Hotel Managers’ Perceptions and Responses as Counter Measures for Seasonality in Kenya’s Tourism Industry
Seasonality in Hotels remains a matter of concern amongst various investors in the tourism and hospitality industry. Globally, academics, tourism practitioners and strategists are concerned about the rapid fluctuations of tourism demand. Particularly, despite Hotel Managers (HMs) being extensively aware of recurring seasonality patterns and the importance of a consistent business flow for the various destinations, they remain uncreative and indifferent to changing the way of doing business. This study mainly focussed on the coastal circuit of Kenya [Diani], a destination which is generally typified by two peak tourist seasons. A myriad of previous studies have evaluated seasonality patterns and managers’ responses resulting from demand variations and most findings are skewed towards a repetitive sequence in the nature of outcomes, business progression, season intervals and recurrence in a bid to survive. The widespread adoption of laid back and risk averse strategies to bridge the gap is hardly discussed. In reality, the unpredictability and adverse effects of chance events such as terrorism cannot be underestimated, nevertheless, HMs have chosen to succumb to closure and other relaxed strategies that do not extensively exploit the potential to un-lock value-innovations for increasing or maintaining a consistent flow of traffic and uniqueness of a destination. Due to the few studies focussing on the effects of HMs’ perceptions on possible creative but sustainable counter measures for seasonality, this paper sought to evaluate the possibility of establishing strategies that would ensure year round business albeit unpredictable situations that may lead to reduced revenue hence loss of jobs and closure of the facilities. A low-cost and differentiated approach is proposed. A qualitative research employing a multiple case study design was used to shade some light on HMs experiences, responses and resolutions. This paper is pegged on qualitative research of 17 hotels in the South Coast of Kenya. The results show that there is a potential for a new and sustainable shift of the problem in the future. It recommends that investors as well as HMs should be more receptive to creativity and investment in unrivalled products and services through value-innovation.
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