Kenya’s hospitality sector has come face to face with the backlash from the influence of online accommodation listings like Airbnb and Booking.com on the industry.
The battle between the hospitality sector and tech enabled short-term rentals has been ongoing globally for a while and only recently locally. Still matters could come to head in the most undesirable fashion for the hotel owners, considering precedence from elsewhere in the world.
In recent years, online platforms have changed the rules of the game by allowing ordinary home owners to transform their houses into overnight accommodation outlets, eliminating the necessity for travelers and tourists to check into an expensive hotel room or lodging.
According to Xinhua, Kenyan hotels have particularly had to contend with invasion from Airbnb, Booking.com and Alltherooms.com among others, who are ready at the hands of lodgers.
The use of theses online platforms has caught popularity especially in the major towns beginning with Nairobi and Mombasa.
Short-term rentals have prevailed because of the unconventional way in which it merges the interest of lodgers and hosts. For one thing it is cheaper than most hotels since the initial investment for the host is nothing compared to building a hotel. For the same money you’d spend in a hotel, one can get more room and better service, making it irresistibly flexible.
Faced with the prospects of this unforgiving duel, some hotel owners, have sought to battle it out through collaboration; using those platforms to market their services.
In almost all countries and locations where the tech wave has swept away a good share of the market share from hotel owners, hoteliers have always resorted to regulation and suits to stem influence of the Airbnb’s.
For instance, hoteliers and authorities in many cities globally have filed law suits against Airbnb in an effort to restrict short-term rentals from operating in those cities by citing infringement on zoning laws and negative impacts on housing affordability among other reasons.
Now hotel stakeholders in the country are pushing for the licensing of all players in the industry, which may require home owners to fork out fees and be tax ready among other costs otherwise hidden. All these, to level up the competition or gain the upper hand.
As such the landscape is unfolding in an interesting manner, worthy of attention by all with a stake in the industry, and prospective investors.