As we leave behind this unprecedented, extraordinary COVID filled year, the one lesson that stands out for me most is:
“It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it that matters!” – Epictetus
Covid-19 forced us to slow down and take stock, but more importantly it taught us how vitally important our relationships are. Faced with impossible business decisions, including the downsizing of our Rhino Crash, we recognised just how important it is to surround oneself with people who encourage you and celebrate your success by building supportive relationships. I’m proud to say as hard and as devastating this pandemic has been on both our business and our industry, we are filled with gratitude for all the support and encouragement we have received from our guests, Rhinos, colleagues, shareholders, mentors and partners alike.
During this extraordinary time, we have rallied together to provide support, encouragement and opportunities. When faced with extraordinary challenges, something totally new and unfamiliar, we adapted immediately and rapidly transitioned to ensure the survival of our business as we continued to support our guests. This took enormous collaboration, sacrifice, many hours of preparation and an immense amount of hard work.
We adjusted our daily lives and our business in ways we never believed possible and I shall be forever grateful to everyone who shouldered these new challenges with us. Ironically, this pandemic provided the opportunity for strong friendships to develop and flourish, fortified by the pressures and trials of this strange time.
We managed to stay connected, chat often and enjoy many hours of virtual conversations with guests, colleagues, friends and partners. What became abundantly clear to me during this time, is how united we are in building each other up in the good and bad times.
We have all been eager for some positive news, and we have had plenty to celebrate over the past few months as “Africa reopened” and the wheels of our industry began to turn once more. We are particularly excited by the visibility of several vaccine candidates at a time when high levels of population immunity have already developed across the African continent. This bodes well for a return to new normalcy sooner rather than later, in 2021, as vaccine rollouts have begun across the world in earnest.
Our Rhino Credo guides us to “Introduce the Elephant in the room” which simply means we are not afraid to discuss the awkward subjects. So as people look to start travelling once more, the question of “survivability” and “liquidity” of businesses across our travel ecosystem is front of mind for guests looking to book their next holiday!
Building Rhino Africa has been a 16 year journey. A journey that has not only helped us survive 2020, but will ensure that we both recover and prosper through 2021. As search interest, bookings and travel commences once more, we have not only survived, but we will keep going, with the continued loyalty, commitment and dedication of our guests, Rhinos, partners and shareholders alike. If nothing else, as 2020 comes to a close, we have reason to celebrate the fact that we are still standing, both energetically and financially equipped to see us confidently through this pandemic. Despite this challenging, and let’s face it, rather traumatic year for all of us.
If there is one clear benefit of our direct online business through this crisis: it is having a primary voice in ensuring our guests can be presented with, and therefore consider, all options available to avoid cancellations. Through this relationship-centric approach, we have been able to maintain or postpone over 85% of our 2020 booking, which we know will aid the recovery of our bed and logistic partners.
My hope is that 2021 will pale in comparison to the truly unforgettable Year of 2020. We have all no doubt been left with many great memories and experiences we simply wouldn’t have had without the global lockdown, but the time has come to start rebuilding!
Rhino Africa is no longer surviving, we are already rebuilding. Rhinos know that when we say “You can travel safely with us” we mean it in every sense of the word! Together we will succeed, together we will continue to ensure we play our part in creating a lasting legacy for the communities, landscapes and wildlife of Africa, which we all love so dearly.
So come join us on a journey – an adventure of a lifetime, and be part of our Rhino story!
We look forward to seeing you in 2021!