No doubt, Icon Hotel Group Africa (IHGA), a pan-African hospitality management company, has over the years established itself as a truly indigenous African brand.
In just nine years of existence, the hotel group has become an industry leader with demonstrable expertise in conceptualization, actualization and management of world-class hospitality projects in Africa .
Reputed to be one of the fastest-growing end-to-end hospitality service providers, the group offers high-level consultancy on different aspects of hospitality management from foundation to completion.
A remarkable feature of the services provided by the group is the infusion of local culture to its operations to enable it to provide services that are distinctively African in places where it operates. This has enabled it to operate a truly African hospitality brand, able to go a notch higher than Western-owned hotel chains in the provision of bespoke services.
The basket of services provided by IHGA includes assisting African governments in the development of capacity in tourism. This is in line with its strategic goal of driving ambitious growth for the hospitality industry on the continent. Soon, Icon Hotel Group hopes to provide consultancy through advisory services on turnkey procurement of hotel equipment and
supplies, as well as, leveraging its global network of financial development partners and institutions for funding viable hospitality projects.
The IHGA parades well trained and highly efficient consultants who have played key roles, and have been instrumental in the conceptualization and execution of unique and successful hospitality projects across Africa. The group is well known for leading project fundraising efforts through partner banks for high profile hospitality projects. The financial partners and development institutions rely on the expertise and judgement of experts in the group in the execution of such projects.
Among some of the projects for which the group was able to secure funding from financial and development partners are Mount Meru Hotel, Arusha, $24 million; Palace Hotel, $10 million and Parrot Hotel, $15 million, all in Arusha, Tanzania. Others are Best Western Selian Hotel and Spa, 315 million Kenyan Shillings and Navisha Golf Resort and Spa, Navisha, all in Kenya.
At the moment, IHGA is involved in the design and construction of the following hotel projects, Best Western Premier Bodufinolhu Luxury Resort, Maldives; the proposed BWP Tumaini Hotel, Nairobi and Marriot Protea, Thika Road, Nairobi, all in Kenya. Others are Icon Premier Congo Brazzaville and Icon Premier DRC.
The group has made inroads into the West African sub-region with involvement in the proposed Icon Premier Burkina Faso. In nearby Benin Republic, IHGA is currently involved in the development of Best Western Premier Breeze Hotel, a $30 million, five-star hospitality project in Cotonou. The group is financing the building and will handle its management upon completion and commissioning.
The IHGA hospitality ship has since berthed in Nigeria. The group was responsible for the turnaround of Best Western Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos. The facility was rebranded as BWC Hotel after the exercise, and now offers services that compare with the best in Lagos State.
The anticipated takeover of the management of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resorts in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital, by the Icon Group is therefore seen in many quarters as fitting a round peg into a round hole – and at the right time. This is because with its expertise, experience and reputation in managing top-of-the-range hospitality projects around the continent – some from construction to completion and management – the group has what it takes to turnaround the fortunes of the hotel to make it the first port of call for visitors on business and leisure to the state.
The move is coming at a time the five-star tourism facility is in dire need of a facelift, both in terms of facilities and in the area of service delivery. The expertise of a group like IHGA is what is needed to make Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort the pride of a state that is noted for tourism.
Tourism experts and practitioners say the decision by the state government to draft the Icon Group into management of the beleaguered hotel is a strategic step that will reposition the state’s flagship tourism facility for optimal performance.
The IHGA has already served notice of its readiness to turn the fortunes of the hotel around by commencing the rehabilitation and upgrading of its facilities, even before formally taking over its management. The expectation is that involvement of the tourism group in the management of the tourism facility will augur well for the long term economic interest of the state.