How the hospitality sector is evolving post-COVID

How the hospitality sector is evolving post-COVID

As the South African and broader African hospitality market continue to recover post-COVID-19, investment and development activity are set to ramp up as the sector evolves after its biggest ever crisis.

This is according to Wayne Troughton, CEO of HTI Consulting. “There are various themes and trends that are hot right now, especially as the industry rebounds and leading players reposition themselves from a product, planning, funding and development pipeline perspective.”

Some of the most notable trends, notes Troughton, are how the operational and investment landscapes have shifted after the pandemic; how markets and products are adapting to these changes and what the recovery and forward bookings are looking like for the upcoming season.

“One of the key questions we hope to answer is what the recovery and forward bookings are looking like currently and for the upcoming season. HTI Consulting is conducting research with tour operators, travel agents and hotel operators. The results of these surveys will be presented at the upcoming API Hospitality Forum and will be discussed in a panel discussion with key influencers and champions in the sector.”

Troughton adds: “As COVID-19 has changed the way we think and, to a certain degree, how we work and travel, it is important to understand what new products have emerged and how existing brands have adapted to these changes, especially moving forward.”

He points out that the pandemic has also put significant pressure on cash flows, which has resulted in the restructuring of debt and equity structures and may also result in longer-term changes to how projects are evaluated and financed in the future.

“Over the last few years, a large proportion of investors in hospitality have migrated from other real estate asset classes, making it even more important to create this linkage between the broader real estate community and the hospitality sector,” says Troughton.

His views are echoed by Radisson Hotel Group’s Senior Development Director, Sub-Saharan Africa, Daniel Trappler. “Hospitality is a key economic driver, employment creator and focal property type in regions throughout South and Sub-Saharan Africa.

“Currently, our hotel development pipeline in the Sub-Saharan region has an all-encompassing focus, including hotels within mixed-use schemes, serviced apartments, and appropriately located standalone products – ensuring that our developments are a response to market needs as we continue to cement our position as the most diverse hotel management company across Africa in terms of the number of countries in which we operate,” says Trappler.

He says the trend for Radisson Hotel Group in Africa in 2022 has been a focus on hotel openings, noting that the group has achieved a record year in this regard.

“The post-pandemic hospitality market recovery remains something to be understood – especially considering the impact of inflation globally, particularly relevant here in the construction industry – and something to take advantage of, where possible.”

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