready for their use or for their comfort or they may need a good environment to transact some businesses or have some meetings. It is most likely that everything they need for their comfort has been provided at Benchmark Hotels limited.
We have been making a lot of arrangements for their coming so that they will have a pleasant stay.
Normally, during ember months (September – December) or season like this, you see a lot of renovations going on, upgrading of your facilities so that it will enable you meet up with the demands for the Christmas. So a lot of activities have been going on in this hotel, making sure that the generators, the rooms other facilities are kept in order. So we are ready to receive our guests and costumers for the Christmas.
COULD you also tell us how prepared your F & B (food and beverage) department for the festive influx of people?
In terms of foods and drinks we are always there, definitely when they come to patronize our business, foods and drinks are always part of the things they are going to enjoy and enough of drinks, food items and foods are in stuck.
MANY people fear to visit home because they do not want to risk their lives, families or friends they would want to travel with. They fear that they are not protected and more so that hotels are public places even criminals visit, could you tell us how much security arrangements are in place?
LOOK, we work hand-in-hand with the government and the government of this state is doing a lot to ensure that there is always protection of lives and property, so the safety of our guests and customers is assured. And we in the hospitality industry make our own internal arrangements; you hardly see any hotel operating without armed security men. So we are always ready to ensure the safety of our guests and customers.
BENCHMARK Hotels we know is always a busy hotel where customers come in and go out. In a festive period like this, it is envisaged that there is going to be influx of guests, do you have enough rooms to accommodate the expected guests?
We have about 40 rooms here and they are tastefully furnished and with internet facilities because the system is going digital.
CAN you say that Benchmark’s offering are superior to others operating around here?
I want to believe that as we are making arrangements to welcome our guests in this particular season other hotels are doing the same. And it may be in a different way but we are doing a lot to satisfy our guests and make them comfortable because this is our peak period. And if you are in business and you see that the demand for goods or services are rising and you don’t make arrangements to meet up with the demands of your customers you miss it and you will lose.
WILL the rising demand of your services increase the prices of your goods and services?
Yes, when the demand rises, actually the prices of goods and services will be affected alongside with the demand, this is the law of demand and vice versa. Ordinarily we don’t intend to increase our rate but some of the items we use to service our facilities we get them from the markets and when their prices in the markets increase they will invariably affect the prices of our own products and services. We sell based on what we buy, so the market price of what we buy is the determinant of what we are going to sell.
Christmas as we all know is a period when people and corporate organisations give and receive gift items. Do you have any such plan to appreciate your customers for all their patronage in the year 2019?
Yes, there is always need to appreciate your customers for patronizing your business because in this business, it is very, very competitive. You have to keep your customers happy, for patronizing the business, by preparing some gifts in appreciation. It is very good to do that, it is one of the things we do in Benchmark Hotels.
FINALLY, do you have any other message for the public for the Christmas and the New Year?
Yes, I have a lot but I want to tell them that at Benchmark Hotels, we are always ready to receive you and make your stay a memorable one. Whenever you come to Owerri, ask of Benchmark hotels. We have varieties of items, products and above all, we will give you the best services that you will not forget and you will never remain the same.