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Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa in Kwale. Photo/COURTESY.

Kenya

Hotels bank on online bookings to achieve 10 percent growth in H2 of 2019

Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa in Kwale. Photo/COURTESY.

DIANI, Kenya Jul 15 – Hotels in South Coast have increased their online booking campaigns to attract both international and domestic tourists in order to have better returns in the second half of 2019.

This is aimed at growing the 10 per cent target in the next six months as recently announced by Tourism Cabinet Secretary, Najib Balala.

The Tourism CS said the country recorded 921,090 international tourists arrivals between January and June 2019, compared to 927,797 arrivals over the same period last year.

According to Bobby Kamani, Managing Director, Diani Reef Beach Resort and Spa, digital marketing will help achieve the target already set by the CS as hotels invest more on social media campaigns as well as optimization of their digital platforms in order to attract more visitors.

“Digital marketing has become such a powerful tool for us. We have invested heavily in promoting our facility through social media campaigns and influencers. We are now seeing an increase in inquiries and bookings as the high season begins. This is because half of our population for domestic tourists are millennials. Their experience begins online before getting to real interaction with holiday facilities and activities,” he said.

Kamani is also upbeat that the second half of the year will be bullish as more international and domestic tourists continue to stream in with the high season fever that starts in July into the rest of the year.

“We expect 70 percent domestic bookings and 30 percent international. Out of this, 20 percent are direct bookings, 30 percent consist of the domestic travel trade and 50 percent online travel and booking agents,” he added.
At the same time, Diani Reef has utilized the lean period to refurbish its existing 143 rooms as well as exteriors parts of the hotel in June for readiness of the high season.

“During June, we invested more in refurbishing our facility to ensure that our guests have the utmost experience during their holidays. We were recently awarded the five-star status by the Tourism Regulatory Authority and therefore our services must much the status in order for our visitors to experience value for their money,” he said.

Furthermore, the classification comes at the backdrop of Diani Reef receiving a global recognition as Africa’s Leading Beach Resort 2018. Diani Reef has also consecutively won this award in 2015 and 2010.

“This has also resulted in Diani Reef Beach Resort & Spa winning “Africa’s Leading Beach Resort” at the 2018 World Travel Awards and being nominated once again for “Africa’s Leading Beach Resort” and “Kenya’s Leading Beach Resort” at the 2019 World Travel Awards,” Kamani added.

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Kamani also noted that Diani Reef, a heritage hotel, has made significant improvement in the product and invested considerable time, effort and resources into training its incredible team members.

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