Nigerian Entrepreneur Launches Online Travel Platform To ‘Grow Knowledge & Wealth In Africa’
By Leah Freeman-Haskin
Mark Essien was born in Nigeria and spent most of his life developing software programs and writing code for platforms that he would later sell to Disney and the US military. Although his first love was building software for PCs, the age of smartphones forced him to adapt to the times. He found that the market for apps in the Western part of the world was quickly becoming oversaturated and decided to take his talents and ideas to Africa. He saw that the travel industry in African was growing, but there was a lack of online support in the travel booking process. That’s when Essien decided to move back to Nigeria to build his hotel booking platform, hotels.NG.
He took residence in Calabar, a holiday destination for locals where there were a large number of hotels and potential clients. Today, hotels.NG is an online travel agency specializing in hotel bookings within Nigeria. The platform helps customers book hotel rooms online, provide comprehensive help and support to clients and make the hotel booking process smooth and easy. They also provide hotel recommendations and reviews, making sure that customers stay in good, clean and safe hotels all over the country.
Hotels.NG employs 150 people, serving hotels and customers across Nigeria, with plans to expand across Africa and to eventually offer the full end-to-end travel experience. Essien’s long-term vision is to become the biggest provider of travel information and reservation in Africa. The mission of the company is simple and powerful, “to grow knowledge and wealth in Africa and her people.”
Essien is a frequent TedX speaker. He has delivered talks on Leveraging networks to build a business, and how Africa can lead in the global technology space at TedXEuston and TedXGbagada respectively.