By Josephine Wawira
The hotel industry is continuously evolving and as curtains quickly fall on 2016, more evolution is expected in the coming year. Here are top hotel trends that are likely to dominate the sector in 2017.
More Dynamic Rates
Hotels are gaining more online presence through various channels such as online accommodation booking platforms as well as OTAs, and are learning to quickly adopt their rates to meet demands. While currently most hotels seldom change their rates, 2017 will see them adjusting rates more often based on occupancy and competition. Furthermore, hotels are becoming ingenious by attaching reward to risk free rates, by discounting their prices and offering them as nonrefundable. This goes without saying that hotels especially in East Africa are also starting to warm up to the idea of offering special resident rates, convinced by the conversion and the power it has in generating returning loyal customers and gaining competitive advantage.
Technology has dominated the hotel industry throughout this year, and the trend is expected to increase in the coming year especially in the use of mobile apps. While strategies like the provision of complementary Wi-Fi is an evident stride towards catering to an increasingly tech-savvy customer base, come 2017, hotels must find more effective channels to meet their customers’ expectations, such as the use of mobile applications that give more independence and flexibility to both hotel managements and guests.
Yared Kifle, Head of Revenue Management for Jumia Travel East Africa, says that “this will require constant study and analysis of the market, for hotels to adapt accordingly in an ever-changing marketplace. For instance, Jumia Travel provides all its hotel partners with modern day tools such as the extra net app which gives them real time access to any price change and inventory at any given time. The changes are updated and displayed constantly and consistently under full discretion of the hotelier.”
Hotel Chain Development
2017 will see the opening of various hotel chain establishments in Africa that are currently under construction. According to the African Tourism Monitor, Unlocking Africa’s Tourism Potential Volume 3, among these chains are the Mövenpick’s four hotel deals in Egypt, Morocco, and Tunisia that are under construction and scheduled to open by end of 2016 and 2017. Besides, the report further states that Pullman’s signed deals in Nairobi, Kinshasa, and Addis Ababa, are also all on site, and are scheduled to open fully by 2017. In total, approximately 10,988 new rooms will be opened in about 55 hotels in Africa, the report states.
Reliance on OTAs
While people have become more interested in travel, they have also become even more occupied at various levels of their lives, leaving no room for them to personally tailor own travel plans. This has and will continue in the coming year, thus increase reliance on Online Travel Agents especially among millennial business travelers. There is no doubt that challenges abound in OTAs, but the travel industry research authority Phocuswright estimates that the total cost of bookings through the Online Travel Agents (approximately $341 billion) is likely to hit 6% increase in 2017, from an annual growth rate of 5% between 2011 to 2015.