Last weekend I had a wonderful opportunity to attend two talks on travel blogging at the World Travel Market (WTM) Africa conference which took place over two days at the CTICC.
Travel is an area of my blog I’ve been looking to expand, with a special focus on family-friendly travel & reviews. I’m really excited about where this will lead so I felt this conference was a great opportunity for me to start taking this aspect of my blog a bit more seriously! (P.S. Stay tuned for details of our upcoming trips – starting with Stanford and #loveOverberg next weekend!)
The World Travel Market (WTM) Africa Bloggers sessions, hosted by director of Travel Bloggers Unite, Oliver Gradwell, presented an exciting 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.
I really found the talks I attended to be very valuable and enjoyed listening to various bloggers and social media specialists about how these days the story of a destination has become the unique selling point in selecting a travel or holiday destination and that through telling this story, destinations can create interesting information for potential travelers and which tourists will actually pay attention to.
The traditional travel decision-making process of awareness to interest, interest to desire and desire to action has morphed in the social media world. Travel decision-making is now influenced by reach, engagement, activation and nurturing. And bloggers have a huge part to play in this process!
“Destination Marketing Organisations need to entrust their citizens and visitors to share the “authentic” story of a destination. Travelers have a deep need to connect emotionally with a destination and they want to get into the flesh and blood of a destination. Travel bloggers, travelers 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,”
Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Destinate
Mariette highlighted how Cape Town had successfully used travel bloggers, travelers 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 that was 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.
In addition to the dedicated blogger education sessions, bloggers and exhibitors were also given the opportunity to take part in an exciting ‘Blogger Passport’ initiative. This enabled bloggers and exhibitors to engage with one another and proved to be extremely popular. I loved having the opportunity to introduce myself and this blog to various travel companies and destinations around Africa, and the cherry on the cake of a great experience was that I actually walked away with an amazing prize too! Now all I need to do is find an airline willing to sponsor me a few plane tickets so I can add a new (exotic) destination to my family friendly travel reviews!! Anyone with connections in marketing at Mango??
“The education sessions provided valuable insights into how tourism businesses can work and engage with bloggers and were very well attended and we were extremely pleased with the Blogger Passport initiative, we will certainly be looking to develop the blogger programme in the future.”
Kate Shepherd, WTM Africa Marketing Manager
World Travel Market is the leading global event for the travel industry and the must-attend business-to-business exhibition for the worldwide travel and tourism industry. WTM Africa 2015 will take place from 15 – 17 April at the Cape Town International Convention Centre. It will be the leading B2B exhibition for Africa’s leisure travel industry, bringing the world to Africa and promoting Africa to the world’s leading source markets. WTM Africa will attract exhibitors from all categories of the leisure travel industry within sub-Sahara Africa as well as North African destinations.