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SERENA cements its position as Rwanda’s leading hotel brand



Kigali Serena proclaimed Rwanda’s Leading hotel by World Travel Awards for the fourth time Kigali Serena Hotel was recently awarded the Leading Hotel in Rwanda Award at the World Travel Awards hosted in the Seychelles Island presented to the hotel’s management in a colorful event on June 20th. Kigali Serena Hotel was however just one of the Serena Hotels that were decorated with recognitions in different award categories with Kampala Serena Hotel and Nairobi Serena Hotel given a similar award as Leading Hotels in Uganda and Kenya respectively.

Also, the Kenya based Nairobi Serena Hotel scooped Africa’s Leading Green Hotel Award. Uganda’s Leading Hotel Suite Award was also among those that were bagged by the Serena brand with Presidential Suite @ Lake Victoria Serena Resort & Spa winning the accolade. Serena’s recognition was at an event of the 22nd World Travel Awards Africa and Indian Ocean Gala Ceremony which had brought together brands in the tourism industry from more than 20 countries.

Briefing the media in Kigali after collecting the awards, Serena Hotels Group Managing Director Mahmud Jan Mohamed attributed the brand’s achievements in the highly coveted awards as fruits of the hard work the Serena team has investedin offering high quality services. “Among others, the milestone is attributable to the highly hospitable and caring staff of the Kigali branch and the Serena brand in general,” adding that beautiful buildings without a friendly and caring staff would mean nothing in themselves in terms of fast-tracking the hotel’s mission and vision.

Serena’s investmentin staff training commendable

“This award means our various initiatives have paid off,” Mr. Mohamed conveyed. “Consistent training of staff and students from Hotel colleges around the country are among the initiatives that have seen Kigali Serena build reputable service quality in less than a decade of operation in Rwanda,” Charles Muia Country Manager of Serena Hotels in Rwanda mentioned. Such trainings include the reputable Lobster Ink training that the hotel initiated with the support from the Agha Khan Foundation. Through this program, selected practitioners from Serena and other hospitality establishments undergo a vigorous hands-on training using audiovisual materials developed to showcase global best practices in hotel services.

In the past two years, more than 350 employees from both Serena establishments in Rwanda and beyond have benefited from the trainings. But beyond just the training time, the Lobster Ink modules offer something more; something to reference one’s service quality onto. Learners are given the opportunity to visit the materials any time to refresh their knowledge on how best to do certain things. Other factors to which the success is attributed to included hard work, safe products, transparency, attractive remunerations and care for the staff with Mohamed emphasizing that these were and will always be necessary benchmarks for achievement such as the recognitions received at the WTA. “The most important factor in our progress are the staff of SERENA; the beautiful buildings, great operations would not help us achieve this milestone if we do not have well trained and motivated staff,” Mohamed confided adding that their investmentin staff capacity building initiatives will continue going forward.

Meaning of World Travel Awards to Serena

The World Travel Awards, established in 1993 to acknowledge, reward and celebrate excellence across all sectors of the tourism industry, are currently recognised globally as the ultimate hallmark of quality, with winners setting the benchmark to which all others aspire. Each year WTA covers the globe with a series of regional gala ceremonies staged to recognise and celebrate individual and collective successes within each key geographical region; Serena Hotels was recognized under the Africa and Indian Ocean region.

Explaining what the awards mean for Serena Hotels and particularly the Rwandan operation, Muia noted that now the standard has been set and guests and the public can confidently trust the quality of the services and products offered. “Being recognized with a World Travel Award means that you are certified and trusted as a provider of high quality services and products. Now that the standard is set, we are focused to maintain it, and do even better.” Kigali Serena Hotel has been awarded Rwanda’s Leading Hotel for four consecutive years.

Serena eyes to expand in Rwanda

With two hotel establishments in Rwanda, Kigali and Lake Kivu Serena Hotels, Mohamed disclosed that the regional giant in the hospitality service sub-sector is already looking to expand in the country. Among others, Serena is targeting to establish a classic eco hotel in the Kinigi area which is home to some of the world’s few surviving mountain gorillas.  The process is already in advanced stages.

Besides new establishments however, the Serena MD shared that the hotel also targets to increase recreation and hospitality facilities at both Kigali and Lake Kivu Serena Hotels “SERENA HOTEL will also harness the investmentopportunity associated to Lake Kivu and the spectacular natural sceneries at its shores and natural endowments in western Rwanda as well as utilize the business opportunities accruing from international trade with Rwanda’s neighbors,” Mohamed shared.

Already, water games at the Lake Kivu establishment have been diversified to boost recreation facilities while plans to upgrade rooms and particularly add a VIP floor at the Kigali establishments are already in implementation process. Currently, Kigali Serena Hotel has 148 rooms while the Kivu Serena Hotel counts 68 rooms with an average annual occupancy rate of 75%.


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