The General Manager of Maun Lodge, Alfredo Rannoba, has said as a result of the world’s economic downturn, increasingly tourism agents are showing signs of being overly sensitive to price increases.
He said it is important for hotel facilities in Botswana not to price themselves out.
“As Maun Lodge, we try very hard to be affordable. Our intention is to avoid pricing ourselves out.
Because we are well aware of economic difficulties facing our clients, we are open to negotiations on our prices,” said Rannoba.
He said as a trend, Maun Lodge has only increased their prices at a nominal annual rate of between 5 percent and 7 percent.
In an interview with Sunday Standard on the sidelines of the Indaba travel and tourism fair in Durban, Rannoba said there is growing concern among tourists that Botswana facilities are overpriced.
“There is a general thinking that Botswana facilities are overpriced and something has to be done about it,” said Rannoba.
He said like many hotels in Botswana, Maun Lodge continues to rely heavily on government business, albeit at a lower dependence ratio than is the case with other facilities.
According to Rannoba, Maun Lodge business is spread between government, taking up to 60 percent while international tourists from Germany and Scandinavia take the remaining 40 percent.
“A great majority of our agents are based in Namibia and this forum [Indaba] allows us to interact with agents. They are a very important component of our business because they are the ones that keep the flow of tourists coming,” he said.
Perhaps as a sign that tourism business remains buoyant notwithstanding economic difficulties that Rannoba referred to, Maun Lodge has recently built an extra 60 rooms, bringing the total count to 140.
“Demand for accommodation is very high. These 60 rooms come on the heels of an earlier expansion by another 26 rooms. There is still demand and we will be investing yet more,” said Rannoba.
The new rooms in Maun Lodge boast of two presidential suites.
“Whether you are staying in the hotel or in the budget chalets, you will all receive the three star service that Maun Lodge has become famous for,” he said.
Other than the rooms, Maun Lodge has invested in a 500 seating conference facility, that is by far the largest in Maun.