How hotels are changing to accommodate the lifestyle of millennials

A wellness center at CityBlue Hotels. [File, Standard]

Millennials. They are the new cash kings and queens in town, but will bombard you with tons of conditions before they can give you their money.

If they check into a hotel, they want to work, eat and party anytime. If they ask for food in the middle of the night, they expect to have it. And they want to enter their room at their convenience – and with guests. And they value their privacy.

So your traditional hotels just can’t keep up with this generation.

That’s why residences are becoming so popular, says Jameel Verjee, an attorney who left the legal practice to chart his entrepreneurial path after founding CityBlue Hotels.

CityBlue Hotels, along with many hotel chains such as Serena Hotels and Resorts, Sopa Lodges and Sarova Hotels, is a group of borderless and branded hotels in major cities in East Africa, the Indian Ocean , South and West.

One of CityBlue’s main products is extended stay residences, or ‘apart-hotels’, located in Westlands, Nairobi.

Extended-stay hotel brands have exploded in the United States and Asia in recent years.

They were some of them in sub-Saharan Africa. CityBlue Hotels is one of the companies trying to increase the footprint of those hotels that serve customers staying between a few nights and a few months on the mainland.

It is for this reason that CityBlue Hotels was recently listed as the ninth fastest growing hotel chain in Africa by W Hospitality Group, a global provider of advisory services to the tourism industry.

CityBlue Hotels manages 249 furnished and equipped apartments. [File, Standard]

Globally, trends in the hospitality industry have changed, catalyzed lately by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Today, says Verjee, a lot of people traveling are millennials — those born in the 1980s or 1990s. “And they’re very personalized,” Verjee points out.

“While the older generation is happy to stick with conventional hotel trends, Millennials will want something that caters to their tastes.”

To meet the needs of this generation, CityBlue Hotels manages 249 furnished and equipped apartments ranging from one to five bedrooms.

Modeled on the concept of an “aparthotel”, this model is not only good for the customer by offering them freedom and privacy as a package, but also for the business traveler who helps reduce the cost of food and drinks.

At Skynest Residences by CityBlue, in addition to furnished rooms, there is also a wellness center

Rooms and amenities have been designed to allow individual expression. The rooms are for example ideal for summer bunnies, where Kenyans who live in the diaspora come during the holidays to spend time with family and friends.

In addition, no strangers are allowed in the wellness center which has a gym, sauna, squash court, pool tables, heated swimming pool and rest area.

Unlike traditional hotels that insist on the guest taking their dining option, CityBlue-owned Skynest Residences cater to guests who prefer flexibility and diverse preferences.

This allows the company to focus on its core mandate of providing luxury accommodation services.

The idea of ​​swallowing every meal served during your stay in a traditional hotel because it has been paid for can be tempting. “You eat what you want when you want. And you can decide not to eat at all. It’s your choice,” he said.

Skynest residences owned by CityBlue welcome guests. [iStockphoto]

Some rooms have been purchased and the hotel only manages for the owners by meeting their high standards.

CityBlue Hotels started in East Africa, but it says its next frontier is West Africa.

Apart from Nairobi where they have their headquarters, they are also in Ghana, Rwanda, Mauritius, Tanzania and Zambia.

Its foray into West Africa – which began in Accra will expand to Lagos, Abuja and Abidjan – making it the first East African brand to enter West Africa.

The hotel group is banking on the growth of the African middle class and will open a branch in Dar es Salaam in August.

But this model is also just a good business proposition.

For example, for traditional hotels, a large portion of their revenue is spent on food and beverages. “If you run a hotel, your centerpiece is the restaurant,” says Verjee. But the kitchen that serves it comes with its own baggage, like a taxing food and beverage department.

And you have to continuously follow the trend or lose your competitiveness. That’s why it’s not uncommon for hotels to force guests to take food, even when they only need accommodation.

This model also allowed Skynest Residences by CityBlue to outsource a small part of its work.

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