Wanted: CEO at fast-growing Africa travel scale-up ‘Charlie’s Travels’ in Nairobi, Kenya.
Charlie’s Travels is an innovative ‘on the ground’ Africa tour operator focused on a more ‘real’ and authentic Africa experience. With off the beaten track travel, we want to create a broader view of the world and spread the impact of tourism on nature and cultures. As CEO you are responsible for the strategy and growth of the company, the P&L, building your team, expanding to other African regions and expansion into other markets.
Sounds good! Who is this Charlie?!
Hi, I’m Charlie! Africa-lover, adventurer and an entrepreneur with a vision for the tourism industry. My strengths (optimistic, creative, energetic) are accompanied with shortcomings (structure, managing, strategy). Therefore I’m looking for you, a strong right hand, so that together we can grow this beautiful company!
About Charlie's Travels (CT) , it started as a wild dream in 2014: on a motorcycle, with laptop and camera, in search of "real" experiences away from the tourist circus. Turns out, there was a high demand for this type of travel and curious travellers knew where to find me. In 2016, a former Rocket Internet manager joined: with plug & play techniques the one-man show became a startup!
Years of growth: the travel industry is big, and the number of (small-scale) Africa travel agencies are countless on Google. Why didn't CT remain a one-man business; how did it grow to 50 FTEs in 4 years; from 100 to 2000 travellers annually; from € 200k to € 4m annual turnover; from no office to teams in Nairobi (HQ, the “Jungle Villa”), Kampala, and Cape Town? With investors? Nope, we have grown 100% autonomously on our own profits.
Off the beaten track travel takes away stereotypes/prejudices and lets people experience a more 'real' Africa!
Why have we grown so rapidly? In a traditional market, we’re distinctive in many ways, but these are our main USPs:
1. "People don't buy what you do, but why you do it!" (Sinek) Few companies know why they do what they do. CT does! We are extremely passionate because we want to show Africa beyond prejudices (e.g.: dangerous, poverty, etc.)! This intrinsic drive is in our DNA and everyone feels it: the team, the travellers, the partners, the fans!
We’re not just a travel agency but a (by word of mouth) fast-growing community!
2. Product Development (PD) : In a traditional (safari) sector we develop a new, different, innovative product; authentic travel. Dutch travel agencies based in the Netherlands do not have the ‘local’ knowledge or do not know how to organize this. For local tour operators, it is difficult to understand the traveller and its desires, and providers on websites like Tripadvisor/Airbnb aren’t offering enough service. The demand for authentic & responsible travel that fulfils is quickly rising and we fill that big growing gap!
3. Marketing, Branding & Content: Skilled in-house marketing & content team that manages our website and therefore able to do quick iterations. Who does a consumer trust: a company or a person? Charlie is a social brand that talks (KLM and bol.com would be jealous of it!) We also have yet to see another travel agency that has its own video channel with more than 250 high-quality travel documentaries and sales videos? Check Charlie’s & Chill !
4. Being on the ground is essential for all USPs and has many other advantages: operationally effective, lower costs, no middle man, ability to create an impact locally, train partners, excellent product knowledge and corresponding increased sales power, etc.!
Main goals in the coming 3 years , we are ready for a new phase:
1. Market Share in the Netherlands x5 : Create a marketing ecosystem, increase ads budget, finalizing sales funnel with automations, standardize back-end product and PD with software without losing tailor-made feel and options.
2. Expansion : Enter other European markets (DACH, UK and/or Nordics). Develop a strategy and roll out with country specialized sales & marketing teams.
3. Expand destination portfolio : A standard package-traveller: “Africa, it’s such a beautiful country!”. The second biggest continent in the world counts approximately 3000 tribes, 2000 languages and 54 countries! We want to show the diversity of the whole continent! What’s next: The Horn of Africa, Sahara, Sahel, one of the Islands, Central- and/or West-Africa? With partnerships, new offices and/or freelancers?
Make a strategy and let’s do it!
4. Responsible & Regenerative Tourism : Off the beaten track in itself already spreads tourism and therefore fits in the current trends of tourism. Our CSR strategy has 3 pillars: Economy, Nature and Culture! With setting up a Tourism Academy and Eco-Community Lodges we can offer an even better experience and train our partners in a better way. And most important: How can we convince the traveller to
make a more conscious choice? Our behaviour has to change, and fast! Contribute to this!
About the CEO-role: What does it look like?
● Set up strategies & execute together with MT & team: where are we going, Why?
● Manage MT: Motivate, hold accountable (KPI’s) & train them how to manage.
● Commercially : growth NL market and expansion into other European markets.
● Operationally: streamlining processes across the company and ultimately responsible for large projects.
● Financially : P&L forecasts & budgets + analysis of the most important KPIs.
● General : internal processes, HR (together with HR manager), legal & tax.
About the person: character traits
An Africa based off the beaten track tour operator means:
● Open-minded, adventurous, interested in cultures and new perspectives
● Love for the product/travel, preferably a passion for Africa
● Culturally sensitive & interest in sustainable tourism
Managing a scale-up with young people means the following:
● A natural leader
● Open-minded, accessible & down to earth
● Socially intelligent, patient & empathic
● Realistic but also optimistic
● Energetic & fun
● Decision-maker & consistent
ABOUT THE CANDIDATE: WORK EXPERIENCE
● At least 5 years of management experience
● 8 years of work experience within several companies
● Commercial mindset: noticing and exploiting opportunities
Very nice to haves :
● Familiar with growth strategies
● Travel industry affinity and/or work experience
● Africa experience (travelling or living)
● Analytical skills
● Financially well-versed
● Affinity with Responsible, Eco and Community Tourism
● General management / CEO experience
THE PROPOSAL: WHAT CAN YOU EXPECT
1. A job that doesn't feel like work : you’ll be working for another 30 years, better enjoy it!
2. Co-entrepreneurship : you lead and grow a company that is yours too!
3. Development & Growth : we love what we do and by chance, we are on the right side of development and growth (authentic & responsible tourism, Africa = booming).
This makes the business game fun with lots of opportunities!
4. Joy : There is nothing more satisfying than having a product/service that brings enjoyment: within the team, our local partners and of course our travellers!
5. Making a difference: our goals are tangible, the work you do today will be visible tomorrow.
6. Contributing to the development of Responsible Tourism : travel should contribute, not detract! Contribute to this positive change!
7. Lifestyle : living & travelling in one of the most beautiful places in the world! After a working day/week: nature, fun, adventure >> YOU'RE ALIVE !!!
8. A close-knit team : you are building something beautiful with friends, not colleagues. The Angels become your family ;)
9. THE (AD) VENTURE OF A LIFETIME !!!
THE PROPOSAL: COMPENSATION
● Market-based salary (according to Dutch travel industry standards)
● Bonus if targets are reached
● Equity (depending on work experience, salary and investment)
● Travel agency-worthy benefits: housing & ticket allowance, plenty of vacation days, etc.
● Note: don't expect exuberant ex-pat style allowances, we are still a modest SME ;)
Are you interested in becoming a CEO in Kenya? Apply now at the top or bottom of our page.
Note: This is a job advertisement, applications will be forwarded to the employer for selection. JobnetAfrica believes all applicants should get feedback, good or bad, but are not further involved in the recruitment for this particular vacancy.