, NAIROBI, Kenya, Apr 21 – The Fairmont chain of hotels has reported a 50 percent decline in bed occupancy for the first part of the year compared to the same period last year.
Regional Vice President Africa Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Serge Simard attributed the decline to the ongoing global economic crisis.
Mr Simard is however expressing optimism that the chain could pick up its numbers in the next two months.
“Outside Nairobi we are recording occupancy in the mid 20’s yet normally we are at the 40’s at this time of the year, but we are hoping for a great season over July and August, which is the peak season,” Mr Simard said.
The chain of hotels has been undergoing a renovation process for the last two years.
“We have now completed the renovations which cost us 2.7 billion shillings for the three hotels, Norfolk, Mt Kenya and the Mara and are getting ourselves ready for the bigger things,” he noted.
“In Nairobi we are not doing too badly compared to the other hotels because they are recording about 60 percent occupancy, while we are doing 40 percent mainly because of the renovations,” General Manager Fairmont Norfolk Richard Kimenyi said
Mr Kimenyi said that the chain is carrying out a lot of publicity worldwide and offering favourable rates to bridge the occupancy gaps between themselves and other hotels.
Meanwhile, the chain revealed its plans to expand within the Sub-Saharan region with South Africa as the first stop in the plan.
“We have two properties there, one that we are building and another that we are running,” Mr Simard said.
The two properties have a combined capacity of 195 rooms.
Fairmont is further contemplating selling its cottages in the Mt Kenya resort to private owners, who can take advantage of the hotel services.
Mr Simard however said that the plan was still in the initial stages.
The Heritage chain of hotels has initiated a project like the one being proposed by Mr Simard with the Great Rift Valley Lodge in Naivasha, where the villas in the lodge are owned by individuals, but run by the hotel.