September 27th, 2012

Ron Mackenzie - The Diplomats Council

Ron Mackenzie

Place of Residence
South Africa

Embassy Direct

We have a number of entities and initiatives under our Embassy Direct banner. Urban & Safari, Karkloof Spa, Group Travel Finder and the lessor marketed Explorers Club (expat travel only). My business partners have further entities Brigette (BCK Corporate Travel), Rocco (SAWCER - conservation) and Eugene (Fresh Media, graphics & design). The Safari Guys brand is yet to receive our full attention.
What is the core business of you company? 
We have an Embassy Magazine as well as various travel companies/entities.
What is the biggest business challenge for your company? 
Providing a highly personalized service means our time is the major challenge. Magic wand pleas!
How does your company differentiate itself from companies in the same branch?
Our publication is a unique concept and stand-alone. In terms of travel ... When you go and ask your travel agent for a recommendation you may find they often haven't experienced the offerings first hand - whereas we make a point of traveling the back roads, exploring, living what we sell!
What do you think is the most important service you offer to business people?
We'll save you time and money whilst delivering quality. We've been getting it right for years.
How often do you travel yourself?
All the time! Every week. I'm just back from Botswana and have Cape Town, Durban, Zambia, Zimbabwe and Namibia written on the calendar.
What is your favorite destination and why?
If I want to indulge the senses, Karkloof Spa in KZN is without peer. For adventure ... right now it's Namibia. Everything works, people are friendly, lots to do and unique scenery. You can often see children experiencing a sense of wonder, which is not as common to feel as an adult. I love places that bring out that sense of wonder and the two I've mentioned do just that.
Why did you become a member of the SANEC network?
Primarily because of networking, but also because the Dutch people I've met are tuned into a frequency that I appreciate. At a Dutch function you'll often hear the word innovation and it seems to me that it's not just a word but a mindset.
How do Embassy Direct / urban and safari and SANEC work together?
We expose SANEC to our network and get to expand our contacts through SANEC events.
Why should people or business plan their holiday or business trips with Embassy Direct/urban and safari?
Again - time / money / quality. We match the best product to your budget. As we spend most of our time experiencing what we sell - it's not guess work. Having looked after the travel needs of Prime Ministers to pregnant moms, our experience has a great value - one we share with our clients. Maybe more importantly, as mentioned above, we really do care about our clients.