Business News of 2014-07-29

Hotels suffocate under poor utility services

Hotels in the country have listed unstable water, electricity and telecommunication services as the three top challenges crippling the operations of their businesses.

The Ghana Hotels Association, a body of about 1,000 hotels and guest houses nationwide, said the instability in the supply of these services had caused most members to double investments in such areas, leading to an overall rise in their operational expenses.

Beyond the instability in the supply of these services, the National President of the association, Mr Herbert Acquaye, said in an interview that the consistent rise in the cost at which they are revived has not also been helpful to the industry.

"We operate our plants using these services and we are heavy consumers. As you know, electricity and water prices have gone up recently and we obviously getting hurt. We are getting hurt because this is eating very much into our profits," Mr Acquaye, who is the Managing Director of The Rest Inn in Accra," told the GRAPHIC BUSINESS.

On the area of telecom services, he explained that although voice services had improved over the years, supply of data services to members had been erratic on a consistent basis, a challenge he said needed urgent attention from the telecommunication companies.

"There are still a lot of problems with data and so the data providers would have to be pushed a little bit by the government or regulators to provide uninterrupted services which would obviously benefit all those who use these facilities," Mr Acquaye said.

Although most of the telecom companies in the country had admitted to the erratic nature of their data services, some have been quick to attribute it to cable cuts and unreliable supply of power which they said result in the instability experienced by customers with regards to data services.

Water and electricity challenges

The hotel business is one that relied heavily on water and electricity to survive. Aside management of these facilities using the two utilities to provide ancillary services such as laundry, cleaning, cooking, ironing and general lighting for events, guests also need uninterrupted supply.

For a guest to enjoy his or her stay in a hotel, therefore, the provision of these by the national utility companies ought to be consistent.

In many instances, the Electricity Company of Ghana (ECG) had been forced to ration power in the country in general as it struggled to match supply with heightened demand over the years.

The same applies to water, a utility that hotels can barely operate without.

Although the national president of the association explained that the hotel business required a lot of water to be able to operate efficiently, he said members had been forced by the insufficiency of the commodity in the system to limit their consumption levels, while turning to water conservation mechanisms such as recycling and borehole drilling.

"We have already started educating members to manage the use of water to enable us first of all avoid wastage of water but also look at sources of recycling of water so that water that we use in our kitchen, our washrooms and other areas can be recycled. We have also asked for help in getting a lot of hotels to use boreholes so that they can be off the regular water system," he explained.

Help us help you

For the hospitality industry, of which the hotel business is the anchor to blossom to the benefit of tourism and the national economy in general, ancillary services such as utilities and telecom services must be consistent and up to standard.

But as the country struggled to stabilise the supply of these services due to challenges beyond the remits of the various companies, Mr Acquaye said membership of the association was looking at methods that could help mitigate them from the overall impact of the inconsistent flow of water, electricity and telecom services.

In addition to the push for water conservation through recycling and the use of boreholes in hotels, the national president said the association was also in discussion with the government on the possibility of helping members to procure and implement energy saving methods that could help bring down the consumption levels of the power.

Source: graphic.com
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