Saturday, August 15, 2009

2AFRIKA NEWS – we understand!


No one understands the frustration of the Africa bound traveler like 2AFRIKA, INC.’s Founder & President Kenneth R. Hieber.

“Daily,” says Hieber, “I take endless calls from frustrated travelers who claim to be so overwhelmed at the volume of information coming at them from all directions that they want to thrown in the towel and give up on a dream!”

Kenneth Hieber started his travel career on December 1977 and has seen volumes of trends come and go during his three plus decade tenure in the travel industry. “You cannot buy 31+ years of travel planning experience”, said Hieber who has provided impeccable travel arrangements for leisure travelers and corporate executives alike. Hieber operated the corporate travel accounts for the likes of the U.S. Embassy South Africa, Mercedes Benz of South Africa, the South African Nursing Association, and the South African Bureau of Standards to name but a few of his major clients.

In the United States, Hieber has focused his selling skills toward his native Africa and provides a thorough, solid, well-planned itinerary for each of his valued passengers. “Often I find people to be impatient, wanting instant gratification as if 2AFRIKA were a mere search-engine,” added Hieber “But planning a perfect African journey takes time, and if you want to invest your hard-earned dollars wisely, you’d be well advised to extend a little courtesy and patience during the planning stages of your journey.”

Candidly blunt at times, Hieber ‘tells-it-like-it-is’ and if he sees a traveler veering off in the wrong direction, he has no hesitation to shuffle them back in line and make them rethink their strategy. Perhaps that is the reason that 2AFRIKA, INC. has become the successful travel institution that it has become. Travelers get to talk with Hieber directly and get first hand advice and knowledge that no amount of research can provide – least of all ‘instant gratification’ search-engines.

Recently, Hieber came across an article and felt it pertinent to share. “For too long I have felt isolated in my approach” he said, “but listening to and reading about the frustrations of today’s traveler, I come to realize that I am not at all isolated but very grounded in my approach to arranging journeys to the continent I know best”.

Perhaps that is why departing passengers write such meaningful messages – “I am so excited for my trip that I can hardly breathe! The agenda is beautifully detailed. I enjoyed the teleconference last Saturday. I feel like I am in very good hands. Thank you.”

And perhaps then, that is why the same person who wrote the message above concluded with this message upon her return – “Kenneth, I have returned from Africa. I am so gloriously happy about every aspect of my safari. My driver was great, informative, caring, and efficient. The lodgings were amazing. Even the weather was amazing. And Africa was everything and more than one imagines Africa to be. Thank you for all of your carefully thought out plans and arrangements. You are perfection! Carole"

Are Travel Agents coming back?
We have never gone away!
We have just been waiting for realization to come to its full fruition!

Kenneth R. Hieber
Founder & President


Online travel sites flooded with overwhelming options, all claiming the best deals. Extra fees nestled into the fine print amid blaring advertisements. Pounding 16 digits into the telephone after you've booked the wrong flight before finally getting a human voice.

A few weeks ago, Darin Kaplan, a tech-savvy 27-year-old California restaurant manager, clicked his mouse hundreds of times, surfing the vast choices offered by online travel booking Web sites like and to plan his 28th birthday cruise to Mexico before he gave up in frustration.

"It's a cut-and-paste experience when you're booking online. None of these sites are going to tell me what I can do with different options," said Kaplan, who uses the Internet for many purchases, including his basketball shorts and music tickets. "Travel agents know what they are talking about. It's more comforting to hand my money to someone who has the knowledge and experience."

Some travelers like Kaplan are finding themselves defecting from travel booking sites like or airline sites like They are going back to the travel agent, an industry that many industry experts once thought to be passé with the advent of online booking.

Fewer travelers are enjoying using the Web to plan and buy trips, according to a study last week by Forrester Research, a market research company. About 46 percent of U.S. leisure travelers enjoyed using the Internet to book travel this year, down from 53 percent in 2007.

Difficult site navigation and presentation on travel company sites and hotel and airline sites are causing a growing number of travelers to shift away from the Web and consider using alternative methods of booking travel.

"People are saying 'I don't understand my options, and I would like to talk to someone who can do all the searching and tell me what's available,' " said Henry Hartevelt, the analyst who wrote the Forrester study.

In the brick-and-mortar travel agent model, a trained agent meets with the traveler in person or establishes a relationship over the phone.

These travel agencies began losing their monopoly on the industry during the late 1990s, when airlines began to sell tickets online and travel giants like exploded onto the scene, quickly gobbling market share by introducing the quick, do-it- yourself model.

In 1995, there were 37,000 brick-and-mortar travel agencies, according to the American Society of Travel Agents. Now, only 18,000 exist after many merged or folded.

"What the Internet has done is given us a nation that knows the price of everything and the value of nothing," said Bill Maloney, CEO of the American Society of Travel Agents. "How do you know if a hotel is actually a good value or if it's overpriced? You have these online generalists and these individual specialists."

Travel agent Nancy Cutter of Court Travel Ltd. in Charlotte, North Carolina, and a half-dozen other agencies across the country say they have experienced a surge in returning clients, who said travel Web sites were confusing and unhelpful.

In several instances, brick-and-mortar agents say they were able to offer deals at the same price as, and even undercut, the travel agent models, dispelling the belief that the cheapest rate is online.

Travel agents have deals with suppliers that can sometimes enable them to offer lower prices than on the Web. They also have time to cancel tickets for free, compared with some non-refundable tickets sold on the Web. said it recently waived the fee for travelers changing certain flights.

"Just because you can go out and buy Turbo Tax doesn't mean it's the best answer for everyone," Cutter said. "Some people will still go to an accountant. Booking travel can get complicated, and it's just not as easy as it looks."

To keep informed, follow this blog with Google Friend Connect

Forward this blog to family and friends by clicking on the envelope below

For further information on this blog post, our webinar and podcast presentations, how to follow us on Twitter, THE ‘KH’ LIST or any Safari in the 2AFRIKA Experience, visit us online at or contact 2AFRIKA, INC. Founder & President Kenneth R. Hieber on (212) 385-9770 (EST)

2AFRIKA, INC. remains committed to Keeping Africa Affordable, Corporate Social Responsibility in Tourism and most importantly, the comfort, security and safety of its valued passengers