Capetown is a thriving urban center blessed with sandy beaches
From humble roots as a single travel agency more than forty years ago, the Singer Group has grown to become an important locally owned and independent player in the tourism, hospitality, hotel and property sectors in and around Cape Town, South Africa. Because of its focus on customer service, continuous improvement, and sustainable growth, the Singer Group has become a reference for how local companies can compete with the big chains, and win.
The internet has made it possible for anyone to book travel online. There are dozens of websites that compare airfares, hotel rates, car rentals, and other services that the traveler needs. It is very tempting to assume that you can save money by booking your trip yourself rather than using a travel agent because the travel agent charges a fee for his or her services. Cut out the middleman and save.
One of the early movers in the online booking business was Travelocity, a subsidiary of American Airlines. As far back as 1978, American began offering access to its electronic booking system to customers, allowing them to make reservations themselves without the intervention of travel agents or airline personnel. The system was a hit, and was followed by many other competitors like Orbitz and Expedia. These online sites are still popular.
However, the business of booking travel remains strong and travel agents still book the vast majority of cruises and package tours. There are many reasons for this, and learning about the advantages of using a travel agent is knowledge that anyone planning their next trip could use.
Here are some reasons why a good travel agent can save you time, money and stress:
- Booking travel is their business. You only do it once in a while.
If your trip only involves getting away for a weekend to a place you already know, booking it yourself is pretty straightforward. However, when the vacation is something special, a place you have never been before and may never see again, it is the travel agent who knows how to get you there and back in the most comfortable way that suits your particular needs. The agent also knows the hotels, local customs, best sights to see, and dozens of other little details that can make the difference between a trip you will always remember fondly and one which will leave you thinking that you should have seen something you missed or experienced a bit of local color that you didn’t know about until too late.
- Recommendations for experiences you didn’t know existed
Booking the flight and the car and the hotel is just part of the work involved in planning the perfect vacation. What makes a trip special is having a unique experience. It’s why most of us travel. Trying to research all of the offerings available can be even more time consuming than sorting through all of the websites to get the best deal. Even so, it is very hard to compare one experience with another, and many are not advertised on the internet. In fact, most of the hidden jewels that an unknown place has to offer will not be on the internet…..that’s why they are hidden jewels. But your travel agent knows people who have been there before, lots of people, and can steer you towards a place that will make your trip extra special.
- Travel agents are your friend in the business
Airlines are notoriously unreliable, hotel rooms can be a disappointment, the driver for your safari may not show up, or you could have an unforeseen circumstance requiring a last minute change of plans. In a foreign country. Where you don’t speak the language. All of these things happen in the best planned vacations, and if you booked the trip yourself you are on your own. With a travel agent, you have an advocate who knows how to solve these problems because he or she has seen them before. Your agent also sends a lot of business to these service providers, and when they get a call from someone who represents a big chunk of their income, they listen. They are much more interested in maintaining a good relationship with your travel agent than they are with you. You, on the other hand, could waste an entire precious day of your vacation just getting to the right person, who may not find it worth his or her time to deal with you.
- Travel agents know about deals and perks that you will never find
One of the benefits of having established relationships with other professionals in the tourism business is that they tell you things they don’t tell just anyone. Whether it is access to places that don’t have any more tickets open to the general public, getting discounts or upgrades on accommodations and passage, knowing who the best safari guides are, and other things that require intimate, local knowledge of the place you are visiting, the travel agent is the person most likely to hear about it. After all, people who make their living in the tourism business find it much more efficient to tell the agents they deal with and allow the agents to pass the word along to their clients.
- The more complicated your itinerary, the more important a travel agent becomes.
One of the reasons that travel agents dominate the package tour business is because putting these tours together is complicated business. Coordinating flights with reliable hotels, guides, museums and special events can be difficult. If you are arriving in the high season or when a big sporting event or festival is in town, it can take months’ of advance planning to make everything happen. Your travel agent has already done all of this legwork. He or she started planning your vacation months or even a year or more in advance. Proper coordination is a huge factor in ensuring that you get to see and do all of the things that you want in the limited amount of time that you have.
- There is a specialist for practically every vacation
Tourists have a lot of choices, and people at tourist destinations work hard to differentiate themselves from other locales. This means a wider variety of offerings, whether they be local color, archaeology or art, or guided excursions to other unique places. As the offerings become more specialized, travel agents who do a lot of business in those areas become more and more valuable for their expertise in helping you plan that trip so you get the most out of it. If you need a local expert, your travel agent already has that person’s phone number and a relationship that will get you perks you couldn’t get otherwise.
No matter where you might travel in the world, Embassy Travel in Cape Town is the partner you want by your side. They have been in the business since John F. Kennedy was president and have the experience you need. It doesn’t matter whether you are traveling for business or pleasure, Embassy Travel is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week to help.
Unlike the competition, Embassy Travel is part of a larger group of Hospitality professionals who provide event planning, guided tours, lodging and dining options for the most discerning clientele. They really know the travel and leisure business inside out.
