Shifting local tourism trends pushing hotel owners to customize customer oriented services



R-L Cyrus Onyiego (1)Coast region still stands out as the most popular destination for Kenyans according to the recently released domestic tourism report.

The coastal region led the pack with 30% followed by Nairobi at 29%, Naivasha and Nakuru, which are both increasingly growing as conference centers as well as major escape destinations for leisure and short holidays, take up a combined percentage of 17% in visitor numbers.

Towns like Kisumu and Eldoret were among the growing centers in tourism numbers, partly because of Lake Victoria as an attraction and also as an entry point for cross border travel. Other factors such as devolution and destination awareness campaigns also contribute to the growing attention the two towns are currently enjoying.

The Jumia Travel Report on domestic tourism in Kenya  analyzed booking trends on its website for the period between 2015/2016.

According to Cyrus Onyiego, the Country Manager for Jumia Travel, lack of awareness and knowledge is still a major challenge hampering growth in domestic tourism,

“Travel is still viewed as a luxurious affair, simply because the (consumer) has very little knowledge on the product.” He called on stakeholders to come up with customized and personalized products for the market, keeping in mind the culture, lifestyle and budget needs for local travelers.

The report also indicated a rising need for hotel owners and tour operators to design products and packages for the emerging group of millennial travelers who may not be keen on luxury as compared to convenience, budget and flexibility.

According to Eugene Too, the Online Revenue Manager for The Panari Hotel, the lower gap in the current millennial bracket is very clear on what they are looking for; fun and adventure. It is therefore important for providers to mark up their facilities if they want to capture this growing market.

The report further revealed that most of those travelling to the destinations are families at 51 percent.

“While slightly more than half of local bookings on Jumia Travel consist of either nuclear or extended families on holiday, only thirteen percent (13%) are made of friends traveling as a group.”

Further, the report indicates that single or individual travelers are equally popular, while business travelers take up twenty three percent (23%) of the total bookings. The trends also show that men are more popular e-travel consumers than women, with the ratio of male travelers almost doubling that of women at sixty four percent (64%) as compared to women at thirty six percent (36%).

On payment, mobile Payments is still the most popular mode of payment for guests who prefer paying before arrival. Kenyans however are seen not to favor swiping their cards as this only takes up about fourteen percent (14%) of the prepayment chart, while other means (cheque, EFT and corporate payments) account for twenty six percent (26%).

Desktop  computers still carry the day as the preferred gadget for completing bookings at a remarkable eighty-three percent (83%) still prefer to complete their bookings via desktop computers. Seventeen percent (17%) search and book on mobile gadgets.