"Tourism is one of the greatest contributors to the global economy through such functions as providing employment and foreign exchange. As such, we are at the forefront of facilitating travel, through the internet by offering the continent’s hotel sector global presence through the internet, as the world continues to embrace eCommerce."
Paul Midy - CEO Jumia Travel
Kenya ranks 9th on the African economies in 2015
Tourism contributed indirectly to 10% of Kenyan's GDP in 2015
Tourism contribute to 9.3% of the total employment
74% of Kenyans have internet connection
Is there any noticeable increase in travel or/and trade post-adoption of the EA Visa? And, what is the stand for Tanzania?
The introduction of East Africa Single Tourist Visa has greatly reduced the cost of visa-acquisition and therefore heightened the opportunity to experience multi-country packages. Although Tanzania and Burundi are yet to embrace the same vision, we still participate in joint marketing events. For instance, we had a joint stand at the Magical Kenya Travel Expo 2016 where Tanzanian and Burundian companies were present. The same happened during the Pearl of Africa Expo in Uganda, as was for Karibu Fair in Tanzania and during Kwita Izina in Rwanda in September. Even at the London World Travel Market, we are hosting a joint road-show where Tanzanian and Burundian companies will be present.
Is there a standardized way of packaging cross-selling to avoid unnecessary rivalry and sometimes animosity between tour operators and countries at large?
From the out-look; tourist arrivals are on the increase. In Kenya for instance, as of April 2016, the total tourist arrivals by air were 261,404; a 14% growth when compared to the same period in 2015 when it had 231,038 arrivals. EAC partner states simply complement each other. When packaging the region, the focus is on complementary products and services. In this case, while Kenya is endowed with beaches and world-renowned parks like Maasai Mara, Uganda is home to the world’s best white-water rafting rivers and the highest concentration of bird species. Rwanda, on the other hand, is home to endangered mountain gorillas. Never to forget, Tanzania’s renowned safari circuits and breath-taking Zanzibar beaches. Burundi is equally fascinating with warm hospitality, vibrant cultures, unrivalled heritage and diverse Lake Tanganyika recreational opportunities.
What would you say is the future of domestic tourism across the region?
Almost 50% of tourism in Kenya is domestic tourism; at the same time, our regional partners- Uganda & Rwanda are aggressively marketing domestic tourism & even launched domestic tourism marketing initiatives. For the first-time, Uganda and Rwanda have allocated funds for marketing domestic tourism. The future of tourism in East Africa is embedded in the vision of One Destination with multiple cultures and products. After all, with a population of 160 million and 10% of which is a potential market, it makes sense to invest on inter and intra-regional tourism.
|Rift Valley||20%||88 USD|
|Mount Kenya||5%||201 USD|
|Diani Beach||5%||120 USD|
|Masai Mara||2%||256 USD|
Kenya is globally recognized as a leisure destination; however, the growing emergence of business hotels is prove that the country is tapping into the corporate travel market, how are the guests’ expectations changing?
There are more hotels coming up; Royal Tulip for instance just opened it’s doors to the corporate traveler in Nairobi. Next door we have Park Inn by Radisson, Swiss Contact is marking territories in Westland, in Lower Kabete, we have Pullman’s coming up amongst several others eyeing the growing sector. This means that Nairobi is more than qualified and equipped to meet the growing demand. Apart from this, the government is supporting the growing MICE frontier by establishing conferencing centers of international repute - like the planned center at the Bomas of Kenya. With this in mind, hotels too have stepped up to care for the business traveler with installation of state-of-technology business center and conferencing facilities, and improvement in service speed as well as extra services.
Is there any established preferences in hotel culture and style for business travelers?
Business travelers, and especially those travelling on the company’s budget have a culture to retain and a guideline to follow; therefore, their itinerary is highly rigid, and will mostly have identified particular hotel, and formed a relationship with them. Due to global and regional travel, it’s almost certain that they are more likely to settle on a chain or group. On the other hand, private business travelers do not have to answer to any culture (apart from what they have set as their own) and so have more room to experiment and try different properties and offers. They are also more likely to have higher expectations as value-for-money is one of their governing insights, thus prompting the hotels to meet the business traveler demands. OTA or Direct Booking; there is no clear divide, it all goes back to the culture, however, hotel staff maybe able to sway this to their favor (direct bookings) through opening communication, and providing personalized experience.
What’s your best advice to anyone looking to invest in a Chain Hotel Group?
