Established in Cape Town in 1999, One Africa Media’s SafariNow has rebranded to StayNow and launched in Kenya to make local travel awesome.
The Africa’s largest and most established online accommodation booking site with over 20,000 listed establishments and more than a million visitors montly beating SleepOut, Jovago and Booking.com and several others operating in Kenya, wants to offer Kenyan travellers access to a broader range of holiday options.
In an exclusive interview with TechMoran, Dylan Rothschild, GM SafariNow(read StayNow) said, “We started over 15 years ago when no one was doing it in Africa. We wanted to fill the gap in the market which still exists in Kenya. We want to give local travel solutions at local rates to local Kenyans than tourists. Everyone wants to travel but they just lack information.”
Rothschild says the firm has firmly entrenched itself as the leader in the South African accommodation market and now aims to replicate that success in East Africa ad be the go-to place for local travellers a with prefereable holiday and business accommodation options that suit them.
In a statement, Matthew Swart, CEO and founder of StayNow said, “We are seeing far more travel happening in Kenya nowadays as a result of the recent tech boom and the subsequent emergence of a wealthier middle class. There’s more disposable income and Kenyans are keen to travel, but they need solutions that work for them, not options tailored for the tourist market.”
With knowledge of Kenya’s online ecosystem, StayNow is open to anyone with an email address and a mobile phone whetehr they are vendors and consumers. They also know that the South and East African markets do differ significantly, particularly when it comes to mobile payments, which the firm says will be live in en days.
“By and large, Kenyan consumers prefer to conduct all transactions on their mobile phones, many of them using mobile payment technology like m-PESA in favour of traditional credit cards,” says Swart in a statement. “We’re accounting for localised nuances like this so as to make StayNow.co.ke the site Kenyans first turn to when looking into holiday options. As we did in South Africa, we’re hoping to pioneer the idea of informal travel on a local level, and make holidaying more accessible to the general public – this means creating solutions that people really want, rather than simply applying a standard model that’s worked well elsewhere.”
Just launched to the public in Kenya, StayNow says it has already signed up over 1000 establishments including hotels, bed & breakfasts, guest-houses, self-catering establishments and camping spots.