An Interactive Session between the Acting Managing Director Imo Concorde Hotel and the SSA Public Enlightenment to the Governor Prince Eze Ugochukwu.
Can we know you and your background?
My name is Raphael Jude Ude. I am the acting managing director Imo Concorde Hotel. Before now, I schooled at the University of Jos, where I did my first degree in Theatre Arts and proceeded to do my Masters in International Law and Diplomacy. Since I left the University, I have been working with the Transcorp Hilton Hotel Abuja, until I came down to Owerri.
Having heard stories about concession and ownership, what did you meet on ground on joining Concorde Hotel?
When we came in, we came with excitement. However when we came we suffered a huge setback. We saw a team that said they owned the Hotel. This was championed by one Kingsley Onyegbula who later was thoroughly warned by the State Government to steer clear.
Looking at your records, was there any trace of ownership by them?
We have not seen trace of ownership. We know that ownership manifest in interest, so looking around, there is no sign of ownership traceable to them nor intetest.
Since you took over the running of Concorde Hotel, has there been any report of conflict by your team and other persons?
Apart from propaganda on social media, we only know that the case was taken to court, where they alleged that the Hotel was on lease to them.
When you took over, there was no light in Concorde Hotel; this gave rise to a drop in patronage. What have you done with respect to this?
A building of this magnitude needs a functional 1000KVA generator. However, when we came we saw a 600kva generator which was never serviced nor maintained in months. We learnt that other generators were left to pack-up. All our efforts to hire generators from people were frustrated. It took the intervention of the SSG to salvage that situation of securing a generator for Concorde Hotel. We are glad that power has been restored back, as patronage and occupancy has returned.
There is need to meet up standard in terms of renovation and services. What are you doing in respect of meeting acceptable first class standard?
This is a major issue as the rooms are yearning for upgrade. Currently we need a minor, major or master plan renovation. From what we have heard before now, nothing shows that 20 Million has been injected into this Hotel. We need experts to come and make a clear assessment of what is on ground, which will be geared towards a renovation.
What are the unique selling points of Concorde Hotel?
Concorde Hotel is the best hotel in Owerri and the whole of the South East, looking at the infrastructure, and services. We have dedicated staff that are always ready to go the extra mile in making sure that our customers feel the taste of great service. We glide on the wings of International best industrial practices.
What are your accounting methods and how do you track expenses and revenues?
When we came, we met a system that couldn’t boast of an automated hotel management and accounting system. A complex business of this nature was exposed to a lot of pilfering and leakages. However, we are in talks with a company to assist us with a world class accounting system that will help us block all leakages and at the same time run a standard business.
How are you marketing the hotel in line with the digital age?
When we came in, we studied the business environment and from there, we understood that hotel business is a weekend business here. Currently, we have been talking to various organizations to re-establish our relationship with them. I have also lectured my team to engage in interactions with people both online and offline, to promote our Hotel and Services. Currently, we are on platform called “Trip Adviser” and we are doing well.
You have beautiful conference halls, and environment for seminars and events. Owerri used to be the hub of Seminars and Concorde Hotel used to be the venue for all. What are you doing to regain the trust of the cooperate organizations that left?
Growing up in Owerri, Concorde used to be the venue for all conferences. When we came in, we studied the timetable of these events, and currently we are talking to all professional bodies to re-establish contact with them again; that a new management is out to pilot the affairs of Concorde Hotel. We are also working on securing a desk at the Imo Airport to make our presence at the Airport prominent.
How good is your customer care relation?
We have good customer care relationship. We monitor and fill the gap of the need of our customers. We have a religion of calling at least 10 guests in the hotel or more daily, to check on them and know how they are doing.
How are your room prices, are they competitive enough? Yes, we have rooms that suites all classes of the masses and they are quite affordable in line with best practices?
Are you interfacing with Government departments to regain their loyalty, interest and patronage.
Yes. We are currently doing that. We have written to them and also offered them cooperate prices to have them on board for their events and hotel needs.
Let’s talk about your Kitchen. How good is your kitchen and what are you offering in form of cuisines.
When we came in, the hotel wasn’t there. We met chefs that weren’t motivated. So we did a restructuring that gave rise to great improvements. We have wonderful buffet services here both morning and evening. We now have families walk in and eat in the morning and night.
How is the Concorde Village? What are your pland for it?
We have a Concorde Village that has all it takes to function but the previous management never tapped into this. The Concorde village is for everyone. We are making plans to line up activities that will cater for all genres. We are creating a plan that will have the last Saturday of every month dedicated to party and good music. We will take it up and give our people great entertainment feelings.
Looking at the bad narrative about Hotels, and considering prostitution, drug abuse etc; what are you doing in to curtail this in your premises?
We have amazing security men alongside great surveillance. They all work hand in glove in line with best practices to ensure the safety of guest and their properties. If at all we notice anyone misbehaving in the vicinity, we have a wonderful way to address such a situation without creating scenes.
What is your last message for Imolites?
Our message is a message of hope and revival. It is to let all Imolites know that a new management has come to pilot the affairs of Concorde Hotel. We have embraced International Best Practices to ensure that we restore the Concorde Hotel that Sam Mbakwe bequeathed to us.