To an outsider, it’s easy to get caught up in the notion that destination marketing is just about spending buckets of money on flashy advertising campaigns. But the reality is that unless significant time is spend on research, engagement and training both before and after the ad campaign, it is unlikely to deliver any real results.
Tasked with marketing one of the top destinations not only in Africa but the world, Cape Town Tourism (CTT) has adopted what it refers to as a ‘destination-first’ approach to its marketing efforts which has helped it achieve its goals – and has devised a model which Leigh Dawber, Marketing Executive at CTT shared at Africa Travel Week Virtual.
“This integrated approach is an intersection between the components of destination marketing, destination management travel intel that create the synergies not available in a traditional, fragmented destination marketing approach,” she says.
The first step in its value creation cycle model is to start with Intel and Insights. This is when you establish where you want to market and establish their levels of demand and readiness. Once you have these insights, you need to go to those source markets to test your plans in the second stage, which CTT refers to as Source Market Preparedness. At this point, you will need to build relationships, establish partnerships and conduct market and visitor profiling. Then, you need to return home to ensure you have a Relevant Quality Product and Tourism Offering, which may involve industry education, as well as potential certification and accreditation programmes. At the same time, you will begin to create market-specific content taking account different audiences, including the industry, visitors and media. Next, you will conduct Visitor Services and Concierge Training, followed by Marketing to Attract the Right Visitor – the highly visible ad campaign part of the process. Critically, Dawber points out that the work doesn’t stop there. Once the travellers are in market, the DMO still has an important role to play to ensure a Quality Visitor Experience that matches and exceeds their expectations. Finally, you start again back at the Intel and Insights stage, with the cycle repeating itself and improving each time.
Dawber went on to share various examples of how CTT has put the various steps in the cycle into action:
SMME Marketing Incubator
Relevant Quality Product and Tourism Offering
As a DMO with its core competency in marketing, CTT developed the SMME Marketing Incubator to empower SMMEs to drive their business growth. The incubator educates through simple to understand, fresh current material and provides templates to practically apply the learnings to their business. The programme has three main goals – firstly helping SMMEs to understand their business and its challenges, secondly prioritising what needs to be done to get better results, and finally, planning how to get there. The incubator is endorsed by the Cape Peninsula University of Technology and was featured by Entrepreneur magazine as a forward-thinking inclusive venture.
Chef Exchange Programme
Visitor Services & Concierge Training
To prepare for the Muslim traveller, CTT partnered with CrescentRating to upskill restaurants on Muslim-friendly practices. It developed the Chef Exchange Programme, where local hotel chefs are trained by five-star chefs from Singapore in an exciting and engaging way. Once complete, the chefs complete an online assessment to receive CrescentRating accreditation, and the winning team travelled to Singapore for further exposure to this culinary style. In total, 40 local chefs were trained, with 25 receiving CrescentRating Accreditation.
Marketing to Attract the Right Visitor
CTT has just conducted a three-month conversion-focused domestic campaign with trade partners, offering highly discounted flights through vouchers and subsidies and measured in trackable flight bookings. The results were impressive, with a Campaign Spend: Visitor Spend ration of 1:74.
City Twinning with NYC & Company
Cape Town Tourism has enjoyed a three-year partnership with NYC & Company with the shared objective of growing tourism between the two destinations. The partnership focuses on running campaigns with the exchange of media assets to avoid massive financial outlays, while at the same time connecting one another with the right partners in each city. This campaign generated a ROI of 21% and played a role in securing a direct route for United Airlines in 2019, with the airline being one of the campaign partners.
Quality Visitor Experience
Safety and security play an integral role in the city’s reputation, which is why CTT decided to create a dedicated brand for safe and responsible travel. The main purpose of TravelWise is to reduce uncertainty and anxiety, restore confidence, advocate and encourage people to visit Cape Town. A number of initiatives fall under this brand, including the WTTC Safety Stamp which Cape Town was approved to use in August 2020. The DMO has also partnered with Namola which has an existing safety app, providing free access for Cape Town’s visitors who can request assistance when needed, using the phone’s GPS to locate them and send help.