…Wellington Mpofu, Director, Sales & Marketing, Radisson Blu
By Morenike Taire, Woman Editor & Josephine Agbonkhese
As plans get into top gear for the celebration of Christmas and the new year 2020 across the world, Radisson Blu Hotels in Nigeria unveil their own plans, and why they are family focused this yuletide.
What inspired your partnership with Vanguard Newspapers’ Women’s Desk?
That’s because we believe in the cause of women. If you look around, you’ll see that women are the backbone of any society. Every child you see was born and nurtured by a woman. As they grow up too, they learn more under the love of a woman (their mothers); and when children lack this kind of love, they become misfits in the society. Therefore, we value the cause of women and that was why we collaborated with ‘Vanguard Woman’—which is the brand name for Vanguard Newspapers’ Women’s Desk. We are quite excited about what they are doing.
Does this have anything to do with your vision as a hotel?
Precisely, not only the vision of this hotel alone but the vision of the brand; we believe in women empowerment and the strength and initiatives that women are bringing forward. It’s a brand thing. We are empowering women and making it easier for them to take on positions in the echelon of our organisation.
Where in your top management positions do you currently have women?
The Radisson Hotel Group comprises a number of brands including the Radisson Hotel, Radisson Blu and then the Park Inn. At the Park Inn in Victoria Island, Lagos, the General Manager is a woman. She is one of the few women General Managers we have in top hotels in the country. In Radisson Blu too, you will see a number of management positions being manned by competent women. Our Training Manager, Purchasing Manager, Meeting & Events Manager and more, are women.
Does this allow the hotel compete favourably in the hospitality industry here in Nigeria?
If you look around, you will realise that one of the most pronounced hotel brands in Nigeria and Lagos in particular, is the Radisson Hotel Group. Our various brands enable us to be a great player in the market. The group is recognised as one of the fastest growing brands in the continent.
…and how did you attain that?
Through our service philosophy. We never say ‘no’ to a client; we believe we can do everything. In fact, our mantra is ‘Yes, we can”. We have trained ourselves that way and this is a ground-breaking service philosophy. If, for instance, a client asks for something, we never say we cannot provide it. We go the extra mile to satisfy clients’ every need.
As part of our philosophy, we also believe in having fun. In fact, our employees will tell you that at Radisson, we have fun in everything that we do. We also believe in diversities, ideas and trust.
Talking about having fun, we’re in the yuletide; how do you hope to make the season really fun for Nigerians?
The Radisson Hotel, particularly in Victoria Island, is one place to be this period. This is because of the activities we have planned out. More importantly, it is a time for giving back. For example, we have a package that lets people lodge for three nights and pay only for two. The third night is given for free in the spirit of Christmas.
We’ve got a number of kids’ activities as well; including jumping castles and so on. This is so that when parents are having their time, the children are also having a good time. We have put in place security structures so that parents are not wary of letting their children away from their sights. We also have a number of gift vouchers that people can buy and give to their loved ones. We also have packages that help people out so that they enjoy some site attractions.
We are also going to have sumptuous Christmas meals that are quite enticing for the whole family. We have a top chef from South Africa handling that.
Will they be mostly continental or Nigerian?
This is a mix; Nigerian and transcontinental. We are taking into consideration the fact that a lot of people are coming from outside of Lagos and Nigeria and would want meals different from what they have been used to. They also need to get a feel and taste of Nigeria at its best.
You’ve been in Nigeria for a few years now; what do you like most about Lagos?
I like the vibrancy and fact that there is nothing definite about Lagos; you are always on the lookout for adventure and experience in a particular way. There is nothing that is mundane here; everything is always reinvented every day in terms of food, bar, etc. There is always something new coming up.
In terms of logistics, how is your hotel positioned to access this adventure?
We are aware of the changing needs and trends whether in the accommodation or food sector. For example, by January next year, we will be redoing our rooms. We already have some rooms that have been commissioned and approved. These are being rolled out with a softer appeal in terms of the finishing, with little contemporary feel; but with maintained African feel and structure of the establishment. We’re also going to be working on the corridors, restaurants, doors and carpets. So, it’s a major facelift which is in line with the ever-changing needs of customers.
How much of local content will go into this facelift?
At the core is the African feel; therefore, it will require people from the African continent. There will also be Nigerians, of course.