Just yesterday i was listening to prime time news and heard Honorable Najib Balala(Minister for Tourism) saying that by the end of the year the country would hit 100 billion mark from revenue generated from tourism.The same news item was commenting on the reduced tourist traffic at the coast due to the deplorable conditions of some hotels and also the effect that the frequent pirate attacks has had on tourist numbers.
Being an event planner i must say that there is a lot more to celebrate if our local hotel industry was targeting the domestic market.A few days ago i phoned a certain hotel in Nakuru wanting to book a room for a couple on their honeymoon.Getting them to give a discount seeing that my clients are either couples or corporates or even friends out to enjoy our scenic country is like pulling teeth out with pliers.Even after i asked if they could give the couple a bottle of wine seeing that they will be spending a night at their lodge,the best they could offer was a glass of wine!
After going through this ordeal with them,it is no wonder we arent meeting the full potential that the domestic tourism sector has to offer.It is about time Kenyan hotels woke up to the fact that Kenyans have come of age.We have an increasing middle class with enough disposable income and they are looking for places that are offering great experiences and they are ready to pay for it.So for those lodges and hotels that have been focusing on the foreign tourists let them offer great packages for the Kenyan citizen and you will have people flocking to your establishments in droves.
Another thing , in Kenya we have wedding seasons,most nuptials are held during school holidays with the climax is in December and you find in some churches weddings are back to back and woe unto you if you get late for yours…the presiding pastor will just call in the next couple who may just be waiting in the wings.Hotels should start offering packages for couples who want to spend their honeymoon in the country.Most Kenyan couples are going to Seychelles,Zanzibar,Egypt yet we can beat some of these destinations hands down with the variety of scenery and wildlife that we have on offer.Throwing in some freebies like a bottle of chilled champagne,fruit basket would go a long way because the happy couple will be singing your praises to all their friends till the cows come home.You have generated free PR with just a little bit of effort and some cash with this approach.
Finally let all establishments offer world class service,ambiance and accommodation.Reading through peoples experiences on tripadvisor.com it is a pity that some hotels that claim to be 4 star or 5 star are quickly downgraded by the experiences clients have there.I sure hope players in the industry regularly visit these sites to gauge customer experiences because we need all the goodwill we can generate from the tourists we host every year.