Nigeria: Leading African hospitality brand Transcorp Hotels has announced the launch of Aura, an Airbnb-style platform, as the continent’s tourism industry prepares for the anticipated post-pandemic travel recovery.
The platform is the company’s first alternative accommodation database, and will connect travellers to housing, restaurants and cultural experiences throughout Nigeria. Similar to the Nigerian real estate app Muster, Aura aims to introduce travellers to Nigerian and African culture through short-term rentals, food and experiences.
Aura will not only use its proprietary algorithm to connect travellers with experiences, but employ an advanced search algorithm powered by artificial intelligence that takes customer’s preferences and requirements into consideration before suggesting locations and experiences.
It will also serve as a source of income for people with unoccupied homes, hotels and restaurants that would be able to earn money by hosting. Hosts will even be able to earn more income by receiving guests in their unoccupied homes and sharing local culture with them.
While Aura is currently only available in Nigeria, the company has alluded to plans to expand to major cities throughout Africa.
As a whole, the African hotel and tourism industries saw heavy losses during the Covid-19 pandemic, losing over $50 billion in revenue. As the travel restrictions ease in the coming months, companies such as Airbnb and Transcorp are preparing to take full advantage of an imminent return of interest in short-term travel.
Transcorp’s launch of Aura will contribute to its overall restructuring plan post-pandemic, allowing the company to diversify its portfolio and reduce its workforce as part of its cost management initiatives.
Dupe Olusola, managing director and CEO of Transcorp Hotels, said: “It’s a new dawn in the hospitality industry! I am thrilled to introduce you to Aura by Transcorp, the digital platform we are using to connect people to quality accommodation, great food, and awesome experiences.”