4 key trends shaping the local hotel industry

The Catalyst Hotel. Picture: Supplied

The Catalyst Hotel. Picture: Supplied

Published Feb 12, 2024


According to Robert Chifunyise, the General Manager at The Catalyst Hotel by Newmark, 2023 brought forth transformative trends that shaped South Africa’s hospitality sector that will also continue to redefine the industry further in 2024.

He said that in light of economic challenges at local, national, and international levels, industry trends highlight a thriving and resilient sector that has effectively navigated post-Covid challenges.

In the ever-evolving landscape of the hotel industry, here are 4 key trends shaping the local hotel industry in 2024, according to Chifunyise.

Shift in tourist demographics

Chifunyise revealed that the hotel industry, particularly in Johannesburg and Sandton witnessed a remarkable shift in tourist demographics during 2023.

He said that there has been a notable massive and gradual increase from corporate, government, and leisure markets with a good increase in African tourism from neighbouring countries.

“A recent report from Statistics from South Africa revealed a 51.8% increase in international tourist arrivals from January to November 2023, with a substantial 75.5% originating from the African continent.

“The rise in African tourism challenges the industry's traditional reliance on European, American, and Asian leisure travellers, marking 2023 as a year of revitalisation and rebirth post-COVID-19,” said Chifunyise.

Sustainable hospitality practices

The Catalyst Hotel’s general manager stated that the commitment to sustainability has become a major influence on travellers' choices, with 78% of travellers considering eco-friendly practices in their accommodation choices.

“Sustainability is no longer a choice but a responsibility for hotels. At The Catalyst Hotel, we are focusing further on green solutions, including recycling and energy-saving, as we strive to continuously reduce our carbon footprint,” he said.

Chifunyise said that as travellers become more environmentally conscious, hotels incorporating sustainable practices not only attract environmentally aware guests but also contribute to a positive perception in the broader market.

Innovative solutions for load shedding and water shortages

Load shedding has become the new norm in South Africa, requiring hotels to find innovative solutions that minimise its impact on guests.

Acknowledging the challenges faced locally, Chifunyise said that The Catalyst has invested in rooftop solar panels, generators, and a borehole to mitigate the effects of power and water interruptions.

Government tourism and diplomatic events

And finally, Chifunyise also revealed that government-driven tourism and diplomatic events have played a crucial role in shaping the hotel industry's landscape in 2023, specifically in the central Sandton node.

He highlighted that the BRICS conference in August 2023, hosting leaders and diplomats from BRICS member states brought a buzz reminiscent of the 2010 World Cup, making a lasting impact on hospitality and tourism in the Sandton area.

“This notable gathering was one of the highlights of 2023 from a hospitality and tourism perspective, as it showed-off the beautiful country, hotels, and service to the rest of the world,” said Chifunyise.

He also said that with an election year underway, the hotel industry anticipates the positive impact of government and political parties travelling around the country, fostering growth and international collaboration.

“As the election concludes, attention turns to the inauguration, once again bringing together global representatives and bringing the success similar to the BRICS event,” he said.