“We thrive on creating memories.”
Would you ever quit your job in order to pursue your passion, endure the turbulence and strive to be the best in a very competitive field?
“As I take stock on what has unfolded in the past year, I am excited about our achievements. The days ahead of us even look more promising, with expectations of growth underway.”
This is an insight into Kevin Owino’s journey, 24-year-old, the founder and CEO of Keitan Safaris. This is a tours and travel company, providing its customers with fun-filled destinations. He has a unique birthday theme for his safaris(journeys) such that all year round if you are born in a particular month, you get to create memories through an adventure.
“At Keitan Safaris, we provide our customers comprehensive travel itineraries within a 24-hour turnaround time. We understand the needs of our clients, through the professional training and experience we have had and offer the best options available. We wholesale and retail our packages to give us a cutting edge in terms of giving the most competitive prices. Technology and social media have aided in maximizing reservations and providing immediate feedback to our customers wherever possible.”
Born and raised in Mathare slums, he counts himself lucky to have made it through High School and Campus. He attributes the drive to his success to the plight of living in the slums.
“Being a ghetto boy in some way provided an escape from ups and downs and that gave me the ilk to study hard so that I break away.”
His admission to Maasai Mara University to pursue a degree in Tourism stirred up his passion in the tours and travel industry. In the course of his studies, together with some of his friends, he formed the Tourism Association of Maasai Mara University (TAMMU) and was elected as the chairman for three consecutive years. It is quite evident that his followers had so much faith in his leadership. Kevin expresses that his passion for travel grew day by day and having run this club presented itself as a catalyst.
As the chairman of the club, he was tasked with planning and management responsibilities. He mastered the art of teamwork, organization, strategy, and marketing which have kept him afloat in this industry. Through his leadership, TAMMU was the most vibrant club in the school.
Kevin got his first job in one of the city’s companies where his major roles were planning and executing tours, marketing, photography and customer service- roles his position as the chairman of TAMMU had helped him polish. The pressure in the field was overwhelming and the pay was not quite satisfactory. However, it was not long before he encountered his turning point.
‘’My salary was 10k a month. It was strenuous as it was only enough to cater for my transport. On the third month, I pursued a private job to guide and educate some tourists and was paid quite well in comparison to my month’s salary. The tourists also showered me with raving reviews. A close friend challenged me to start my own company because I had the talent, the passion, and a calling.”
It is never an easy choice to quit your job, but he took a leap of faith and after a few days of pondering on his best option, Keitan Safaris was born! The beginning was not easy for him. It took a lot of grace and endurance to put the company on the map.
“My starting capital was Ksh. 25,000. This was part of the savings I had set aside while in campus. I used to offer services for printing, photocopying, typesetting, and scanning of documents. As though the universe reckoned a day like this would come, my savings birthed my company. I started planning for events with low response shrimping several trips and making losses.”
The company, now a year old, has a base of established clients. It has also expanded its horizons in offering team building, social media marketing, and travel consultancy. The tourism industry is a competitive and turbulent one, to say the least. However, Kevin and his company have their hearts on their sleeves and do not tire to stand out and offer the best to their clients.
The biggest challenge he has been facing is on transport. He works with third parties to offer him vehicles for his road trips. Also, sometimes someone may get short-changed or clients offered poor services when they visit hotels or facilities he had recommended or planned events.
In spite of his challenges, he boasts of being able to create lasting memories to his clients- highly supported by his photography and free- spirit.
“Customer satisfaction is the foundation by which we measure our performance, and we hold ourselves as do our clients to the highest standards of quality. It is always fulfilling to know that we are able to help our clients rave the country affordably and comfortably. Therefore, we are committed to providing unparalleled service to our customers; they are the reason we exist and continue to flourish.”
Kevin expresses that domestic tourism is thriving. Kenyans have begun travelling a lot as compared to the past years. The industry is growing; however, the government should reduce further the park entry fees and work on quality especially on environmental, conservation and support facilities such as clean washrooms.
His advice to the youth in general and those in the field is that passion is enough to drive you to start your company!
“You need to have the passion to make you do it and to do it to the best of your ability. If you are passionate. All you need is to start. Make good use of your time, lay a foundation and finally, employment is not necessary! You can be an employer.”
You can connect with Keitan Safaris on:
Instagram and Facebook @keitansafaris and for bookings and reservations of his fun-filled adventures!
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