Not Your Typical Travel Company
Twenty years ago, people would flock to what my family call “bucket shops” (traditional travel agents) to book their seats on a cookiecutter holiday experience. Spending an arm and a leg on a holiday only to discover that 60 % of the prices includes things that you aren’t interested in, seems like a silly idea in today’s world. This is where Kaross Travel can help. Their modern approach to the classic “travel package” stems from the transformative beliefs of the company’s founder, Rolín Nel.
Nel, a Pretoria woman, didn’t always work in the travel industry. In fact, she worked as a forensic investigator and later in sales in the building, construction and motoring industry. But soon after joining the travel industry, Nel saw a gap.
We recently sat down with the lovely leader of Kaross Travel to pick her brain on all things travel, local and bespoke: SLOW: What made you start Kaross Travel?
Rolín Nel (RN): I felt very strongly that I wanted to do things differently than the rest of the travel industry, and not just offer generic packages. I saw a business opportunity in filling the gap in the market for a more tailor-made, boutique approach to travel planning.
SLOW: What makes Kaross Travel different from other travel companies?
RN: We do not have a call-centre approach. Our approach is more detail-orientated and personal than any other competitor offering. Also, our excellent contacts and relationships in the industry allow us to be able to do the undoable for our clients daily at prices our competitors can’t match.
SLOW: What do you define as ‘craft travel’? RN: In the world of consumer products, the fact that a lot of things are massproduced, generic and impersonal gave rise to the craft movement – the need for highquality, handmade, “craft” products, such as craft beer and gin. Consumers are willing to pay an arm and a leg for a good craft gin or beer, even though it is more expensive than generic, commercial products because it’s produced in small amounts. So, basically, craft travel means that the days of generic travel packages are numbered. Travellers are no longer happy with a “one-size-fits-all” approach to traveling, because they don’t have to be. There is so much more on offer.
SLOW: How do you think Kaross Travel works to create craft travel for their clients?
RN: Craft travel puts the traveller first. We look at the client’s destination preferences,
type of accommodation, budget, and the experiences they seek. Travellers should not compromise on their holidays, even if the demands seem outrageous. Our aim is to create bespoke and unforgettable travel experiences of which the memories will last you a lifetime and which do not compromise your budget or your preferences. And no request is too big.
SLOW: In response to the economic climate, do you think that South Africans are increasingly turning to local travel?
RN: Not really. People who regularly travel overseas make a point of budgeting for it. From experience it does seem that people do go on local breaks more, but it does not take away from international travel. People adjust their budgets according to what they can spend.
SLOW: What do you think are South Africa’s best attributes? Why should tourists want to come here?
RN: We are a diverse and compassionate nation and have some unique and flavoursome dishes that you won’t find anywhere else in the world. We have a fantastic climate, and a wide range of wonderful local cuisines on offer. A big drawing card is the fact that there is something unique for every budget and every taste.
SLOW: Where do you see the tourism industry in SA going? More foreign investment, or maybe more locally owned tourism businesses?
RN: I am noticing a spike in collaborations between local and international businesses with the aim of delivering a better-quality offering. Cross-border partnerships are occurring more and more – for example, local lodge owners approaching international investors to take their offering to the next level.
SLOW: Do you have any hidden gems in SA that you like to go to?
RN: I have a soft spot for Richmond in the Karoo – the peace and quiet, good food and excellent, homely accommodation.
Kaross Travel, and Rolín Nel, are passionate about bespoke travel and are constantly looking for new places to explore, new deals to create, and new ways to bring a smile to their customers’ faces.
For more info on Kaross Travel and how they can make your holiday dreams come true, visit www.karosstravel.co.za.