Jazeera, hospitality redifined

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Rose Wanjiku

The hotel was awarded the Best Marketer of the Year by the Somali Annual Business Awards [SABA] based on its aggressive online and offline marketing strategies

To an ordinary visitor to Mogadishu, Jazeera Palace Hotel situated a few minutes from the Aden Abdulle International Airport, a key entry point to the country, could pass for just another enterprise in the new Somalia. After all, it is one of the most highly rated hotels in the country in terms of service and hospitality. It has received reviews in some of the world travel websites like TripAdvisor.

However, beneath this hotel that is a home of choice for politicians and the United Nations staff working in Mogadishu is a story of hope and resilience. Built in 2010, the hotel has been bombed thrice since it opened in 2012 and each time it has been rebuilt with more vigour and determination.

“When it was first put up, the country was nowhere near being stable. Many people were wondering why the owner was wasting money putting up a hotel in a warzone. He informed them that the place would be an Oasis in the desert. It would represent the hopes and dreams of future generations,” says acting CEO and Operations manager, Deeq Mohamed.

He explains that the name Jazeera means beach although it is a distat from the coastline.

“The beach brings some fresh breeze and this is what this hotel has done,” says Mohamed.

His eyes drifts to a trophy proudly set on a cabinet in his office.

“Such achievements give us motivation to continue despite the challenges,” he says. The hotel was awarded the best marketer in the SABA based on its aggressive online and offline marketing strategies, despite terror attack threats, reliability, good customer care and services and security.

“We had the privilege of hosting the awards and our win was a surprise,” says Mohamed.

“When it was first put up, the country was nowhere near being stable. Many people wondered why the owner wasting money putting up a hotel in a warzone. He told them that the place would be an Oasis in the desert: It would represent the hopes and dreams of future generations,” says acting CEO and Operations manager, Deeq Mohamed.

Jazeera rated as a four star has a boarding capacity of 70 rooms with pres­idential suites, deluxe and stand­ard rooms as well as fitness and confer­ence facilities. Some top government people have a permanent residence in the hotel.

In terms of security, at one given time, there are more than 20 armed soldiers within and outside the premises. They have backup from government soldiers. There are several security checks before one gets to the hotel lobby.

To keep the soldiers motivated, there is a compensation package in case of injury or death at work. When a solder dies (while at work), the hotel ensures the family is taken care of and children are educated until first born gets to the age of 18 – and secures employment to be able to support the rest of the family. In some instances, they offer mentorship for the children left behind.

Mohamed says besides bearing the high cost of security, the other challenge in the hospitality industry in Somalia is lack of a well-established supply chain.

“We have to go out and shop everything for ourselves like anyone would do for their house.” Mohamed hopes that such challenges would be addressed soon and that Somalia will have enough skilled man power to deal with the deficiencies.

For future plans the hotel plans to construct a five star annex to keep up with the demand for its services.