Safari Blue is the leading brand and operator of traditional dhow sailing safaris in Tanzania and Zanzibar. Established in the 1990s, the company manages a fleet of 10 boats, with a mix of private charter and individual seats on a boat as products. The day long sail to the islands, reefs and sand banks off western Zanzibar, includes swimming, snorkeling and fully catered meal and refreshments.

The company’s sales channels include consumer call-ins / emails based on seeing the excellent, passive website, referrals and a large network of agents and affiliates.

We approached Safari Blue management with a view to understanding how reservations, inventory and payments were managed, and to gain insight as to their strategy to keep up with the evolving leisure buyer’s changing habits since the advent of the internet and online (e)commerce.

The Challenge

Managing up to 250 bookings / changes / cancellations per day, plus requests for up to 60 transfers from over 300 pick-up points around Zanzibar, the business has relied on phone and email based systems, as well as spreadsheets to manage its business.

Bookings from over 150 affiliates and agents, as well as the general public, were made directly into the office and manually processed along with the necessary payments processed online but through terminals in the office.

Inventory updates manually processed.

From a consumer perspective, no online booking and payment capability meant potential loss of traction and competitiveness, no 24/7 365 ‘open for booking’ hours, as well as presenting an ‘old school’ way of doing business for an increasingly digital market.

This was time consuming and during holidays it resulted in lost sales when no one was in the office.

The Solution

We provided them with the EasyOTA Online Booking Engine (OBE) and an inventory management system suited to their business model. The Online Booking Engine facilitates direct bookings of either the private charter or ‘seat on a boat’ product, as well as providing the customer with the opportunity to book their transfer to and from the boat’s point of departure.

The water safari experience and the transfer are booked in one transaction, with real time confirmation and immediate payment.

Inventory is automatically updated, in real time.

Customers receive instant email confirmation with all relevant booking details and instructions, and Safari Blue’s office receives via email the booking record for their operations scheduling and customer service staff.

Safari Blue is now open for bookings 24 hours per day, from anywhere in the world.

Search engine results

Populated search request

Transfer options

Go to check-out with full itinerary

The Result

Safari blue has been using the EasyOTA booking engine since mid-December 2017.

Within a short period the Online Booking Engine proved itself. Almost 50% of on-line boat seat reservations were accompanied by an on-line transfer booking, simultaneously. Safari Blue staff manually processed over 195 fewer bookings, transactions and inventory updates.

The Goal

The goal is to increase direct bookings to at least 40% of all sales within the next 12 months, realising greater efficiencies and increased operational effectiveness as well as growing the brand’s reputation and positioning in today’s eCommerce world.