Why Yellow Zebra? A message from YZ co-founder Julian

By Julian 01 January 2018

As one of the owners of Yellow Zebra, I’ve often asked myself why anyone should book with us rather than with other companies. The safaris we design tend to be expensive, once-in-a-lifetime trips – how can potential clients be certain that the company they’re considering is a genuine expert on safaris?

Below, I talk through a couple of points that are core to our company values and I hope the video I took during a recent trip to northern Kenya gives you an insight into just how seriously we take the responsibility of looking after you while you’re in Africa:

The Yellow Zebra herd #1 – the specialists

We have always employed the very best specialists. It might sound somewhat cliché, but the key to our success has always been our staff. Today we have a team whose members are recognised as among the most experienced individuals in the industry. All of our specialists are either ex-professional safari guides or camp managers, or people who were born and raised in Africa. I’ve always believed it’s their high level of experience that guarantees the most successful safari design.

The Yellow Zebra herd #2 – our operations department

Since the birth of YZ, we’ve employed people from Africa’s best safari companies. And the people working behind the scenes are also highly experienced. They’ve worked for companies such as &Beyond, Londolozi, Wilderness Safaris, Robin Pope Safaris, Great Plains Conservation, Alex Walker’s Serian, The Bushcamp Company, and Selous Safari Company. I don’t know of any other safari company whose staff – from their specialists through to their operations department – has this level of actual safari industry experience.

Keeping current!

We invest significantly in the training and progression of our safari specialists. They are guaranteed extensive trips to Africa every year. These trips are the best research safaris we’ve seen in the travel business, keeping us in touch with expert guides, wildlife movements, and any new properties or changes in the industry. So when you contact our team, you’re in touch with people who have recently visited the camps they are talking about and recommending to you.

Our approach to ‘selling’ safaris

At YZ, it’s really important to us that our specialists don’t aggressively ‘sell’ safaris. I’ve always encouraged our staff to engage potential clients through the sheer quality of information we can provide rather than through a forceful sales approach. The simple theory is that if we focus on offering the best possible advice, you’ll recognise our level of knowledge and you’ll want to book a trip with us. The ‘hard sell’ approach favoured by other companies is simply not the way we want to work.

Is your specialist driven by commission?

It may sound like a strange thing to say, but our team are encouraged to design trips that they would go on themselves. The point here is that we don’t design safaris to properties offering the highest commissions, so our sales staff are not incentivised by commission opportunities from an individual booking. That’s something surprisingly few companies can say – it’s incredibly important at YZ, for our clients and ultimately for the best safari design.

Being the best possible safari company!

Again, it may sound like a strange thing to say, but if we are striving to be as good as we can be, everything else should fall into place! From weekly meetings to interdepartmental brainstorming sessions, we like to scrutinise each part of the business – from sales, to marketing, to operations and client support – and constantly focus on how we can improve every area.

Customer service at our core

Incredibly high levels of customer service are integral to the way we work. Of course that’s easy for many companies to say – and should come as standard bearing in mind the cost of a safari – but it isn’t always the case. We have a special department that concentrates solely on the level of service our clients receive. It’s a core company value and something that I hope comes through in our online reviews. We have a 24/7 emergency phone line that’s operated by our best consultants every single day of the year.

A love of Africa and our responsibility towards it

We’ve always believed in giving something back to Africa. Since the company’s beginnings, a percentage of our profits has gone towards conservation and helping communities through the charities we support. It’s incredibly important to us and something we’re happy to talk about with our clients.

If you are ready to talk to a specialist, just call us on +44 (0) 20 8547 2305 or send us an email at [email protected] and we help start planning your safari to Africa.