Sephats Tours is a travel company that intends to deliver leisure travel excursions to customers. Sephats intends to guide customers in selecting a trip(s) based on pre-defined vacation criteria. This analysis will be based on user profiles, set by the consumers, which includes preferences such as:
- Activities sought
- Destination, and
- Time of Travel
A traveler will hence be able to select areas of interest based on their preferences and subsequently identify destinations to visit. The intention is to provide customers with access to exclusive travel destinations, service to fully appreciate destinations through information packages, not just sight-seeing, and access to special interest travel according to the group's/individual's preferences.
3.1 Competitive Comparison
There are presently few competitors offering services similar to ours. However considering the pace of change and current growth rate of the tourism industry luring many companies into the sector, this may be short-lived. Hence there will be a need to not only firmly establish ourselves on the market, but also strongly differentiate ourselves from these other businesses. However on a broader scale our competition comes in several forms:
- The most significant competition are hotels and travel agencies offering travel excursions to their clients. They undertake this service in order to establish a competitive advantage over their competitors. However, instead of directly competing with them we intend to establish good working relationships in the form of strategic alliances such that we are able to offer the service for their clients and thus enabling them to concentrate on their core activities whilst ensuring customers are fully satisfied. Our key advantage in this regard will be our specialty of the service and hence wide knowledge ensuring customer satisfaction at all times as well as flexibility in providing the service.
- Existing hotels, lodges and travel agencies may identify the opportunity to diversify into our intended services utilizing their current client database. Naturally, existing clients will be inclined towards utilizing these familiar companies due to the fact that a good relationship may have already been nurtured over the years during their business dealings. This presents a potential challenge to us, as we need to aggressively market our services and expertise in the field.
- Existing safari operators that mainly focus on the remote environs such as Maun and Kasane are at times able to compromise, offering excursions in and around Gaborone, though very rare. Hence we intend to focus on this market.
An analysis of competition is provided in the Market Analysis section of this plan.
3.2 Service Description
Sephats Tours intends to offer the service and knowledge a discerning leisure traveler seeks whilst on vacation, with the intention of seeing and appreciating the numerous sights in the area. Keeping in mind the comforts of a tourist, our fleet shall be very well maintained and designed as per customer standard and expectations. However not wanting to limit ourselves we intend to be open to special hire by churches, organizations, groups, schools and sports teams, amongst other related groups.
The game reserves and lodges that we intend to be our main destinations are:
- Mokolodi Nature Reserve
- Goborone Game Reserve
- Gaborone Dam
- The Oodi and Mochudi Craft Villages
- Kolobeng and Thamaga
- Khutse Game Reserve
Below is a briefing of several places of interest and their various attractions.
- Mokolodi Nature Reserve: Set in a wide valley just 10 minutes drive from the city, this scenic reserve offers a well-developed network of game drives and stone and thatch chalets overlooking a water hole. Mokolodi also offers the rare opportunity to track rhino or to walk through the bush with young elephants. These excursions offer excellent photographic opportunities. Evening drives can include a bush braai giving visitors the chance to see the more unusual nocturnal creatures.
- Gaborone Game Reserve: This 550 hectare reserve provides an ideal get-away for tourists who can see a remarkable range of wildlife in the park including rhino, eland, zebra, gemsbok, wildebeest, kudu, ostrich and impala, all on well-maintained bush roads that are designed for easy access. Bird watching in the Gaborone Game Reserve is excellent, particularly along the eastern edge, bounded by Notwane River, and it typifies the incredible diversity of bird life to be found throughout the Gaborone area.
- Gaborone Dam: On the south bank a remarkably rich variety of bird and wildlife can be seen, including herds of impala, kudu and scuttling families of warthog. New picnic sites, which are currently under development will also provide places of interest. The Gaborone Yacht Club is the main attraction on the dam with its swimming pool, bar and wide verandah overlooking the water off a rocky koppie in the middle of the dam which often becomes an island in the wet season.
- The Oodi and Mochudi Craft Villages: In Oodi the main attraction will be the Lenstwe-la-Oodi weavers. In Mochudi apart from traditionally decorated Setswana architecture, the tourists will find the most southerly baobab trees in Botswana and traditional crafts including the Ithuteng Tin Workshop and Ikgabiseng handmade jewelery. The Phuthadikobo Museum in Mochudi will also be an attraction site.
