/ 22 February 2019

Investing in relationships

Khosi Tyobeka is the head of Zimasa Travel
Khosi Tyobeka is the head of Zimasa Travel, which gets tourists to their destinations in style

Zimasa Travel is a 100% black female-owned company based in North West province. Established by a young entrepreneur who walked away from her full-time job and into the dynamic world of business travel management, the company focuses on providing a range of services to its clientele. From full travel itineraries, flights and accommodation to conferencing and event management, Zimasa is focused on creating exceptional experiences that stand out in a competitive market.

“We are a very young and vibrant entity and we ensure that each and every client receives a bespoke solution that focuses on their specific needs,” says Khosi Tyobeka, chief executive of Zimasa Travel. “We tailor-make our travel itineraries — we don’t believe in adopting a blanket approach when we deal with this market.”

Zimasa is committed to providing memorable experiences at an affordable price. The company’s offering also includes a shuttle service, using its own fleet of vehicles. This assures customers of a seamless travel itinerary that flows from point of arrival to point of departure. To ensure that this remains consistent, Zimasa has partnered with other organisations and service providers so as to expand its national service offering and its ability to really cater for client requirements. This allows for the company to expand its service offering into new areas with trusted partners who believe in the same ethos of customer service and support.

“Over and above our normal services that assure clients of flights and hotel accommodation and transport, we focus on community tours in rural areas,” says Tyobeka. “These are often combined with safaris — a feature most clients want — to create an authentic experience. We take people into a village where they can experience the culture, how they live, and how they thrive. This not only benefits us as a company, but directly benefits community members.”

Among the different packages that Zimasa offers are: cultural and heritage tours, safari and adventure tours, flight bookings and ticketing, sports tours, educational tours, and tailor-made tour packages. Tyobeka has also invested into the company’s international footprint through ongoing training and trade show attendance.

“We have been to international travel shows and promoted our business on the international market, attending events such as WTM London,” she says. “We have also invested into training that allows us to better service and understand the Chinese market. We worked with a professor from China who gave us insight into the market and imparted knowledge that we can use to enhance our engagements and travel packages for these business clients.”

This commitment to expanding footprint and market awareness saw Zimasa Travel attend the pan-African business events trade show, Meetings Africa, in 2018. This annual two-day trade show provides attendees with a platform from which they can showcase their diverse offerings to global buyers and where they can forge alliances and build networks thanks to structured meetings and networking opportunities. For Tyobeka, the 2018 event was incredibly busy and it allowed for her to establish a strong foundation in the market.

“I attended so many meetings last year, focusing on the markets that I specialise in, and really taking the time to get to know different operators and buyers,” she says. “It allowed me to open doors and to expand our offerings. Thanks to the show I started working with another tour operator, which has given us greater scope for conferencing facilities and cities.”

Tyobeka is once again taking Zimasa Travel to Meetings Africa with the explicit goal of forging alliances and reconnecting with people that she met in 2018.

“Initially, people aren’t sure if they can trust in your business and its ability to deliver,” she says. “Now, a year later, I am hoping to show how our business is both sustainable and reliable, leveraging the connections made in 2018 to take Zimasa Travel to the next level. Networking is a priority this year: not only do we want to build on the relationships established in 2018, but we want to meet new clients and look to new opportunities.”

For Tyobeka, Meetings Africa is an exceptional opportunity for the small, medium and micro enterprises (SMME) in the business events sector. It introduces fresh markets, giving the SMME a space in which to showcase their skills and build relationships that could potentially change the course of the business.

“It helps the SMME to stand out from the larger companies that usually get the international attention,” she concludes. “They don’t know who the smaller companies are or what their capabilities are, and Meetings Africa gives us the chance to show our abilities as a small entity. Many of these international companies want to work with a smaller business as we don’t do a blanket approach, we customise and personalise, and Meetings Africa provides everyone with the space they need to find who they need for their business.”