I recall the first time I was asked to describe myself in one word; I thought of the many qualities I practice in my leadership engagements and settled for Resilience. As I have built companies and their leaders, this quality has informed how things are done across our Group and how we respond to issues.
As an investor, nothing delights me more than the opportunity to rethink how we can enable development across multiple sectors and improve lives, while leveraging technology. The COVID-19 pandemic provided that.
In 2020, the hospitality industry was dealt with by the pandemic. Our hospitality arm, Transcorp Hotels Plc, owners of Transcorp Hilton Abuja and Transcorp Hotels Calabar, recorded occupancy levels as low as 5%. These numbers, however, have since improved as the world began to return to normal with the introduction of vaccines. However, it was clear that the hospitality industry still had a long way to return to pre-Covid and will require innovation and resilience to stay afloat.
Our team at Transcorp Hotels, led by Dupe Olusola, demonstrated these qualities. They launched an online booking site, Aura by Transcorp Hotels, which helps you book accommodation, staycations, great food, and memorable experiences across Africa. Aura ticks all the boxes of the post-covid world. Individuals can control the cleanliness of their apartments, get good food with the click of a button and reduced contact, and as international travel is not where it used to be, it gives everyone access to local experiences near them. A fascinating feature I also love is that Aura creates a new chain of hospitality entrepreneurs. People can earn income from extra rooms in their homes, provide curated experiences at a cost or manage homes for homeowners who do not have the time to do so.
The Vice President of Nigeria, known for his support of SMEs officially launched Aura and, while giving his speech at the event, reiterated the importance of Aura in delivering value for small businesses, job creation and charting the path for tourism in Nigeria. I also hosted other dignitaries; the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr. Femi Gbajabiamila; Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami, SAN; Minister of Labour and Employment, Dr. Chris Ngige; the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President.
During #TheAura Experience, I interacted with the youth in the informal sector and was intrigued by the uniqueness in how each one told the Aura story to their audiences; it’s no wonder they are called influencers. It was also a confirmation once again that our young ones are enterprising and creative.
I am most excited about the future of hospitality. I must commend our colleagues across the Transcorp Group for this ground-breaking initiative that is even more relevant as the world increasingly becomes digitally driven.
You can experience Aura by Transcorp Hotels by clicking HERE