As Kenyans join millions of people around the world in marking Valentine’s Day this Sunday, several hotels in Nakuru have come up with exclusive deals meant to create a buzz within the industry that has taken a severe beating from the Covid-19 pandemic.
The hospitality facilities have gone overdrive in creating romantic, unforgettable Valentine’s Day experiences to offer guests who are eager to take a break from daily hustles and celebrate with a significant other.
At VicMac Hotel within the Central Business District General Manager Ruth Kariuki says that besides offering bargain deals in an effort to spur bookings, hoteliers should continue working tirelessly with the Ministry of Health and the County government to ensure that all Covid-19 safety protocols are observed and implemented accordingly.
“Despite the corona virus pandemic, we are slowly regaining control as a country. Not only is it finally safe for us to go on a vacation, thanks to the numerous protective measures the hospitality sector has put in place, it is also vital if we want to see this key pillar of our economy recover.
For us in the hospitality sector, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to encourage Kenyans to go out and appreciate what the country has to offer. We should persuade Kenyans to take an active role in the delicate process of restarting the economy,” states Ms Kariuki.
She says the hotel has come up with a unique menu for valentine couples which will be washed down with one of the finest wine brands in the world.
There will be a barbecue dinner and red roses for the ladies as couples enjoy music by a live jazz band. Charges, the general manager affirms are pocket friendly and range from Sh 5,000 to Sh 9,000 per couple.
“Every celebration needs some champagne. Dinner will be inclusive of a glass of champagne and chocolate bars for the ladies as guests enjoy some live jazz.
We are sure all guests will enjoy the ambience that comes with affordability and privacy at Vic Mac Hotel. The management has a standby team that will be reminding lovers that, even as they do all the exploration, they must take all the precautions; wearing face masks correctly, washing their hands and maintaining physical distance,” she indicates.
The general manager affirmed the need for the local hospitality industry to tap into all local opportunities that are available in a bid to boost local tourism as restrictions put in place have continued to dampen chances for a full recovery from the international tourism circuit.
She says that in making preparations for its Valentine guests, the hotel’s management is alive to the fact that sentimental spending around Valentine’s Day in Kenya has increased by about 32 per cent since 2017, with the overall transactions up by 51 per cent.
According to MasterCard’s annual Love Index, the growth is significantly higher than the global average of a 17 per cent increase in spending, and total transactions increase of 31 per cent.
“We should treat Valentine’s Day as a boon to domestic tourism which is a major driving factor of Kenya’s tourism and travel sector, contributing more than half of its Gross Domestic Product. This attracts both local and international investors to invest in both transport and infrastructure.
We must admit that domestic travel contributes to job creation. We in the recent past were thrilled to learn how hotels in the Coast region were recalling some of their staff to work as they anticipate a high number of guests during the Christmas and New Year festive season.
This should not only be limited to the Coast, but to other regions such as Nakuru, Kisumu, Eldoret and Nairobi,” offers Ms Kariuki.
She adds “Valentine Day will offer an opportunity to reduce burn out. Everyone deserves a break, and because we all cannot afford to travel out of the country for the celebrations, domestic travel presents a great opportunity for change of scenery without ‘burning a hole’ in your pocket,”
A Tour and Travel Consultant Edwin Kubai observes that Valentine Day will only be lucrative for hospitality institutions in regions that are free of lockdowns and travel restrictions and can offer affordable packages and quality services.
Mr Kubai pointed that Kenya is witnessing a significant increase in romantic experiences spending as lovebirds go beyond traditional gifts in pursuit of happiness.
“The MasterCard’s annual Love Index shows that the numbers of transactions on hotels have increased by 65 per cent from 2017 to 2019 against 22 per cent globally.
This puts hotels at the top of the wish list for Kenyans in the lead up to the most romantic day of the year, Valentine’s Day, celebrated on February 14,” he states.
He asserted that Kenyans are keeping pace with global trends and favouring experiences over traditional gifts with the younger generation valuing the opportunity to create a shared experience.
According to MasterCard’s annual Love Index Kenyans also spent 37 per cent more than they did in 2017 on booking flights and trips, escaping with their partners to celebrate this special time of the year.
The Index, a study of transactions ahead of Valentine’s Day (February 11 -14 2017-2019) identifies spending habits and trends during this period by analysing credit, debit and prepaid card transactions from 53 countries around the world.
by Jane Ngugi