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Photographic safaris and transparency - now that we have the rack rates -

Photographic safaris and transparency - now that we have the rack rates -

Jan 12th, 2009, 01:23 PM
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 4,232
i am missing the NAME of the photographer here.
is it david balfour or jonathan scott?
then i estimate the "price tag" would be justifiable considering the logistics - assumed they use private charters allover and the "group" is a max of 4 paying pax.

if it's a wildlife photographer without a "brand name" at least the vita should be known and also his publishings.

and of course - any product has its client ;-)

divine54 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 01:24 PM
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oops - forgot the "transparency".

why should there be ANY transparency? you don't expect a calculation sheet. do you?

divine54 is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 02:03 PM
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I'm probably going to regret doing this, but just to clarify some things on costs and markups:

1. There is nothing even approaching a 30% margin in those prices, for us or Andy.

A standard FIT booking does not make even close to a 30% gross margin for us and we actually make a far lower % margin on these Digital trips than we do on a standard booking.

The upshot is that the value is actually greater to the client (assuming they value the extras). We do these trips because they are a niche and I love co-leading them myself.

2. The trip requires sole use of a Caravan and a 206 for all the gear that is carried.

3. Pro photog's costs for transportation and lodging must be factored in (not just his daily fee).

4. The trip includes a 2nd co-leader (usually me) and the costs for this (transportation and lodging) are added in.

So the trip is actually 10 guests and three leader/guides. This puts a trip leader in each of the three vehicles.

5. Finally, do not forget that rack rates paid directly to WS will not include credit card fees (I believe you will pay something like 5% on top of rack to pay direct to WS). For an agent, cc fees are added as part of the cost.

6. Because these trips are often made up of single traveler's (sometimes couples), we have to have an extra tent at some camps to accommodate situations where we have a single male and single female and they will then need their own tent.

Anyway, the bottom line I am attempting to convey is that there actually is very good value on these trips - but only for certain clientele. Those who value all the extras and can also afford it.

I can tell you that we have had many repeat guests on these "Digi" trips and they come for the same reason... the "Extras".
jweis is offline  
Jan 12th, 2009, 03:10 PM
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Thanks James, most interesting.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 07:45 AM
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I'm sorry I posted the EoA page with the rack rates, just trying to be helpful. But Ken my opinion is that you need hosing down with Prozac.
napamatt_2 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 07:55 AM
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"hosing down with Prozac."

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 08:21 AM
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Assuming that you can work out the costs involved in someone else's business product from a cursory bit of research based on consumer prices for a different product strikes me as rather ignorant, or perhaps arrogant, not sure which.

I've been on a number of specialist trips where the price not only includes the regular accommodation and transport but also includes the tuition, advice and company of one or more experts (in photography, art and a number of other disciplines).

Firstly, in my experience, these trips often include extras that are not part of the basic package whether that be meals or drinks, less people in vehicles, increased luggage allowances for flights or even specialist activities such as snorkelling, hot air balloon rides etc.

Secondly, anyone who's given it more than 30 seconds of thought usually realises that the costs of transport, accommodation meals and so on for those experts are also part of the trip costs and that these costs raise the bottom line significantly, especially on small group departures, which is what most customers of such trips prefer.

Clearly, your 30% profit margin is pure fantasy.

And even if it wasn't, if there are businesses and individuals who are able to offer a product that is sufficiently valued and in demand from customers that they are able to make a 30% profit margin, you know what, good for them, I say! As a business person, I'd be full of admiration.

Thirdly, it's really for each individual customer to decide whether or not the premium charged for a trip in the company of experts is worth it to them. And it's up to them too, to decide which experts they value and which they don't.

I've done the same in the past myself, having gone ahead and paid a certain premium to travel on some trips but decided that the premium was just too high on others.

But then again, this thread isn't really about genuinely querying costs or profit margins, is it? It's about a personal grudge that you refuse to let go and which makes your latest user alias so transparent.

Kavey is offline  
Jan 13th, 2009, 11:41 PM
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Hi folks,

Does this say something about the average IQ of the posters here that you assume I posted previous under the name of Sniktawk?

Ken got nothing to do with it.

I am only going to react on the remarks of James and Andy as I was hoping they would joining the discussion at some stage.

Tour leader accomodation comes at a small fraction of the original rack rate. Look f.e. at the rates of Mala Mala.

I can't see much more costs than the ones I estimated for your flight transfers as the dispatching is done out of the headquarters of Maun and it's easily to plan that air transfer in for part of the daily itinerary of that aeroplane.

Andy posted the cost of his trip with and without the transfer JNB-Maun on his website and the price difference was around a 1000 USD.

I don't think I have to pay for the whole plane as it happened to be the case I am the only one in it due to their planning of the different routes.

You probably book out the entire camp so I can't see any additional costs for extra accomodation.

I am very disappointed the people involved in the industry keep denying the 30% commission as I can produce written proof of it.

Why didn't EOA produced those rack rates at first? Price transparency and the safari industry aren't best friends I suppose. I assume that at some stage a reasonable number of clients were asking for a more detailed invoice instead of a price quotation showing one figure.

