Updated: Jul 4, 2019
Every industry is posed with it’s own unique set of challenges. The extent of these challenges and it’s impacts to the nation’s economy are sometimes more serious than we often anticipate.
Hospitality is one very important facet of Ghana’s economy.
This is in close connection with tourism and hotels. A lot of revenue is generated from the tourism industry as a result of the influx of foreign visitors to the country. These visitors often have nowhere to stay than to book hotels and guesthouses. Unfortunately, the hotel industry in Ghana, as with many other parts of Africa is plagued with major challenges. Jovago, Africa’s leading online hotel booking portal, assesses some of these challenges and concerns.
1) Lack of adequate and quality skilled personnel – One very pertinent problem in the hotel industry in Ghana is the general lack of skilled personnel in various positions at our hotels. Although the relatively bigger hotels employ highly trained and skilled personnel in management, marketing, food and beverage etc. to take care of the operations of these hotels, the very small ones usually pay less attention to this detail. This affects them as interpersonal relationships with guests as well as technical know-how for marketing and general management becomes a problem. In the end, avoidable mistakes are made and this hampers the growth of the individual hotels and in the long term, the development of the entire industry.
2) Inadequate investment in the Hotel Industry – If the industry is attractive enough, a lot of foreign investors will be trooping in and chasing after our hotels to invest in them. Bigger chains will also be willing to build more hotels and open more state-of-the-art branches in the country. Hotel chains like Accor, Marriott, Movenpick, Kempinski and Ibis styles have all invested in the Ghanaian market and the more investment we get, the better it is for the development of the industry. In some other countries across Africa, the impact of investment in the hotel industry by the individual governments as well as foreign chains is visible through the growth and development of these industries.
3) Poor infrastructure and lack of proper maintenance – Maintenance is Africa’s biggest problem when it comes to Hotels. We are always very good at starting projects, building exquisite structures and setting up brands and businesses. However, the poor maintenance culture that exists in Africa and specifically Ghana hampers the growth of the hotel industry. After great starts, the maintenance of infrastructure becomes a problem and makes it difficult for the industry to grow, as more investors are then afraid to put in more money and a lot of money is also spent on repairing or reconstruction.
4) Ghana is a high cost tourism destination (Relatively high airport taxes resulting in high air fares) – One industry closely related to the hotel industry is the tourism industry. When tourism blossoms, the hotel industry benefits the most as more and more foreign visitors troop into the country and utilise hotels to the advantage of the hotel industry. Unfortunately, Ghana is a high cost tourism destination with relatively high airport taxes resulting in high air fares. Hiked fuel prices and other operational costs also make transportation very costly and this deters travelers from coming to Ghana or staying for long which is bad for the hotel business.
5) Energy crisis – This is probably the most enormous challenge facing the industry now. Hotels have no idea when hydro electric power will be available and when it will not be. Electricity is also one of the most important amenities needed to run an effective hotel business. The lack of it causes massive problems such as guest discomfort and the spoilage of food etc. Many hotel managers spend huge amounts on generators but even with that, fuel prices are always on the up which makes its cost of maintenance very high. Hotels are forced to increase room rates to account for the losses they may incur but the increased rates only negatively affect them as patronage reduces greatly. No guest wants to stay in an expensive room. This affects revenue and in the bigger picture, the hotel industry.
A lot of factors affect the growth of the hotel industry in Ghana. However, strategies to curb these challenges and provide solutions must be immediately put in place if development is expected in the short term. The Government needs to invest more funds into the training of skilled personnel as well as reduce taxes on fuel, airport taxes and other taxes that affect travelers. Private brands must also take steps to ensure a high maintenance culture. If everyone plays their part, the hotel industry will develop into a more profitable industry than it is now.