4 Things I Wish Kenyan Hoteliers Knew!

Travel, Travel Tips
Kenyan Hoteliers


Have you ever walked into a hotel, and felt like asking for your money back, before you even checked in? Sounds a bit dramatic right? 😀

Drama aside, whenever you travel, it is only logical to expect good value for your money, yes? 🙂


As a Travel Blogger, I’ve had the amazing privilege of sampling a number of hotels and similar establishments… I usually share my experiences here with the aim of encouraging us to try out those places, and to Travel Local. 🙂




But, what happens when the experience is a ‘little less than heavenly’? While I do my best to provide positive reviews, I think there’s still room for improvement by Kenyan Hoteliers…

Hence today, in the spirit of growth and improvement, I feel compelled to share these 4 Things I wish our Kenyan Hoteliers would pay close attention to…

P.S. I take ‘Kenyan Hoteliers’ here,  in a broad sense, to mean service providers in the tourism industry who offer accommodation & all it encompasses…


1. Customer Confidence In Your Brand, is Key

What do you do when a client gives negative feedback? Granted, your clients will be unhappy about one thing or the other.

In some cases their reasons are completely justified… Plus, as any wise businessman knows, ‘The customer is always right!’ 😀

When a client has a bad experience at your hotel, don’t leave them to the wind. In this day of Social Media and Trip Advisor, you can’t possibly afford a ‘couple of bad reviews’…

Show your customers that you value their feedback by seriously looking into the complaints & make amends where possible.

You may want to go the extra mile by offering a return complimentary stay or meal, to ensure that they leave you with a good report. 🙂





I have seen instances, to my dismay, where hotel representatives engage in a negative exchange with clients, on online forums. Don’t fall into this trap!

Your future potential clients check online reviews daily, before making a decision on whether or not to visit your property.


Don’t waste a good mistake… Learn from it~ Robert Kiyosaki


I read a story, on one of my travel forums, about a lady who checked into one of Mombasa’s high-end hotels only to find bedbugs in her bed! Oh the horror!

She immediately informed the staff. The Manager, very apologetic, upgraded her to a presidential suite. Furthermore, he made certain that she was present to witness the fumigation…

Because of that positive feedback experience, that hotel is now her top choice whenever she’s in Mombasa. Moreover, she’s more than happy to recommend it to others… 😀


Do not hire a man who does your work for money, but him who does it for love of it~ Henry David Thoreau



2. Old is not always Gold….

I feel like a villain for even saying this… but it is, unfortunately true.

The beauty of traveling in Kenya is that we have countless options: from newly-established hotels and resorts to some that’ve been there since kingdom come.

If you happen to run an age-old hotel, kudos to you! 🙂 That said, it is no excuse to let things go, or operating with the same resources that you did 30 years ago.

A few updates will go a long way! Invest in key renovations without losing the essence of your hotel, or its unique historical qualities…

Such things as bedding, towels, toilet seats, curtains, are some of the must-update components in a hotel. Strive to strike a balance between old and new… Your clients will thank you for it. 🙂

Let us preserve our dateless establishments with love and care. It’s a beautiful thing to visit an ancient place that is well-maintained and takes you back in time…. 🙂

Kenyan Hoteliers

Grogan Castle: a perfect example of ‘Old is Gold’ 🙂




3. Anticipate Your Clients’ Needs: A Little Creativity Goes a Long Way!

You don’t have the budget to do major upgrades to your hotel? No problem! What can you do to make your place worthy of return visits?

Recently, someone asked me: ‘What’s the one place you would return to, given the chance?’

Although I have been to some pretty remarkable places, the answer was super obvious to me: Temple Point Resort, in Watamu. 😀

Astonishingly, I went there on an unofficial visit with my family, yet every single aspect of our time there felt generic and true. Why? Because they anticipated our needs and went the extra mile…. 🙂

Kenyan Hoteliers

Temple Point Resort

Put yourself in the clients’ shoes…. Do they have kids? How can you show them a great time?

They say that the way to a man’s heart is his stomach…Well I say that the way to any parents’ hearts is through their children. Think of putting up a children’s play area with a trained caretaker… Perhaps you can organize a swim instructor…or Zumba classes for kids?

Whatever you choose, if it positively impacts the kids and allows their folks to take a breather…then you can be certain of repeat customers, plus optimistic referrals. 🙂



Do you have a younger crowd? They’ll want a fun time… You could provide a Dj with good music, so they don’t feel inclined to venture out and spend their moneys elsewhere…

If yours is more of a retreat centre in a remote place, consider indoor board games & competitions or Yoga sessions….

Get creative about it! 😉


The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling ~ Fabienne Fredrickson



4. The Local Kenyan Market Is King!

Let’s be honest… The times when our Tourism Sector depended solely on Foreigners is long gone… we need to wake up and smell the coffee! 😀

Kenya’s tourism sector has suffered adversely over the past few years, seeing a drastic decline in foreign tourism… You need only to visit majority of our hotels to see the effects.