Embassy Meetings & Incentives is the arm of the company which specialises in preparing conferences, team building functions and events with the high standards of quality, integrity and attention to detail that clients have come to expect from the Singer Group family of companies. Working closely with their sister company Embassy Travel, clients are sure to get the right property at the right price for their specific need.
Because of their extensive network of connections, Embassy Meetings can get you into hard to access and exotic venues. Plus, the many decades of experience that the Embassy staff possesses means that all clients walk away from the process well educated and well taken care of, including 24 hour a day dedicated staff to make sure that everything goes off without difficulty. The company dedicates itself to keeping up with trends in the industry so that every experience remains fresh and new.
Embassy Tours, Amazing South Africa, and Izani Travel offer tours geared towards the business, sporting, social and adventure worlds, with customized events, safaris or packages in Southern Africa, Mauritius, the Seychelles, Thailand and Bali that simply cannot be experienced anywhere else. The companies also manage local and international cruises to destinations as close as Mozambique and as far away as the Caribbean and Europe. Many of these tours are one of a kind, designed specifically for the client who will not settle for anything less than the best.
The Singer Group also manages hotel and vacation stay properties with a commitment and dedication to quality. The Colosseum Luxury Hotel near downtown Cape town offers chic atmosphere with all of the amenities that demanding international travelers expect, such as conference facilities, suites and penthouses with two and three bedrooms, and a level of luxury that many consider to be the best in downtown. It also features CinCin Restaurant, an experience unto itself, which may be the best eating establishment in town. Always fresh and featuring local ingredients cooked by chefs and staff who love what they do, the quality is apparent everywhere, from the attention of the front house personnel, to the attention to detail in the décor. There is a fully stocked bar, hearty breakfast in the morning, and 24 hour availability for room service.
The Dolphin Beach Hotel, on the other hand, offers one of the finest beaches on the Cape with views of Table Mountain and suites or apartments for extended stays. The atmosphere is peaceful, the views are breathtaking, and the attention to detail is what one would expect from a Singer Group property. Guests can dine at the Blowfish restaurant featuring fresh seafood, sashimi, and beef, with award winning wines and facilities for conferences, weddings, or any other special event.
The Island Club Hotel & Apartments is another four star property managed by the Singer Group, conveniently located with easy access to the airport, shopping, dining and other services. And at night guests can take advantage of the lush gardens or the pool.
Also in town, the Gardens Centre Holiday Apartments are a high rise property of 44 studios in Gardens Centre. Affordable self-catering accommodation in downtown allows guests the freedom to take advantage of all the thriving city of Cape Town has to offer. With 24 hour security, a fully equipped kitchenette, complimentary parking and WiFi, it is the perfect spot to enjoy a meal or a drink while taking in the views of the city and Table mountain. The studios are big enough for two adults and two children. The location, above an 85 outlet shopping centre and close to restaurants, museums and other tourist attractions, it is the ideal base of operations for exploring.
Paradise in the Country
Only two hours outside of Cape town, in the idyllic gateway to the Little Karoo, lies Montagu Springs, with 120 fully equipped self catering chalets, award winning pools and crystal clear springs. Affordable enough for a family and comfortable enough for the discerning traveler, Montagu Springs is nestled in a valley in the middle of some of the best wine producing country on the continent. Guests can take tours of the wineries or take advantage of the Breede River Valley with its hot springs and adventure sports. Nature abounds at Montagu Springs, with fruit orchards, bougainvillea, roses, and palm trees in a setting that guests do not want to leave. Bird lovers come from miles around to see the nearly forty species that can be found around the resort.
Through a commitment to continuous improvement, dedication to quality in all that they do, and attention to detail, the Singer Group has grown to be a diversified company that does the little things right, and has stayed close enough to its core competencies that the company knows how to deliver a first class experience to its customers.
Because of its commitment to continuous quality improvement, Singer Group has been selected to receive the BID World Quality Commitment Award for 2015 at the convention in Paris.
ABOUT BID AND THE WORLD QUALITY COMMITMENT AWARD:
BID is a private and independent organization founded in 1984, whose primary activity is business communication orientated towards quality, excellence and innovation in management. A leader in the broadcasting of Quality Culture, BID recognizes those companies and organizations which lead the most important activities in the business world, and is considered the founding organization in the broadcasting of the Culture of Quality, Excellence and Innovation in 179 countries.
The trophy symbolizes a pledge to the principles of Quality Culture. The QC100 Total Quality Management Model, together with the Quality Mix program, media coverage of the convention and its impact on the community and business sector, create an unmatched platform for continuous improvement within the organization and awareness of the achievements of the company at an international level.
Awards are given only to those who are committed to improving their Quality Culture based on the principles of the QC100 Total Quality Management Model. Candidates are proposed by the leaders of previously awarded companies who they consider worthy of the award. Especially meritorious candidates may also be nominated. The International BID Quality Award Selection Committee then chooses the winning companies who will receive the award in New York, Paris, Geneva, Frankfurt, Madrid and London.