I agree with you that there could be a market for this kind of trips but I don't see it for keen amateur photographers as they prefer to have their own vehicle without the interference of other clients.

To my knowledge Andy hasn't been leading any safari for the camps mentioned in his July 2009 trip. So that's a lie - in fact Andy made his first steps into Botswana last year. But that doesn't make the case - you don't have Andy on your safari for his knowledge of the area but for his photographic skills. I can't see why he lied about it.

How many tour leaders did you had on your recent trip in December 2008? 2 or 3 I am just curious here.

Sefofane and WS are de iure separate companies but de facto they are the same.

I am claiming that most customers are paying too much for their lodge trips to Botswana (with or without photographers). And I just wanted to give a classic example here. The motive behind why I started those threads shouldn't be of concern of the people participating in it.

I am only asking one thing: instead of posting silly stuff like f.e. referring to Ken, I would like to invite you to share some of your knowledge by proving I got it completely wrong.



tau is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 01:07 AM
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Tau, or whoever you are, it's clear from your knowledge of previous posts and posters (and even the details of their past trips) that you're an oldtime poster with a new alias, why not be transparent about it?

However, putting that aside,

You say that it's obvious people are paying "too much" for their lodge trips to Botswana.

But how does one define "too much"?

Is it down to commission percentages?
(Whether or not your 30% is wrong or right, and I doubt it's right, I still think pulling apart the EoA/AndyBiggs trip in particular is rude and rather pointed)

Is it down to price comparisons with similar lodges in other countries?

Is it down to your personal budget expectations?

Prices are set by supply and demand. If the market can bear them then they are obviously not "too much". Clearly, there are people who have been willing to pay the high prices prevalent in Botswana even though they may be able to pay less for comparable experiences in other safari destinations.

If sufficient sales don't materialise, then prices fall. We may well see that happen more and more in the next couple of years. And even if they do fall, that would not mean, to me, that they were too high before they fell, but rather that demand has changed.

As to whether it's acceptable for businesses to charge such high rates, even though it may be against my best interests, I say fair play to them. Again, one goes into business to make a profit. I'd rather that profit was at the expense of holidaymakers than standards within the lodge or treatment of staff and local communities.
Kavey is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 01:37 AM
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Posts: 5,997
Like many of those in the past who post anonymously and attack the business practices of specific individuals, tau/George/<whoever his other incarnations were> has become a troll.

I avoid and ignore trolls; nothing useful can come from trying to engage in discourse with them.

(I often disagreed with Ken/sniktawk, but he did have the decency to make known his identity.)
DonTopaz is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 04:03 AM
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Posts: 9,220
Rizzuto, except for when he accidentally revealed a second alias by signing off as Snik/Ken whilst logged in as someone else.
Before that, I too had assumed Ken to at least be the kind of person who stood by his own words with his own ID.
Interestingly, although I didn't mention his name/alias in either of my posts above, he must have recognised himself in my comments! He emailed me today to threaten that he would be contacting his lawyers! Might be a tough case given that I haven't mentioned his name in the posts which he dislikes!
Kavey is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 04:39 AM
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Posts: 3,528
Sorry to bother you but would it be possible to ask you to post a response on this denying his allegations on my behalf, something like this

"Andy I have no idea who Tau is nor do I care, what I do not like is you and your compatriots constant attempts to blame what you do not like to read on me, it is quite frankly pathetic, and once again demonstrates your rampant paranoia! Quite why you or others feel that I would waste my time questioning the prices for your safaris is titally beyond, I would not pay for you when I can go on Safari with a far better photographer for half the price!
If you continue to repeat these ill founded accusations I will take whatever steps are necessary to stop it."



Since this is getting ugly, I will copy and paste Ken's email message to me.
HariS is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 04:42 AM
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PS: When I saw Ken's email this morning - I mentioned to him that the recepient of the message is on safari and he probably won't even be able to read it.

HariS is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 06:04 AM
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Posts: 406
tau all I have to say:

"The lady doth protest too much, methinks."

Interesting that this "new" poster would immediately know "Ken=snitawk". You would have thought he would have asked,"Who's Ken?"

GreenDrake is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 06:31 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 294

I'm beginning to think you've been unfairly accused, I don't think you're Ken at all.

Maybe we should have a sweepstake to figure out who could possibly want to make such posts.

Of course to do so we'd have to take certain character traits into account.

1. Aggressive
2. Duplicitous
3. Dishonest
4. Litigious

I thought the list would help, but to be honest that could be anyone in America, so maybe you're Rocco!
napamatt_2 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 06:34 AM
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Posts: 4,232
grateful for not bringing up my alias ;-)

divine54 is offline  
Jan 14th, 2009, 06:43 AM
Join Date: Oct 2008
Posts: 294
Why does George / Ken hate Andy Biggs?

Andy seems a perfectly resonable individual who shares good information. Maybe they have crossed paths in photographic endeavours who knows.
napamatt_2 is offline  
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