Innovations in the Accommodation Sector in Kenya, During the Covid-19 Era

Kabii Francis


The purpose of the research was to investigate the effects of creativity and innovation as a survival strategy in the accommodation sector in Kenya during the covid-19 era. The specific objective of the study was to document services innovations products innovations and technological innovations applied and their effects on the performance of selected accommodations in Kenya. The research adopted both exploratory and descriptive designs. This research samples hotels in Nairobi, the Kenyan coastal and Naivasha regions. The target population was accommodation facilities which are rated between 3 and 5 stars rated. The study collected both qualitative and quantitative data. Quantitative data was collected using researcher administered questionnaire while qualitative data was collected through interviews, observation, and group discussions. The cluster sampling method was used. The first cluster represented accommodation located at the Kenyan coast, the second cluster those from the Nairobi region, and the third cluster those in the Naivasha region. A total of 402 respondents participated in the study. About 61% (249) of those who participated in the study were married as compared to 31 % who were single. The majority (64%) of these respondents were aged between 25 years and 30 years with a minority of 6% being above 46 years. The study found that most establishments invested in service, product, and technological innovations in their operation in the front office, guest rooms’ dining rooms and restaurants Gym and wellness centers, and conference facilities. These innovations and creativity are among the reasons most of these accommodations managed to reopen and survive the pandemic period. The findings indicated that the majority of accommodations (68%) had fixed a transparent glass at the reception and the front desk which minimized contact between them and the front office personnel. The study noted that 51% of respondents introduced an express check-in/out process while a majority (68%) introduced contactless payments for all services rendered in their facility. The finding showed that 54% of respondents did not introduce digital menus as compared to 46% who had it. Only 20% of the respondents said they use UV light for disinfection although they do not use robots. A minority (35%) said they use chat-bots as compared to 65% who said they have not invested in this technology. About 76% of the respondents said they have invested in teleconferencing equipment and infrastructure. All establishments said that they have embarked on extensive marketing and customer recovery strategies as they adapt to living with the virus. The study concludes that the above innovations and creativity should continue so that the accommodation industry will survive. This will call for high investment and change of business model to cope with changing consumer behavior. Further study is recommended to determine the best suitable business models to survive the pandemic as it keeps mutating.

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