We, Kenyans, present the biggest and most available market for Kenyan Hoteliers and other tourism shareholders to tap into.



Unfortunately, Kenyans mainly fail to frequent our hotels because of the sub-standard treatment they’ve received over time, compared to our ‘white’ cohorts. It’s the ugly, painful, truth. 🙁

On the up side, this is slowly changing. 😀 I loved an encounter we recently had at Attibassi Restaurant in Two Rivers Mall, with my friends Christine and Jackie. 🙂

Our pleasant waiter told us about the decline in their patronage over the last few months, due to the political climate… However he was upbeat saying: ‘We are happy to have you here! Because Kenya ni Yetu, and we must support our own.’ Now that’s the spirit!! 😀


The grass is greener where you water it~ Neil Barringham



Thank you for reading my Scrapbook Journeys Fam! Can you relate to any of the above? Feel free to Comment down below, and add any more Tips/experiences of your own for our Kenyan Hoteliers.


P.S. Sharing is caring>> So share, share share so that this message can reach far and wide! 😀


<Sending You Love & Light. Stay Inspired Always.>


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  • Reply
    January 14, 2018 at 8:28 am

    Ditch the old box TV’s with 13 channels
    Those tiny Imperial leather soap bars are tough too tough for guest to open without a sharp tool or teeth.
    Ditch the noisy entertainment after 10PM
    Wi-Fi is a must.
    The room service staff do a good job, hope they are amply rewarded. I leave a note tip under the pillow and other guests should.

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      January 22, 2018 at 11:47 am

      Hahaha Oh yes, those small soaps hardly ever lather, but why? 😀 Wow, I love your practice of leaving a tip under the pillow, good stuff!
      Thank you Bankelele for the tips and feedback!:) And thank you for reading! Appreciated! 100%

  • Reply
    January 7, 2018 at 7:19 pm

    changes are always good in every business for more accommodation

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      January 11, 2018 at 11:06 am

      Thank you for reading Stanley. And Yes I agree with you-100%

  • Reply
    November 22, 2017 at 9:41 am

    Frankly Speaking! Every serious hotelier should positively take note of this key points! They have directly touched the right buttons where hoteliers go wrong sometimes in ‘assumption mood’ ! Keep up Mum

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      December 21, 2017 at 10:21 am

      Thank you Viwa! I am hoping that it leads to some positive changes in our hotel experiences in the future! Many thanks for reading! 🙂

  • Reply
    Stella Nguu
    November 21, 2017 at 1:05 pm

    Always a pleasure to read from you

  • Reply
    November 20, 2017 at 11:24 pm

    Awesome post kudos

  • Reply
    Ule Msee Wa B4
    November 20, 2017 at 11:03 pm

    This is a wonderful piece that’s goes along way in building on Kenyan domestic tourism numbers. I always say since am paying for a hotel service then it has to be accompanied with value or something of the sort.

    Worst experience was in some place in sagana yet I was taking business there n the proprietor said it doesn’t matter if am taking business there or not but he cares less. That’s how I landed to rapids sagana with my clients.

    I have been on the receiving end with clients where I am to deliver the best to my hiking clients, this article has actually made realize I need to improve a lot on specific details and thanks again for sharing this. It goes a long way to improve my services as well. #EcoTrek #ComingBackSoon

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      November 21, 2017 at 12:08 am

      Goodness, I am so sorry for your experience. I know it must be tough especially when you are responsible for your clients and want to show them the very best time! I really really hope that the proprietor of other place has a change of heart/mind, that’s unacceptable, to say the least…
      I love that you were persistent in finding another place for your clients, meaning they left with a positive report for both you and the venue. #Goodstuff!
      Thank you for reading and for sharing your story! 😀 #KenyaNiYetu

  • Reply
    November 20, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    This is good advice for the hotel industry, i always check for reviews before i book myself and family to any hotel, recently i decided to check for my dec holiday destination mainly at diani, and came across three negative reviews of the hotel and villa i intended to book for my 10 days stay , i had looked forward to stay in that hotel for yrs but the negative review put me off and settled for another one. Looking forward to Diani skydive and Diani festival over Christmas festive season

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      November 21, 2017 at 12:05 am

      Thank you Charles! Yes, you are wise to check reviews in advance, to avoid disappointments when you are already on the ground… Claps!
      I hope that the hotel in Diani with the negative reviews will take heed and work to change this around…It is far too costly to let that be…
      Thank you for sharing your story and I wish you all the best on your holiday! Be sure to share how it was! 😀

  • Reply
    November 20, 2017 at 6:34 pm

    Wonderful read and quite insightful.

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      November 21, 2017 at 12:02 am

      Thank you for reading Claude! 😀 I would have loved to hear whether you can relate to this, with regard to your experience in the Rwandan Hotel industry?

  • Reply
    Mohammed Hersi
    November 20, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Hi Marion.

    Excellent piece . As a hotelier I can relate to each of the four things you’ve listed.

    Customer is king and domestic market is key to our business.

