Industry Update
Press Release20 June 2018

Property developers should seek early professional advice when embarking on hotel projects

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BON Hotels

An African awakening in the hotel development arena might be an understatement as hotel projects, contracts and deals are concluded at a rapid pace in many well-disposed countries across the continent. Countries like Nigeria, DRC and Angola are entering the radar of major hotel investment, whilst destinations such as Tanzania, Namibia, Zambia and South Africa still enjoy their place in the sun.

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Guy Stehlik, CEO of BON Hotels, says that property developers who are embarking on hotel projects would save themselves anguish and financial distress if they approached professional, experienced hotel management companies or hoteliers as early as possible. "I've experienced it time and time again: desperate property developers reaching out to us after the hallmark DIY steps have been exhausted on their hotel project. Two or three trips to China's 'one-stop hotel design' shops later, without taking any cognisance of developing a hotel with the markets it will serve in mind, and a few too many plunges into his own capital, funds have dried up - 30% into the project and the dream has become a nightmare."

According to Stehlik, the most common errors occur at the offset of the design and architectural planning of the hotel. Hotel space requires a specific planning, flow and dynamic in order to use the space effectively. Consideration for storage, office and administration may be overlooked, parking and regulations are ignored, reception areas are poorly planned and food and beverage facilities are not cohesive. "A common mistake, and one that I've seen frequently when considering projects in Africa, is poor planning of space. Food and beverage is often a critical victim. Pool bars, roof bars, restaurants for breakfast, restaurants for lunch, coffee shops, you name it - multiple food and beverage facilities that will certainly result in a staffing, procurement and operational disaster."

The hotel guest has become a significant critic and guest requirements should not be overlooked. Room design must include sound-proof doors, decent bathroom facilities and fittings, hotel-appropriate televisions, correct hotel mattresses, curtaining and linen.

Stehlik notes that the BON Hotels group have often had to walk away from what could have been very successful hotel developments because they did not see viable solutions to the project "other than demolishing the entire building at whatever stage we found it and starting again - we have left owners dumb-founded and desperate and elected to walk away. We've seen some of the best locations in Africa destined for failure by inexperienced property developers."

Hotel management companies should get involved early, from conceptualisation, architectural planning, projections (which will assist in funding), feasibility assessments. Hotel projects can result in a superior return on investment, but relying on personal or amateur hotel experience can see any property developer come a-cropper.

About BON Hotels

BON Hotels, a South African-based hospitality company that owns, manages and markets hotels throughout Africa, now operates 37 hotels across the African continent, including hotels in Ethiopia, Namibia, DRC and South Africa. The West African arm, BON Hotels International West Africa, oversees the operations and management of 25 hotels across 14 cities in Nigeria.

Driven by a clear ethos - "Good people. Good thinking. Good feeling." - BON Hotels believes in creating loyalty among their guests, suppliers, hotel owners and stakeholders by bringing a fresh and relevant approach to every aspect of hotel management and operations. BON have developed a reputation for challenging the norm and raising the bar - all in the name of exceptional experiences.

Backed by a team of highly experienced, resourceful and inspired individuals, CEO and founder Guy Stehlik is committed to establishing and nurturing good relationships at all levels at each property. They are a team of good people, doing good things.

Developing "Africa by Africans" remains front and centre of the BON Hotel growth strategy and commitment to Africa.

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Amelia Hayes
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