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Hotels eye share of Airbnb market

Hotels are likely to eye the AirBnB market in order to increase bookings and raise revenue following prolonged closure due to Covid-19 pandemic
Hotels are likely to eye the AirBnB market in order to increase bookings and raise revenue following prolonged closure due to Covid-19 pandemic. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

Hotels are likely to eye the AirBnB market in order to increase bookings and raise revenue following prolonged closure due to Covid-19 pandemic, bringing a new threat to home owners who have been relying on the service to raise additional income.

The crisis has seen profits plunge in the travel and hotel industry over reduced numbers of both domestic and international tourists due to restrictions on travel and closures of borders.

Even with the re-opening and resumption of international travel, demand is expected to remain low due to low consumer spending.

AirBnB hosts in Kenya, mostly home owners, have also suffered heavily along with traditional hotels and travel companies.

“The pandemic is offering an opportunity for repositioning every property for market. Main drivers of real estate will not significantly change and hence hotels would be joining AirBnB,” said Fusion Capital chief executive Daniel Kamau during a sub-Saharan Africa real estate outlook webinar organised by Absa Group.

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Kenya has lost Sh80 billion so far in tourism revenue, about half of last year’s total, due to the pandemic.

However, some players in the hotel industry say that it would not be easy for the establishments to move into the AirBnB space, with the Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers CEO Mike Macharia noting that listing of hospitality business would be difficult for hotels.

This, he said, is because Kenya is largely positioned as a destination for high-end clientele, who would normally not be looking for bookings on the AirBnB site.

“There is still space for online selling even under normal circumstances. Kenya’s key source markets visit for mountain climbing and safari and would not book on AirBnB,” said Mr Macharia.

The industry has for long relied on digital platforms including booking.com, Trip Advisor and Expedia for online bookings.

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