design and desire a professional adventurer, Brad Horn has
spent the past decade working at the luxury end of the adventure
travel market both in Africa and Australia. Brad's passion
is wild and natural places; a passion nurtured growing up
on a cattle station and as an Infantry Officer in the Australian
Army. Brad then spent six wonderful years living in the
African bush operating luxury safaris. Indeed Brad was responsible
for setting up operations in Botswana for luxury travel
house, Abercrombie & Kent. He then returned to Australia
as Managing Director of A&K's operations in Australia
and New Zealand.
In 2003 Brad established Epic Private Journeys, a boutique
tour operation that specialises in handcrafting the ultimate
luxury adventure travel experiences to Africa, Australia
and New Zealand. Over the years Brad has developed enduring
relationships with the best operators in these destinations.
Brad guides many safaris annually, most of these to Africa.
These range from climbs of Mt Kilimanjaro and gorilla trekking,
to luxury safaris through the finest camps and lodges of
Title - "An Epic Story - The challenge of maintaining
the integrity of travel amidst ever increasing luxury".
"The value of life lies not in the length of days but the
use we make of them" - Michel de Montaigne 1533-1592
As we progress in the new millennium leisure time is increasingly
seen as a currency to be maximised. People are working harder
and longer than ever before to the point where leisure time
is becoming an extremely valuable commodity, so much so
that the value proposition in travel is now not one of money
but rather time. Managing and maximising the client experience
is therefore the critical success factor of any holiday
experience; in wilderness travel perhaps more so.
There appears to be an increasing proportion of wilderness
travel product that "trades in the mundane" - passive observation
rather than active participation. Increased competition,
fragmentation of the traditional travel distribution chain
and margin-squeeze has given rise to a prescriptive approach
to holiday planning. On top of all this, wilderness accommodation
providers seem to be trading luxury at the expense of the
experience - the experience of luxury rather than the luxury
of the experience.
Enter into the fray Epic Private Journeys, a boutique tour
operation whose focus is the ultimate in handcrafted travel
experiences. Epic's core premise is the "pursuit of the
rare experience". We recognise that whilst the trimmings
of a holiday are important, it is more so the detail that
is critical. A glass of chilled champagne is all the more
memorable for where you drink it and with whom you enjoy
it. People are what make an epic journey. Having the right
people to both plan and manage the client experience on
the ground is crucial.
In the ensuing discussion, I contend that it is the "softs"
more so than the "hards" that hold the key to success in
travel. That said the world is changing. Clients now seem
to have an insatiable desire for luxury. This is often traded
at the expense of the experience. The old saying of "you
don't know what you don't know" is increasingly poignant.
The challenge at the luxury end of the travel market today
is the enlightenment of clients about what they don't know!