As an increasing number of Kenyans seek an extra coin for their pockets through side hustles, some have shifted towards the Bed-Only Accommodation (BOA) sector.
This business model, much like trademarked AirBnB’s, is gradually phasing out the hotel, lodging, and accommodation industry. It remains the preferred choice for savvy entrepreneurs and clients who wish to avoid expensive night stays.
Among those entrepreneurs is Kithendu Mello, a sales executive, who is making good passive returns from his BOA business. He owns several units located in South B, under the name Maleena AirBnB.
Mello was introduced into the business by his younger sister, in December 2022. He has studio units, 1 bedroom, and 2 bedroom apartments which fetch him a return of between Sh. 2,000 and Sh. 5,000 per night stay.
To succeed in this business, there are factors that one needs to take note of. According to Mello, these include a strategic location, hiring a skilled interior designer and acquiring a good taste for office furniture.
It is also important to be flexible in the business, and deliver customized solutions and meet the client’s overall needs.
As an entrepreneur, one needs to leverage the use of social media to increase chances of visibility and audience reach. In promoting his premises, Mello uses online platforms such as Facebook, which have been able to meet these marketing objectives.
Mello reflected on the journey thus far, stating there has been a positive outlook in the business landscape until recent weeks when challenges arose. This is in particular due to negative media publicity.
The recent coverage of events such as theft and murder in these units not only leads to reputational damage for the entrepreneurs but also results in losses for the business.
Consequently, Bed Only Accommodations (BOAs) now have to deal with strict government-proposed regulations and tax compliance measures.
Despite these hurdles, the business continues to be highly rewarding for those who remain committed to it.
Kithendu Mello’s vision for the business is growth and expansion, catching up with the evolving business that will continuously be shaped by the government’s regulatory frameworks and market conditions.
He suggested that the government could assist BOA investors by implementing supportive regulations to bring stability to the sector.
He noted that these units contribute to the Kenyan economy as a business premise. Furthermore, they play a role in providing essential services.