Negotiate & Negotiate

This tip is for foreign as well as local hunters.

Biltong hunters got used to the "take-it-or-leave-it" attitude of the average land owner.  When accommodation is R200 and an impala is R600 then that means that accommodation is R200 and an impala is R600.  I cannot recall one case where a game farmer bothered to record my telephone number when I enquired about a hunt. Similarly, foreign hunters are supposed to be privileged to hunt in Africa.  And since their currency is so mighty, they should not complain when charged in Dollars what the locals pay in Rands.

More and more professional hunters and outfitters are entering the market every year, searching for the best deal in game supply.  And more stock farms are changing to game.  And electronic communication facilitates the clients with a wider choice of safaris.  The era of the rip-off has run out.

Expensive outfitters are quick to say "you get what you pay for", implying that low prices are synonymous with bad service.  This is frequently not true, since many hunters do not want to pay for the luxuries forced upon them, but they frequently have no choice.  The  "econo hunter"  wants safe, clean and comfortable accommodation with good food, combined with great hunting and companionship.  "Fit for purpose" safaris can cost much less if negotiated around the needs of the client.  So paying less certainly does not imply inferior quality!

Note:  By law foreign hunters may not be accommodated on substandard ranches that are not approved by Nature Conservation. 

Conclusion

The SA hunting industry has become a buyer's market, and (especially visiting) hunters are in a position to demand value for money.

Bad new?  No, this is great news for the SA hunting industry!  In a free market system, "service excellence" becomes the driving force, which means win-win for both negotiating client and quality supplier.

More than two decades ago I have made "Quality & Service" the theme of my corporate career.  Numerous conferences, literature surveys, a Masters Thesis on the topic (University of Cape Town), and visits to industrialized countries have convinced me that the Americans undoubtedly lead the world when it come to "service excellence".  (Remove the case study material of Bell Telephone, Mac Donald's, Disney, Microsoft etc. from the class room tutorials on "customer service", and see what's left!)  So, with American hunters as the majority of our end users, the resultant effect can only be positive in the long run.

If you want to see service improvement in any sector of the consumer industry, there is no substitute for a demanding customer!

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