Hotel experts believe that in order for Africa to become an appealing destination, it needs to create bespoke experiences to suit the Covid-19 traveller. Picture:Taryn Elliott from Pexels.
Hotel experts believe that in order for Africa to become an appealing destination, it needs to create bespoke experiences to suit the Covid-19 traveller. Picture:Taryn Elliott from Pexels.

How Africa can create bespoke experiences to lure travellers post Covid-19

By Clinton Moodley Time of article published Jun 30, 2020

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Some of the world’s leading destinations will be vying for the attention of travellers post-Covid-19.

Whether it’s Paris’s charm, Brazil’s culture or New York’s glam, every destination will ensure that travellers book trips to their beloved attraction. Africa is a continent home to diverse attractions-from culture, cuisines and world heritage sites.

To ensure that the continent stays on top of the mind of travellers, experts believe that Africa needs to create bespoke experiences to entice not only international travellers but those within the continent.

Regional Director for Minor Hotels in Africa Mark Havercroft said that Africa remains the last frontier for new hospitality products development. He said big and small hospitality brands will continue looking at ways to expand their footprint into the continent.

“Africa will never lose its unique attraction for international travellers, but what is true is that we are going to have to be focused on how we reassure them that their safety is our top priority.

“We need to concentrate on curating the kind of leisure escapes that travellers won’t be able to find anywhere else in the world. And this is entirely doable because Africa is full of unique and natural offerings that set the continent apart as a tourist destination,” he said.

Havercroft said hoteliers will need to be astute in their offerings to attract, retain and expand that market.

“Hoteliers are going to have to be more in tune than ever with the demands of the changing travel market in a time of Covid-19. There’s no relying on previous models that drove the creation and curation of hotel experiences post this pandemic.

“Additionally, since we know that domestic travellers will be the first to travel, we need to be mindful of how their expectations differ from those of travellers from other parts of the world,” said Havercroft.

He said in a post-Covid-19 environment, safety and comfort were important. He also believes that the continent needs to offer more options.

“It’s no use creating a singular experience that is mostly Eurocentric in design on the African continent. There is no authenticity in that, so we should invest more in the creation of authentic African experiences that are offered in tandem with our establishment amenities.

"We need to focus on tailoring these experiences to cater for different sectors of the market too, and that will certainly require an investment in relevant research if we are to fully understand - and better serve - our changed traveller markets into the future.”

General Manager for Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront Clinton Thom said that before the coronavirus pandemic, trends revealed that travellers were no longer happy with a one-size-fits-all approach to their adventuring. The travellers now sought unique and more curated experiences.

"As borders begin reopening in some parts of the world, social distancing requirements are highly likely to entrench this shift. Hotels need to offer experiences that allow guests the chance to enjoy it alone or in small groups, rather than with a host of others in the traditional big tour bus. That way, we allow travellers to feel more in control of their immediate environments and allow them to practice safe social distancing."

He said the travel industry needed to consider these changing needs when creating experiences.

"Always ensure your guests have the best holiday possible while paying attention to their health and safety," said Thom.

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