The truth is many hotels in Nairobi and major towns in Kenya mint more and easier money during lunch hour than any other time.
The major source of this revenue is not fatigued travellers who want to take a nap and relax in a room before catching an evening flight, or those looking to freshen up before a late afternoon meeting. The bread and butter of this new hotel revenue are the randy men in ties and women in heels!
Famously known as ‘quick luxury escape’ which is the new pimped and sexy phrase adopted by hotels’ revenue managers to describe rooms sold during daytime and, especially lunch hour to the ‘hungry and thirsty’ office workers, the craze is catching up with even the trendiest top hotels that have to generate revenue to cushion themselves against dwindling international tourists.
In the arrangement, the guest rents a room for a few hours, sometimes for up to 75 per cent less than a traditional all-night booking. This way, the hotel makes double profit on the same room. But the money does not always reach the owner or the management! Mostly, it ends up in the pockets of employees!
A recent example suffices. A perennial daytime client (word has it that he makes bi-weekly visits in the company of various women) was left stranded for hours after a new hotel manager declined to accept credit card payment citing a new policy.
The guest who usually pays in cash or by Mpesa was left embarrassed and marooned at the lobby for an hour after the manager insisted he pays for the three-hour use of the room by cash “since our PDQ machine is faulty, and we no longer accept dayroom payment settlement via card anyway.”
Shocked by the new development, the impatient manager dressed in a fading blue suit requested him to settle the bill by Mpesa, but the uncooperative technology let him down as it was experiencing terrible delays. A couple of frantic phone calls and endless text messages to friends, the nervous man…and his afternoon squeeze were eventually bailed out when an unknown man brought an envelope with the much-awaited money, calming everyone’s nerves.