How Coconut Grove manager emerged host of 2015

BY: Maxwell Akalaare Adombila 
Mr  Victor Opoku Minta — General Manager Coconut Grove Beach Resort

At the recently held Central Regional Tourism Awards, the General Manager of the Coconut Grove Beach Resort, Elmina, Mr Victor Opoku Minta (VOM), beat off competition from colleague managers to clinch the Host of the Year award.

Maxwell Akalaare Adombila of the Graphic Business (GB) caught up with him for a discussion on how he achieved that laurel.GB: What, in your opinion, earned you the award, Host of the Year?

VOM: I believe it was by the grace of the Almighty God. He gave me the strength and will to work hard to be appointed by my Directors, Dr & Mrs Papa Kwesi Nduom, to the position of General Manager at the Coconut Grove Beach Resort.

God gave me a team, which has been very welcoming and accommodating of policies and strategies to improve the facility and that has gained us the recognition, which resulted in the award.

GB: What importance is this achievement to your personal growth and the Coconut Grove brand in particular?

VOM: This achievement, though very unexpected but very appreciated, gives me the much needed motivation to do better what I did well yesterday. I was not expecting it at all.

It tells my entire team and I that hard work is recognised and rewarded and so we should all strive harder to do better in all areas of our work and personal lives.

I am proud to have been chosen from Coconut Grove Hotels. This is a brand that in its 21 years of operation, has churned out some of the most excellent human resource capital.

It will continue to do so and I know that this is only the beginning.

Other well deserving hoteliers and team members in the group will soon be recognised for their outstanding feats.

This award depicts and portrays the importance we place on ensuring every guest is hosted to the best of our ability.

Our brand is tried and tested and being great hosts is only one of our excellent features and traits that is critical in guaranteeing clients' loyalty. I am sure the award will go a long way to reinforce clients’ faith in the Coconut Grove Hotels brand.

GB: Why should a prospective guest choose Coconut Grove Beach Resort, Elmina, over competing hotels in the Central Region?

VOM: Coconut Grove Beach Resort boasts of having one destination with endless possibilities, a feature that all the other hotels do not possess in the Central Region and beyond.

• We have an 18-hole, world-class golf course, endorsed by the Ghana Golf Association.

• Our horse stable with 15 Arabian and Nigerian cross-bred horses for horseback riding gives guests the opportunity to explore our facility and more.

• We are located on a 50-acre property with lavish sprawling grounds and landscape, located on a sandy beach which can be swum in, a feature most hotels in the country do not have.

• We have an excellent conference facility that provides your strategic business meeting and team building needs while giving your participants a breakaway from the office environment that allows for improved deliberations for business enhancement and growth.

• We have a range of ocean front suites, which are ideal for a romantic getaway. Imagine the sound of the ocean waves crashing on the beach, outside your window! Simply divine experiences.

These are just to name a few. We have no competition in the Central Region that can match us where unique facilities and services are concerned.

GB: Cape Coast is a hub of tourists in Ghana. What were visitor numbers in your facility like in 2015 and how is that compared to previous years? What should we expect, judging from the present happenings?

VOM: Yes indeed, the Central Region is the hub of tourism in Ghana. We, however, have been hit badly in the last couple of years due to the sharp decline in the numbers of tourists as a result of the Ebola scare, which we are yet to recover fully from.

The fiscal and monetary policies by the government have not made matters any better. The recent increases in utility tariffs will actually result in some facilities closing down altogether.

This is because we cannot transfer all of this direct cost to the client, whom we are already fighting to win and host at our facilities. Operating profitably is going to be a bigger challenge than ever.

We shall have to be more innovative and maximise productivity to ensure we stay afloat. Next year will be a very challenging year. We are likely to see further decline in tourists visiting our facilities due to it being an election year and the uncertainty associated with such.

We are gearing up to face these hard times ahead and hold our own.

GB: The Tourism Levy, which is to help mobilise funds to develop the sector, has started and Coconut Grove was adjudged the best collector for 2015. Going forward, what should we expect in that regard and what will be your advice on how the funds should be applied?

VOM: Groupe Nduom, and for that matter, Coconut Grove Hotels, have a policy to pay the taxman first before any other expenditure is processed. Thus, we pay our taxes and statutory

obligations before any other spending and this has become a part and parcel of our everyday activities.

We pride ourselves in being disciplined enough to ensure we adhere to this corporate policy because if a businessman is not disciplined, it is easy to ignore obligations hence the award for being the most consistent and highest Tourism Levy Payer.

We have proven our commitment to the Tourism Authority with our actions and will like reciprocal commitment in the use of the funds collected to develop the industry and tourism facilities as proposed by them.

We will like the GTA to lobby government to make available subsidies to us the service providers to reduce our cost of operations in order to make it affordable for both tourists and the Ghanaian populace to visit and use our facilities for their well being, recreation, rest and relaxation while making it lucrative for investors in hospitality.

GB: Who is Victor Minta? What should we expect of you in the coming years as Manager of the resort and holder of the Host of the Year award?

VOM: I am m­arried to Nuerkie, a chartered insurance broker and our marriage will be 11 years this Christmas Day.

We have two daughters. The elder, Micaela, is 20 years and writing her final law exams at Oxford Brookes University in England, and the baby, Aku Dede, is almost four years and in nursery at St. Cornelius.

Winning I believe is the easy part. Maintaining success is the difficult aspect and so I will strive and work twice as hard to excel in all aspects of our hotels’ operations, whilst encouraging and motivating the human resource capital with the needed training and development, in order to deliver an unprecedented level of customer satisfaction for our current and prospective clientele.

GB: What is your message to guests, prospective ones and staff?

VOM: The Coconut Grove Hotels are your one-stop shops for all your hospitality needs. We are one destination with endless possibilities and we are poised to offer you memories worth repeating.

To our cherished clients, some of whom are far away from our current locations in Accra, Elmina and Obuasi, we say to them "watch this space, there will be a Coconut Grove Hotel opening up near you soon!”

The truth of the matter is that the 156 management and staff at Coconut Grove Beach Resort did all the hard work and I got all the credit so I wish to say thank you to every one of them. I really appreciate their hard work, dedication and support over the years. They are a truly awesome team to work with.

I look forward to the coming years and greater successes we shall share together.