EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW with Dr. Austine Eruotor
with President of WHITE HOUSE HOTELS, Lagos.
Hospitality9ja’s first interview chat with the owner of a renowned indigenous hotel brand in Nigeria. In this interview with Dr Austine Eruotor, President of The White House Hotels, you will learn about the possible challenges, owning or managing a hotel and also reasons why Nigeria is a tourist destination and also a place with loads of investment opportunities. We the team of hospitality9ja appreciate the patriotic Nigerian, Dr Austine Eruotor for taking out time from his busy schedule to grant us this section:
We understand you have two Hotels? Yes, both in Ikeja, the first which is the oldest in Toyin Street, while the newest in GRA Ikeja.
When did you open your first hotel? 2004. The second one in G.R.A. was launched five years later.
Can you tell us how business has been so far? We thank God. Business has been very good. But recently we’re doing averagely as the economy situation of the country is affecting our business and the Government is yet to implement the 2016 budget.
Apart of the current economy situation of the country, what are your challenges so far? There are lot of challenges, but the major one is spending so much on purchasing diesel. Nigeria has power issues from time to time. Power is key in making guests comfortable. The second is providing security, if you look around you will find mobile police men, this is to keep our guests secured. These are numerous challenges as we spend so much on them due to the situation of the country.
Despite the challenges, do you guarantee guest’s 24 hours power supply? Yes, we ensure there is always power, we offer guest satisfaction, by providing all their needs to have a memorable stay. Guest satisfaction is always our priority.
Since you have been in the Hospitality business, have you ever contributed to the growth of the society? Yes.
What and how have you contributed? Through Youth empowerment. Over the years, we have supported the Nigerian youths in the entertainment Industry. We started as an entertainment outfit before branching into Hotels and encouraged artist like Tu-face, Rugged man, Timaya, Wande coal and so many others, as a matter of fact, D-banj launched his first ever album in White House Hotel. In the past, as an entertainment outfit, we organized a show Rock the Mic, where artist showcase their talents by performing and earning support, financially and otherwise.
What is the most interesting aspect of being part of the hospitality Industry? The social aspect, meeting people, making connections, which helps generate business leads and help business grow and learning
from these people.
Do you have plans for expansion? Definitely Yes. There is always need for collaboration and growth.
Do you think they are opportunities for foreign investors? Nigerian tourism is a big sector yet untapped. So yes, I think there are loads of opportunities for investors. For example the Caribbean Islands, St. Lucia and others have same climate as Nigeria and their major revenue is from tourism, Nigeria has lots of tourism potentials, yet to be discovered.
As a well travelled business man, what makes Nigeria different from other countries you’ve been? Nigerians are unique and very happy people, most hospitable and friendly. Nigeria is one of a kind, a place to be and I urge anyone who hasn’t been here to come and see. Nigeria is a relatively safe country, as every country has its challenges.