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By Dipo Olowookere

The decision of the management of Transcorp Hotels Plc to design a digital platform called Aura has been applauded by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.

At the launch of the app on Thursday in Abuja, Mr Osinbajo said the initiative will help revive Nigeria’s hospitality industry in general, especially in the aftermath of the COVID-19 global pandemic as it will provide a major avenue for other small businesses in the value chain to grow.

“This is an excellent innovation, a service that leverages smoothly on technology and one that will be a tremendous boost to the hospitality industry as a whole.

“And because I have checked it out myself, I can say that my Aura experience has been quite good,” the Vice President said as he eulogised the team led by the Chairman of Transcorp Hotels, Mr Tony Elumelu; the Group CEO of Transcorp, Mrs Owen Omogiafo; and the CEO of Transcorp Hotels, Mrs Dupe Olusola; for designing such digital platform at this time.

Mr Osinbajo noted that the Aura app was designed to connect people to quality accommodation, great food, and awesome experiences in several places.

“Yes, there are a number of digital hospitality platforms already, but I think the unique offering here is that Transcorp, possibly Nigeria’s foremost luxury hotel, is putting its huge reputation behind the service of helping customers choose the best accommodation restaurants, and experience tours available in Nigeria. The advantages of this service are varied.

“First, the customer can rely on the experience and judgment of world-class personnel at Transcorp in choosing hotels and restaurants.

“Second, Transcorp helps to build other smaller hospitality businesses, and even those simply offering their apartments simply as short-let apartments, by recommending their accommodation to potential guests.

“A Transcorp recommendation is more or less an accreditation that the accommodation or other hospitality service meets the high standards for which Transcorp is known. This is great all around and will help revive the hospitality industry, especially since the downturn in the aftermath of COVID-19,” he said.

The Vice President added that he found the app easy to navigate, with a copious offering of hotels, short-let apartments, experience tours.

“They lure you into it by showing you a photo of an incredibly mouth-watering meal, and I saw a few that almost convinced me to break my fast early.

“So, there was an amazing looking Chicken Cheese Pizza from Barnyard lounge in Asaba, some irresistible chicken meal – a 5-star chicken – from Platino in Lagos, and some ‘carry go suya’ spice prawns at 355 here in Abuja. So, from the photo of the meal that takes you to the restaurant itself, you have booking options, dine-in, pick up or delivery,” he added.

Mr Osinbajo noted that, “I think the feature many especially property owners will find most fascinating is the host feature; as this enables you to put up your own property. And there are terms and conditions you need to meet for your property to be accepted. Same for whatever other entertainment facility you may wish to put out there for letting.”

In her remarks, Mrs Olusola agreed with the position of the Vice President on the capability of the initiative to support the development of the domestic tourism industry.

“Aura is a digital hospitality platform that gives the opportunity to all our stakeholders and guests to actually be able to book accommodation and experiences just at their fingertips.

Aura is an opportunity for us to diversify our economy, an opportunity to create jobs and employment, and to develop domestic tourism and leisure travel,” she said.

The launch of Aura was also witnessed by the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Mr Femi Gbajabiamila; the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr Abubakar Malami; the Minister of Labour and Employment, Mr Chris Ngige; the Deputy Chief of Staff to the President, Mr Ade Ipaye; among other dignitaries.

The event featured delectable Nigerian cuisine, video presentations and live performances by leading Nigerian artistes and celebrities, including Tiwa Savage.

Business Post reports that since its launch on Thursday, the Aura by Transcorp app has recorded over 1,000 downloads on the Google Playstore.

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