The African continent has had a slow progress when it comes to growth in general. But then there are companies like Legacy Hotels who are in their own way trying to change that. Paddy Brearley, MD, Legacy Hotels talks about the company and its hotels. By Sayoni Bhaduri
India knows Africa for its Big Five, Africa as a continent has also been luring a lot business and Indian expats since the late 1980s. The potential for business is further enhanced with companies like Legacy Hotels. Paddy Brearley, MD, Legacy Hotels leads the 19-hotel chain; most of these are in the four- and five-star segments as both resorts and business hotels. Most hotels are managed by the company, while another arm of the parent company looks into the real estate investments. The hotel chain is also growing in tandem with the continent’s growth. Brearley says, “There is tremendous growth potential in Africa and we are more than willing to explore that further by expanding. In the near future we have openings slated in Kenya and three other locations.”
Talking about business in the African nations Brearley says, “Business has been growing for the last 10 years. There have been phases with challenges and worries, but it has all settled down.” He further adds that the signs of progress do show signs of diminishing with the stock exchange being at its highest and speaks of the growth the region has seen. “South Africa has been a gateway to the continent and is on the growth path when it comes to business tunnels, expertise and technical knowledge,” he says. There is also support from the government, “The government and private sector together are working to create projects and therefore provide employment opportunities to the locals.”
Legacy Hotels are iconic and different, says Brearley. “Each of our properties are unique. None of them follow a factory unit designed cookie cutter model. The focus for us is quality and personalised service,” he adds. But he is sure that they do not want to be a cheap product, but prefer to be a value-for-money product where quality is the key. It is about employing people who are inspired when they work, who like to work and enjoy what they are doing. “Their happiness and satisfaction with their jobs reflects in the service that they provide to our guests,” he adds. Legacy Hotels across the chain employs 2,500 people.
With the global economy wreaking havoc, business generation is no longer about Europe and the US. Looking towards Indian shores is preparing ahead of time for Legacy Hotels. “In India, we have started working with Think Strawberries and we will be looking for both leisure and corporate business,” says Brearley. Currently, the numbers are small but from South Africa alone they expect 200 per cent increase in numbers next year. He is very sure of being able to cater to Indian clientele, “We are more than accommodating when it comes to Indian clients providing and catering to all their needs and requirements. The biggest group we have received from India had 100 members and they went back very happy and satisfied,” Brearley says. He adds that in the next four years they are looking at a growth of 20 per cent. Apart from South Africa, Brearley will look Indian business for their Namibian and Nigerian hotels as well.