[Interview] David Kimani, Founder, Vacay Holiday Deals, Kenya
Kenyan entrepreneur, David Kimani, is providing the unique service of vacations and holiday trips on credit - to be paid for at later dates - with his company, Vacay Holiday Deals.
Would you introduce your company please?
Vacay Holiday Deals is a travel company based in Nairobi, Kenya. Our slogan is ‘More Travel, Less Excuses’ because we enable convenience in travel by allowing travelers to go on holiday and pay later, pay for holidays in instalments beforehand and personalize service while planning for travel.
Who started the company and when?
Vacay Holiday was founded in March 2013 but began operations in 2014. The shareholders are Edwin Karinga and myself.
Who are your clients?
Some of our corporate clients include Naivas Supermarkets, Innova Limited, Mobile Financial Services Kenya. The demographics for our retail clients are:
• 28 – 40 yrs
• Middle to upper class
• Mostly couples and families
What is the strongest selling point of Vacay Holiday Deals?
We allow travellers to go on holiday and pay the expenses later. This service is in partnership with Aspira. Basically how it works is a traveler downloads the aspira kenya app and registers. Once they receive their limit, they will get in touch with us for holiday packages. After selecting a package, all they need to do is pay a 20% deposit to go on holidays. The balance is paid in 3 to 6 monthly instalments.
We were recently featured on Business Daily on how we are using Virtual Reality to market destinations. The VR provides an immersive experience that makes the traveler feel like they are in the destination.
How do you fund the operations?
I raised the capital to start the company and for current operations we plough back profit.
Is the Kenyan market responsive to your holiday services?
The market has responded well to the Trip Now Pay Later product. We launched in August last year and already it covers 8% of our bookings. Also popular destinations that travellers are booking are Beach destinations (Mombasa, Diani and Malindi) and Dubai. We are trying to push our other international packages.
What does the company need to grow and expand?
The process of systemization does not come cheap. Extra capital may be required along the way for us to build a booking engine that matches international industry standards. After that we may need to up our marketing budget to stay ahead of the competion by pushing our content on the high ROI online channels.
What are the growth plans of Vacay Holiday Deals?
We are working on developing an IT ecosystem that will automate workflow. This includes revamping our website to enable online booking and payment, leads to be captured directly in the back end as well as dynamic packaging where travelers can book hotel+flight as opposed to separately. We believe this will increase the traffic in bookings. Once tried and tested in the Kenyan market, we will expand our reach to East Africa.
This year systemization is our goal, as well as streamlining business processes for leaner operations. Our relationship with our financial partner Aspira is growing and we are working to increase bookings for Trip Now, Pay Later. The company is also focusing on team welfare; without the Vacay team, we would be nowhere.
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