“We’ve hosted a lot of very important, high-profile events in this hotel right from when we hosted the Queen of England, plus over 50 presidents in one roof. [The World Economic Forum on Africa] is yet another important event, but the most important because of the level of logistics and planning,” Valentine Ozigbo, managing director and CEO of Transcorp Hilton, told CNBC Africa.
“For a full year, we’ve been on this, from bringing people into Nigeria, conveying them here, giving them a lasting impression, quality of service, and over 70 country delegations are here. So it’s important to understand the expectations, and see how we can meet them so that they can all go back with very lasting impressions.”
Hilton Transcorp is part of the Hilton Hotels and Resorts global hotel brand, and is Nigeria’s biggest hotel.
“We trained over 1,200 staff on what the World Economic Forum is about, on the key delegates coming, because we need to show our best. Therefore, we must live up to that expectation,” Ozigbo added.
In addition to the WEF-specific training, Ozigbo explained that making sure that the hotel would not only host the World Economic Forum once but on a regular basis was equally paramount.
There is however a heavy security presence in Abuja and at the hotel, which Ozigbo explained was a balance the hotel had to manage. The increase in security follows a number of safety and terrorist attacks in various parts of Nigeria.
(READ MORE: Nigeria analyses its state of security)
“Anybody would go for security first before experience, but we’re trying to strike the right balance. We actually had to take this training beyond our own staff. The team of security operatives, it was important that whoever is coming in our perimeter has proper orientation,” said Ozigbo.
“This is actually about Nigeria, and I believe it is an honour and privilege to have been selected because we believe we’re the best in Nigeria.”