Celebrating Growth and Innovation: Sigelege Hotels sets the standard in Malawi’s hospitality industry

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Sigelege Hotels, a homegrown hospitality group in Malawi, has made waves in the industry with its trio of properties, each offering a unique experience tailored to the diverse needs of travellers. With a journey spanning nearly four years, the brand has navigated opportunities and challenges, evolving into a symbol of excellence in Malawi’s hospitality landscape.

Speaking to VoyagesAfriq in an interview at this year’s Takulandirani Tourism Expo, the General Manager of Sigelege Resort, Farai Marara, highlighted the profound changes catalyzed by the Hotels’ entrance into the hospitality industry in Malawi.

“I think coming in has also changed the landscape of the hospitality industry by offering more different products and services that both our domestic, regional, and international clients really appreciate. It’s also increased the capacity and inventory for both Lilongwe and Salima, and I think we’ve been able to host quite a significant number of regional meetings and also virtual partnerships and collaborations with other established hotels to be able to bring in more conferences and also host more events, so most definitely it’s been quite a game changer for us,” he remarked.
According to Marara, Sigelege is making significant strides to promote domestic tourism with special rates designed to nurture domestic tourism.

The General Manager of Sigelege Hotels Farai Marara and Rachel Banda, Sales Manager at this year’s Africa Indaba

He expressed, “We have special rates for domestic markets, and I think in our quest to promote domestic tourism, we have the weekend special rates in all of our hotels that go as low as 25% discount from the rack rates. The feedback has been quite encouraging; they’ve always used our property because they find us very affordable and they also find value for money because I think at the end it’s value for money that is key for retention.

“So, it’s quite encouraging that we’ve got quite a loyal customer base that still finds our product relevant and still finds our services also affordable and enjoyable and all-inclusive because they accommodate all the diverse needs, whether you’re there for business, you’re there with your family, you’re there on a personal solo trip, there’s always everything for everyone at the end of the day.”

Marara further underscored the importance of enhancing destination competitiveness through improved accessibility and upskilling within the tourism sector.

“I think what’s quite key is accessibility to any destination. I think when we look at accessibility, we still need to do a bit more in making the destination more accessible. I think the government has already made efforts in terms of waiving the visa, which is quite a positive development to the industry.

However, I think there’s still more we need to do in terms of more airlift in terms of getting the fares down as well because it will make Malawi more competitive as a destination. I also feel that maybe as an industry as well we’re still on a quest to upgrade our skills. Upskilling is quite key as well in terms of making sure that we are always competitive,” he explained.

According to Marara, in response to the rapidly changing landscape of the hospitality industry, a collaborative effort has emerged among industry leaders and educational institutions in Malawi. This effort aims to bridge the gap between theoretical knowledge and practical skills, ensuring that graduates are equipped for the evolving demands of the field.
“We’ve seen the birth of the Tourism Hospitality Industry Professional Association last year, which enhances collaboration on skills development and training, alongside partnerships with tertiary institutes to provide internships and shape relevant curriculum,” he said.

Marara highlighted that at the Malawi International Travel Expo, Sigelege Hotels seized the opportunity to showcase their unique offerings to a global audience. According to him, the expo served as a dynamic platform for forging collaborations and engaging in industry-wide dialogue.

He emphasized its significance, stating, “We saw it as a platform to really showcase to the world what Sigelege Hotels has to offer in terms of the warm heart of Africa.”

Concluding, the General Manager underscored their strategic vision for expansion, “Our plans are always to grow but I think as a brand we are energized from where we’ve come from. I would say we didn’t come this far to be this far, so as a brand, we’re quite strategic in our quest for growth and also in our quest for always offering unique products and services.

“We are also looking at increasing our footprint in other cities where we don’t have a presence. We still feel that there is more and there is so much hunger for the brand in other locations within the country that we want to set our footprint in. So as a brand, we are quite energized and the sky cannot be our limit.”

This Article was first published in the June 2024 Edition of VoyagesAfriq Travel Magazine

 

 

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