We wouldn’t be the company at Jenman African Safaris without the people who make it happen. If you have ever travelled on a Jenman guided group tour then take a look behind the scenes and meet the queen bees of organisation who helped you have a smooth, exciting journey. Southern and East Africa is their turf.
The guided group tours team assist national and international travel agencies in booking their clients on scheduled departures. With laughter and graceful flicks of the hair, the team member deals with invoices, help agents if additional bookings are required, send travel documents a month before clients’ departure, update suppliers, send out rooming lists, create guide budgets and tour itineraries, and brief the guides before they head off on tour – all while squeezing in a few minutes for a cup of coffee.
Currently Maria runs a wonderful team that include Kaleigh and Amanda as Reservations Coordinators, Tatum and Lenecha as Tour Coordinators, Stephanie as Admin Assistant – and they’re all assisted by the new intern Yonela.
We sat down with Maria to ask her about running a small team with big responsibilities. How does she do it without tearing out her hair?
What are some exciting developments of the last year?
The biggest development has been the implementation of the new reservation system Tourplan, which has been both challenging and exciting. We’re also learning about the fantastic new tours that our very own Product team has put together for 2017. I’m especially excited about the Delta & Desert Discovery and the Intimate Botswana & Zimbabwe Encounter.
What’s your favourite thing about the scheduled department?
I love working with my team. We have a fantastic vibe in the office! I also enjoy working with our agents, as it gives me the opportunity to strengthen my relationships with them.
What’s your favourite Jenman product?
I have a soft spot for Botswana as I travelled there two years ago, met amazing local people, and won an appreciation for the beauty of the country. So, I would have to say the Botswana Wildlife Breakaway is my favourite!
What drives you?
I get the most satisfaction when everything works well. As an organised and analytical person, I enjoy when my team uses the processes I have implemented. That makes me happy! Pressure also drives me; I work faster when I am under pressure and get things done in an orderly manner. Having a great team also motivates me to work better.
What do you enjoy about working in tourism?
I enjoy working with the people in the industry: clients, suppliers, and agents. The tourism industry employs so many people from different backgrounds, yet we are joined together with a focus to create great holiday experiences for clients to experience Africa.
Who’s your inspiration?
I’m religious and believe that I would not be where I am if I didn’t have the guidance of God. I’m in a church band and prayer group which helps me renew my strength and mind.
I’m sure you have a funny story to tell…
One day, we received a call from a guide informing us that a client on his tour was unhappy. The group was staying in beautiful chalets on stilts with amazing views. In the evening, rhinos and elephants came to visit – and the client could hear the rhino underneath her chalet and the elephant breaking branches nearby. She freaked out! This was too close to nature! It wasn’t the experience she had signed up for. It made me realise that every first-time traveller to Africa has a different expectation. I would have loved to experience these mighty, wild animals up-close!
If you have any queries, questions, or compliments – just pop Maria at African Jenman Safaris an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.