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There is an increase of media consumption through mobile phones and community news websites such as the case of HiviSasa (a local newspaper in the Kenyan city of Nakuru). Thanks to mobile money transfer and micro-financing service M-pesa (M for mobile and pesa is Swahili for money), widely used in countries such as Tanzania, Kenya, and to some extent South Africa, even the way we are accessing finance and paying for goods and services is changing.

Those in African tourism and hospitality recognize that technological innovation and broad access to online platforms is the future. In Africa technology is fast changing how hotel and travel bookings are made. African travelers have access to extensive travel purchasing intelligence, putting pressure on hoteliers to make accurate forecasts relative to booking demand, room pricing and promotions.

Moving Mobile
Online distribution expert and area manager for Expedia, Inc. Ross Kata said, “…We’re seeing mobile phones absolutely replacing the desktop. Nowadays people prefer to book their flights and taxis using their phones, a global trend which has not skipped our (the African) continent.”

In a world of TripAdvisor, Airbnb and Hostel World, all popular mobile-based applications, hotel operators are able to gain a better understanding of their markets. But are businesses ready to seize these opportunities or do they see the emergence of these applications as a threat?

Kata said, “…It enhances what is already out there. What makes this great is that we’re also seeing our continent (finally) adopting some of these new applications.”

It’s a view shared by others. David Martial, managing partner of Hospitality Plus said, “Travelers today use mobile devices to search for hotels and destinations. The hotel app is not only a way to better serve the customer in house, but it also proves a significantly positive tool to better market the product overall. Apps can certainly increase brand recognition and retain the guests for future bookings.”

Additionally, Martial said, “The brand and independent hotel apps can display all services and facilities at the hotel in different languages, send notifications to guests in house for last-minute restaurant, spa or activities specials, take direct spa, room service or food and beverage orders, and improve the guest’s hotel experience. This in turn maximizes revenue and ups the average spend per guest as well.”

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Article Source: Hospitality Upgrade

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