The story of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort cannot be said to be complete without the mention of the name Brian Efa, who through his wealth of knowledge in the Hospitality and Tourism Industry has made the resort rank among the bests in the industry.
Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort is a location for business, conference, and leisure. Located in the safe environment of Akwa Ibom State with excellent infrastructure and only an hour flight from Abuja or Lagos; conditions for a pleasant and successful stay are best from the start.
Sited on 147 hectares of well-maintained landscape amidst pristine palm-tree forest and rivers, one feels immediately relaxed and invigorated. It offers excellent accommodation in 163 rooms and suites on a 5-star level, and several restaurants and bars. The Marina, located directly at the river with an art-gallery and serving Akwa Ibom specialties and the best pizza in the region, is surely a highlight.
With seven meeting rooms and a large banquet hall, which can hosts more than 700 persons, Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort is also an excellent choice for corporate events, conferences, AGM’s and team-building sessions, among others. Due to the location, there will be no distractions for participants, so results can be achieved.
Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort is also no doubt the best standard golf venue in West Africa and venue for several golf tournaments by companies and organizations.
Opened in 2007 and managed by international brands like Le Meridien for 10 years and later under foreign ex-pats before a local lad took over.
For several years, the hotel ran on the benevolent and goodwill of the owner [Akwa Ibom State Government] and posted losses repeatedly until the appointment of Brian Efa as Ag. General Manager in 2018.
The Efa administration’s innovative approach is bringing about ongoing maintenance of the infrastructure of this gigantic Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, which is not deterred by the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Efa, who happens to be the first Indigenous General Manager of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, one of the rising stars in the hospitality and Tourism Industry and one of the very few Nigerian, who has risen to this level in the industry, is also the Founder/President of Nigerian Hotel and Tourism Investment Conference.
It is not a surprise, therefore, that his presence in the resort no doubt has made the resort to be considered a top destination for leisure with its world-class 18 hole golf course, a large swimming pool [with children’s pool], large gym with a pool-view and personal trainer, tennis and squash courts, hair- and beauty salon, spa, sauna, bicycle rental, pool table, games room, football pitch, volleyball course, guided tours, daily live music, and a night club. During the holidays, special children and family programs are offered.
As the first local General Manager of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort, Efa has within a short time galvanized resources, revitalized the resort and made great returns on Investment to its owners, and has placed back on tourism space, a once forgotten hospitality masterpiece.
Efa’s major leadership trademarks in the tourism industry have led to his being listed in 2018 as one of the Top 30 hospitality influencers in Nigeria and were recently inducted into the Top 100 Tourism personalities Club due to his consistent contribution to the development of tourism in Nigeria.
The manifest of all these efforts also culminated in the resort winning different awards in the tourism industry with the commitment of the staff, who toil day and night to sustain and improve on the hospitality tradition the resort adopted right from inception; maintaining its standard and service delivery.
Prior to becoming General Manager, Efa had spent several years in the Finance function in the hospitality industry, including serving as Director of Finance, Ibom Hotel; the pioneer Assistance Financial Controller, Southern Sun Ikoyi; Pioneer Deputy Chief Accountant, Le Meridian Ibom Hotel, and Golf Resort and Finance and Admin Manager, Le Chateau Hotel and Suite, Calabar.
The Harvard trained Finance expert has more than 15years of experience in the industry. As Managing Partner of Jonel Hospitality Consulting – A hospitality investment advisory firm, he spends more than six years consulting for individuals, firms, and government on the best approach to developing and investing in the industry to guarantee a result, he has raised over $500Million of syndicate fund for hotel development in Nigeria.
Efa holds a certificate in Finance Management from Hotel school The Hague (Netherlands) and a Certificate in Hotel Management from Wavecrest College of Hospitality. He holds a Bachelor of Science Degree in Accounting from the University of Calabar.
It is worth mentioning that Efa’s administration is already looking beyond the pandemic, and planning for the future of Ibom Hotel and Golf Resort to position it to attract more local and international tourists.
With these achievements in the corporate world of the tourism industry and several pieces of training attended in Nigeria and Abroad including Harvard Business School, Lagos Business School, and John Maxwell Leadership Academy, one would say cheers to this industry local guy, who deserves a standing ovation and a massive toast to his extraordinary leadership qualities.
Ditching an international brand for a local manager is no alien to Nigeria though as there are several examples of owners that have decided not to hire one for their facilities because of the huge cost to the owner and sometimes the excess of the brand.
Globally and in a competitive destination, a brand can really help hotel owners to have access to its reservations system to enhance its occupancy, and therefore those extra costs can be justifiable.
In Nigeria and Akwa Ibom market analysis, franchising or branding its an unnecessary cost that can be avoided. However, if their a local expertise gap notice, a foreign person can be employed to fill that capacity, instead of a full management contract that is most cases in this part of the world left most owners disappointed and disoriented.
A good example of a major player in Nigeria that has ditched international brands is the Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos.
Since Le Meridien left that property, the owner has been able to expand and grow the business. Its market share has remained steady and rewarding because it lost little or nothing.
Another property that has also ditched international brand is Le Meridien Ogenyi Place, Port Harcourt and today they are reported to be doing just fine and not under any pressure to pay expensive management and contract costs.
Giving the current boss of the resort who is on acting capacity, a tenure appointment would no doubt help the owner and the Ibom Hotel & Golf Resort to reach its financial stability and expansion if need be.