    A guest who is unhappy and brings up the matter is indeed a caring guest. Only 1/11 unhappy guests will indeed raise up an issue if they are u happy . The other 10 walk away vowing not to return and the worst part they’ll share their bad experience with many other potential clients .

    Continuous improvement is paramount in any business . I agree it does not necessarily have to be million $$$ investment.

    Please keep writing and I have shared your piece with my team at Sun Africa Hotels .


    Mohammed Hersi

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      November 21, 2017 at 12:01 am

      Oh Wow! Thank you Mohammed for taking the time to read and comment…this is super encouraging!
      That number of 10/11 who do not report is quite unfortunate… It tells me that there’s still more work to be done in changing our mindsets. (clientele + hoteliers) I hope we can make a difference going forward.:)

      Thank you for sharing the post and for receiving the message. It means a great deal. My hope is that it will play a role in making a positive impact. Keep On! #KenyaNiYetu

  • Reply
    November 20, 2017 at 10:09 am

    Thank you for penning down this post – it is very apt! I will comment about number 1 and 2. Last year, I over-nighted at one of Nairobi’s leading hotels and my experience during and thereafter was disappointing. The service was poor however what made the situation worse was the management’s reaction. There were no apologies, only comments of how superior they were. Read about my experience here: https://safirikenyasite.wordpress.com/2017/04/12/villa-rosa-kempisnki/
    About number two, I spent this past weekend inspecting properties in the Maasai Mara. I was saddened to see one of the first camps in the Mara to have bathtubs in their tents (which was unheard of back then), still having the same tubs many years after it opened. I wish they could have moved with the times and upgraded the tubs to keep with the times but sadly they are stuck in the past. Old is not always gold!

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      November 20, 2017 at 11:52 pm

      Oh my…so sorry to read about your experience Sarah, that is indeed quite unfortunate… And yes, bathtubs are my pet peeves when I travel, uwi!
      All the same, it is my hope that our message will be heard and received, and that our Kenyan hoteliers will look into making some changes… And in the meantime, we’ll do our part to promote #LocalTravel by all means.
      Thank you for reading, and for sharing your story. 🙂 😀 #KenyaNiYetu 😀

  • Reply
    Stom al-Madusi
    November 18, 2017 at 1:48 pm

    Where is the “Love” button? I believe these qualities stretch far into other professions too. Customer satisfaction is always key. Thank you for the post.

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      November 20, 2017 at 11:49 pm

      Yay, it’s about WordPress up’d their game, ay? Haha thank you Stom, your sentiments are very well-appreciated! True story- it spreads across! Let us continue giving our best wherever we are, and make our contributions worthwhile! 😀 #KenyaNiYetu

  • Reply
    November 18, 2017 at 1:05 am

    I truly hope that those in this industry get a chance to read this.. Staying in a hotel should be about the experience hence the need for hiring people who are passionate about the job.. Love it

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      November 20, 2017 at 11:47 pm

      I couldn’t agree more! We shouldn’t hire merely for the sake of hiring, but consider whether the people working in the industry love it dearly. I have met some people who are so passionate about their jobs in my travels, that it inspired me to want to visit again and again… It is possible 🙂 Thank you for reading! #KenyaNiYetu 🙂

  • Reply
    Enock K
    November 17, 2017 at 10:56 pm

    So true…very valuable inputs.

    Thanks for championing brand Kenya and sharing with us great places we should explore before we think our neighbors grass is more greener than ours

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      November 20, 2017 at 11:44 pm

      Many thanks for reading Enock! My love for Kenya is un-wavering, and it is my pleasure to share our precious gems! Keep On! #KenyaNiYetu

  • Reply
    November 17, 2017 at 4:05 pm

    So true….. And sometimes when you witness a client mishandled you take it personal (or atleadt I do)

    I was at a coffee recently and the waiter rolled her eyes because the client picked her phone when this waiter is waiting to pick her order. She even went on to ask ‘ Nikuketee nini’ and the customer was still on phone.
    Sometimes you feel for others

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      November 20, 2017 at 11:42 pm

      Wahala! I feel you completely! I must say that sometimes I’m forced to hold my tongue…thankfully we also encounter some amazing people who love what they do, and they make up for the bad experiences…
      I hope this can be a factor in hiring staff, because they are the face of the business… #FoodForThought #KenyaNiYetu 🙂 Thanks for reading dear!

  • Reply
    November 17, 2017 at 4:02 pm

    I love number 4, I have experienced it the other way round when am with my friends. I get to a hotel with friends and hotel staff tend to pay more attention on me as a client than to us all as guest in their mind they think am a “mzungu” thanks to my Asian looks but I get ahead of them to tell them am a Kenyan and things change. Its time they got to know Kenyan Market is indeed King and never the last option when things get worse or business is low.

    • Reply
      Scrapbook Journeys
      November 20, 2017 at 11:40 pm

      Oh my… thanks Jeen for sharing how it feels, from your perspective/experience! I really hope that this will change…it is high time for change. Thank you so much for reading and for sharing your story! #KenyaNiYetu

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