Nigeria’s online booking space is getting more competitive with more startups springing to capture the country’s largely offline airline and hotel booking customers through mobile phone applications and websites offering low hotel rates.
According to Ventureburn, the Africa’s largest economy has got one more player in the online booking business, with TravelBeta joining other sector players including Hotel.ng, Jovago, Nitetay, Travelstart and Wakanow.
Nigeria’s hotels booking scene has warmed up to online booking in recent years creating a ripe environment for online booking startups to setup and compete for the million of customer the country has to offer.
Despite the growth of online hotel booking sites, many Nigerians still use time-consuming booking agencies or face-to-face bookings on arrival due to low internet penetration.
The west African nation of over 170 million people has an internet penetration f just 16 percent and a very poor credit card uptake.
This however is likely to change over the next decade if internet access in Nigeria grows to 50 percent by 2025 as predicted.
Only about 300,000, or 2 percent, of the nine million international flight bookings made to Nigeria are done online and this is the market TravelBeta and others seeing as a business oppotunity.
“Nigeria recorded approximately 15 million travel bookings in the last 12 months,” a TravelBeta representative told a press briefing at its launch in Lagos.
With more airlines, hotels and global tourism agencies relying on internet, Nigeria’s booking websites have witnessed a substantial growth rate in the number of travellers who are making their travel bookings through them.
It is estimated that Nigerians travelling within Nigeria spend at least $2 billion every year on hotel accommodation.
Sites like Hotels.ng processing over 400 bookings daily and have a potential to reach 1,000 in the next year or so.
Nigeria’s domestic tourism market is estimated at about $4 billion by the country’s Tourism Development Corporation and is seen as one of the sectors that will play a major role in diversifying the country’s revenue source from oil export.