Secret Getaway is a members only, limited offer flash sale site for top hotels and getaways across South Africa. Their mission is to make locals tourists in their own town. Here is a beautiful Q&A the founders of Secret Getaway did.
In a Nutshell: Secret Getaway has created an online concierge available 24/7 that provides amazing getaways for the spontaneous and the planners. Members sign in to see the week’s best offers from a limited selection of ever changing top properties across the country. Designed for the Instagram generation where life is about the memories made and time spent reconnecting and recharging, and less time spent trawling a million websites looking for inspiration.
You can even give the gift of a memory with our Secret Getaway Gift Vouchers, 5% of which is donated to various charities across South Africa. This is one small example of how Secret Getaway is building an ethical proudly-South African brand.
How it started…
Officially entering its soft launch phase in October 2016, Secret Getaway has been quietly gaining traction and excitement in a few select circles of friends and confidants. The focus for the first six month is a quiet evolution in order to lay a foundation of the region’s top hotels and partners to ensure an inventory of offers and specials that are unrivaled in both in the level of luxury, as well as exclusivity of the offers.
Although everyone loves to find a great offer, we are experience hunters, not deal hunters. Simple, stylish & South African.
The website itself is in a fast development phase (we know what we want to build) whilst we track user behaviour to determine which of our development priorities should roll out next. This in itself is a fascinating study in the local emerging eCommerce market in comparison to the international case studies we benchmark off.
What makes it different?
Beyond being a gated website that requires people to sign into the site to see which Secret Offers are available for that week, we also take the curatorship and selection process very seriously, but in a fun way. Our members are busy people who don’t want a long decision making process for a spontaneous purchase.
Our website is a product with design and user experience at the heart of every interaction. Thus we strip out elements that lead to decision fatigue by streamlining the choice through careful categorisation for each area.
What are the categories?
Top Secret are the ultra 5* properties: sometimes these offers are so good we don’t even use the hotels name! You don’t know the name of the hotel until you have purchased but you do know it is a rate you cannot resist. We give you as much information as we can, without spoiling the fun and giving the name of the hotel away.
Premium Portfolio are amazing and popular 5 star hotels that are already firm favourites with the locals.
Classic Collection are 4 star properties that under-promise but overdeliver. They are often the hidden gems needing their own moment to shine.
Character Collection. These are ungraded properties that are often small owner managed getaways that may be budget but they are brilliant and keep you wanting to stay a little longer.
All hotels are selected on their ability to truly surprise and delight.
Why do we do what we do?
As two individuals who have lived abroad for too many years we have first hand knowledge of the joy of experiencing where you live like a tourist.
Andrea Britt worked in the eCommerce industry in South Africa since her return from London 4 years ago. She recognised the gap for a modern, specialist travel platform in the flash sale space that could attract locals hungry for a tempting offer to take advantage of unplanned night away or an extended date night at some of the world’s most amazing hotels right on their own doorstep. Some humans were programmed to be entrepreneurs and having finished University, she completed a post-graduate diploma in Enterprise Management which was focused on developing the next generation of entrepreneurs. It just took her over 10 years to put it into practise.
Behind the scenes: Andrea has 2 young children, which makes the timing of launching her first business a very suspicious decoy to avoid parenting duties.
Tania Batista Hofer spent 13 years in luxury hospitality management across the globe from Belize to the Philippines, the Maldives and then back on South African shores. She has in these various roles witnessed that all hotels face the same challenge of seasonality and occupancy fluctuations often with short windows requiring fluid inventory management. As a creative and resourceful person her curiosity led her to study through UCT where she and Andrea began discussing the potential in the market and a new angle on the existing solutions. Her journey into the world of eCommerce is a perfect shapeshifting career move, where a life of preparation meets a moment of opportunity. Recognising an opportunity in the space she has helped design a responsive, simple online portal which would complement and not compete with existing successful sales channels . Often the more brand conscious hotels, would not consider working with local eCommerce sites and are tending to be more receptive to Secret Getaway because of its balanced understanding of e-commerce and the hotel industry needs.
Behind the scenes: Tania is an avid outdoor explorer and adventurer, through her travels she is living proof that South Africa spoils us with choices.
Together as co-founders they have sought to innovate with a true win-win mindset that benefits both sides of the market to ensure longevity in a fast-paced eCommerce world.
This marriage of experience plus the vital inclusion of in-house development from the onset ensures a continuous technical and brand evolution.