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US hotel chain adds Kenyan brands to its stable

By Macharia Kamau | Published Tue, March 21st 2017 at 00:00, Updated March 20th 2017 at 18:30 GMT +3

Global hotel chain Best Western International has given two Kenyan hotels the nod to use its brand name, bringing the total number of its local franchise to four.

The hotel chain, headquartered in Arizona, US, has added Nairobi-based Meridian Hotel and Mombasa’s Creekside Hotel to its East African portfolio of hospitality establishments.

The two hotels will now trade as Best Western Plus Meridian Hotel and Best Western Plus Creekside Hotel.

Meridian Hotel Director of Operations Safiya Kurji said yesterday the move will enable the hotel tap into Best Western’s client base.

“The network of hotels using the brand is bigger and has a pool of loyal customers that are happy to use Best Western services whenever they visit a city,” she said.

Best Western has a network of more than 4,100 establishments in over 100 countries.

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Ms Kurji said Meridian had spent Sh150 million to spruce up the Hotel and train its staff to be at par with other hotels within the Best Western network.

“After entering into the partnership, we have seen an upsurge in bed occupancy,” she said.

“During the Christmas and New Year holidays, we had 77 per cent bed occupancy, which is good.”

In addition to the new franchise holders, Best Western’s other properties in Kenya include Best Western Premier in Hurlingam and a planned Best Western Premier Collection – The Alba in Westlands.

The move by Best Western to increase its footprint in Kenya comes at a time when more investors are looking to set up hotels in Nairobi.

Business advisory firm PKF projects that more than 2,000 hotel rooms will be added in the country over the next two years as more hotels come up.

Hotels that are lined up for opening in the course of this year include Pullman, Park-Inn, Lazizi Premiere and Hilton Garden Inn.

The new hoteliers expect to tap into projected growth in tourism in Kenya and the region. Among the factors that are expected to fuel growth are the planned direct flights to the United States after Jomo Kenyatta International Airport attained Category One status.

The US is one of the key tourist source markets for Kenya, but growth in visitor numbers has been slowed down by the distance and the tedious process of connecting through other ports.

According to data from the Kenya National Bureau of Statistics, international arrivals through JKIA and Moi International Airport, Mombasa reached 874,385 last year, up from 748, 771 in 2015.


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