The FIFA World Cup in South Africa saw us emerge as a local team on the ground. Even as a newcomer, we instantly had 20 clients – international TV channels from all across Europe, Argentina and Australia – that recognised our strengths: local expertise and the innovative provision of private apartments, which would later become Khaya’s trademark.
Constantly listening to what clients wanted, we introduced local scouts in each of the eight host cities in Poland and Ukraine for the UEFA EURO Championship. The scouts, who spoke the local language and English, took our guests – and for the first time a large contingent of Brazilians, too – under their wings and introduced the guests to their cities, making sure the guests had the best possible experience.
The FIFA World Cup in Brazil again brought a huge language barrier, as few people in Rio de Janeiro and the other host cities spoke English. Our local scouts played an integral part in looking after our 50 clients from five continents, including – for the first time – clients from Japan and the United States. We provided clients with a wide range of services: hotel rooms, apartments, sim cards, translators and airline tickets. We also had 120 drivers in the host cities, welcoming the guests at the airport and taking them to their hotel or stadium.
With the UEFA EURO Championship in France and the Summer Games in Rio back-to-back, we showed our strength by providing first-class service on two continents. There was just a three-week gap between the events, but plenty of overlapping in terms of guest arrivals. Our service was dynamic and adaptable, as we looked after guests in cities – 10,000 kilometres apart – simultaneously. As the leading agent for private accommodation at major sport events, we sourced and managed over 500 apartments in Rio without any glitches. The apartments were in walking distance of the Olympic Park – and the best location for many guests attending the Games. This emphasised one of our key strengths: identifying the best accommodation, in the best area, at reasonable rates.
The year will bring the Winter Games in PyeongChang and the FIFA World Cup in Russia. In addition to many other apartments, our acquisition of over 400 apartments – ranging from studios to two- and three-bedroom apartments – in PyeongChang’s Sky Terra complex is a first for us. Previously, we rented furnished apartments. This time, however, we will run a hotel-style operation – in its entirety – ourselves. Later in the year, in Russia, we will again provide our extensive services in all the host cities. Years of preparation will pay off as we welcome guests from around the world.
Khaya has now also focused on smaller events. We have been present at Confederation Cups, UEFA Champions League finals, FIS Alpine and Nordic World Ski Championships, FINA Swimming World Championships and others. We are ready to extend our services to other sports and entertainment events, where clients ask us for our support – or organisers need our expertise. Major events need specialists – Khaya is ready!