There are a few names you cannot leave out when you discuss Hospitality in Nigeria, and Bukky George Taylor is one such name. Over the years, through her company Robert Taylor media, She has contributed immensely to the success of a number of hospitality brands which by extension has boosted the perception of the Nigerian hospitality landscape.
On a recent courtesy visit to her office, she was very expressive about her vision for not just her clients but the hospitality industry as a whole. From the way she spoke, you could tell she is passionate about setting new standards and exploring new frontiers for the industry. One of the products of her passion is the CRAWL app, an innovative application that allows customers to discover amazing spots (restaurants, lounges, nightclubs etc) and leisure activities across African cities from the comfort of their phones. These are indeed interesting times for hospitality and Bukky is one of many professionals at the frontline, charting a new course for the industry. With the ever-growing trends and developments in hospitality today, It is important for every business to flow with the tide rather than against it. One such way is understanding the role of effective communication in building formidable brands, and there’s no better person to get that knowledge from than Bukky George-Taylor. In this Q&A we get comfortable with Bukky as we explore the possibilities of communication and marketing in the Hospitality
Here we go:
You have been such a force in the hospitality industry over the years.
Kindly highlight what the experience has been like so far.
Watching the hospitality industry grow exponentially in Nigeria is truly remarkable and what’s even more rewarding is being a part of that growth. We can see clearly that Travel and Tourism are on the agenda for Africa’s growth as we begin to open our doors to the world.
The experience so far has been rewarding. I have seen tourism opportunities in Nigeria that did not exist before, and I have witnessed the creation of new job opportunities; we have food photographers now, entertainers, tour guides and so much more.
Africa and its countries are so beautiful with a vast wealth of history and a lot to explore.
My agency has a special unit for the Hospitality industry with a team of 6. We service the hospitality sector by cultivating meaningful relationships and strategic partnerships with movers and shakers who can influence purchasing decisions by helping organizations tell their brand stories and to sell their unique experiences.
What was a significant moment for you in this profession?
The opening of the Hospitality Unit at Robert Taylor Media and positioning ourselves to handle communications in the Hospitality sector. This was a great turning point for our agency. We have worked with hotels, restaurants, bars, beach resorts, tourism apps, inflight publications and so much more.
What philosophy drives you?
Responsibility, Mindset, Passion and Problem-Solving are the key ingredients in entrepreneurship that drive me.
What role does strategic communication play in building a formidable hospitality brand?
Communications drive the ship of the hospitality industry. To maintain your share in the market and always be on the mind of your customers, it is important to have strategic communications at the hem of your affairs.
Public Relations/Marketing/Advertising bridges the gap between services offered and the potential customers to use those services.
Building a positive image and gaining the trust of your customers is central to building a brand, especially in the hospitality sector.
Good PR is key for this industry to thrive and probably the most crucial factor that will determine the fate of the entire industry.
What is your advice on marketing a hospitality brand?
Public Relations and Marketing are important. The right marketing plan can draw attention to your brand. Define your target audience from the onset and engage. There should be greater emphasis on building your brand for longevity than making quick money. Staying on top of trends in marketing and PR in your sector is important. Being able to adapt quickly to the ever-changing nature of hospitality marketing and advertising and staying ahead of the curve. Influencer marketing is crucial for exposure and building influencer loyalists as well as media partners are important. Finally, having great customer service and a solid internal structure is equally important. No amount of PR can sell bad service. Invest in your staff and have exceptional service that will create memorable moments for your customers.
What is your take on the current state of the hospitality industry following its recent explosion with new spots?
Post-COVID has seen a lot of Nigerians turning inwards to enjoy the experiences that the hospitality sector has to offer. This has caused a spurt in the industry as we now see quite a few restaurants, bars/clubs, beach resorts and more opening their doors.
The openings of these new spots are creating great jobs. It also provides opportunities for people to be trained and to lead in this sector.
Travel is still not what it used to be, so many more people are looking within their cities or country to experience great hospitality which allows for more revenue in this sector as people are now spending money within their home Country as opposed to overseas.
There is still a lot of room for improvement, but we cannot deny that the growth in this sector has been substantial.
How would you rate the quality of service in the industry at the moment?
We have a lot of work to do where the quality of service is concerned. A few establishments have taken the time to train and educate their staff and these are usually foreign-owned establishments. We need more training and more exposure for our staff.
As we continue to grow our hospitality sector, there is a need for training facilities, hospitality schools and certification. This is a heavily untapped area, but I have heard of quite a few things in the pipeline.
Do we have exportable hospitality brands in Nigeria?
I do believe so. I can see hotels like the Art Hotel in different countries, showcasing African Art and exceptional African hospitality. Wouldn’t that be amazing?
My CRAWL app was a much-needed innovation in the hospitality industry. Can you elaborate on its impact so far?
For the first time in Africa, we built an app that put the hospitality sector in the palm of customers’ hands. Bringing establishments into direct contact with their customers and potential customers. I am very proud of CRAWL Africa and we cannot wait to show you what we have in store.
The App was created to show the beauty of Africa and to enable customers/travellers to explore establishments in major African Cities. Crawl Africa is a Tourism/Hospitality app that has won quite a few awards and has even been featured in publications like Forbes. I am super proud of CRAWL.
My CRAWL app announced it is taking a break to revamp. What should the public expect?
A brand-new app built from the ground up with new features, improved user security, better performance and overall user experience. We have taken all our learning and customer feedback from the last 2 years and are leveraging the latest technologies to build CRAWL 2.0 to meet the needs of our core customers
What is your daily routine, and how important is this for you in your busy life?
I wake up with gratitude, meditate/pray, take my vitamins for the day, head to the office, and visit client sites; I recently started going to the gym which helps a lot with mood and clarity, I enjoy quiet time and I spend time with my friends and I try to get at least 7 hours of sleep.
Maintaining relationships with your clients is a big part of your business. What are the simple yet effective ways to keep that going?
Maintaining a healthy relationship with your client is a crucial part of any business as we all want repeat customers. We can achieve this by communicating effectively, exceeding expectations, understanding clients’ goals, taking constructive criticism, sharing knowledge and being positive.
How do you unwind?
‘Travel and getaway’ is how I unwind. Stepping out of work mode to declutter, allows you to come back refreshed with a clear head, ready to go again! What is also really amazing is that you don’t need a flight to get away these days, we have a lot of beautiful places like Lakowe, Bambu Beach Resort, Jara Beach Resort and so much more that serve as a beautiful escape right here in the city.
When dining out, what is your go-to meal?
I am a Salmon and good Wine type of woman. It is also pretty safe. You can’t mess up a Salmon Filet.
Which talent/skill would you most like to have that you do not possess?
I wish I knew how to fly an aeroplane.
If you had to pick your favourite place in the world, where would it be?
Anywhere Tropical with Jamaica being top of mind.
What should we expect from Bukky George-Taylor in the coming years?
A lot of educating. I want to teach all that I have learnt over the years to the next generation of women. I look forward to creating a platform full of resources for career women and female entrepreneurs.