What are we doing?

Discussion in 'Hunting Africa' started by hunting, Mar 4, 2011.

  1. hunting

    hunting AH Enthusiast

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    Guys what are we busy doing, i am looking at some adds and i can not believe my eyes. Are we busy cutting our own wrist just to make a " deal " i am sorry but i can not compete with some of the " deals" i see. I am a hunter and i am proud of being a hunter and guide, i am not selling candy at a conner shop. I am not saying some of the incredible offers i see is not good ones, but then i look at some websites connected to these adds and then i can see why a guy are prepared to give away a hunt. This is what we are busy doing at the moment . I know we can do what we like and sell a hunt at what we want, but we are busy making a joke of what we have . We do have Africa let us sell Africa and not candy.
    Lets put the being proudly South African back in our business.
    Johan
     
  2. Spiral Horn Safaris

    Spiral Horn Safaris AH Fanatic

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    Hi Johan

    I could not agree with you more.

    What worries me is the way that people avoid posting info and simply fail to show any level of transparency, small changes in wording that I personally find misleading as well.

    It would seem that this is becoming a game of how low can you go and that is fine but please keep in mind to cut costs you cut corners people can say what they want but there is a reason why you can’t sell a trophy hunt for $2000 and still provide the client with a good product.

    Gentleman we can play this game all day long but I fear it will only lead to one thing unhappy clients and a rotten hunting industry simple as that. There will be no winners here and least of all the game populations!

    Good luck to all!

    Best Regards
    Louis van Bergen
     
  3. hunting

    hunting AH Enthusiast

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    Thanks Louis i hope we get more guys backing my statement and the ones you make. Lets stand together in this.
    Johan
     
  4. Hartzview Hunting Safaris

    Hartzview Hunting Safaris SPONSOR AH Fanatic

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    Hey Johann,

    I am also with you on this one. I have just seen again that trying to do cheaper hunts never work in the first place. You pay for quality unfortunately.

    Best regards,

    Jacques
     
  5. Bushbuck

    Bushbuck AH Enthusiast

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    I understand and hear what you guys are saying. On the other hand as a hunter I certainly can appreciate the great deals out there right now. It is not just Africa, there are deals for hunting all over the world. Outside of hunting this is a buyers market here for everything from TV's to real estate. I am in a few different businesses and they are all effected the same way. Some have lost 40 percent of the competition and the ones left are working on much lower margins. The fly by night outfits are gone and the quality of some services has actually improved IMO.

    The strong will survive and be significantly stronger when and if things turn around. Like I said last year, this is not going to be a fast recovery. We are all doing what we have to do to weather the storm. Diversification is the best thing anyone can do during these times. Lean and mean and provide better service than anyone ever has in whatever industry you are in.
     
  6. shakari

    shakari AH Enthusiast

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    I appreciate I'm a bit of an old fart now and am more or less retired from the field but I think the whole business has changed over the years rather than just the 'cheap deals' situation.

    I remember a time when guys used to come on longer hunts and they came to hunt properly and having done so, would put their trophies up in their homes when they arrived.

    Nowadays, it's increasingly happening that guys come on shorter hunts and arrive with a shopping list of trophies they want and the sooner they get them, the better it is for them.

    They want the same amount of trophies the guys were taking in the old days but they often want to take them in half the time...... and it's also becoming increasingly common for the trophies to go into their offices to impress people rather than the home for the pleasure of recollecting how much fun they had taking them.

    That isn't meant to be a criticism of the hunting clients, more a criticism of the changing times...... but you know what...... we (as an industry) make it worse for ourselves by encouraging that attitude with all the cheap deals.

    I appreciate there's always a lot of nowcomers with shiny new licences out there and that it's tough for them to get a reputation and that's often where these cheap deals come from but as has been said, a cheap deal inevitably has to mean cut corners.

    Personally, I prefer to maintain high standards and if that means I get undercut on prices....... well, I guess that's just part of the business. Some people will realise that quality comes at a price and those that don't will probably never experience a really good quality product.
     
  7. enysse

    enysse AH Ambassador

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    Finer words couldn't have been spoken.
     
  8. Red Leg

    Red Leg GOLD SUPPORTER AH Fanatic

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    I do believe this industry is one of those where "value" derived is often directly related to investment in the product. And I suspect, those with means, will almost always opt for certainty in the quality of the hunting experience over a bargain for a bargain's sake. That said, and as Shakari so clearly points out, the industry is changing, and regrettably outfitters will have to change with it. All markets evolve, and I cannot tell you how many times I have observed companies, in many cases almost proudly, claim that they would not change with that market evolution. The vast majority are no longer in business. I sadly suspect that will be true in safari industry as well.

    Telecommunications and reasonable air schedules to southern Africa are at the root of most of this change. I suspect many of us run businesses of one form or another, and most of us deal with the unfortunate reality that we are never really "off." Boards, senior managers, or investors all too often require personal response to querries or personal participation in critical meetings. That sort of pressure shortens vacations (or hunting expeditions) and has many of us checking email and making the occasional call. I would like nothing better than to take a thirty-day tented safari in East Africa. But even if I could afford it, my business at least, would not allow me the luxury of so many weeks away. And so we roll in for ten to fourteen days hoping to make the most of that all too short hunting experience (I also hasten to add that making the most of the experience is, for most hunters, not a function of trophy count)

    The other hunter who is causing a significant change to the African safari industry - until at least the onset of the recession - is the middle class American hunter making a first or second PG hunt in lieu of a trip out west for elk, mule deer, or pronghorn. My sense is that these hunters largely fueled the expansion of game farm hunting in southern Africa. As the recession has taken hold, an international hunting trip was the first thing cut from budgets, and unfortunately, will be the last thing added back in as the economy recovers. Many of these hunters were and are very cost concience and many of you in the industry responded with various "packages" which appealed to that clientel. As their numbers have grown smaller, competition among outfitters has naturally increased.

    I don't know what the African safari industry will look like in thirty years, but I am sure that it will look differently than it does today. We can lament the passing of the "old days" but to which old days should we point? The sixty-day safari with a hundred porters - the thirty-day motor car adventures of Hemingway or Ruark - the 21-day mixed bag safari - or the predictable, dependable 10-day package hunt for PG? In spite of bordering on curmudgeondom myself, I think we should try our best to look forward and to adapt the industry (and my expectations as a client) to the reality (and potential goodness) of those next thirty years rather than the last.
     
  9. seattlesetters

    seattlesetters AH Senior Member

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    Well said, Red Leg. Much truth resides in your post.

    I always say, "The only thing we know for certain is that change is coming. We can either be ready for it, adapt to it and accept it, or prepare ourselves to die by its sword."

    This applies to my own industry (telecommunications) in an almost biblical way. It would seem it applies to the safari industry, as well.
     

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