Off the back of the unfortunate marketing exposure Africa has been receiving lately, and an unstable market economy, we’d like to offer you a few suggestions of how to ensure that your dream holiday does not get ripped out from underneath you before you’ve even travelled.
It is not likely that your personal travel insurance or a travel company’s bond (which insures your deposit or full payment) will fully cover every single traveller if a tour operator goes into liquidation. Do your homework and find out as much information about the company that you’re going to be travelling with before booking your next tour.
Whether you’re booking through a travel agency or directly with a tour operator, you are entitled to information about the company that you’re planning on travelling with. A few questions that you could ask your consultant are:
- What is the tour company doing to improve its standards and ensure growth in the market?
- Is the company offering substantial discounts in peak season? (June – November)
- Has the company gone through any redundancies or restructuring in the last 6 months?
- What sustainable best practices does the company adhere to?
If a tour operator is offering exceptionally large standing discounts and add-ons, this is indicative of either a pricing error, a lack of bookings or the inevitable cutting of corners on tour. None of these bode well for future tour operations.
To answer these questions for you from Nomad’s perspective:
- For the past three years in a row, we have been increasing the number of tour departures so that there are weekly departures on most routes, giving you complete flexibility with date options. In September 2014 we identified booking patterns were changing due to the unfortunate marketing of Ebola and we took action accordingly. We cancelled a few tours and filled up the others. We are currently building 5 new truck bodies to cater for the demand and to improve the quality of our trucks. We are continuing with our process of replacing our fleet from Fuso to MAN trucks, new equipment is being built and purchased and we are excited for a busy season.
- Nomad is in the process of growing our Reservations, Charters, Sales and Marketing teams and has not had any redundancies or restructuring. 2015 will see us experience our second busiest season in Nomad history.
- We invest in our guides education and careers to ensure that they are knowledgeable and passionate about Africa and the tours they are running. Continuous investment in our trucks ensures that they are some of the safest on the road and as we are a local specialist, we are always close at hand to resolve any situation immediately. We maintain a rigorous maintenance schedule on our trucks and each one is roadworthy tested every six months.
- We have recently invested in a boutique hotel, Belvedere Estate, and three new Okavango Delta camps to ensure that there is continuous reinvestment and a solid product offering for our travellers.
We do offer select 10 – 15% discounts on specific departures to ensure that we incentivise our bookings and run full and healthy tours. There are no longstanding discounts, no “2 for the price of 1” or “free” add-ons as these are not healthy or sustainable for any tour operator.
Happy travel planning and we look forward to seeing you on the road!