Because of Africa’s unique wilderness, many guests who have travelled to the continent want to return. Particularly, couples who travelled in their youth want to return with their children. The onus is on the tour operator to match or outdo the previous experience. Tessa Reed chats to Pulse Africa’s Sandi Elkington about a trip she put together that blew her clients away.
A Canadian couple who had previously visited Africa in their youth wanted to return with their children – two boys 18 and 20 years old.
The boys didn’t want to spend their time sitting in a game vehicle each day and wanted an active holiday. They were also keen to mingle with locals and have a meaningful cultural interaction. They also wanted to walk in the Serengeti instead of just sitting in a vehicle all the time, and end their safari in Zanzibar.
Personalising the pitch
“With every enquiry that comes through, we try and speak to the clients,” says Elkington, adding that this is crucial to ensuring that packages can be uniquely tailored to each guest. “The clients were referred to us by a family booking we handled a couple of years ago.”
She adds that this booking has driven a number of enquiries.
While guests who have had a wonderful trip are likely to refer their friends, it is very important that all packages are tailored to each guest. She says that while clients will often request the same experience their friends enjoyed, the clients have their own particular tastes and desires that must be taken into account when putting together an itinerary.
Elkington contacted Pulse Africa’s local ground handlers, giving them an idea of what the clients wanted and the ages of the boys.
Pulse Africa gave the clients three options and they settled on one that ticked all the boxes.
The trip included walking safaris; a treetop walkway; a village walk and lunch with locals; a visit with the Datoga Tribe, East Africa’s last remaining true hunter-gatherers; a three-night stay at the Wayo Serengeti Walking Camp; and some time in Zanzibar.
“They had the most amazing guide on the ground, and I think that changes everything,” says Elkington. “I think they cried when they said goodbye to him.”
The family described the holiday as a “trip of a life time”. The mother said: “Over 30 years ago I had a totally life-changing experience when my family visited my cousin and her family living in Tanzania. I was hoping to share a magical experience with my husband and the boys and I can say without a doubt that all four of us were blown away.”