Planning an African safari for a client requires skill, knowledge, and experience. For this reason, it is critical to build confidence with your client from the first contact. Africa is a destination that also requires some budget, especially when wanting to visit the more iconic destinations like the Okavango Delta, South Luangwa or the Serengeti. There is so much more to planning a safari holiday than booking a beach flop in Greece! And this is where your knowledge as the expert is worth its weight in gold. To kick start 2023, Anthea shares a few tips that she learnt during her 30 years in the African safari industry, which you may find helpful.
Know Your Client
Engage with your client – if possible, get on the phone with them, let them tell you what they are looking for and use this opportunity to subtly sell your knowledge, building up their confidence to trust you with their hard-earned money. If they are a family, then knowing kids ages as well as activity interests go a long way to picking the right destinations and lodges for them. And knowing if they are nervous ‘first timers’, means you will request rooms closer to the main lodge rather than the isolated honeymoon suite on the far end of camp (where the lions roar at night).
Champagne Taste vs Beer Money
We have all experienced this – a client ogling those glossy brochures and tantalising imagery of the dream safari destination – only to discover that a double mortgage would be the only way to stay there… This is why it’s so important to understand your clients’ expectations and flexibility. Let’s face it, a dream safari can often test even the healthiest of budgets… Here some ‘teaser’ itineraries can help to set expectations and easily qualify what your client is looking for, and where they are willing to compromise a little on some creature comforts in lieu of an amazing experience (that you can endorse).
Mix & Match
We all know at least one of those amazing little gems that offer exceptional service, yet at a fraction of the price. These places are real budget savers and help to even out a more challenging budget without compromising on a clients comfort expectations. From my own experience, even the most top end client can be happy to stay a few nights in a well-priced, good quality lodge that offers an incredible experience with perhaps one less chocolate on the pillow at night.
Create A Well-Balanced Itinerary
Face it, going on safari is exhausting! The pre-dawn rises, long hours on bumpy roads and a rigorous schedule can be tiring, as amazing as it is to be in the bush. And then there is the long flight with possible jet lag and your clients wish list… All these factors are to be considered – and sometimes less is indeed more. Whether this is starting with a quiet lodge near the airport to recover from the flight, or ending with a few nights on the beach, a balanced itinerary will have a good mixture of relaxation as well as activity, in relation to what your client enjoys. And perhaps only doing a small portion of that inexhaustible wish list.
Seasonal Wiggle Room
Even a luxury safari client has a budget threshold, and here it is knowing how to hack this budget to give them the most for their hard-earned money. Sometimes a difference of a day or two can make a huge impact on the budget, and this is where knowing the specials, seasonal rate changes and any good combination deals can go a long way in offering your client a top holiday and setting up yourself competitively. Relationships are key – and so is negotiating – whether this is an exclusive deal with your favourite safari lodge, or a low season offer for an extended stay. These offers help to set you apart and builds client confidence.
Digital Tools Increase Your Conversions
We hope that you have enjoyed these tips and can put them to good practice as international travel is starting to pick up momentum again. One last point to mention is how I found increased conversions when using digital tools that brought the holiday to life. Vamoos offers the perfect platform to do this – without stealing from your precious time.
You can easily put together the itinerary with pictures as well as an interactive map and details of where they staying, providing the client a digital taster of their holiday in imagery, which not only sets you apart from competitors, but also cultivates increased repeat clients.
Vamoos also ‘gives’ a person something to show for their deposit besides an invoice and dull day by day written document. And clients just love the count down feature that tells them how many days till their African safari begins.
Taking a significant step towards enhancing the golf travel experience, we are excited to introduce our strategic collaboration with Golf Genius, a leading provider of cloud-based golf software solutions. This collaboration brings a seamless integration of the capabilities of both Vamoos and Golf Genius, enhancing the digital journey for all involved.
We recently released our new industry guide, ‘How Travel Tech Is Revolutionising Educational Travel’ which shows how top educational travel companies are using tech to combat the biggest issues in the industry.
We had a 45-minute session this week with industry leaders, regulatory experts, tour operators, and technology specialists to discuss logistics and communications in educational travel.