While still a student in college, Abner Ongeri registered Ongeri Expeditions as a plan B in case he failed to secure a job.
“Upon graduating, I sent more than 200 CVs seeking employment, without any success. This pushed me to operationalize Ongeri Expeditions. I also decided to progress with my studies, enrolling for the Bachelor of Science in Tourism Management degree program at Strathmore University because I felt upscaling my education would enhance my skills in running a successful Tourism business.
The first tour I organized was a Nairobi National Park day drive for my friends who had come from the UK to attend a conference. It was a great success. This encounter opened up more opportunities, and I have never looked back. My desire and passion for tours & travel, enabling people to travel to destinations they desire, and getting positive feedback on tours that I plan have kept me in business. Although the tourism industry suffered a massive setback during the covid-19 pandemic, we leveraged the domestic tourism that was on the rise. Today we are doing more business than even before the pandemic.
Since its inception, Ongeri Expeditions has been curating authentic African safaris and beach vacations for every guest, budget to luxury. However, at the moment, after broad research and trying out the luxury safari products, we have decided to rebrand into a luxury safari planning business. It has been a tough decision because we understand that this line of business has a very clear-cut market but I believe it is worth it. We have done all the necessary work to position our brand in the luxury safari market, which I am sure will propel us to being one of the leading luxury safari companies in Africa and beyond. We have also engineered our products to be sustainable and we have reintegrated the concept of wildlife conservation. We seek to hire over 100 professionals specializing in different products by 2026.
I believe I’ve gained the confidence to run my business from learning the necessary skills in my Tourism degree, especially tour & travel costing, marketing, product development, organizational behavior, management, and above all the virtues that are integrated into the Strathmore spirit, especially freedom and responsibility.
To scholars and more so those in Hospitality and Tourism related fields, entrepreneurship gives you an edge to test your skills, creativity, resilience, tolerance, and commitment to your brand. Being an entrepreneur is not easy! You need top-level discipline. You have to be willing to start small; make losses, make meagre profits, and eventually make that figure that you dream of. Since I don’t own a fleet of safari cars, I collaborate with those who have the cars and still make sufficient money to pay eight employees. Networking, and the willingness to learn are key in business. We have learnt that clients always do comparison shopping and they always go for the most ideal offer. So to filter undecided travelers, we charge for processing a quotation, which leaves us with only serious clients. Remember the Tourism and hospitality industry is very large, yet small at the same time. Some people view a job in this industry as temporary or seasonal employment, but it can be a career with many exciting opportunities if you stick with it! I could not picture myself in another industry, it is challenging yet very rewarding!”
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Visit Ongeri Expeditions here: https://ongeriexpeditions.com/
This article was written by Rose Njuguna.
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