The World Travel Market (WTM) Africa Bloggers sessions presented a valuable opportunity for bloggers to network and engage with the most blogger friendly exhibitors at WTM Africa, from hotel providers to exclusive game lodges and adventure activity providers.
WTM Africa, which concluded on 3 May at the Cape Town International Convention Centre (CTICC), joined forces with director of Travel Bloggers Unite, Oliver Gradwell to bring a dedicated travel blogger programme with that offered guidance on how the industry can best utilise bloggers as a marketing resource. According to social media specialists, the story of a destination has become the unique selling point in selecting a travel or holiday destination and through telling this story, destinations can create interesting information potential travellers and tourists will actually pay attention to, helping you stand out from the crowd.
“Destination Marketing Organisations need to entrust their citizens and visitors to share the “authentic” story of a destination. Travellers have a deep need to connect emotionally with a destination and they want to get into the flesh and blood of a destination,” says founder of Destinate, Mariette du Toit-Helmbold. “Travel bloggers, travellers and citizens share a trustworthy message about a destination. Press junkets look like a junket. Travel bloggers should simply be pointed in the right direction to find their own stories. These stories must be more than pretty pictures. People can smell fake miles away,” she added.
She highlighted how Cape Town had successfully used travel bloggers, travellers and citizens to elevate the destination’s status through its #LoveCapeTown campaign that generated over 37m impressions, reached 1.2m people and generated a return on investment of 21:1. The #LoveCapeTown marketing campaign launched in 2011 generated unprecedented engagement of a destination’s locals that it was cited as one of the most impressive blog trip campaigns ever run. “The engagement of locals in the campaign led to Cape Town’s authentic story being revealed. And this type of content helps to change people’s perceptions about a destination,” says Du Toit-Hembold “Destination marketers need to work on their stories, be personal and engage. Be brave enough to let your personality shine through.”