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How OTAs Are Changing The Travel Experience of Nigerians

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By Adeniyi Ogunfowoke,

Once upon a time, around two decades ago, you had to seek the services of a local travel agent to research and book a trip on your behalf regardless of whether it is domestic or international.

With the debut of the internet, booking travel became seamless as online travel agencies started to leverage the internet to make travel seamless for millions of Nigerians. So, nowadays, travellers have many options available to them to help choose destinations, compare prices and make reservations independently and easily.

The undeniable fact is that online travel agencies have changed and disrupted the way we travel. Jumia’s travel and flight marketplace, Jumia Travel is one of the few OTAs that are playing a huge role in making travel smooth for Nigerians.

By booking hotels for Nigerians at any time of the day, Jumia Travel eliminates the stress of scouting for hotels. Today, Jumia Travel has expanded to flight, packages, airport pickups and even cruises. The aim is to become an all-in-one travel agency. So, how is an OTA like Jumia Travel changing the travel experience of Nigerians?

Democratise travel

For some Nigerians, the reason why they do not travel is that they think travel is expensive, which is not always the case. However, with an OTA like Jumia Travel, every Nigerian has a better chance of travelling. This is because unlike other OTAs, Jumia Travel has one of the best available rates you can ever find on the internet. Hence, whether you have a huge amount in your account or not, you can still travel comfortably.

Take the stress off travel bookings

Travel planning can be overwhelming, especially if it is group travel. You have to put together a bucket list of destinations to visit and even book hotels you do not know anything about. If you get this wrong, it can make or mar the travel experience. This is where online travel agencies come into play. All over Nigeria, they have hotels on their platform; you simply reach out to your preferred OTA, for example, Jumia Travel and their travel advisors will recommend fantastic hotels you and your group can stay anywhere in Nigeria. This is, of course, at the best price.

Enhanced customer service

Customer service and satisfaction have also transformed the travel experience of Nigerians. The travel advisors of Jumia Travel help customers make informed decisions. Also, the vast majority of brands have a social media presence that is being used to make customers aware of the best packages and deals. And when necessary, to provide relevant information to help unsatisfied or confused customers.

Travel research transformed

One of the most profound effects that OTAs has had on travel in Nigeria is the democratization of online reviews. Today’s travellers go online to research their future travel destinations and accommodations. When booking travel, a good number of Nigerians plan travel activities based on the content posted by their peers online. Hence, travel agencies do everything in their power to ensure they get positive reviews by offering sterling services.

Ugo Onwuaso is an ICT enthusiast. He believes technology should be used for general good. He holds a Master of Public Administration (MPA) degree from the Lagos state University.

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Will the Central Bank of Nigeria join the monetary easing bandwagon?

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By Lukman Otunuga, FXTM Research Analyst

Unfavorable macroeconomic conditions across the globe have forced major central banks to embark on a monetary easing cycle to protect their respective economies.

The Federal Reserve is expected to cut interest rates for the first time in over 10 years later this month, while central banks in Asia and Africa including the South African Central Bank have already made a move. With economic conditions in Nigeria slowly stabilizing and inflationary pressures slowly moderating towards single digits, the CBN has the opportunity to join the monetary easing bandwagon.

Lower interest rates in Nigeria will stimulate consumption, encourage businesses to increase investment spending and give banks more incentive to borrow to corporations and households. Given how household consumption is roughly 80% of GDP, a rate cut will be supportive of growth potential as the nation diversifies away from Oil reliance.

Dollar humbled by IMF and Fed doves

It has been another rough and rocky trading week for the Dollar thanks to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and dovish commentary by Fed officials.

Earlier in the week, the IMF said the US Dollar was overvalued by 6%-12% – ultimately forcing investors to re-evaluate the Dollar’s current valuation.

On Thursday, Federal Reserve Bank of New York President, John Williams, said that central banks must “take swift action when faced with adverse economic conditions”. Also, Federal Reserve Vice Chairman, Richard Clarida, said yesterday that policymakers “don’t need to wait until things get so bad” before cutting interest rates.

Such commentary from Fed officials is reinforcing expectations of a US interest rate cut at the end of this month. The Dollar Index (DXY) remains under pressure on the daily charts with prices trading marginally below 97.00 as of writing. Repeated weakness below 97.00 could open a path lower towards 96.60.

Commodity spotlight – WTI Oil

WTI Crude tumbled roughly six percent this week as US inventories jumped by over nine million barrels last week, which sparked fears over global demand for crude lagging behind rising output.

The slowdown in global growth has overshadowed market sentiment for Oil, as rising geopolitical tensions have failed to live up to their potential of sending prices higher. Any further deterioration in the global demand outlook could mean nothing but more pain for oil markets.

On the bright side, markets can take some comfort in the OPEC+ decision to extend its supply cuts through March 2020, which should help support Oil prices over the coming months.

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Oil: Will a sturdier floor make for a higher bounce?

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By Han Tan, Market Analyst at FXTM,

In the third quarter, WTI crude is set to form a solid base to launch another attempt at the $65/bbl mark, providing the global demand outlook doesn’t deteriorate any further.

