The travel industry is blowing up with eye-popping deals to dream destinations around the country and the world.
In fact, tour firms have made a kill over this Easter holiday with most of them recording maximum bookings mainly at the Coast where most holiday lovers are whiling away the long weekend.
And it is not just your ordinary tour firms fighting for a slice of the lucrative venture. Lately, showbiz personalities have taken up the space with a dozen having registered their own tour companies.
For example Akothee Safaris, a tours and travel firm run by celebrated music star Akothee has been offering irresistible travel deals both to the Coast and other leading destinations around game reserves and national parks.
And also in the game is veteran MC and events guru Christopher Kirwa and his wife Cate who run ChrisCate Management Company. The two have started off a unique tour mission that mostly involves couples.
Using their experience in events management and the goodwill they have been enjoying from their numerous clients, these two could be the next big thing in tours and travel.
But while the newcomers enjoy relative tranquillity in an environment that is known for its brutal deals with the big boys protecting their turf, trouble seems to be brewing between celebrity stars DJ Mo, comedian Njugush and one Simon Kabu who introduced them into the world of sweet travel deals.
Many will recall photos of Njuguna and his wife Celestine Ndinda aka Wakavinye on their honeymoon on a lucrative trip with Kabu’s Bonfire Ventures.
Just like many celebs among them Eric Omondi and his fiancée Chantal Grazioli, Bahati and his Wife Diana as well as Vera and Otile Brown, Njuguna was a target with offers from Kabu’s team.
That was before Bountiful Safaris took the couple to Dubai. As Bountiful Safaris emerged, around the same time came Trippy Go Tours, which is said to have a popular personality- a leading comedian and radio presenter- on board.
Now, there is beef brewing between these two companies and Kabu’s Bonfire Ventures.
Trippy Go Tours and Bountiful Safaris have both gone to court; they are suing Bonfire Ventures for buying domain names that are similar to their websites.
The three companies organise budget getaways for individuals and groups where you pay a certain amount and they take care of your travel expenses and accommodation as well as other logistics.
They have been working hard to promote local tourism and, by making it easy to take trips to Dubai and Zanzibar with competitive rates, they appeal to youthful clients.
The two companies use ‘.com’ websites but are accusing Bonfire of using their names to register ‘.org’ and ‘.net’ websites, which when searched were redirecting back to the Bonfire website which uses a ‘.com’ domain. The fight for who has the better travel deal has been abandoned and the gloves are off as the three battle for visibility and relevance.
According to Trippy Go Tours and Bountiful Safaris, the domains bought by Bonfire are set to expire next year, which may lead unsuspecting customers to the Bonfire website, which then hurts their business.
With its owners, Simon Kabu and his wife Sarah, Bonfire has been working hard to be visible by coming on board anything that gives them publicity. They’ve gone hard on their marketing by working with celebrities with a large following online and sponsoring their trips to dream destinations.
In return the influencers post on their social media and give the company favourable mention. Bahati is seen as one of their loyal customers but his influence online is what the company really taps into from their relationship.
His dalliance with the Kabu’s is easily noticeable. They have been more than willing to make appearances at his events and he has been busy posting thankful messages to them.
Comedian Timothy Kimani aka Njuguna, his wife Celestine Ndinda aka Wakavinye and Samuel Muraya aka DJ Mo would easily be seen as ambassadors for Bonfire Ventures, just like many other celebs are. However, with the brewing differences, this might not end up well.
And this brewing war has also touched on the purchase of the Standard Gauge Railway (SGR) tickets where some travel companies are rumoured to be buying and holding tickets to Mombasa during high seasons arguably because they want to benefit from the clients at the expense of others.