Govt, managers team up to enforce hotel standards

Hotel managers during a refresher course at Nob View Hotel in Ntinda last week. PHOTO/STEPHEN OTAGE

What you need to know:

Ms Molly Apio, the president of HOGMAU, said during a general meeting last week, the hotel managers resolved that the government should engage the hotel owners across the country

The Hotel General Managers Association of Uganda (HOGMAU) wants the government to compel hotel owners to adhere to set standards to promote the growth of the country’s hospitality industry.

Ms Molly Apio, the president of HOGMAU, said during a general meeting last week, the hotel managers resolved that the government should engage the hotel owners across the country.

 “We want to engage them in dialogue and show them that this is a partnership between the managers and the owners of the hotel business. There should be mutual understanding instead of conflicting with one another,” she said in an interview yesterday.

The hotel managers accused hotel owners of using shortcuts to bypass the required hotel standards.

They were attending a refresher training organised by the Ministry of Tourism last week in Kampala.

Mr Aloni Kireta, a consultant, said the hotel owners do not invest in training their staff and have substandard accommodation facilities and environment, which affect quality of service and profitability of the businesses.

He also said most hotels are owned by businessmen and politicians who do not want to listen to advice from the managers.

Mr Patrick Lawot, the commandant of Tourism Police, said during a recent security audit of the hotels’ readiness to host guests for the NAM summit, the majority had security lapses such as letting in armed guests, not verifying the sources of their suppliers and employing untrained security guards.

Asked why all this is happening under their nose, Dr Simplicious Ggessa, the public relations manager of the Uganda Tourism Board, said they are responsible for implementing the standards, with their role restricted to ensuring hotels adhere to the grades.

“Each grade attracts its own responsibility. A Five-Star hotel must have a swimming pool and a minimum number of beds. Each licence has corresponding responsibilities enshrined in the category of the grade,“ he said.

Ms Susan Muhwezi, the president of Uganda Hotel Owners Association, said the relationship between the managers and owners needs to be open for quality service delivery. She said the openness about profits generated  would enable more investment in the business.

What managers say

Daniel Kangu, GM Serena Hotel:

Every hotel must have standards, which are the documented operating standards. They define the procedures, processes and tasks to be accomplished. You cannot train without set standards. We have standards and it is a whole process against which we deliver services to our customer

Shah Vidit, GM Speke Hotel

We are taking care of an illustrious hotel facility, which is 103 years old in the heart of Kampala. We are maintaining that classic look, therefore, we have industrial trainees whose CVs we sometimes bank with HR.

Patrick Ochieng, the manager, Four Points by Sheraton

We are members of the Marriott in Uganda and we have standards by the Marriot. We follow various points and if I am to start listing them, we shall not be able to finish them. We care about the guests and this is through training staff. We have procedures we follow for purchasing food, preparing and storage so that we do not infect our customers through cross contamination of food

 Winnie Musana, executive housekeeper Fairway Hotel

It is something that needs discussion here because the owners tend to listen to junior staff that end up despising their supervisors, you find supervisors who cannot reign on their juniors and cannot implement anything.

Enock Pamba, food controller, Hotel Africana

We are very serious with our hygiene standards given that we host many guests whom we serve food and even those who stay here, we pay the staff well and whenever we need casual labour, we get students from YMCA.