Out of the Ordinary and into Extraordinary

Apr 05 2016
fireside

From my desk
Boekenhoutskloof
Transvaal Highveld

From the Office, Peter Hayward

 

Grand Safari greetings to you.

It’s a strange feeling to meet Goliath face to face. You know, that big lumbering blood thirsty giant of biblical proportions who is able to squash you in an instant?

But the thing about giants and why they are extinct is exactly that – they have to catch you first! These mammoths are weighed down by glitz and glamour, two much paraphernalia, too much ego and just too much complexity.

Many years ago when I undertook a grand safari for a grand client I got a bit overwhelmed by the sheer pomp and ceremony surrounding this illustrious luxury goods cartel I was to host in my camp in the heart of Kruger’s vast wilderness. My camp décor is five star but would it be good enough for them? My copper washbasins and jugs were the purest of pure but would it be pure enough for them? What about my Persian rugs – the finest from Karachi and the Persian empire, would they do? And so it went on throughout the planning stages of this huge 200 guest (one hundred couples) safari camp. Tossing and turning every inch of the way and figuring out how the camp needed to be more comfortable to impress these business tycoons.

Of course added to this was the angst of the agent. You know, that equitable middleman that acts as the decision making balance in the event. Of course their nerves need to be of steel as they put forward “David” (me) with his slingshot (a simple canvass tented camp) as their candidate – against good old “Goliath” (some or other international hotel chain) so well known, so well used and oh so predictable.

There is somewhat pressure that comes to bare when your guests combined total wealth rivals that of a few countries. It’s not just their magnitude but also their expectations that can ignite a myriad of wanton possibilities to creep up on your imagination. This was a decisive moment in my safari career – the make or break point. What were my options? What would your options be?

The aha moment came to me in the early hours of the morning. I couldn’t possibly out-décor an oil baron’s estate. I couldn’t possibly compete with some vast resort on their facilities, their ultra-long length pools, their gyms and golf courses. Nor could my library match theirs or my finery take up the challenge. But there was something I had which was rarer than the rarest possession. I had untouched earth, virginal territory, unmatched exclusive privacy and I could offer these billionaires something their money couldn’t buy – being the first in over one hundred years to set up camp in the middle of the crown jewels of a spectacular African wilderness region within the Kruger National Park. I would offer them a piece of untouched Africa. Something others could not access.

Then to add to my arsenal in a moment of pure enlightenment I realized there was something I could do that would further enhance my client’s experience. Something that did not cost millions more, something that Goliath didn’t have and something the guests would recognize as truly valuable…

…Service with Soul.

These were guests that had travelled to every quarter of the planet, lived in the finest hotels that money could buy and eaten in restaurants that Michelin would cry for. A service decree that went beyond a happy pleading smile (for tips) would need to be amplified. What was “good service”? How was it rated? What would world travellers of this stature rate as fine service? Could the standard five star level of service be beaten and if so, how would this be possible? Yes, yes, yes – the answer to these questions led to a new magic formula which has been the credo of my organization ever since and which our Safari Academy is based on.

I call it the ZEN Safari – where less is more and more is less. More or less.

Until next time.

Keep Exploring!

Peter Hayward

All my exploits are on facebook, and
All my dirty secrets are on my website
But its always best to meet face to face

P.S. The Guests say it all – Since our inception in 1999 Hayward’s have achieved an average of 9.6/10 across 22 points of guests satisfaction feedback – see our client and guest feedback letters here.

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