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Breaking Travel News interview: Juliet Njogu, owner, the Social House

Breaking Travel News interview: Juliet Njogu, owner, the Social House

The Social House has been honoured with the title of Kenya’s Leading Boutique Hotel at the World Travel Awards.

Here Breaking Travel News speaks to hotel owner, Juliet Njogu, to find out how it feels to have been recognised by voters from around the globe.

Breaking Travel News: Having claimed a top title at the World Travel Awards, how does it feel to have won?


Juliet Njogu: Naturally we’re elated!

It’s an honour because it reaffirms that what we set out to deliver at the beginning of 2019 – to create a buzzy social, arts, music, culinary and music hub in Nairobi – is meeting with customer delight.

BTN: How will the trophy help you to promote the Social House as we move into 2022?

JN: Even though travel restrictions on entering Kenya are easing there is still some way to go to get back to pre-Covid-19 inbound levels.

Add to this we’re the new kids on the block and need to grow our international profile.

Being a winner in the World Travel Awards will be a big profile-booster for us beyond Africa.

It will be used as part of our marketing efforts to connect with travel planners, online travel agents, travel publications and journalists, and of course the end consumer from all continents.

If potential guests see that we have won a World Travel Award it will increase their confidence in making a booking, whether or not that they have heard of our brand.

BTN: What is it that caught the eye of voters; what do you think it is that separates the Social House from its competitors in Africa and the Indian Ocean?

JN: Instead of shaping the brand around overnight guests and creating ancillary services primarily for them, the House was first and foremost designed for locals.

That’s why, for example, we have four food and beverage outlets in an 83-room hotel.

The restaurant and bar capacity were not determined by the likely demand from overnight guests, but by locals.

In a sense Nairobians have become very much a part of the brand: when guests arrive from overseas instead of walking into another functional reception space, they immerse themselves in a slice of true Kenyan life.

Our character also sets apart from others by reflecting ‘modern Kenya’.

We have tried to avoid the traditional Africana themes, instead aiming for a spirit embracing today’s more adventurous, entrepreneurial, open-minded Kenya.

This includes celebrating the natural joie de vivre of the locals.

We see little point in taking their charm, effervescence and playfulness and suffocating it with formal attire, red tape and a service style more akin to 19th century Europe.

Our mantra is to find people who fit with our brand spirit and then, to a large extent, let them go express themselves.

That is a much more powerful way of connecting with a guest as the relationship is human to human rather than business to guest.

We never really set out to be ‘better’, because that’s for guests to determine.

But we did set out and continue to seek to be unique in ways that are relevant and compelling to our Lesser Spotted Adventurers (AKA our guests)!

More Information

Find out more about the Social House on the official website.