Green Route Africa is planning to offer a series of virtual experiences to clients following the success of a Zoom safari the DMC recently hosted for a group of UK agents in partnership with Shamwari Game Reserve and Just The Letter B, it’s UK representative for the MICE market.
Kerry Roos, managing director at Green Route, said: “We have avoided doing Zoom product presentations during lockdown. Being in Africa is a feeling, and we wanted to give people a feeling of being there rather than being presented at, which is how we came up with the idea of a virtual game drive.”
Nine UK agents who had all travelled together on a fam trip several years ago were invited to join the 90-minute experience with their families, during which they saw a herd of elephants, lions, giraffes, zebra and rhino. Eveology Founder Paul Evans, said: “Green Route’s virtual safari was a terrific creative and effective way to engage an audience and showcase product with a live experience. Top marks to Green Route for raising the bar in Zoom experiences.”
The group was guided through the safari experience by rangers at the Reserve using smartphones and 4G, while enjoying a drink of Amarula – a South African cream liqueur – that had been delivered to their home by Green Route.
“This is the first time I have ever been involved in a virtual safari and I was a little nervous about how it might translate on screen or that the technology might let us down. That was one of the reasons we tried it with a group of people that had travelled together before so they could chat to each other if there were any issues,” said Roos.
“Nothing will replace the real thing, but it still gave you that sense of excitement and we have had great feedback from the agencies, many of whom are interested in selling this on to clients. In the longer term, post Covid-19, I think it’s something that can be used by agencies for pitches and site inspections or as part of a teaser campaign for incentive programmes.”
Lime Blue Solutions Managing Director Nicola Miller said: “Wow – “virtually” the best thing I have seen since lockdown started. Whilst the virtual safari can never replace the adrenalin, landscapes and smells of a real safari, you still get the feeling of excitement and your little computer screen transports you quickly over to the spirit of Africa. The rangers’ knowledge and passion conveys really well. I already have a client interested in adding this special activity to a team get together and I am sure once word is out many more will want to feel a little piece of Africa even if it has to be from their own home.”
Absolute Corporate Events’ Director of Incentives Claire Okrafo-Smart added: “It was, quite simply, an awesome experience, which we were also able to enjoy with our partners and children. My husband was spellbound from beginning to end, as we joined up with carefully placed safari guides to see baby elephants wallowing in mud, Towers of giraffe and Crashes of rhino. Supported by the miniature Amarula thoughtfully posted to land that morning, I forgot I was on Zoom some 13,000km away and for 90 minutes, I was transported to Shamwari Game Reserve on South Africa’s eastern cape. Thank you to all those involved for creating this magical experience! I can’t wait to return for real, but until then, this was a superb second option.”
Green Route Africa is also considering other virtual experiences to offer clients, for example live lion or rhino notching via Zoom or a visit to an elephant sanctuary in Kenya with one of the conservationists.