Tiketi.com offers a curated selection of unique travel experiences for a variety of popular destinations around Africa. Customers can find a number of African tours and activities on our website and mobile app at the best prices.
These experiences can be booked easily either before a traveler’s trip to Africa or on a whim as visitors arrive on the continent. As a travel destination, a place to do business and an economy, Africa continues to rise. The continent has seen growth like never before over the last decade and a half. Through Tiketi.com and our mobile app, travellers can experience this growing set of nations like never before. Africa is so diverse. Visitors can explore the eastern coast in countries such as Kenya, Zanzibar or Tanzania. Travellers could find their destination to be South Africa and all the wonderful sites located there. Africa is vast and has so many great travel destinations. That is one reason Tiketi.com was created.
In 2016, it was estimated that 58 million travellers visited Africa, according to E-Unto.org. That number is sure to increase in the coming years as Africa becomes even more of a place to do business. Now, my company, Tiketi, can provide specialized tours and travel packages that allow tourists to experience Africa like never before. I believe it is a truly unique concept and one that will change the way travellers see the continent. It will also change the way the continent shows off its beauty.
How was Tiketi formed? Team etc?
Tiketi.com was created like many startups and other ventures. I launched Tiketi.com as a blog when I was working full-time for a tech company in Berlin, Germany. It was something I could do on the side. The original Tiketi.com blog was a way to relax, write and share what I loved about Africa. As I saw the potential of the website grow, I decided to progress my idea for what Tiketi.com should be. Later, I expanded the service to a flight comparison website, but noticed that this service was not working very well in the most African countries. It was an example of trial and error, but it helped me develop the path I wanted the website to pursue. In 2016, I changed the business model and launched a new website for selling tours and activities. Since then, I have seen Tiketi.com go to new heights I had only dreamed it to reach previously. At the moment four people are working for the startup plus me as the founder. I hope as the business grows to add more great members to my already fantastic team.
What gap in the market did the founder of Tiketi spot? Competition?
I noticed how easy it was to book flights and hotels in Africa while itinerary planning and things to do were far less straightforward. There is so much to see and do in Africa, yet most travellers don’t or won’t know how to go about booking these activities. Therefore, I wanted Tiketi.com to fill the market and set travellers up with great activities. There were an estimated 58 million people who visited Africa in 2016. That is a lot of travelers. When I looked deep into Africa tours and activities that were available to the people visiting the continent, I saw a large gap in the market. By UNWTO region, Asia and the Pacific led growth in 2016 with a 9% increase in international arrivals, followed by Africa at +8%. It was a gap I felt no one was making any attempt to fill. Due to this gap, I felt there was an opportunity to reinvent the inefficient supply chain of the tours and activities that is fragmented and largely offline, hence individual operators often do not have resources to spend on marketing or technology and the lack of price transparency due to multiple layers of distribution in the traditional travel activities space. The lack of price transparency is a major detractor for travellers from North America, Asia and Europe. These visitors don’t want to get ripped off far from home, so Tiketi.com can put their minds at rest. Tiketi.com can connect travelers directly with local operators to negotiate exclusive deals that offer significant discounts to travellers. Thanks to direct partnerships, we can also better vet their services which is a huge benefit to our customers. We can then pass the vendor on to the customer and they know they can trust the operator. Thanks to the rise of mobile technology, I believe giving customers the ability to book activities on-the-go was an important way to address the shortage of quality tourist experiences. The initial idea was to set up a site where travellers can explore and book before they depart their home nation, which is still very relevant. But we quickly realized that there’s still a large percentage of travellers who don’t like planning and would decide on-the-go. As such, we believed a mobile app would be a game changer for this sector as in fact, unlike flights and hotel bookings, travel activities can be booked when one has already arrived at the destination. Now, visitors to Africa, no matter if they are travellers to Nairobi or businessmen in Cape Town, can use the Tiketi.com app and book a one of a kind experience. We continue to put a lot of effort in to providing the best user experience on desktop, but Tiketi was proud to launch Africa’s first travel activities app available on Android. We currently focus on Africa, catering to the continent’s own tourists as well as inbound travellers.
