From a modest beginning in Mali, Azalaï Hotels Group is fast growing into a multi-national hospitality force within West Africa. In an exclusive interview with VoyagesAfriq, Manuela Tagro KOUAME, Manager of Azalaï Hotel Abidjan, reveals the group’s plan for evolving into a truly pan-African brand.
• Can you tell us more about Azalai Abidjan Hotel?
AZALAÏ Hotel Abidjan is part of Azalaï hotels Group, created in 1994 in Mali. The group operates 10 properties around the region, Mali, Benin, Burkina Faso, Ivory Coast, Guinea Bissau, Mauritania, and Senegal. Azalai Hotel Abidjan opened in 2017 and counting 200 keys, a restaurant, a bar, 10 meeting rooms, SPA, Fitness and a swimming pool.
It is located in Marcory facing 2 Bigger Commercial Centre, 15 minutes drive from the airport and the administrative quarters in Le Plateau.
• What plans do Azalai Abidjan have for its customers
AZALAÏ HOTEL ABIDJAN’s unique aim is to offer its guests a memorable experience of quality, multicultural discovery with a welcoming African touch.
The main objective of our brands is to make sure guests are secure and in good hands. All along the 28 years of existence, Azalaï Group has fine-tuned it products and services to reach optimal Guest Satisfaction. Azalaï Hotel Abidjan represents African hospitality in a modern way. Our Afro-fusion culinary signature is being marked by a strict respect of Hygiene and food security standards mixed with a diversity of flavors to discover the continent’s flavors without breaking with international gastronomy.
We build an interconnected network between our various hotels in Bamako, Cotonou, Nouakchott, Bissau, Loumbila and soon Dakar and Ouagadougou through the NOMAD loyalty program.
Thus, our guests can benefit from very advantageous privileges and rates in both accommodation and food and beverage.
• Is the Anglophone market an area Azalaï wants to tap into?
AZALAÏ is a pan-African chain with international standards. However, the business has no nationality and no color. Prospecting has been ongoing for several years in some countries such as Ghana, Cameroon, and Nigeria; recently we have shown our interest in the southern African market through our participation in WTM Cape Town.
Further development of the group is entrusted in its management company SMS (Salam Management Services). It is responsible for analyzing opportunities to sign Management agreements with independent Hotel owners.
”We have the expertise, footprint, and willingness to pursue the construction of a powerful African hotel chain” Manuela said.
• What is the sustainability footprint of Azalaï Hotels
Azalaï Group has been one of the pioneers in setting up various actions and infrastructure to protect our environment and involve the local community to understand the impact of our business on our environment:
• Water Treatment plant in most of our properties
• Wells to water the land and use in toilet flashing (in Loumbila and Bissau)
• Photovoltaic Station in two properties but aimed to concern all the hotels (Loumbila and Bamako)
• In order to reduce water consumption, we have created a program whereby we ask the guests to reduce water consumption and to throw on the floor their linen if they wish to wash it.
• A sticker is being set on computers, interrupters and beside electrical equipment asking the teams to switch off when not in use.
• Energy saving system installed in the rooms so that it cuts off all equipment when guests are out of their rooms.
• Presence detectors installed in public areas and corridors to reduce energy consumption.
• LED bulbs are the reference in all our units to reduce consumption and extend these latter lives.
• Vegetable plants given to local associations to produce veg and to sell back to the hotels for guests. This creates jobs to the local communities and produces safe food for the clients.
• Azalaï Group is permanently working on Gender…..extending Women workers to manage our hotels: five General Managers out of 10 are Ladies. In Azalai Hotel Abidjan, 40% of our team is represented by Women.
• All our hotel Rooms are non-smoking. However, we have managed to get a special space for smokers.
• As a business-focused hotel group, what is the hotel doing to meet the new demands of the market
Hospitality is in full mutation. We have seen through the latest pandemic that guests’ expectations have completely changed…Hygiene and security became a MUST and our teams’ behavior is being scrutinized by customers. The most important thing to remember from our approach is that we are constantly listening to our customers, and their needs and indeed, we work to anticipate these needs so that the entire value chain follows: the improvement of the digital experience, the provision of high-speed connectivity in all circumstances, the implementation of Staycation’s offer, the inclusion of vegetarian menus, dietary offerings, local partnership for fresh produce with a particular emphasis on the ground-to-plate circuit to ensure healthy food and participate in the empowerment of women and brave local farmers and breeders partners as well as our international suppliers.
Our passion for hospitality is expressed through the continuous improvement of our service & infrastructures that meet the standards of safety, comfort and responsibility. We wish to do more with the help of our precious guests.
This interview was first published in the December Issue of VoyagesAfriq Travel Magazine.