Other sites will include Matsieng Foot Point, Gemsbok National Park, Mabuasehube Game Reserve, Legaga la ga Kobokwe, Central Kgalagadi Game Reserve, Nxaii Pan and Khama Rhino Sanctuary.
Integrating the above places of interest into our tours we intend to be offering the following tours:
- "Capital Crusade" - City Tour: This will be a professionally guided tour around the city centre including visits to the Main Mall, Finance Mall, National Museum, City Council Library, Gaborone Station, and House of Parliament including others. These tours shall be eye opening in terms of the normal Botswana town folk life style providing knowledge and information throughout the guided tour. Included in this package will be refreshments and information folders detailing the main sites and history of Gaborone. This tour will cover approximately 50 kilometers taking about half a day to complete. Cost: PX per person.
- "Cultural Enrichment" - Cultural Tour: This shall involve tours to the main historical and cultural sites in and around Gaborone including Mokolodi Nature Reserve, Oodi and Mochudi Craft Villages, including the cultural dances. This tour shall reveal the 'Kgotla' - cultural villages, traditional paintings and art, as well as the traditional lifestyle. Obviously baobabs will make for good viewing. The tour package will include an information folder, guided tour and refreshments. This tour will cover approximately 200 kilometers taking the whole day to complete. Cost: PY per person.
- "The Essence: Past & Present" - City & Cultural Tour: This will be a combination of the cultural tour and city centre excursion. This will be marketed as a "total package" enabling tourists with very little time to appreciate the Botswana lifestyle, both in the present and past. This tour will invariably take the whole day and cover approximately 250 kilometers. The tour package will include the information folder, guided tour, refreshments and a picnic lunch. Cost: PZ per person.
At a large scale research demonstrates that tourism is undergoing a rapid growth of unsurpassed nature. Generally there is a trend towards shorter stays but increased visits, as individuals strive to experience as many cultures as possible, including seeing as many attractions as possible. Increasingly Botswana is being marketed as "one of the few places in Africa where game sanctuaries have remained completely unspoiled. A destination that unlocks the mystery of nature - an oasis in a wilderness which is an ideal escape for nature lovers. Very little of this fascinating country has seen human habitation - this is true Africa in all her remoteness and authenticity." With such marketing in place the number of tourists entering the country is bound to increase, presenting a larger potential market for ourselves. This potential market is what we seek to tap.
3.4 Sales Literature
The business will begin with a general corporate brochure establishing its position on the market. This brochure will be developed as part of the start-up expenses including the business cards and Company Profile, mainly for the large organizations that often recommend services to potential customers. Compliment slips are also intended so as to raise awareness of the company and its services. We also intend to have information pamphlets that will provide information on our various tour packages.
Literature and mailings for the initial market forums will be very important.
- The key fulfillment and delivery will be provided by the employees of the company. The real core value will be professional expertise, provided by a combination of expertise, experience, hard work, and education (in that order). Hence we intend to ensure that the work we undertake is always thorough and relevant to the clients' needs.
- We will turn to reputable companies for supplying the necessary individuals and groups for our services. Hence the need to establish good relationships with our strategic allies.
Sephats Tours will strive to ensure that it contains the latest, or extremely recent personal computer including relevant software so as to ensure that the company is continuously at the forefront in our market arena. The one certainty in our industry is that technology will continue to evolve and develop, changing what we market as well as how we market it. Our aim will be to be aware of the implications of this new technology and utilizing it in our existing framework where possible. However it should be noted that as we are new on the market it will take some time before we have in place our own website and other multimedia presentations. With time we also intend to have the latest and most efficient software in place to enable smooth operations.
3.7 Future Services
In putting the company together we have attempted to offer enough services to allow us to always be in demand by our customers and clients. The most important factor in developing future services/products is market need. Our understanding of the needs of our target market segments shall be one of our competitive advantages. It is critical to our effort to develop the right new services. In the future, Sephats Tours intends to broaden its coverage by expanding into additional markets. One of the main services it aims at providing is to become a destination management company that brings alive the magnificence of this country to the traveler. This will be done by co-coordinating the traveler's entire experience from hotel bookings, safaris and tours, greeting and porter services, and to tour packages and incentives. However in doing so we will strive to ensure that it is compatible with the existing products and company personnel. As time progresses the intention will to provide a Southern Africa tour package covering the whole of southern Africa.