Wow Travel & Tours is a small, family-owned, professional tour operator that has been running for more than 10 years. Based in Cape Town, the company is committed to providing experiences that are individualised, personalised and unique. The company, run by Rushdi Harper, is focused on service delivery and exceeding customer expectations. It is also continually expanding its capabilities and offerings, now providing customers with a range of conferencing solutions that are tailored to suit culture, business requirement and budget.
“We are a destination management company that provides clients with leisure tours as well as conferencing and events,” says Harper. “We have our own fleet of luxury vehicles so we can provide shuttle and transportation services throughout a client’s booking, ensuring that it is seamless and that there is always a personalised connection with the company. With our own fleet plus access to other service providers, we can source as many vehicles as required, dependent on group size.”
Which is just as well — Wow has organised conferencing for groups as large as 750 people.An impressive number ,considering the company is relatively new to the conferencing market; it only entered into this space five years ago. It was a calculated move. The company recognised the need to expand its service offering so as to mitigate the cyclical nature of seasonal demand.
“Cape Town is seasonal — it is very busy in summer but winter is somewhat quieter,” says Harper. “For this reason, we felt it would be beneficial to enter into the conferencing space, as most of these events take place in winter. This gives us continuity and consistency, plus we have found that we have a knack for providing clients with exciting solutions in this space.”
Thanks to its fleet and its experience, the company is capable of providing travel experiences for different group sizes and requirements. Wow prides itself on quick turnarounds and flexible solutions.
“We had an email from a company in Germany today that wants us to organise a conference for next week,” says Harper. “As we are prepared to deliver quick turnaround times, we can arrange all these details within the week. It sets us apart from many companies, which take their time to respond. We reply to any query within an hour or less, and we send off our itineraries and quotes within 24-48 hours.”
Wow engages with clients and resorts immediately on receiving a request, whether this is leisure or conference related. This ensures that they can respond to clients quickly and get the right solutions in place. It also creates some unique packages that cater for very specific markets and requirements; these have been cultivated in response to market trends and demand.
“We have a unique halaal package, as there has been a significant upswing in demand for this type of package,” says Harper. “It is a fast-growing market and so we have cultivated a package that’s tailored precisely to what this market needs. We also do golf packages, which are very successful, and we have spent the last four years honing our experiences in the conferencing market.”
Wow Travel & Tours is also a regular visitor to Meetings Africa, a pan-African business events trade show that takes place annually. The show has been in place for more than 13 years and provides organisations with a platform from which they can connect with local and international buyers and service providers so as to grow their business and their service offerings. For Harper, Meetings Africa gives them the exposure they need in the conferencing and travel arena.
“We have been there three years in a row, attending since 2017, and have had great success,” he says. “We have picked up solid leads that have allowed us to build long-term relationships. Some of the things we are working on today are connections that we built three years ago. Thanks to the ability to network and connect at the event, we are creating connections that are helping us to build our business and our scope.”
Harper believes that the 2019 event is set to be as significant a success for his company as it was in the past. As an exhibitor, the company has access to hosted buyers and Harper has ensured that his diary is packed with meetings from the start of the event to the end.
“We are very confident of security some strong business opportunities this year, it is a fantastic event for us,” he says. “We have already booked 18-20 meetings a day and the quality of the buyers this year is fantastic. Meetings Africa provides us with access to buyers that allows us to really showcase what we can do and how we have delivered in the past.”
This year, Wow Travel & Tours is focusing on buyers from the US, as this is a good market for the company and growing from a conferencing point of view. That said, with representation from the UK, China, Germany and Eastern Europe, Harper is looking forward to expanding his connections globally.
“Meetings Africa gives us exposure across multiple markets and in the conferencing arena,” he concludes. “Many companies are investing into incentive travel — galas, conferences, team building — and at the event we can show them exactly how we can deliver what they need.”