TOUGH TIMES

High competition chokes out old hotels

There has been high competition in the hotel industry as global brands expand rapidly

In Summary

•Windsor, is among other old dogs having a hard time to keep up with increased competition with global hotel brands setting up base and expanding in the city

•A number of hotels are having a hard time due to poor management, lack of proper succession plans, huge tax arrears and failure to mordernise their facilities

The Windsor hotel./FILE
The Windsor hotel./FILE

The hotel industry is the latest to join the list of sectors laying off staff due to tough times with a number of facilities, especially in Nairobi struggling to stay afloat.

Speaking to the Star on phone Windsor Hotel and Country Club’s marketing director Marion Njenga did not refute reports the facility has laid off 87 employees with plans to send home another 100 workers by March.

“At the moment we are not in a position to comment on this matter,” she said.

 

The Windsor staff join a growing list of Kenyans who have been rendered jobless owing to a tough economic environment marred by poor policy and high cost of doing business in the country.

Last year saw more than 7,000 workers lose their jobs, with the hardest-hit sectors including sports betting, commercial banks, insurance firms, manufacturing and telecommunication firms.

Windsor, is among other old dogs having a hard time to keep up with increased competition with global hotel brands setting up base and expanding in the city.

Kenya Association of Hotel Keepers and Caterers coast branch boss Sam Ikwaye told the Star some of these hotels are having a hard time due to poor management, lack of proper succession plans, huge tax arrears and failure to modernise .

“Windsor and Jacaranda is a serious lack of a proper succession plan by the late Michuki and Karume and also tax arrears issues. When was the last time Windsor was refurbished,” he said.

While efforts to reach Jacaranda Hotel were futile, the hotel is set to be auctioned on January 22 over an unpaid loan of Sh253 million.

The hotel has been at the centre of family disputes among the late Njenga Karume’s siblings

 

Boma Hotel is also struggling and has been placed under receivership for what is alleged to be failure to repay loans owed to the National Bank of Kenya.

Ikwaye told the Star, the case of Azzure Hotel and Pride is a normal plan to consolidate the two facilities to create a stronger unit.

SA’s Southern Sun brand is however set to exit the country by the end of March when their lease with Mayfair Hotel comes to an end.

“Their lease at Mayfair expired and the owners of the property have refused to refurbish to be able to compete with the new emerging hotels so they pulled out,” Ikwaye said.

Meanwhile, a number of hotel facilities continue to spring up in Nairobi’s CBD including Radisson in Arboretum, Marriott next to Kempinski and Hilton along Peponi road.

Hilton are also setting up a hotel at The Pinnacle Tower, DoubleTree at The Montave and Palm Exotica are setting up facility in Watamu.