The downside for Oil appears to have been mitigated around the mid-$50/bbl range by the recent announcement of revived US-China trade talks, staving off the risk of an immediate deterioration in ties between the world’s two largest economies. Although the existing tariffs remain in place, the prospects of further levies being imposed has dwindled, at least for the time being. That ensures that the growth of global demand, while slowing, isn’t completely snuffed out.

 

Supply-side risks to remain manageable in Q3

On the supply side, the OPEC+ decision to maintain supply cuts at current levels until March 2020 should also set a stronger platform for Oil’s Q3 performance. Concerns about excess supplies flooding the market have been assuaged by a reported 163 percent compliance rate by OPEC+ members in May. With a goal in place to remove some 1.2 million barrels from global supplies in 2019, the tightened-for-longer Oil taps should ensure supply-side risks are managed.

 

Unexpected flare-up in geopolitical tensions could trigger fear-induced Oil spike

Simmering geopolitical tensions have also contributed to Oil’s rise as the current quarter begins. US sanctions on major producers have affected not just the physical delivery of crude, but also market sentiment. Oil market participants remain focused on US President Donald Trump’s Twitter activities, given his fervor for shaking up the global order while pre-empting his foreign policy moves with unexpected tweets. With market sentiment still fragile, any whiff of an escalation in geopolitical tensions could trigger a fear-induced spike in Oil prices.

 

Oil markets to remain cautiously optimistic in Q3

Still, investors might be remiss in believing that things are only looking up in the second half of the year. Developments surrounding US-China trade talks remain fluid, and recent history has shown that events can turn on a dime. Should negotiations between the world’s two largest economies hit yet another wall, the floor could give way beneath Oil. Also keep in mind that the existing tariffs already imposed by the US and China remain in place and have already dragged global growth lower. Additionally, should President Trump open up another front in US-led trade tensions, that will further darken the demand outlook for Oil.

 

US shale output could throw spanner into the works

Then there’s the surge in US shale output, which has been an unrelenting tide that threatens to drown attempts by OPEC+ to rebalance the markets. US supply has been on a record-chasing spree, having notched a new high for monthly output in April when it exceeded 12 million bpd, according to the US Energy Information Administration. Although the number of active rigs has dwindled as producers stateside appear to be shifting priorities towards profitability rather than output growth, their actions may not be enough to stop total US output from hitting 14 million bpd in 2020.

 

WTI crude expected to nudge higher in Q3

Such supply and demand risks could dampen the enthusiasm within the Oil markets for higher highs. Instead of leaping into the air, traders may just take measured moves in nudging prices higher. The key consideration for Oil in Q3 is how much resistance prices will face on the way up.

 

At the time of writing, WTI crude is trading below its 50- and 200-day moving averages. A break above those levels could be met with stiffer resistance at $61.92/bbl, while Oil’s immediate support line can be drawn at $52.28/bbl

 

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Hi-life Fest Quarterfinalists Get Mentored By Phyno, Kcee, Selebobo, & Sunny Nneji.

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Some of Nigeria’s biggest music stars such as Selebobo, Phyno, KCEE and Sunny Nneji met with the quarter-finalists of Hi-life Fest 2019 to offer them some tips and advice on the music industry. This was part of a week-long mentorship program, which saw the eight Hi-life Fest hopefuls have one on one interactions with the movers and shakers of the industry.

Renowned music producer, Selebobo, was the first to meet with the contestants and he was quick to praise the talented acts, while also reminding them that this is just the beginning of the journey. Selebobo who is most notably known for producing Yemi Alade’s 2013 smash hit “Johnny” has been in the music scene for over 10 years. He is also a frequent collaborator with artistes such as Iyanya, Tekno and a host of other A-list performers.

Veteran highlife singer, Sunny Nneji was next to visit the quarter-finalists. He received a warm welcome from the contestants who were thrilled to have the singer in their midst. The “Tolo Tolo” crooner shared some tips about how he has remained relevant in the industry and reminded them to always be humble and open to learning.

 

 

Kcee also made a surprise appearance at the mentorship session, and the singer/songwriter reminisced on his time on Star Quest, while advising the Hi-Life Fest contestants to take full advantage of the opportunity they’ve been presented with.

The cream of the crop, however, was the arrival of Life Lager brand ambassador, Phyno. The indigenous rapper who hails from Enugu was greeted by a standing ovation and his time with the contestants was filled with words of motivation. He took his time to share the story of his meteoric progress in the music industry, while also admonishing Life Lager for giving young talented musicians a platform such as this.

Hi-Life Fest 2019 has lived up to its billing as the number one indigenous music show celebrating the culture and progress of the people. The contestants are set to be back in action on the 21st of July when the quarterfinals of HiLife Fest is hosted in the garden city of Port Harcourt.

To find out the latest updates on the competition, follow Life Lager’s official social media page on Instagram and Twitter @LifeLager_ng, or the hashtags #HILifeFEST2019 and #RhythmOfProgress. You can also catch episodes of HiLife Fest every Sunday at 8 p.m on Soundcity TV.

 

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