[Interview] Stephen Mutinda, Managing Director, Homestay Safari, Kenya
Stephen Mutinda is the Managing Director of Homestay Safari Group, a Kenyan online accommodation booking platform for different facilities ranging from boutique hotels, furnished apartments, guest houses, villas, Air ticketing and much more.
Would you please introduce your company?
Homestay Safari Group is an Online Travel Agency (OTA) that offers online hotel and alternative accommodation booking platform, Air ticketing, Safari Planning, Corporate Travel Services as well as travel-related hospitality services.
What would you say gives your company the competitive edge?
Homestay Safari offers an all under one roof Travel portal that incorporates alternative homely accommodation (not just hotels) as well as providing Travel Experiences and Activities Booking in various global destinations. Our motivation behind this is the growing trend of Experiential travel, a form of tourism in which people focus on experiencing a country, city or destination or particular place by connecting to its attraction resources, activities, history, people and culture.
Experiential Travel ensures a travel experience for our clients that provide them with a new, unique, and authentic way to explore the world.
Who are your clients?
The pool of our ever increasing clientele is drawn from individuals whom we classify as the “Free Independent Traveller – FIT” who want to see where they are going, where they will be accommodated at and what they will experience before getting there with the help of our online web and mobile application platforms.
We also make it easier for them by arranging and orchestrating custom vacation, business trip, destination or any other adventure. We also have a growing list of Corporate Clients whom we provide with conference bookings, air ticketing, and travel management solutions in line with their budgeting and policy.
What are the ambitions of the company going forward?
We aim at being the platform of choice when it comes to offering freedom to our clientele in booking of accommodation and experiences at the palm of their hands through our web-enabled and mobile application technology.
How has the market responded to your products/services? Why do you think that is so?
Our list of satisfied clients has grown tremendously courtesy of our clientele feedback positive reviews and referrals.
This is a result of our value-for-money bookings through our discount programs as well as the rise in demand for all-inclusive trips for people who look to lock down their holiday costs before they travel. We have also committed ourselves to build quality customer relationship with our clients in order to best assist them from the point travel decision making to the actual travel.
How is competition in the online accommodation booking space? How are you insulating yourselves from the competition?
The demand for online accommodation booking is fast growing catalyzed by the rising penetration of affordable internet, expansion of online payment platforms and an increasing number of tech-savvy consumers.
With a handful of online travel agencies, 70% of all Travellers would prefer to book their travel online but only 25% do, signaling a very significant big opportunity.
Our model for securing and guarantying an increasing market share is benched on our unique platform features, customer satisfaction focus as well as partnerships with travel industry players in making online travel and experiences booking simpler, affordable and rewarding for our clients.
One of the major disadvantages of online booking systems is that, for all their positives, they do come at a monetary cost. How does Homestay Safari ensure customers are getting value for their money?
Well, the services of online accommodation booking comes at a cost, either to the client or to the accommodation facility, depending on who bears service fees and the general cost of business acquisition.
To ensure our clients get value for their money we do proper facility verification, take in client feedback seriously as well as reviews so as to ensure authentic quality assurance.
What are some of the benefits of using your online booking platform?
Our prices are very competitive, guaranteed by the best rates that we secure with our service providers.
Our unique feature of activities, events, and experiences tagged alongside destinations of visit ensure our clients get to have engaging and rewarding travel.
What is the latest news from your company?
We have rolled our Homestay Safari Partnership Program that involves locals and business establishments having an opportunity to participate in the accommodation and experiences services provision. Owners can customize underutilized and unused home/room facilities and list them on our platform with an option of as well for offering guide services to destination sites of interest and attraction. This program intentionally solves the socio-economic challenge of regional marginalization, without just a focus on one or two regions and thereby boosting the tourism sector as a whole.
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