Hoteliers in Uganda are set to focus on online marketing and training to boost customer experience and hit huge profits in the year 2023, Jean Byamugisha the Chief Executive Director of the Uganda Hotel Owner’s Association has revealed.
Byamugisha says that 2023 is gearing up to be a great year for tourism and it’s being approached with a lot of optimism.
Byamugisha confirms that the hotel sector is officially out of the red zone as many hotels are picking up now after the effects of the pandemic. She said hoteliers are now focusing more on online marketing, one of the latest emerging tech trends in the hospitality industry.
“We got a huge boost at the beginning of the year when Uganda was declared Ebola-free. Not only did it open up our economy once more to the countries that were treating us with caution but it also earned us a lot of kudos for the excellent and quick way in which it was handled. This did wonders for our tourism marketing campaigns,” states Byamugisha.
She adds: “Most importantly from lessons learned during the pandemic, most of our hotels have adopted online operations right from booking and payment options to embracing new online marketing techniques”.
Just like Byamugisha, Davis Mugabi, the Operations Manager at Protea Hotel Kampala Skyz by Marriott also observes that it is time for hotels to embrace technology like any other sector to remain relevant.
“The hospitality sector is extremely competitive, making it essential to keep up with the latest hospitality technology trends. New technology such as automation, mobile bookings, tech-empowered travel, virtual reality tours, and influencer marketing, among others are changing the hotel industry.
“Technology can help businesses streamline their processes, reduce costs, lower staff workloads, increase revenue generation potential, and improve customer experience delivery,” says Mugabi.
According to Mugabi, previously, the hotel industry was not threatened much by competitors due to the lack of alternatives, but this is changing, with the growth of new lodging alternatives catering to different consumer segments.
Speaking about that race in the sector, Byamugisha says the management is seeing how Artificial Intelligence-AI is taking over most jobs and now trying to future-proof the sector’s staff to ensure that they get the right online training to keep them relevant in an ever-changing industry.
“We are seeing a lot more meetings being hosted in Uganda and more hotels coming up both in Kampala and upcountry. The majority of our staff are also back at work and it’s looking like the worst is behind us and we are going full steam ahead into the New Year,” says Byamugisha.
The key to success in the competitive hospitality industry is customer satisfaction and effective management, which can be achieved by creating authentic relationships with customers, hiring the right staff, and making value-adds meaningful.
According to Florence Nyiramugisha, the General Manager of Protea Hotel Kampala Skyz, East Africa’s hospitality industry is growing due to increased demand for unique travel, improved air links, visa convenience, new hotel brands, and government infrastructure improvements.
She adds: “The industry continues to expand, employment opportunities for both high and low-skilled-led workers will increase, leading to a boost in the economy”.
Such applications have so far been successfully used in countries like Kenya, South Africa, and USA among others in Europe.