End year corporate activities, social activities and weddings have brought a ray of hope for the hospitality industry in Nairobi as the year ends amid looming fear of second wave of Covid 19. The decrease in COVID – 19 cases a while ago and the gradual opening of the hotels post lockdown had brought hope in the recovery of the industry till recently when the country experienced a resurgence in new cases.
Although very low occupancy rates 20 percent in Nairobi compared Mombasa 70 percent currently, hoteliers are optimistic that the domestic market and other segments will gradually pave the way for business in 2021.
“Many companies are looking for affordable end year parties this year and we are trying our best to give that,” said Jacton Amutala, PrideInn Azure General Manager.
“Kenya’s domestic tourism market has remained resilient and that is a key factor in the industry’s recovery. The leisure segment in Nairobi is picking up and we are experiencing good business from the events segment which is seen to recover faster than any other segment,” said Farzana Zahir, PrideInn Hotels Sales and Marketing Director
Business travel and stay is lagging behind and is expected to gradually recover in the second phase.
The sector hopes for improved business in January 2021 till the end of the year necessitated by reopening of institutions like schools and colleges which are frequent clients, international flights as well as the relaxation of meetings and gathering rules.
“With COVID 19 situation, couples are avoiding going abroad for destination weddings and even holding mega wedding as per government directives, hence we are hosting the weddings and honeymoons right here, with an average of seven weddings on smaller scales within our facilities per week, focusing on the safety and hygiene factor as the most important priority,” added Mrs. Farzana.
Office end of year parties are now starting to pick up. Although some companies are choosing to skip the holiday party entirely this year, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to upend traditions and office life.
“Even though we are receiving fair business from the corporate events segment, about 30% of our traditional clients are not having a holiday celebration this year due to fear of Covid -19,” added Mr Amutala.