Companies

Radisson cuts staff by a third on reopening

blu

Radisson Blu in Nairobi’s Upper Hill. FILE PHOTO | NMG

Summary

  • General manager Russel Storey said the hotel, which shut operations in December 2020 on low bookings due to Covid-19 is now working with 210 workers down from 300 employees two years ago.
  • The closure came at a time CBK survey on hotels had shown that bed occupancy remains low, averaging 23 percent in November and October compared to 24 percent in September.
  • The 271-room hotel mainly depended on conferences and parties in the busy Upper Hill area that was attracting business people who wanted venues outside the city centre.

Global hotel brand Radisson Blu has cut the number of its workforce by 30 percent as it resumed operations in Nairobi Upper Hill last week on easing of the coronavirus crisis.

General manager Russel Storey said the hotel, which shut operations in December 2020 on low bookings due to Covid-19 is now working with 210 workers down from 300 employees two years ago.

“We had around 300 staff before we closed two years ago and we have deployed just over 210 as we resume operations today,” he told the Business Daily.

“We don’t see the demand as high as when the hotel closed and we are just being a little bit cautious. I had to bring in just a few people that knew the business.”

The hotel halted its operations in Upper Hill, Nairobi, and sent most of its staff home as bookings remain low due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The closure came at a time the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) survey on hotels had shown that bed occupancy remains low, averaging 23 percent in November and October compared to 24 percent in September.

The 271-room hotel mainly depended on conferences and parties in the busy Upper Hill area that was attracting business people who wanted venues outside the city centre.

Some of the employees, who spoke on anonymity, said the hotel considerate workers were sent home when the hotel was rehiring.

Kenya’s tourism earnings dropped by Sh71 billion in 2020 as the suspension of flights to curb the spread of Covid-19 locked out holidaymakers.

When the hotel closed, its sister establishments — Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence Nairobi Arboretum and Park Inn by Radisson Nairobi Westlands – remain in operation.

The Upper Hill hotel is the largest facility compared to the other two whose joint bed capacity is 262.

Most five-star hotels rely on tourism, events, and conferences which are slowly resuming normal operations.

Data from the Economic Survey shows that Kenya earned Sh91.7 billion in the review period from Sh163.6 billion in 2019 as the coronavirus pandemic hit one of the country’s biggest foreign exchange earners.