(eTN) – Kenyan hoteliers have taken exception to a recent report published by Hotels.com in the UK, which claims that the Kenyan capital city has become the 8th most expensive city for hotel accommodation in the world. Reactions were swift and sharp, with some alleging that the results were flawed, an ulterior motive behind the claims aimed to de-campaign Kenya, while others questioned the methods of sourcing the information.
Said one seasoned hotelier: “If you just look at rack rates, even then how can Nairobi be as expensive as they claim? The big global cities like Tokyo, Hong Kong, New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Frankfurt, London, Paris, Rome, and many others surely have more expensive rack rates than we display in Nairobi? And we deal a lot in contract rates, corporate rates, East African resident rates, which are much discounted compared to rack rates. Have they even taken this into account? Have they talked to our hotel association or just had a bootlegger collect rack rates and then make such damaging claims?”
Other senior tourism gurus also pointed to the opening in recent months of several new top hotels in the city and more beds in the pipeline for opening in 2011, saying that the capacity of rooms on offer reflects the demand, and is, in fact, now slightly ahead of present annual demand. It was conceded that during periods of peak demand, especially when major conferences or continental meetings are in town, the rates tend to go up, while for much of the year, however, the average rates charged were still making Nairobi an affordable destination for tourists and business travelers.
Another source pointed out that the survey by Hotels.com was distorted as they most likely last surveyed two years ago, when the hospitality sector suffered from the aftermath of the post-election violence and had to use heavy discounting to attract business, while the rates have now gone back to the pre-2008 levels. Valid point but not sure Hotels.com will take heed and correct their negative story anytime soon.