Introducing Stockvel Travel Clubs
Stockvels clubs have been in existence since the beginning of times. Although they were documented as early as 1962, the banks such as SAMBOU BANK, People’s banks, IEMAS as some reminders of the people’s quest for club savings methods. Lately, there has been an increase in the club savings for buddy traveling.
What is a Stockvel?
Stokvels are clubs serving as for saving and or credit schemes in South Africa where members contribute fixed sums of money. Members contribute monies towards a central fund often used for funerals, community celebrations, to finance education for young people, or even for group investment schemes.
Stokvels in South Africa were created by low-income communities that were often excluded from traditional banking systems. Stokvels are still very much a way of life for many rural and township communities across South Africa which have limited access to banking services.
In 2016, almost 12 million individuals were reported to belong to Stockvels and an estimated $3.75 billion were collected in any given year by Branding South Africa.
Stockvel management and administration is based on trust between members. Rules are set by the community to govern the conduct of members and the running of Stockvels.
I remember that my mother has been a treasurer for the funeral and the groceries saving stockvel for more than 20 years. The money was kept in the house and only banked once it reached a certain value. She is not educated except that the Stockvel trusted her since she was not drinking and she could write.
The challenge facing Stockvels is the level of education, leadership and knowledge.
The challenge also is an opportunity which most banks, product and services companies such as Pick n Pay, Checkers Shoprite, Macro etc have noticed due to the bulk buying power of the stockvel community.
There exist an opportunity within the travel market due to the bulk-buying capability of these individual. Most of stockvel members are in their middle-age term life and are family oriented.
Challenges to Budy-Travels
There has been a growing number of stockvel travel clubs among the young men and women within the South African black people. Stockvel travel clubs are growing due to the social culture embedded in these communities.
Challenges of travel is mostly money, convenience and at times company of people to travel with. Most of the Stockvels would put money together to be used to travel at the end of the year. If two or three members have a schedule changes this tends to collapse the intentions and most of these trips are never realized.
Choice of Destinations
Choice of travel is at times due to popularity of the destination. Due to influence or travel promotions and preference as picked up by magazines, Television, social media and peers, certain destinations become the bucket list items for many people.
I remember when I first heard about Sun City, I was really crazy to go there. However, when I was there I did not know why I got there. First I could not afford most of the amenities and activities. This could be what I call poor planning because I was destination motivated.
Affordability or Cost
Vacation or trip choices are done due to their affordability and the cost.
A lot of people go on holiday destination because it was on special. This method is used as a bait by most vacation clubs or travel agencies.
We purchased an adventure trip in Port Shepstone, Kwa-Zulu Natal because it was R2100 for a weekend, inclusive of all the adventure activities excluding the Banjo Jumping. What we could not properly calculate was the cost of traveling to the destination. From Johannesburg to Port-Shepstone cost us R2200 for average driving time of 8 hours. That which was affordable was no longer cheap.
Choosing a destination also check the cost of traveling to that destination. A weekend at a hotel may be cheaper but the cost of traveling there may break your bank-account.
Alternative travel options
Most Stockvels want to travel but rely on google travel searches to pick up their travel options. Many people have been scammed by online hyenas which would pretend to offer cheaper travel rates. And this is because some stockvel administrators are not competent in the use of internet and computers as well as in travel products.
South African government through its tourism department in its endeavor to encourage domestic travel, has earmarked the stockvel travel club communities as potential customer base to which to promote its travel destinations and activities. This will require some tailor-made local travel specials and activities in order to attract the local market.
National Association of Stockvels in South Africa (NASSA) has also been instrumental as a promotion wing of education by organizing this economic society which is marginalized.
I also discovered that there was a stockvel academy which is established to provide free education to the stockvel comunities and members in the townships and rural places in South Africa. These organisations appeal to the advertisers due to their reach within the stockvel communities.
Some travel agencies have also come up with some innovative product offerings for stockvel travel clubs to save their monies.
Time to Travel
Most people would like to travel during school holidays, big events and some during their leave days. So, main school holidays that are appealing are during Easter and December. The big events would be Durban July, Jazz Festivals and Soccer matches etc.
Stockvel Travel Clubs always find it difficult to travel their members in some times due to work conditions or commitments. Total cost of the vacation has either a positive or negative impact in this type of travelers.
Planning Your Stockvel Travel Vacation
Traveling in a group has its advantages and disadvantages. You might find yourself having some fights over the timetable, gossips or fights among members even though you are adults.
Plan How much each member can afford.
Although group travel may afford you some discounts when you are booking, there may be some constraints such as the time you are booking i.e. season of booking, place and the number and grouping of members. Your budget determines your transport, possible places to stay, amenities you can enjoy.
Plan your Place to Stay
Renting a house could be beneficial as it will provide a communal type of environment. You will be able to sit at the table and eat together unlike at the resort. However, grouping of members may also be another challenge especially when children, single and couples are involved in the club. AirBnb, HomeAway, VRBO, Dreamtrips, and Shot-Left are sites that are helpful and make it very easy to find homes to rent anywhere in the world. If you rent a house, you may have to decide on the grocery purchases upfront or require catering. Who will be more willing to wake up and make breakfast, lunch and supper? Maybe, finding a caterer during your stay may a great advantage.
Renting a resort is also considerable, because most of the resorts are flexible and have more rooms for larger groups. Resorts also have more activities such as spa rooms, swimming pools, bars, children facilities etc. These activities may be good for leisure travelers or to deal with variety preferences of the stockvel travel club members.
Planning the timetable for Stockvel Travel Members
The purpose of the trip will help you to priorities what is possible or not. Research the information of the activities in the area would be more helpful. Determine the must see items for each person in the area to be visited. Then vote on the group interests on each item.
A democratic process may help the group to understand that they will not be able to see everything. However, in large groups then you can split into interests and preferences. The group must exercise patience and tolerance with each other.
Planning Your Me Times
The timetable must provide stockvel group members more time to spend alone exploring the area. However, the leader must always make sure that there are clear communication channels to ensure that some people are not derailing the group enjoyment. This is very common especially in young club members that would be caught up some activities.
Local tours are also available to assist and provide a great experience for every tourist or travelers. Engage with the local tours like in South Africa to make sure that you are able to navigate safely around townships and avoid some high crime areas.
Plan your Safety & Health
Although the assumption is that we are all adults, however, a sick member on a trip or vacation may actually ruin the experience for the other members. So, it is more advisable to check what hospitals, clinics, and other emergency facilities are available. Apart from the health, the safety of each member is crucial. When organizing, make sure that you are aware of dangerous places or spots.
All Rounded Planning Approach
You have to focus on details of the vacation in terms of pre-vacation at the vacation and post-vacation. This may be advice able to engage the services of a travel agent or vacation planners. Sites like Evolution Travel Agents may be helpful people in your community who are trained and can assist you with the bookings in your area.
Early reservation for a stockvel group vacation will ensure that you get preferences in terms of cars, dinner tables for the group, discounts at local attraction or historical sites.