Cape Town Tourism has been announced as a winner in this year’s annual Travel + Leisure SMITTY Awards in the category Best Overall Use of Social Media, CVB, Global.
The Travel + Leisure SMITTY Awards recognise innovative use of social media in the travel industry.
The 2012 winner for the category ‘Best Overall Use of Social Media, CVB, Global’ was VisitSweden. In 2011, VisitSweden handed over control of their Twitter feed (@sweden ) to regular citizens for one week at a time, in a bid to feature the local voices and flavours of Sweden.
Digital marketing and social media have been an integral part of Cape Town Tourism’s marketing programmes. Cape Town Tourism’s eMarketing strategy focuses on using citizens and fans of Cape Town from around the world as the marketers of Cape Town. Some of the tourism organisation’s digital and social media milestones include:
- The creation of a virtual fan park for Cape Town on Facebook.The I ♥ Cape Town Facebook fan page stands at more than 280 000 fans and was recently recognised as one of the top brand Facebook pages in the country.
- Regular tweets and blogs have earned Cape Town Tourism a place as one of the top 25 most influential tourist boards and DMO’s online
- The launch of the new Cape Town Toolkit that includes diverse itineraries, high-quality images and information about Cape Town that allows registered users in the travel, tourism and marketing trade to access promotional material and resources at the touch of a button.
- An integrated marketing campaign with National Geographic saw Cape Town and Durban feature across National Geographic platforms for a period of fourteen months between April 2012 and June 2013. The campaign had a strong online focus and included a one-hour documentary about the two cities, a series of TV vignettes focussed on the unique sounds of each city, an array of international National Geographic magazine features, editorial on National Geographic’s website, as well as a social media and digital campaign championed by National Geographic’s digital nomad, Andrew Evans.
Cape Town Tourism was one of the pioneering DMOs to work with travel bloggers in a formal way. In August 2012, Cape Town Tourism hosted four top international travel bloggers as Cape Town iAmbassadors. The campaign was called #LoveCapeTown and over the hosting period it recounted their experiences of the destination across various digital and social media platforms. Cape Town locals were called on for crowd-sourcing ideas and, as the marketers of Cape Town; their engagement resulted in over 36 million Twitter impressions in three weeks (via Tweetreach).
In 2012, Cape Town Tourism used Facebook as a tool for uncovering Cape Town and it’s abundance of attractions via an interactive travel game app called My Cape Town Holiday . The app was launched as a competition that saw Facebook profiles being sent on holiday to Cape Town between October and December 2012, with the offer of the real thing for three lucky winners – announced in February 2013.
Rich Beattie, Executive Digital Editor of Travel + Leisure says: “We launched the SMITTYS last year simply to recognize innovation in social media, but the competition has also raised the creativity bar for travel companies. The increased level of originality really showed in this year’s entries—we saw new ideas on every social media platform. And the addition of travel bloggers has injected the awards with even more energy.”
Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism said; “As Cape Town shifts its brand position to appeal to the new urban traveller, technology and digital marketing is set to play an even more significant role. The relationship between travel and technology is closer than ever. More destinations are turning to social media to promote their services and reach customers in a more intimate, interactive and instant way. We know that today’s traveller is researching on social media. If they want to know something, they just put it out to the global community, so it’s a space Cape Town Tourism considers vital to play in, staying close to the conversation as a trusted member of the community. The widespread adoption of our hashtag #lovecapetown has been symbolic of the remarkable shift that communication and marketing has undergone in a very short period. I am very proud of the SMITTY award and the team that conceptualised the campaigns that it recognises.”