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By Moses Kaketo
2016 went down with several brands including WBS, Crane Bank, AIG Insurance and a host of other little known media houses.
Reports reaching us reveal Sheraton Uganda did not also survive 2016.The four star hotel is now under new management. The deal, which was reached last month after successful due diligence, puts Sheraton Uganda under the world’s largest hotel company-Marriot International.
Newz Post understands, Sheraton Hotel is now part of Marriot Hotel also known as Marriot International with over 6,000 properties in more than 120 countries and territories
Sheraton Uganda takeover comes after Marriot Hotel acquired Starwoods Hotels and Resort Worldwide. Sheraton Hotel is part of Starwoods Hotels.
The Starwoods Hotel-Marriot deal completed in October last year was worth $13 billion. After the takeover, Marriot embarked on due diligence of Sheraton hotel affiliates.
Starwood put itself up for sale in April 2015. The Stamford, Connecticut, company had struggled to grow as fast as its rivals.
Marriott International is the world’s largest hotel company based in Bethesda, Maryland, USA. The company’s 30 leading brands include: The Ritz-Carlton® Renaissance® Hotels, Sheraton®, Protea Hotels among others.
Implication for Uganda
The takeover brings Sheraton Uganda into direct competition with her immediate neighbor -Serena Hotel.
According to tripadvisor.com , Sheraton Uganda has been ranked as a four Star Hotel in Uganda, while Serena Hotel is a five star hotel.
The takeover by world’s hotel brand is expected to elevate Sheraton Hotel Uganda to a five Star Hotel.
The other four star hotels in Uganda include: Protea hotel, Golf Course, Speke Resort, Imperial Royale, Royal Suites, Silver Springs Hotel. The other five star hotels in Uganda include: Munyonyo Common Wealth Resort, Lake Victoria Serena Golf Resort and Emin Pasha.
Industry experts say, the takeover of the Sheraton is expected to improve the services of Sheraton Hotel Uganda that has been described by many as ‘‘not so good’’ compared to immediate neighbors Serena Hotel.
Competition is also expected to increase. tradtionally, Serena Hotel, given her extraordinary and excellent services has been the first choice for high end Ugandans- or the general public for that matter.
On the other hand, Sheraton Hotel has been having an upper hand on all government functions. Will Sheraton Hotel now invade Serena Hotel market? Your guess is as good as mine.In an email to Newz Post, Tendo Lukwago, the Sheraton Kampala Hotel Public relations manager said: A great deal of our market share is not necessarily from government business, but more from the corporates and our local population that frequent our restaurants and bars
Kampala Serena Hotel is part of Serena Hotels which is listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange (NSE), where it trades under the symbol TPS. The largest shareholder (45%) is the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development (AKFED), with a further 4% shares by Aga Khan University.
Takeover to expose Ugandans
Whenever they operate, Marriott Hotel provides training opportunities for local residents to help solve its labor issues.
A good example of this is what they have already done in Rwanda, where they have partnered with a local organization, the Akilah Institute for Women, to train women in hotel skills.
Marriott International has also invited nearly 40 Akilah graduates to work and train in Marriott hotels in Africa and the Middle East.
After receiving on-the-job skills and leadership training, the first wave of graduates have returned to Rwanda to join the management team at the Kigali Marriott where they will help welcome guests from the around the world.
And today, some of these women trained at the Akilah Institute for Women are in leadership roles in Marriot hotels in various countries. The same is expected to be applied in Uganda.
In Kigali, Marriott International has also been working with Women for Women International and the Relationship Coffee Institute, both of which are supported by Bloomberg Philanthropies, one of the largest investors in the region.
The local Women for Women Opportunity Center is equipping Rwandan women with the skills needed to apply for entry-level hotel positions or to supply the hotel with goods such as baskets, cheese and honey. The hotel has hired more than 25 women from the training center.
The Relationship Coffee Institute provides women with a new marketplace for locally sourced premium coffee, including the hotel. The Kigali Marriott’s Question Café serves the locally sourced coffee, grown by local smallholder farmers and served by graduates of this economic development training program.
Ugandans working in the tourism and hospitality has been described as ‘wanting’ therefore Marriot entry in Uganda is can be said to be timely.
More about the author: Moses Kaketo