Pipeline growing in sub-Saharan Africa: W Hospitality

A recent study conducted by Lagos-based consultancy W Hospitality Group has revealed that hotel development in sub-Saharan Africa by international hoteliers has leapt forward, with a massive 42% increase in pipeline rooms.

W Hospitality estimates that the hotel chains polled in its recent survey currently have almost 99,000 rooms operating in Africa, with around 44,300 in North Africa and 54,600 in sub-Saharan Africa. However, when one considers that there are only five countries in North Africa with an average of 8,900 rooms per country, the opportunity in the other 49 countries on the continent is obvious.

Nigeria, Africa’s largest country by population has almost 7,000 rooms under contract, up 2,000 on last year’s figure. New openings recently have included Radisson Blu, Four Points by Sheraton, Ibis and Legacy in Lagos, and many groups have hotels under construction there, including Accor, Hilton, IHG and Protea, the last named increasing their presence in the country from 10 hotels to 16 hotels in the next three years.

Other groups hoping to enter the vast Nigerian market for the fist time, and who have signed deals, include Kempinski, Mantis, Marriott and Wyndham. However, signed deals are one thing, actual activity is another, altering the picture somewhat.

Rwanda and Kenya both join the list, while Angola and South Africa drop off. A Radisson Blu and a Marriott are under construction in Kigali, and Nairobi is seeing more activity than it has for many years, with Best Western, Radisson Blu, Park Inn and Three Cities-branded hotels all under construction and a 200-room Lansmore Hotel, Lonrho’s new brand, on the drawing board.

Equatorial Guinea, one of Africa’s smallest countries, had four hotels under construction last year, three by Accor, including a Sofitel and an Ibis in Malabo on Bioko Island, and another Ibis in mainland Bata and a Hilton close to Malabo airport. All have opened, showing that signed deals do become reality, even in “difficult” places. South Africa, in terms of signed deals, drops out of the rankings, partly due to the dominance of domestic chains not included in this report and also because of the building boom that preceded the FIFA World Cup in 2010.

“Admittedly, the spectacular 42% growth is from a pretty small base but our consultants are busier than ever and that suggests to me that this trend is not likely to slow down in the immediate future,” said Trevor Ward, managing director of W Hospitality Group.