I think the biggest downtime of chain hotels is the inability to adapt locally in their different locations. For instance, waking up in the same hotel in Accra as you did in Nairobi or Cairo is super boring! Under Louver Group, we are allowed to experiment with our interiors, colour combination and the lounge ambience as long as we retain the 94 rooms and adhere to the lighting guideline, which are the markers of our royal brand. Other than that, we try to integrate local trinkets in our set up, customize our products to avoid duplication but retain the culture and great service consistency from all perspective.
41% Foreign visitor spending
59% Domestic spending
67.5% Leisure spending
32.5% Business spending
As the online marketplace embraces digitization, how do you manage to retain the humain face touch and connection?
We have 24 hour support through phone calls, as well as Live Chat for customers who may wish to make contact at the time of booking, or when visiting our website. This ensures that customers who want to relate have adequate and effective channels. However, we must not forget that a fraction of tech savvy customers prefer to remain totally independent; for such, we do not interfere.
How do you endear yourselves to the customer, from the pre-travel arrangements, to the actual stay and post-travel?
Before and after check in, each guest is assigned one of our Travel Advisors who is always in contact with both the guest and the hotel to ensure everything flows seamlessly. We have scheduled calls to interact with our guests at various intervals during the planning, their stay and post trip. Also, our platform allows reviews to enable guests express their opinion on both the process as well as their stay. We usually call to find out whether they enjoyed their stay and to gather their recommendations.
Customer service is key to attracting and retaining customers, how much value do customers place on reviews? What interfaces and tools do you have to boost your interaction?
With the advent of technology and it’s rising impact on the tourism sector, it is almost a rule for customers to check online reviews before booking a hotel, or boarding a flight to any destination. Study indicates that, any traveler is likely to visit about fourteen different websites while planning their travels. With this in mind, we encourage our customers to post their reviews; if for instance we get negative feedback from any aspect of our process, we hastily attend to the same and look for ways to make up for the lapse. This information is also shared with our partner hotels, to help them improve on the services in question.
|Percentage of search||Time before|
|44%||Less than 1 week|
|15%||1 to 2 weeks|
|19%||2 weeks to 1 month|
|15%||1 to 2 months|
|7%||more than 2 months|
|17%||2 to 3 days|
|6%||3 to 4 days|
|5%||4 to 5 days|
|3%||5 to 6 days|
|20%||more than a week|
Dynamic pricing and timely response to market demands are key to designing a great offer in the hotel industry, what process does your team follow for the best result?
Maintaining continuous communication and free flow of information with our hotel partners is key. We inform them of upcoming events and seasonal occurrences to enable them manage their rates accordingly.
Some of the technologies we use to effect this is the extra net; which allows hotels unrestricted access to their profile on our platform, thereby enabling them to adjust prices, update availability and confirm reservations.
Please outline the innovations and technologies that Jumia Travel has adopted for seamless revenue management process.
We integrated the web version of the extra net which hotels use to access their profile on Jumia Travel and adjust price, inventory and confirm reservations and check-ins. Besides, we connect to different channel management systems that hotels use to allow us access to real time price and inventory. So far we are connected to Siteminder and plans are underway to add Nights Bridge, Wealthy Walker, and Ezee.
From your observation about Kenyan hotels on Jumia Travel; is there any trend or established behaviour pertaining to revenue management?
The Kenyan market is seasonal and competitive. Hotels are always trying to offer more value for less money. And the trend that this has created is a greater online presence. I see many hotels actively managing their prices on our platform. They aggressively engage the team, request advice on effective practices and offer special discounts. Out of the 21 countries our EA team works with, Kenya has the highest users (hotel managers) of our mobile and web extra net. Managers know online is where the future is and Jumia Travel is helping them grow their presence daily. Another trend to note is the realization by hotels that resident rates convert very well. Last year we had very few hotels offering special rates for East African citizens. Now, we have more than 25% of our partners that have resident rates. And these rates are giving them very good business. The Jumia Travel revenue management team continuously encourages hotels to take advantage of the East African market that responds strongly to resident rates.
The travel and hospitality industry in Kenya has seen remarkable growth since the advent of the internet. As more Kenyans go online in search of information, discounts, deals and destinations to explore there is significant growth in the number of ecommerce businesses. This hospitality report looks at trends in the hospitality industry in Kenya including the overall effect of the internet on travel.
Sources: IMF, World Bank, WTTC, UNWTO, W Hospitality Group, CIA Worlfacts, Statista.com, Communication Authority of Kenya, Jumia Travel Business Intelligence, Shutterstock.