Travel is an extremely competitive market to be in and is very much prone to a winner-takes-all situation. If you look at flight and hotel bookings, most brands are either owned by Expedia and Priceline, and these players are also starting to get into the activities booking space. The problem is, these companies offer the same activities that everyone can experience. Tiketi.com wants to give its customers a true taste of Africa, not a western idea of what our competitors think travellers want to see. Rivals mostly cover western destinations and cater for western travellers and the online penetration in tours and activities remains quite low. Tiketi currently focuses on Africa, catering to the continent’s own tourists as well as inbound travellers. Again, Africa’s economy is growing and we want those people on the continent with their new money to enjoy travelling around their homeland.
I´m also optimistic that the boom in inbound visitors to Africa will put Tiketi’s business in a good position. As with all startups there are ups and downs. However, I feel Tiketi.com is a unique company offering one of a kind adventures.
How is Tiketi funded?
Tiketi.com is 100% self-funded. We do not have any shareholders or investors. I started the website as a blog in my spare time as something fun and different to do. It has grown into a curated activities brand, and hopefully, it will keep growing. I love having total control of the company, so self-funding Tiketi.com is really great. I have got to see my ideas grow and flourish. In October 2017, Tiketi.com became available to view in four languages versions. In addition, we have started new regional websites that focus solely on our tours in South Africa, Nigeria, and Kenya to better promote our service to African customers. Those three destinations are the most popular for African customers and we want to promote those specifically due to the great travel experiences one can have. In the new year, we are planning negotiations with cooperation partners. However, this is a long road and it will take some time to find the right groups to pair with.
What has uptake been like?
The market for tours and activities is growing at a rapid clip and we are seeing “good uptake” on our mobile website, with bookings more than doubling compared to the desktop service in the past six months. I knew the mobile app would be a game changer, but I have been pleasantly surprised it has done as well as it has. The Tiketi app’s ability to give travellers the chance to book activities on a whim gives us the chance to reach people a traditional website wouldn’t.
What markets is Tiketi operating in currently? Does Tiketi have plans to enter new markets?
Currently, we are operating in South Africa, Tanzania and Zanzibar, Kenya, Ghana, Zimbabwe and Morocco. These are major tourist destinations for both African tourists and western tourists. In 2018, we plan to spend the year growing our reach to more major markets in Africa. We have seen so much growth already and hope to reach these additional major markets to expand further. In the next year, we are planning to expand our service to Nigeria, Algeria, Rwanda, Uganda, Tunisia, Egypt, Cape Verde, Mozambique and Mauritius. All of the countries are great travel destinations for western tourists and African travellers. If we can reach these markets, it will be a huge coup for us as a company. To think, I started Tiketi as a travel blog and now it has become a company that books unique travel activities for customers, I couldn’t be happier.
One of the things we are planning for the future is offering exclusive deals and instant ticketing to help set Tiketi apart from our competition. This will really bring a new element to the company that will make it even more unique.
How do Tiketi make money?
We work with attraction and tour operators to source activities directly, thereby avoiding the hefty premium of booking through an agent to offer users a competitive price. Tiketi follows a commission model of between 12% and 20% on activities booked. We connect those seeking travel activities with those offering the activities. The traveller receives a great, unique adventure and the operator receives income they wouldn’t have obtained otherwise.
What difficulties have Tiketi encountered in launching?
The travel activity space is a lot more segmented compared to hotels and airlines. The need to communicate with more and wider arrays of suppliers to form direct partnerships; that was challenging in the beginning. However, partnering directly with suppliers also brought a long-term competitive advantage, which includes having better prices, a seamless integration for better user experience, and higher efficiency for suppliers. As I said before, we connect travellers with tour operators easily. Both sides are able to gain something they wouldn’t otherwise receive. The next year, 2018, should be a time of unprecedented growth for us. I look forward to what comes in the new year.