After two years marked by the Covid-19 pandemic and several restrictions, the hotel industry puts its hope in 2022. Travel, even limited, will resume and tourists will return to the continent. Hotel owners talk about their perspectives and strategies.
Mehdi Alani is the head of the Sultan of Tunisia. A hotel with 271 rooms and suites in Hammamet. More than six months of closure and the bankruptcy of Thomas Cook will not have been right for Mehdi Alani, who received a loan to keep his business afloat.
A local clientele“It is necessary to maintain the hotel with its international standard, we are obliged to continue to invest in maintenance, in the improvement of services. Unfortunately, major renovations and large investments are always postponed,” explains Mehdi Alani. “10-15 years to carry out very large renovation work with very large investments. The formula has changed, we are more on small annual investments to keep the hotel under the best possible conditions.”
Today he no longer works as before. With the health crisis, we had to adapt. “We have also learned how to attract other markets. Especially the local market, which almost ten years ago was not at all interested in hotel stays. The vast majority of hotels that continue to operate, says Alani, have their salvation to thank the local market. We have invested in or converted premises into meeting rooms to meet local demand for work or business stays during the week. The leisure clientele comes back enough on the weekends. Although we have a loss-making business during the winter months, Alani emphasizes once again that this deficit has decreased somewhat, we do not need to ask the staff to make an effort for their income. »
►To listen too: In South Africa, Cape Town against a shy recovery in tourism
Invest and diversifyA crisis that has also affected large groups such as Onomo, which today has 22 hotels on the continent. An activity that has been reduced by at least 2/3 during these limiting months, efforts must be made on the income. But despite this difficult period, the group has won $ 36 million in funding from the international finance company, entrusts Cédric Guillimenot, Onomo’s CEO.
“This funding today will allow us to both invest and expand our range in three existing hotels: those in Dakar, Abidjan and Bamako. By giving them renewed ‘lifestyle’ meaning and adding a slightly more exclusive capacity of around 90 rooms in “We therefore always want to expand our network and go ahead and launch new businesses. This will allow us for the other half to start a number of businesses in strategic cities for us, such as Yaoundé.”
Despite the context, the director remains optimistic: “We still have a lot of land and many opportunities to come, so I wish the group good growth”.
The group will also open up new, more flexible management models to strengthen its network of establishments with, hopefully, soon a presence in Ghana, Ethiopia or Kenya.
►Listening too: African tourism was put to the test for the pandemic