Technology absorption lifts the hospitality sector


Kenyans still prefer the good old laptop when it comes to hotel searches, accounting for 59% of traffic to the website as compared to the 37% mobile sourced traffic and a meager 4% logging to the travel platform through tablets according to the latest Kenya Travel Hospitality Report by Jumia Travel.

This is a trajectory almost duplicated when it comes to placing actual bookings; 70% of visitors book via computers while the remaining 30% click on their smartphones. Interestingly, and perhaps contrary to conventional belief, there are more men visiting the website at 60% in comparison to women who take up 40%.

hotel infographics
hotel infographics

The annual report breaks down the means of payment, in a bid to understand what is influencing the traveler’s choice; for instance and despite the continued adoption of mobile payments, 52% of guests still opt for pay-at-hotel, a notable increase from the 47% recorded in the premier report (2015). Mpesa, as the major mobile money transfer platform takes up 32% of overall hotel payments, while 15% of the local domestic travel consumers pay via card, and indication that there is a remarkable growth in domestic travel spending.

The research also looked at major travel trends, touching on how the local sector compares with counterparts on the global map; it’s rapid development, impending barriers and the impact of technology on the changing domestic travel landscape, a time when Kenyan hotels partnering with Jumia Travel stand at 2,300 in number.

A last minute, three-star nation?

Not very surprising, a whooping 44% of domestic travelers hit their gadgets for hotel and destination “search” barely a week ahead of set travel date; a small fraction of travelers however seems to prefer planning ahead of time at 7% for more than two months (prior to travel date) and 15% for one-two months. However, it’s worth of note that once settled on the hotel, more than 20% will book a week in advance, while same day booking (less than 24 hours) carries the day at 25%.

In what now seems like a trend and lifestyle devotion, Kenyans still prefer staying in three star hotels as compared to any other rating. This however, is a sharp drop from 2014/2015, where three-star accommodation recorded a 50% share. Two star hotels seem to have bitten into the share, to exhibit a sharp rise from the previous year to the current 31%.

Estelle Verdier, the Managing Director for Jumia Travel-East & Southern Africa attributes this shift to the growing number of properties now enjoying online, thus global presence, “Through the last 3 years we have developed a unique solution for hotel managers to gain online visibility even when they are not connected to internet, by joining our platform, this enables them to get bookings which are actualized through our customer service team and travel advisors”

The fact that the platform has also adapted the use of local languages such as Swahili, Yoruba and Amharic, as well as established local offices across the continent has also highly boosted their partner-customer-relations due to improved access and proximity.

Under destination search, Nairobi defends her place as the business and MICE capital while Mombasa and Rift Valley take the lead as the country’s leisure and recreation holiday centers. Some insightful metrics also attempt to illustrate average costs in various destination by looking at the Average Price Per Room Per Night (Av. PRPN)