20 Jun Getaway with AfriStay
Last year, I made a promise to myself that I’d travel more often. Darren and I have always been keen on a roadtrip but since welcoming the boys, starting a business and taking on the world, travel hasn’t been a priority. Well, not until recently, but if you’ve been following our latest plans, you’ve probably gathered that I am all sorts of restless and pretty much ready to pack my bags and hit the road at a drop of a penny.
So, imagine my excitement when AfriStay reached out to me with the opportunity to collaborate by trying out their service and sharing the highlights of my trip with you.
You might be wondering who AfriStay is, well… besides being my new go-to for finding our next destination, they’re local rivals to Airbnb and Booking.com. AfriStay is a local startup that tailors their business around South African users by putting the personal touch back into travel bookings.
Initially, when AfriStay launched as AcommoDirect, they were trying to keep up with their competitors by automating the entire system, but they soon realized that if they wanted to leave a mark on the local industry, they would have to offer South Africans what they want, so focused more on customer service by offering personalization.
Have you ever used the likes of Airbnb? When looking for places to stay in Chile, I did a lot of browsing through the platform and couldn’t ignore the feeling of disconnect. This is where AfriStay strives; they bridge the gap between automation and personalization. So, when you start looking for accommodation for your next trip, one of their agents will personally reach out to you, see what you’re looking for from your next stay, and then curate a list places that fulfil those needs.
Once you’ve booked your accommodation, your agent gets on the phone to follow up and confirm that everything is a-okay and set to go with the accommodation of your choice. Should something come up, your agent will alert you of any changes, recommend alternatives and put your mind at ease. It’s like having your very own travel concierge!
As mentioned, this was a collaborative project where I was given a voucher to try their service from start to finish. Jumping at the opportunity, I immediately clicked over to their site and browsed through the MANY listings of places nearby. Half expecting it to be just another copy+paste of Airbnb, I was quite surprised and relieved that family travel seems more financially doable through their platform. You see, their competitors are more aligned to servicing the young traveller or travelling couple, but when you’re travelling as a family of 4, a night out of town can become very expensive. Besides being geared more towards young families by offering the entire unit versus sharing a room in a flat with someone else, AfriStay is also in the position to offer a better price on accommodation since they do not have guest booking fees (Airbnb charges around 7%).
AfriStay seems to boast better quality control and they not only make a big effort to take care of their guests needs, but also their property managers. Of course, the stand-out difference is that they focus strongly on customer service, giving you the option to pick up the phone, call them and have all your questions answered by consultants who are experts in South African travel, guaranteeing a higher-level of service.
As Eli is still quite young, we didn’t want to venture too far and opted for a beautiful self-catering unit at Fynbos Golf Club in Tsitsikamma. The unit sleeps 4, boasted glorious views of the sea, an indoor and outdoor braai, and had everything we could possibly need for our stay. There is also adequate jungle gyms for the kids, and back at the Clubhouse, there is also a restaurant and spa facilities.
Besides our choice of accommodation being the perfect home away from home, it is also well-located between Port Elizabeth and Plettenberg Bay. We spent our time taking day-trips to Plett, exploring wildlife sanctuaries and completing the 3D Maze at Puzzle Park, before making our way back to our accommodation where we would settle down for the night with a braai, watching the soccer and enjoying each other’s company.
What truly stood out was that unlike our recent getaway that we took a month ago, at Fynbos Golf Club, the kids were at ease and comfortable in their new surroundings. They loved running around on the plush grass, had adequate space inside and as you all know, happy kids = happy parents.
AfriStay realize that by taking care of their guests, they’re bound to get repeat bookings, not to mention word of mouth referrals. This approach was only cemented by my own experience and has me thinking that a 3-month cross country family road trip is actually quite doable, especially when I have a reliable travel service at my fingertips.
Are you ready to book your first trip with AfriStay? With 22,000 listings across the country, you’ll be spoiled for choice of where to go next. Head to their website to get started.