Southern Africa’s Outdated “Luxury” Holiday Packages

Written by on 22/02/2021

Do you ever feel nervous when you try make a purchase maths simply doesn’t compute? In this case: One 100ml bottle of water will cost significantly less than two bottles of 50ml water. This is the outdated logic of a large number of Southern Africas tourism package hot spots.

This Article aims to unpack whether this is a cry for help for a sector on it’s knees or it’s a reluctance to move with the times because the current cost structure is more profitable for the hotel owners to give up.

Social media is riddled with promotional adverts that boast of exclusivity in terms of once in a lifetime experiences found in Southern Africa’s elegant wildlife reserves and terrains carved by God’s own chisel. Southern Africa is beautiful, this is irrefutable but what really stands out in the adverts that are posted on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter is the cost structure.

Rather than charge a rate per room, CDK’s research carried out by @louldn has found that a great number of lodges in Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi and Nambia charge guests per person rather than by a standard room or villa rate with a standard set number of occupants THEN an additional charge for guests over the standard amount.

Lodges in Malawi’s Nankoma Island Senga Bay, Namibia’s Zambezi Region and both the Zimbabwe and Zambian sides of Victoria falls have been found to charge $150-$500 US Dollars per person per night whilst offering half board and in some cases activities during your stay. For context, a 5 day stay at a domestic lodge in either of the named locations is the equivalent of an all inclusive holiday to Bali from South Africa including flights and accommodation.

The main issue with this outdated cost structure is that whilst this was previously the norm, to become more competitive and appealing internationally, the west and east adopted a model that will always charge a room rate as standard with the basic package being one room for two people then costs increase from that point. International travellers see red flags if one lone traveller can stay at a resort and pay half the price of a couple travelling together for the same amenities.

The only two reasons I can fathom of why this might be is because business has been really slow to the point that resorts need to aim to squeeze every penny they can get to remain operational to meet its overheads or simply greed by private owners. Either way, this is inefficient as the majority of external consumers will always seek a bargain due to lack of knowledge of what they are actually paying for.

In closing – the pandemic causing an unexpected quiet season brings forth a fresh opportunity for players and local government involved in the Tourism industry to revamp such archaic pricing models so they can hit the ground running when the world returns to normal and Southern Africa can be seen in all it’s true beauty.


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