MarkLives.com – 20 September 2013
For many South Africans, and not only those who live there, Cape Town has a special place in their hearts. For many it’s the ideal holiday destination, and has the proud distinction of being the South African city most foreign tourists want to visit. In fact, Cape Town it is recognised as one of most desired destinations worldwide.
Promoting the Mother City may seem like a dream job, but there is a lot that has to be considered when marketing a city. And when it comes to tourism, most people are more inclined to base their purchasing decision on what they read on a blog or a review site than in conventional channels. What makes this complex is that these days there is a lot of “noise” competing for people’s attention when it comes to making choices of where to go on holiday.
The challenge for marketers is how to cut through the clutter. Cape Town Tourism and its agency has done this quite smartly with the current ‘Love Cape Town’ campaign, an extension of the ongoing campaign that lives under the slogan of “You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town.” It includes Facebook competitions, a Twitter angle, blogging promotions and an Instagram competition. The idea is to get a conversation going about the tourist venue in social media, and this strategy has intelligently built the city’s brand over recent years. For this month, being tourism month, the hashtag #lovecapetown has been adopted to bring all the elements of the campaign together.
Last year local and international bloggers were hosted during the city’s tourism month promotion, and once again, bloggers from around the world are using the #lovecapetown hashtag to promote the city. The big names behind this year’s campaign include Abigail King from Inside The Travel Lab (UK); Carol More fromFollow the Colours (Brazil); and Rachelle Lucas from The Travel Bite (USA). The idea is to find tourism experiences that are unusual – not the kind of usual fare a visitor might find on Lonely Planet or Tripadvisor.
This way tourists to Cape Town not only have their pick of ‘the things to do in the Mother City’ while they’re there, but also get to savour those interesting, unusual, out of the way, and less frequented destinations that make leaving home so worthwhile.
The hashtag #lovecapetown is now flying high on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, as Capetonians and others weigh in on ‘local is lekker’ tourism topics, like must-visit restaurants, as well as other venues and sites. The Facebook page is dynamic and well-maintained, and the main site, at www.capetown.travel, is a well-crafted, clean and informative site that should make any potential visitor feel welcome, if not salivating.
All posts with the hashtag are aggregated on the www.capetown.travel/lovecapetown page, updating constantly with opinions, pictures and suggestions – normal people sharing their experiences of the Mother City, its restaurants, activities, ideas and tips.
I had decided to write about this campaign last week, and then on Saturday night, the #lovecapetown campaign was awarded a gold in the Digital & Interactive category at the Loeries – adding to Cape Town Tourism’s Cannes Golden Lion and Travel+Leisure Smitty Awards. I think this is worthy recognition for a campaign that uses the medium to its fullest.
What’s important to note about this campaign is that doing a visually arresting commercial and flighting it on traditional media offshore is the easy (and expensive) route cities can take. But that’s a lazy option, now isn’t it? Cape Town Tourism together with its partners at Ogilvy have chosen the road less travelled – they’ve come up with an innovative, crowd-sourced campaign that invites participation and discovery. A campaign that takes a lot more work to manage.
But this campaign proves that social media can be an effective and immediate way to interact with potential local and international visitors: it creates a dialogue with its fans, who are only too happy to talk about something that they are passionate about. Which in turn creates a buzz that forms a valid message for the target market.
SITES/MICROSITES TO LOOK AT:
The international bloggers can be found at:
Abigail King: www.insidethetravellab.com; @insidetravellab;
Carol More: www.followthecolours.com.br; @follow_colours;
Rachelle Lucas: www.thetravelbite.com; @TravelBlggr.