Marriott International, which has just become one of the largest hotel groups in the continent after its acquisition of the South African based Protea Hotel Group on April this year, said in its effort to keep the hotel’s global standard, it plans to take local employees abroad for training.
Speaking at a press conference on the side of the Africa Hotel Investment Forum (AHIF) 14 on Wednesday Oct. 2st, Alex Kyriakidis, President for Middle East and Africa, highlighted the importance of creating a local atmosphere to the brand by having highly trained local human resource. As a result, “Marriott is set to train more than 10, 000 local professionals in the African countries”, Alex Kyriakidis said.
Marriott International has a packed schedule of 30 expected property openings across the continent by 2020, nine of which are scheduled to open by end of 2015 in South Africa,Nigeria and Uganda, as well as Marriott International’s first properties in Ethiopia, Ghana and Rwanda. By 2020, in Africa, Marriott International is expected to go from 120 properties, 14,000 rooms across 10 markets, to 150properties with 19,000 rooms across 17 markets. As a result, the company which currently employs 21,000 associates across Africa will see its work-force increase by 10,000.
One of the most critical elements for more international chain hotels to come to Ethiopia as well as Africa is “choosing the right local partner … because it gives an international brand the weight of developed market experience with local know how on the ground,” according to Kyriakidis. “The partnership decision is more than just market experience though. It has to be a fit of business cultures and values, like-minded industry leadership thinking and – in the service industry- a similar commitment to flawless service.”
Answering to a question by Addis Standard on whether the hotel’s decision to open a luxury extended stay apartments was the right decision while Ethiopia is short of short-stay hotels, Alex Kyriakidis said Marriott International sees Addis Abeba not only as a conference city but also a city where a range of international companies are coming and staying for extended period of time to explore the various business opportunities the country is offering to foreign developers. Marriott International believes “it is important” to offer variety of choices to different customers, he said.
Following a franchise agreement it has signed with an Ethiopia firm, Sunshine Construction, to manage a Marriott Executive Apartment Hotel for extended stay travelers, and another branded hotel scheduled to open in 2014 and 2015 respectively, Marriott International pledged that in order to meet the hotel’s international standards it has planned to train its Ethiopian staff abroad. The hotel plans to employ more than 200 local staff when the first of its Ethiopian franchise goes operational.
Cover Photo: Alex Kyriakidis
Photo: Addis Standard