Gilroy T. Chikwaka, owner of Steward Travel opened his business in 2014 with the aim of hosting organised tours and safaris for individuals and groups across Southern Africa. Steward Travel, proudly South African, offers a variety of options for full and half-day tours as well as transfers. The company is driven from a place of passion and their focus is to serve with integrity, offering guests a reliable and affordable service.
Q&A with Gilroy T. Chikwaka
How did the idea for your business come about?
The passion to offer travellers a personalised and authentic experience of South African attractions. I realised that there was a need for personalised private tours in and around Gauteng, Mpumalanga, North West and Limpopo. Most industry players at the time were offering similar services but on a scheduled basis and I realised that there was a market for those whose plans did not fit with what the traditional market was offering. That’s how Steward Travel was born.
How did you come up with the name for your company/experience?
Our “passion to serve” was the idea behind our company name. Thus, Steward Travel came up tops.
Who is your ideal customer and why?
Organised groups and free individual travellers (FIT). Groups have unique needs and our organisation is small enough to pay attention to their needs and experienced enough to ensure that their trips are memorable. As for FITs, we’re flexible to individual needs and our services are reasonably priced.
Why do you offer the very best experience/product for your customers?
Our products are a combination of value for money and authentic experiences and are designed to ensure that the local communities benefit from inbound tourism.
What is your greatest hope for your business?
To be of positive impact on the local communities we operate in, as well as contribute towards the role that the tourism industry is playing in our country.
What has been the most satisfying achievement in your business?
We have managed to grow by investing our own profits into the business and retaining most of clients. over the years.
What advice would you give to other entrepreneurs who want to get into tourism?
Tourism is a service industry and therefore the passion to serve is of the utmost importance. You must be a people person.
If you could have a do-over, what would you do differently?
I would set up a professional marketing team from the onset. We focused more on the operations side of the business at the expense of marketing.