Online travel-booking platform Voyazed has launched in Zambia with the aim of simplifying the way in which people book things like hotels, flights and safari packages.
Voyazed went live in October, and allow users to book hotels, charter flights, car rentals, activities, cruises, conference rooms and safari and tour packages via the internet or telephone agents.
The startup has signed agreements with hotels and other companies that offer travel and tourism services to sell their services on the website, with customers able to search by category, and book and pay for their desired services.
Chief executive officer (CEO) and founder Tiza Shanzi told Disrupt Africa the startup – which has already received 8,000 visitors – was born from her own experiences finding places to stay when travelling within Zambia.
“I always kept hoping to find a local person or a cab driver who would direct me to a hotel or a lodge within my budget. When I tried to search online for a lodge, I couldn’t find anything that was suitable and affordable,” she said.
“Cab drivers did not have much information either and only took me to one or two places that are locally popular, but, unfortunately, those places were still not in my budget. The whole process was too cumbersome for me and I usually ended up paying so much in cab fares because of the hours spent driving around looking for a place to sleep.”
She said Voyazed had spotted a gap in the market between prospective tourists and tourism service companies, with the startup aiming to be the bridge between the two.
“Most tourism services in Zambia and Africa as a whole are still closed up. Potential guests don’t know about them. The traditional way of doing things is phasing out,” Shanzi said.
“Voyazed is putting these services online and making the booking process easy for travellers. We are widening the choice for customers and at the same time exposing the very best that Africa has to offer in travel and tourism so that the world can see it and visit.”
Though she said there is major multinational competition, Shanzi said Voyazed is the first local startup in the online booking platform space.
“Other than that, there are lots of travel agents and tour operators locally who we do not compete with but rather complement because we partner with them and put their service offerings on our platform so that they can be exposed to a global audience,” she said.
“As for the big guys, we appreciate that they have gone before us and acquired a lot of ground around the world. In order for us to be better, we simply learn from them and keep true to our objectives of opening up Africa to a wider world of online business and also setting a standard on how we do things in Africa with a spin of innovation.”