How AI and renewable energy impacts Africa’s tourism sector

How AI and renewable energy impacts Africa’s tourism sector   

As the travel and tourism industry looks to a brighter 2024, Marc Wachsberger, CEO of The Capital Hotels, Apartments and Resorts highlights top hospitality business trends for this year, driven by innovative ideas that promise to redefine guest experiences and elevate operational efficiency

Exciting times lie ahead for the hospitality industry. Ground-breaking new technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and alternative energy are helping reshape how guests interact with hotels and 2024 will be the year these ideas kick into overdrive.

Wellness is also set to have a strong impact on how hotels operate as guests look to the industry to provide sanctuary from an overstimulating world. Driven by innovative ideas that promise to redefine guest experiences and elevate operational efficiency, these trends will come to define the hospitality industry in 2024.

The green revolution: solar and renewable energy initiatives

Sustainability took centre stage during 2023 and was unintentionally bolstered by load shedding. The silver lining to all these rolling blackouts is that it helped fast track a lot our renewable energy efforts and pushed us to become more self-sufficient.

The group has made significant investments in solar energy and, starting this year, will be putting R10-million towards renewable energy and are well on their way to having 80% of their properties powered by the sun. As more of the industry follows suit and embraces solar and renewable energy solutions, businesses will not only reduce their carbon footprint but also cut down on operational costs.

AI continues to take centre stage

Artificial Intelligence is no longer a distant dream but a present reality that will revitalise guest experiences while improving efficiency. From smart room services to personalised recommendations, seamless check-ins, heightened safety measures and more, AI will transform the way hotels interact with their guests.

The future of hospitality lies in the hands of AI, but it won’t be a case of robots taking over everyone’s jobs. AI is going to make the industry smarter and more responsive. Those of us who jump on the bandwagon sooner rather than later will reap big rewards.

Africa: where growth and opportunity abound

With a burgeoning middle class and growing interest from travellers, Africa is set to become a land of opportunity. The untapped potential of the continent presents a canvas for new investments, expansion, and the establishment of luxury resorts.

Large parts of the continent are shaking off negative stereotypes and showing the world what we have to offer. What’s more, 60% of Africa’s population is under the age of 25 meaning there is significant scope for us to benefit from the continent’s demographic dividend. As global travel patterns evolve, Africa should emerge as an important proving ground for those willing to do business on the world’s youngest continent.

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Wellness at the heart of hospitality

Beyond mere accommodation, wellness will continue to take precedence in 2024 as guests seek holistic experiences. The demand for wellness amenities, from in-room fitness equipment to spa services, and meditation rooms is on the rise.

Hotels that prioritise the well-being of their guests are positioned to thrive in the evolving landscape. Embracing wellness trends not only attracts health-conscious travellers but also sets the stage for a unique and memorable stay.

While no one can perfectly predict the future, the integration of AI, renewable energy, exploration of untapped markets in Africa, and focus on wellness are likely to play a powerful role in what direction the hospitality industry takes over the next few years. We may not be able to look into a crystal ball, but what we know for certain is that 2024 will be a year like no other.

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