Justin Perumal, Owner and Founder of PaperJet Travel, has taken a different approach to travel and tourism in KwaZulu Natal. “I came up with the concept of Personality Based Travel,” Perumal says. This is where travellers create better memories through experiences that are suited to their individual needs and likes. Perumal wanted to move away from the more traditional ways of travelling and fit travel into different archetypes for different experiences. And so PaperJet Travel was born.
The five archetypes: Explorer, Tourist, Gossip Girl, Academic and Hipster, were inspired by the work of Carl Jung. "Our travel experiences are designed to reinforce each of these five travel archetypes," Perumal says. For example, the typical tour for the Gossip Girl is 10 nights, 11 days and includes a stay at The 12 Apostles Hotel, wineland tours and shopping sprees at Cape Town’s high-end boutiques, as well as game drives at Phinda Private Game Reserve. The Hipster, on the other hand, has more out-of-the-way events. It is a 16-day tour that includes attending the Humala Bush Festival and AfrikaBurn.
Perumal’s different approach to travel shows in the clients PaperJet Travel appeals to. “Based on our interactions with our suppliers [camps and lodges] over the past year or so, we know that our travellers, who are generally between 25 and 40, are quite a bit younger than the suppliers’ traditional customer base, which historically is 40-plus,” Perumal says. He says this may have something to do with the way PaperJet Travel approaches tourism and social media.
Perumal explains that companies need to have a clearly defined social media strategy, one that creates brand awareness without ‘force feeding’ their audiences. “Quality followers are the word of mouth of the social media age. Brands need to connect with their audience and help their audience connect with their brand. This is not done by ‘virtual cold calling’. There are people behind profiles and we make sure that our followers know that there are people behind our brands,” says Perumal.
This may have something to do with his background in marketing. He has a BA (honours) International Business from the University of West London and has worked as a business incubatee at Shanduka Black Umbrellas and as a Marketing Strategist at the Invuya Institute of Learning.
Perumal does not believe in challenges but rather views them as opportunities or interesting situations to overcome. With that in mind, he started PaperJet Travel with R5 000. "There's a tendency for people to latch on to this idea that there are no opportunities available to them, that there is too much stacked against them, that they need outside assistance to succeed. I wanted to challenge myself to achieve the goals I've set myself whilst restricting the resources available to me.”
Since then, PaperJet has flourished. The company was selected by South African Tourism as one of the top 10 products in KwaZulu Natal this year and has also diversified with the addition of Wild Routes Africa and Get Cultured.
Wild Routes Africa is a boutique transfer service that aims to make transfers rewarding. The vehicles are equipped with iPads that give travellers lessons on: wildlife photography, tracking animals and conservation so that when they arrive at their destination they can hit the ground running. There are also cameras and binoculars for hire.
Perumal is the Co-Founder of Get Cultured, a social movement that promotes social integration and domestic tourism. The goal is to help locals connect with each other and the different locations they are from in a more diverse way. This is done with a variety of societies that can be joined with Get Cultured, such as the Art Society and the Scientific Society. Both offer workshops and lectures, as well as special events and expeditions throughout the year.
Perumal wants to work more with millennials in the future and says Durban has a lot to offer both the local and international markets.
This article is part of a series where Tourism Update highlights small, medium- and micro-sized enterprises in the tourism sector. This series is brought to you courtesy of South African Tourism