Kenya Hotel Outlook 2017: makes and breaks


If projections are anything to go by, 2017 could be the best election year for the hotel economy. What needs to hold?

The World Bank projected an economic growth of 6% for Kenya in this year. Looking at the performance of affiliated sectors, a new twist gets to play on what really matters for a good hotel year.

  1. Low oil prices

Fundamentally, a good season demands a bigger and better traffic. Travel and commuter costs constrain how far and wide (and frequent) tourists are willing to tour. What could we count on to keep the prices low_ the massive Russian production, insecurity in MENA or the more efficient jets and cars?

2. Good agricultural performance

I was once a farmer and whenever farmers got a great harvest and coincidentally, great prices, they oft accompanied they produce to Mombasa and had enough to spare for a hotel room, cuisine and sites. Food prices rarely vary at the hotel, but portions do. When produce is plenteous, and sadly cheaper, the portions are better and that attracts diners. The reverse is true.

Another subtle thing, when harvests are great, rural families can support their upkeep. This translates to more disposable incomes in the hands of urban folks… what better way than enjoy the weekend at you-know-where.

3. A supportive monetary policy

Travel advisories, “Irrational and insidious”, drained cash-flows for lots of hoteliers at the coast. When times improved, the only option for short-term borrowing was bank overdrafts. Costly? No longer, thanks to the recent capping of interest rates for commercial banks.

These also spill-over to travelers on credit cards and backwards to the supply chain.

4. Power and water supply

Travelers want to go to the remotest spot on earth and be able to take selfies, chat and shop online, enjoy a hot spa etc. Thanks to campaigns such as the last mile connectivity project, tours are well lit and clean.

5. ICT

In 2012, 57% of all travel reservations were made online and 65% of same-day hotel reservations were made from a Smartphone. Five years later we can appreciate all this hype with fiber optic, liberalization of mobile telephony, 3/4G and tax cuts. Customers can access blogs to review best brands to spend cash. Online booking is no longer a plus and so is free WiFi.

My point

Sadly, all these factors dangle [DANGEROUSLY] over uncertainties and vandalism of a barbaric politician. If you must vote then vote to change history. Otherwise, let’s mobilize every tactic to usher in the greatest hotel season.


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