Africa Travel Week
social media

CATCH-UP: Why now is the best time for social media marketing for tourism (and how to do it)

During these challenging months of COVID-19, tourism is experiencing a decrease in bookings. However, your audiences are spending at least 29% more time on social media, giving you the ideal opportunity to BUILD YOUR BRAND online – and be ready to reap direct bookings when the tide has turned.

Lizanne du Plessis from Eco Africa Digital and Peter Fabricius from Springnest collaborated on an ATW Connect webinar to help the tourism industry navigate the most important aspects of the digital marketing funnel. They covered topics on how to build your brand and how to run successful social media campaigns that will convert into direct bookings once travel returns. Watch the webinar below:

With questions pouring in, here are few of the most important ones that Lizanne and Peter touched on:

How effective is Twitter?

Twitter is a great platform for an older market who values information. It is thus a great place to post blog articles and informative content. For tourism, we typically prefer Instagram and Facebook as they offer a bigger focus on images and videos, which is something that tourism establishments in attractive environments thrive on.

What is the value of YouTube?

YouTube has great value in itself, but we often use it with success to link to videos on our client’s websites or social media. It is valuable in that large videos can easily be shared via a YouTube link.

Do you think TikTok is a platform that we should use?

It definitely is a platform to take seriously and a marketing platform to consider, although we ourselves are currently still researching this platform and not actively using it yet.

The best apps to manage social media accounts?

Hootsuite, SproutSocial, and Facebook Business Manager.

What free software/platforms do you recommend for newsletters?

Mailchimp. Facebook Business Manager is currently also busy rolling out their own newsletter software, which would streamline sign-up campaigns via Facebook immensely.

My client profile is 65 – 84 years old. Is it really worth me working on Facebook with this category of client. I do, but I really don’t think many people see any of my posts? How can I find out from my regular clients if they look at Facebook without being obtrusive? 

We typically find that the older audiences prefer Twitter, as this is something that has replaced newspapers for many people in their age group. Also, consider that posting content on Facebook which you are not currently boosting with an ad budget, will probably not get very good engagement or results. If you want to opt for a paid campaign on Facebook and Instagram, you can select to show your content only to a target market of 65+ clients.

How can you direct your Facebook marketing ads at a specific group of people, and a specific country, without paying?

This is possible, although it will be slow and time consuming and will reap a significantly lower result than paid ads. Take into account that Facebook will show content that its algorithms have picked up as popular. I would suggest creating content that would appeal to the market you are interested in first.

Then I suggest you should become part of Facebook Groups related to the country and interest group you are looking for and share some of your (non-advertising) types of posts on the community groups. From here, you can invite everyone that has engaged with your content, to also Like your Page. You can also invite everyone of your personal friends to like your page.

Editorial marketing (storytelling).  Do you guys see its appeal growing?

Storytelling is everything. If you can find the emotion in your product and be able to package that as a story, your marketing will be easy.

What is the difference between a mailing list and guest list?

This can be the same thing, although a guest list will typically be the details of your previous guests and you will probably have it on an excel sheet or similar. A mailing list however, are these same contact details (or at least the name, surname and email address) of potential and/or existing guests that you want to reach with either newsletters or marketing material via mailers.

This list can usually be found in your Mailchimp (or similar) account. Every contact on this mailing list will have had to give you permission to use their details to send them marketing material, otherwise your mailing software will not allow you to use it.

How do you install Facebook pixel?

Click here for a quick link on how to install it yourself. If you have a Springnest website (from Peter’s company), you can get info on how to easily add your Facebook pixel here.

Can you please add in the links to the free or affordable apps you recommended for creating our own videos?

Are there any differences when dealing with domestic versus international travellers?

  • Consider that your domestic market typically books one month before their actual travel dates. If you expect arrivals in Dec, the booking will then probably be made in November, which means your marketing should reach that customer during August, September and October.
  • The international market typically books six months before their actual travel dates. This means that if you expect December arrivals, the booking will probably be made during July, which means your marketing should reach the customer during April, May and June.
  • Also consider your content. If you are targeting a customer in the Northern Hemisphere and your establishment is based in the Southern Hemisphere, you will not be experiencing the same seasons at the same time. Your content will thus have to take into account that you may be talking to someone in snowy weather, while you are enticing them with images of your swimming pool.


Lizanne du Plessis

​Lizanne founded Eco Africa Digital so that she could live out her two passions – ecotourism and online marketing. Her team has helped numerous tourism businesses grow their online presence, increase their bookings and expand their international appeal. With an MA degree in Environmental Ethics from Stellenbosch University, a BA in Knowledge Management, Digital Marketing diploma from Red & Yellow Creative School of Business and 9 years’ experience in the tourism marketing industry, Lizanne and Eco Africa Digital is on a mission to help tourism businesses in Africa grow.

Peter Fabricius

Peter is the Co-Founder of Springnest, a website builder and marketing platform developed for hotels, lodges and experience providers. He works as an independent Digital Marketing consultant and has advised multiple private and public sector tourism brands in destinations across Asia and Africa, including Nepal, Bhutan, Ethiopia, Zambia and Uganda.

Africa Travel Week

Africa Travel Week (ATW) focuses on inbound and outbound markets for general leisure tourism, luxury travel, LGBTQ+ travel and the MICE/business travel sector as well as travel technology. Shows include: ILTM Africa, WTM Africa, EQUAL Africa, ibtm AFRICA, Travel Forward, Sports & Events Tourism Exchange and African Tourism Investment Summit.