Pan-African online travel agency Travelstart.co.ke
has reported that Africa’s online travel audience is thriving. The firm attributes the growth to increasing internet penetration on the continent.
By use of internet and social media, Travelstart reports to be making travel convenient and affordable and transforming an industry previously faced by manual processes and delays. Its signature travel websites have also been instrumental in the agency’s expansion across the continent and in the emerging markets.
According to Maija de Rijk-Uys, Head of International Markets at Travelstart, “Africa’s online travel audience is thriving and they expect a system that can help make their lives easier, not more complicated. A growing number of travellers have been attracted to the Travelstart website by its ease of use, as well as the comprehensive customer service support we offer during and after the online booking process.”
Rijk-Uys alludes to their solutions around distribution and the variety of payment methods as key drivers of growth in new markets.
Travelstart provides a variety of payment channels as well as local payment options. Customers can book airline tickets on their website and pay immediately with their Credit Card or opt to place their booking on hold to pay within 24 hours using their bank by means of an Electronic Funds Transfer or direct deposit. In some main cities, customers can take advantage of the Cash on Delivery service, whereby airline tickets are delivered to the customers’ doorstep in exchange for payment.
The firm also has an impressive airline inventory running on the Amadeus Global Distribution System and also connected to carriers where global distribution systems such as Amadeus don’t apply. This allows customers to compare ticket prices and choose their prefered African based airlines and major carriers.
The online travel agency also uses its Affiliate Network
to make its booking engine available to third-party websites. Each earns a commission by referring bookings via a white-label system or through the API provide by the travel company. The firm also uses Social media as an engagement platform, with over 900,000 members on its 11 active Facebook pages, across 8 markets.
While the continent is still in its infancy from an infrastructure perspective, Travelstart believes their early adoption of promising African markets
will allow them to capitalize on the growth potential in the region. Currently the firm claims over 1 million people visit its global websites each monthly .Founded in Sweden in 1999 by Stephan Ekbergh, Travelstart entered South Africa in 2006 Travelstart and has steadily expanded into Nigeria, Namibia, Kenya, Tanzania, Egypt, and Turkey (Geziko.com)
Speaking about its steady growth Stephan Ekbergh, CEO and founder Travelstart, said the firm is also set to expand to new markets to make travel fun and convenient and help users save time and money.
“When we launched in South Africa 7 years ago we wanted to create something that wasn’t just another air ticket clearinghouse. So we spent our time building a service people would want to use because it works, and helps save time and money. We’re proud to say our baby is grown up and for us, her journey into Africa and Turkey has been one of learning and love, and we look forward to the new challenges that will present themselves as we take Travelstart to even newer pastures.”