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Saturday, August 14 2010
On a Sunday morning in Mbarara town wanting to check out of the hotel room but before that I had to clear my hotel bill having spent a night after a wedding but coincidentally all the ATMs were not working at the same time. It was strange but true.

I hold an account with Barclays bank and since it is visa enabled, there was no need to carry cash on me after all I could withdraw anywhere with a visa sign. This was of course after starting with my own bank which was not working at the time.

For fear of crossing over to another day in the hotel, I was forced to make a quick decision. I went to Standard Chartered Bank which of course would charge me about 5,000 as a charge for the visa service now that I'm not their customer but that was okay with me now that any delay in the hotel would attract a night's charge and yet I was not about to spend an extra night in Mbarara.

Standard Chartered ATM was not working as well, crossed to Stanbic Bank, Crane Bank which were all not working at the time. I was too desperate that I even crossed to Equity Bank which for one reason or the other not advertised that their ATMs are visa enabled.

But because this is the only option that saved me from my situation, I had no choice but to write about them. I went for the ATM machine, put in my card, it took a bit of time before responding scaring me the more because it is one thing to have an ATM card and the machines are not working and another thing not to have an ATM because it has been swallowed up by an ATM machine, in this way even if the service resumed, you would not be able to withdraw money for lack of an ATM card.

The machine later asked me to put my details of how much I wanted and there I saw the money. I also noticed something unique about its dispensing mechanism, it gives you all denominations so if you are the type who wanted loose notes, there will be no need of looking for change money.
Posted by: uowd AT 02:55 am   |  Permalink   |  23 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, April 13 2010
It was the year 2007 when Uganda hosted the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) and at the time, we had about 1,800 hotel rooms which shot to over 5,000 according to Ismael Ssekandi the Executive Director – Uganda Hotel Owners Association to accommodate the guests who were expected for the summit.
 
The biggest problem is the culture of Ugandans in relation to these services which is still lacking and as such there is need for government intervention or the hotels themselves having to think out of the box to attract the local market.
 
The number of Jinja residents who can opt to reside at Jinja Nile Resort for a weekend is certainly very low minus carrying out a survey and so is the number of Kampala Residents choosing to go and have a weekend at Munyonyo Resort.
 
Hotels had better come up with strategies of attracting locals to their entities by either giving them promotional packages or encouraging them to actually use the services. If in a given month we had 2,000 guests requiring these hotel rooms that would still leave over 3,000 rooms not utilized at all.
 
The credit crunch did not make it any better for this sector because the numbers of tourists or visitors that these hotels would be attracting has gone down drastically as a result of the economic melt down.
 
It is for this reason that hotels had better adopt a programme of attracting locals so that these services are not only used for once offs like Honey Moons, Christmas Holidays but the hotels can get some measurable traffic from the locals throughout the year.
 
The approach of attracting locals might not be an option for the big name hotels to consider but when it eventually works out they might have no option but to get on board.
Posted by: uowd AT 02:29 pm   |  Permalink   |  3 Comments  |  Email
Tuesday, June 23 2009

Imperial Resort Beach Hotel in Entebbe is a luxurious hotel by all standards and you can afford to give it the highest rating possible when it comes to 4 or 5 star in as far as Uganda hotels are concerned.

It is a stone throw away from Entebbe International Airport and it would also take you 30 minutes drive to get to Kampala from this hotel. Two guests were booked in the rooms and decided to make their way downstairs for a quick bite only to be told that the meal at the beach would take a few minutes as opposed to that in the hotel. These guests went to the beach side which was lively with loud music.

A waitress approaches them with a menu which read in part "Chicken with Chips" 18,000/- then another section of the menu which was purely for children read "Beef Sausages with Chips 9,000/-". These guests ordered for Chicken with Chips which in this case would go for 18,000/- and in an addition ordered for Sausages.

The meal is served as they ordered for it i.e. Chicken, Chips(French Fries), A pair of Beef Sausages per plate. The meal was accompanied by some drinks and at the end of it all the guests want to leave. The waitress says 99,000/- verbally.

On demanding for the breakdowns, the figure was not tallying with what had been consumed. The waitress tried to explain but the explanation was not strong. Apparently the explanation that was given by the waitress was that Chips and Chicken is 18,000/- which was okay because that is exactly how it was indicated on the menu. However the explanation for the sausages was not convincing. Sausages and Chips goes for 9,000/- and that was the price to be paid and yet the chips had already been  taken care of in the pricing of Chips and Chicken.

There was a misrepresentation of issues on the part of the waitress who instead maintained that the guests did not want to pay. To the utter annoyance of the guests a gentleman of Indian origin who was later perceived to be part of management made matters worse by saying that the guests do not want to pay. It took a Chef all the way from the Kitchen very humbled and explained the details on the menu and on behalf of management apologized for the oversight.

When you are here most especially at the beach which is open to both residents and non residents of the hotel you should make sure that whatever order you place, the pricing is discussed way before because if what is written on the menu and what is delivered do not tally then there is a problem. In the case above, it means an extra plate of chips per person was paid for and yet not consumed.

Then for management of the hotel if a client ordered for Chips and Chicken which you have priced at 18,000/- and they want a pair of sausages added on to the same, it does no harm if you come out clear and say that the price for sausages will not be reduced from 9,000/-. Thank God the Chef understood, apologized but unfortunately he was doing the job of the people that actually served these guests.

Posted by: uowd AT 01:00 am   |  Permalink   |  0 Comments  |  Email

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