CityBlue hotels management takes a long-term view in Africa

Thursday November 8 2018

CityBlue

CityBlue Creekside Hotel & Suites, Mombasa, Kenya. PHOTO | COURTESY 

By CITYBLUE HOTELS

In The EastAfrican of October 20-26, 2018, an article appeared suggesting that the CityBlue Hotels management is “struggling to keep its business afloat,” a claim that is refuted by the hotel group.

This misleading claim is based on the filing of liquidation for one of the company’s subsidiaries in Rwanda.

In fact, this course of action is considered an industry standard by most. Hotels are owned, managed, leased or franchised using different legal entities and it is therefore not uncommon for a hotel chain to choose to liquidate one or more special purpose vehicles for a range of business reasons. In the instance referred to, liquidation of the subsidiary was considered but ultimately dropped.

Since aligning the business model towards larger properties in 2014, the group has expanded rapidly across Rwanda, Uganda and Kenya and now appears regularly in the official hospitality industry reports as one of the fastest-growing chains in Africa.

CityBlue intends to open its first hotel in Zambia in December 2018 and the group’s head office is planned to move to Nairobi in early 2019, with operations to be spearheaded by Zahra Peera, former Vice President of Development of sub-Saharan Africa for Accor Hotels, who joined CityBlue earlier this year – further emphasising the company’s commitment to the region.

Beyond this, the chain has committed to a fresh, long-term deal for Urban by CityBlue in Kigali, strengthening our relationship with Rwanda where we launched our first hotel in 2012.

As was also reported, CityBlue bid for the 76-room Kivu Marina Bay Hotel management contract but has apparently lost out to global giant Marriott, a fact that the company takes great pride in, given the nature of the competition.

Ultimately, CityBlue is an African brand that began in Rwanda with smaller properties and has evolved its business model as trends and macroeconomics have changed.

The business works hard to transfer skills, create employment and contribute positively to the regional economies.

The potential growth of the group is significant and will continue to be managed by Jameel Akbar Verjee, CEO of the group, with a long-term view and best practice in mind at all times.

This is reflected by its advisory board, which includes industry heavyweight Neil George, who ran Starwood’s development team for the Middle East and Africa.

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