11 October 2012

New terms and conditions for SANParks bookings

South African National Parks (SANParks) recently announced new terms and conditions for its accommodation bookings for 2013.

The Kruger National Park boasts an abundant elephant population. The Kruger National Park boasts an abundant elephant population

This will minimise last-minute dumping of inventory – especially by the public and travel trade – that leaves SANParks with reduced time and opportunity to sell unused accommodation.

From 1 January 2013, South African National Parks (SANParks) will introduce new terms and conditions for accommodation sales.

Bheki Zwane, SANParks general manager: sales and marketing, said the new rules will apply to all accommodation bookings, except online and web bookings, and will affect tour operators, donor clients, the travel trade, pensioner clients and the general public.

According to Zwane, the reasons for the new requirements are to align SANParks with industry standards and to increase the availability of accommodation.

He said the new terms and conditions will encourage full payment long before visitors arrive at the camps, and this will minimise no-shows.

'The problem that SANParks encounters with its current terms and conditions is that customers hold bookings for longer periods and only decide at a later stage not to utilise such a booking … and this often results in loss of sales and revenue,' he said.

According to Zwane, the last review of accommodation deposit terms and conditions was done more than a decade ago, and a revamping of the rules and regulations is long overdue.

The new rules state that:

  • the first deposit to be paid 30 days after a booking is made will be increased to 50%, as compared with the current payment of 33%; and
  • the second deposit of 50% must be paid 60 days before arrival (whereas in the past, a 67% payment had to be made 30 days prior to arrival).

Web and online bookings will not be affected as they require full payment upfront.

Zwane said the new rules and regulations will have far-reaching effects: 'This will minimise last-minute dumping of inventory – especially by the public and travel trade – that leaves SANParks with reduced time and opportunity to sell unused accommodation.'

He pointed out the new rules will not affect old bookings already in the system, unless a new arrival date is requested by the client, and that web and online bookings will not be affected as they require full payment upfront.

It must be noted that under these new rules, the due date of the deposit will not be extended for any reason. 'Any reservation with a short payment of the deposit or no payment will automatically be cancelled.'