Nigeria’s foremost hospitality facility, the Transcorp Hilton Hotels is steel hit by the Coronavirus pandemic and may shed at least 40 per cent of the staff strength.
Managing Director/Chief Executive of Transcorp, Ms. Dupe Olusola, on Thursday, in an online media conference in Abuja said the management of the hotel cannot continue to sustain over 1,000 permanent and over 500 contract staff with over N1 billion losses recorded every month since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Although she said the management of the hotel started the year in January and February on an optimistic note, with about 40-47 per cent occupancy rate, it never anticipated the devastating impact of COVID-19 on the global business and the Nigerian economy.
She said between January and April, despite the breakout of the pandemic, which resulted in the partial lockdown imposed by the government, the management of the hotel managed to sustain the 100 per cent payment of the staff monthly salary of over N2 billion.
However, between April and May, she said the management was faced with the dilemma of either shutting down the business completely and sacking all staff members, as patronage in the over 677 room-facility in Abuja, and 133 rooms in Calabar, dropped drastically to less than five per cent.
“Since May, we have seen significant decline in guest loyalty and poor patronage, which have seriously impacted room revenue earnings, with a lot of the outlets in the hotel forced to shut down.
“In March alone, when the pandemic set on, the hotel was down to about five per cent occupancy (34 rooms). All the meetings scheduled between now and December have been cancelled.
“We have continued to suffer a drastic decline in revenue of over N9 billion and a loss of over N4.9 billion. We recorded over N456 million loss, and N1.03 billion loss in April, while the losses have continued to average N1 billion every month since May,” Ms Olusola said.
Apart from a high salary bill of over N2 billion every month, she said the hotel management spends an additional N4.1 billion on other operational expenses, noting that the projection was that it would be a tall order at the end of the year for the hotel to continue to operate in a way it used to with such significant losses.