The year 2020 will go down in history as a dark year, particularly for the travel industry. In a bid to keep afloat, many stakeholders in the industry, specifically hotels, offered reduced rates and special add-ons to try and attract travelers. However, as things slowly but surely creep back to normal, or perhaps the ‘new normal’, these reduced rates and add-ons may equally disappear. Therefore, if you are planning to travel and stay at a hotel in 2021 and the years to follow it is prudent to answer the question: what time of the year are hotels cheapest in Kenya? Well, a quick answer is that hotels are the cheapest in Kenya during the months of April (excluding the Easter Weekend), May, June, and early July which is considered the Low Season. Here is a further guide.
High Season – 23rd Dec to 3rd Jan
Shoulder Season – Easter Weekend, mid-July – 30th August and Early & Mid-December
Low Season – 4th Jan to just before the Easter Weekend, post-Easter to mid-July & 1st Sep – 30th Nov
Anyone with even just a layman’s understanding of business knows that high demand drives the price up on any given product or service. Consequently, the Festive Season, usually from 23rd Dec to 3rd Jan is usually the period when accommodation rates skyrocket, oftentimes doubling relative to other periods of the year. Moreover, hotels usually demand a minimum nights stay usually from around 3 nights with others demanding guests stay for at least 7 nights. To top it all off, some hotels usually ask for Christmas and New Year’s dinner supplements. This is usually in addition to what one has already paid for one’s stay at said hotel. Costs even for just a couple are usually in the hundreds of thousands of Kenya shillings.
Doubtless, the Festive Season is an ideal time for a vacation, especially a family vacation. It’s Christmas time. The kids are home. Most people usually take a break from work during this time. It is usually the only time most people are not at work hence the high demand which leads to inflated rates.
The Shoulder Season represents a couple of periods throughout the year where there is a small spike in demand, but a spike in demand nonetheless. Such periodical spikes are usually driven by factors such as school holidays, national holidays, or just an inexplicable pattern of Kenyans preferring to have their vacation during certain months.
The Easter Weekend in any given year usually sees an increase in rates and where rates remain the same, hotels usually charge an Easter supplement. The month of August is another period when rates go up due to the school holidays where families usually grab this opportunity to go on vacation. Early December is another period that constitutes the Shoulder Season, especially around 12th December when Kenyans celebrate Jamhuri Day.
While rates are relatively high during the Shoulder Season, they are usually nowhere near as high as during the High Season (Festive Season).
From around the 4th of January, every year, to just before the Easter weekend hotels experience the Low Season. As a result, rates are usually at their lowest during this period. While some hotels classify this period as being part of the Shoulder Season, others are not shy of lowering their rates to attract travelers. A period that is universally accepted to be a low season is between May and mid-July. In fact, some facilities close down during this period as the low revenue they generate is not enough to keep the hotel open. As you have probably guessed, this is the best time to travel to take advantage of ridiculously low rates, special offers, and complimentary add-ons. Another low season period usually pops up between 1st September to 30th November where similar special offers are common.
Offers such as pay for X number of nights and get one free are usually common. One way to keep track of such offers is by following your favorite travel agent or hotel on social media where such offers are often posted. Further still, here are a few tips on how to get cheap airfares to go with your affordably-priced vacation.
One More Thing
Mombasa is Kenya’s most popular tourist destination. Therefore, hotels in Mombasa usually experience the largest changes in prices. Facilities in other destinations such as Masai Mara, Amboseli, Nanyuki, etc also experience similar changes in price, however, the changes are not as pronounced as those seen in Mombasa hotels. Here’s a hack: it might actually be more economical to take a safari vacation during the festive season as compared to going to Mombasa.