Balancing supply and demand in the safari industry

10/5/2016 2:50:05 PM

Fancy a quick trip to Navaisha and Mara, to finalise your business trip to Kenya? Or two days in Shimba Hills? Seasoned business travellers that travel alone know that it can be hard to find and join a safari tour that fits the business schedule. The new online Safarisharing platform brings together individual travellers on safari trips in East-Africa.

One of Safarisharing’s founders, Jorrit Kooi, was traveling to Tanzania for business. He was looking forward to a suitable and affordable safari to round off his trip. In the end, he didn’t go, because for him, as an individual, it was hard to find a trip that would fit within his travel scheme. Getting a good overview of the offerings was impossible, finding tours that were still open for bookings even more.
Safarisharing, the booking tool that has just been launched, offers both. Daan Degenkamp, co-founder: “Business travellers, but also expats, backpackers, conference visitors and other individual travellers can now easily connect to and join safari groups. And, even better: they can do so even last-minute at affordable prices. Bringing together travellers to go on safari on an online platform is a first in the tourism industry.”

Book directly, fill empty seats

Customers can check the website for trips that will depart from Nairobi or Arusha, two cities that are well located for a stunning safari experience. The website shows the number of empty seats left and also who already joined that particular trip. Customers can join the trip online and make the booking directly. Daan Degenkamp: “Our customer service can handle any question or specific trip requests. Tour operators can approach us when they have trips available with some empty seats. We will put these trips online and other people can join.”

Safarisharing has received its first bookings in August and Daan and his business partners are excited that the first Safarisharing trip will depart in September. “Both travellers and safari operators in Kenya and Tanzania have applauded the launch of our new business. Site visitor numbers go up every day and we also get many requests for trips in various regions.  Safari operators have called to tell us they want work with us and join our platform. This shows that the industry clearly sees the added value we bring. Safarisharing creates a real add-on to their business.”

Where do trip offerings on the platform come from?

Daan Degenkamp: “We get trip offerings from our local partners and partly from our own information sources. The partners we work with have significant experience with organizing trips to the destination we offer, so they are a valuable source of information.”

How do you make money?

“We operate a commission based revenue model. We don’t organize the safari’s ourselves, but work together with local tour operators, ground handlers and other companies in the travel industry. Our aim is to generate additional, sustainable business for the safari industry that has been under pressure for a long time. We like to present ourselves as the catalyst of the safari industry, which is a very traditional industry. An important pillar of the Safarisharing business model is the ‘Safarisharing promise’. Part of this promise is that we intend to work with local businesses as much as possible.” Degenkamp insists that Safarisharing has a strict partner selection process. “We want to ensure a sublime safari experience to all Safarisharing customers.”

What were the bottlenecks to set this up?

Degenkamp: “Launching a start-up company in East Africa with a headquarter Amsterdam comes with some challenges. Although we spend a lot of time on the ground in Kenya and Tanzania, the distance is sometimes difficult to bridge. We are currently in the process of establishing presence on the ground in East Africa which will help us. We intend to keep our Amsterdam office as well; Amsterdam is a vibrant start-up city with many East-Africa oriented networks, businesses and potential Safarisharing customers. It is also the main hub in Europe for flights to (East) Africa, with direct connections to the countries we operate in and intend to operate in in the future.”

You offer trips in Kenya and Tanzania, do you have plans for business in other countries?

Jorrit Kooi: “Our goal is to further expand the Safarisharing platform across the African continent. We are taking a step-by-step approach and don’t want to rush our expansion agenda. We first want to optimize the current operations in Kenya and Tanzania and then move on. The next country in which we will roll-out operations is Uganda. Of course we have dreams for the future. In five years’ time, we want to expand to 15 countries, to become the leading e-commerce sharing platform in the safari industry.”

Check Safarisharing on LinkedIn

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