TREVOR WARD

Nigeria 2020 | TOURISM & ENTERTAINMENT | INTERVIEW

We look at what hotel guests want and how much they are willing to pay for each product.

Trevor Ward
BIOGRAPHY

Since the late 1980s, Trevor Ward has specialized in the provision of advisory services to clients in developing countries. He has been based in Nigeria for more than 17 years, advising clients there and throughout sub-Saharan Africa. His international experience includes advising clients on real estate development in more than 90 countries in Europe, North and South America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Asia. With a focus on sub-Saharan Africa, he works with many international hotel and real estate groups seeking to establish a presence there.

What services do you provide to hotels?
We do feasibility studies to analyze the market. We look at what hotel guests want and how much they are willing to pay for each product. From that, we can calculate how much profit can be made. Once we are past that stage, we devise and implement a strategy for the branding and management of the new hotel, if that is the appropriate route to take. In addition, we assist in the design process of new hotels, working with the design team and the chosen brand to “get it done."

What are some of the trends that are shaping Nigeria's hospitality sector?
The hospitality sector was not well-developed up until 15 years ago. As trust and confidence in the government and economy increased, more local investors decided to invest in the hospitality and tourism sectors, in particular hotels and restaurants. Since then, the quality of services and products has continued to improve. Moreover, several international hotel chains entered the market and raised the bar. The arrival of international hotel chains is why independent hotels are now in great shape, as they are now seeking to emulate the branded offerings.

Can you break down the tourism sector for us?
Apart from some exceptions, domestic tourists represent the biggest segment of the market. Some 90% of guests in hotels in Lagos are Nigerians. Unlike some other countries, hotels in Nigeria charge the same price to domestic and international tourists. Moreover, the tourism industry can only really access finance from local banks. Due to the volatile nature of the Nigerian naira, it is hard to get and service loans from international banks. For example, the former InterContinental Lagos hotel was financed with USD-denominated loans from local banks.