Cape Town Tourism has taken to social media to market the Mother City.
The growing #LoveCapeTown campaign started as a trial when a group of bloggers was asked to experience Cape Town (through the recommendations of locals) and share the conversation about it on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook by using the hashtag, explains Velma Corcoran, executive marketing manager of Cape Town Tourism.
“The results were quite remarkable; rather than a fly-by-night campaign it has evolved into a long-term means of getting everyone in on the conversation, so it’s not Cape Town Tourism’s campaign anymore, it belongs to locals and visitors too. In 2013, when we monitored the hashtag, there had been an estimated 42m opportunities to see the #LoveCapeTown conversation across Twitter, Facebook and Instagram,” she says.
Recent research has shown that the biggest age group of travellers is between 16 and 34 – also the age group engaging with social media. Around 30% of tourists are uploading images of their travel experiences to Instagram and 56% are updating Facebook while on the move, Corcoran says.
“Social media is considered ‘word of mouth’ marketing, so for the 47% of people who use word of mouth when planning trips, social media shares are boosting those decision-making processes,” she says.
The use of the #LoveCapeTown hashtag on social media allows Cape Town Tourism to track what people are saying and aggregate the content.
“We get to watch in real time as people share their positive experiences in the city. It’s a form of crowd-sourcing miniature reviews and comments about everyone’s experiences. These could be anything from coming face to face with a penguin at Boulders Beach to enjoying a granadilla lollipop on Camps Bay beach. We have noticed that some Cape Town fans have adopted the hashtag and use it frequently in describing their experiences, from romantic sunset dinners to early morning strolls with their dogs,” she says.
There’s another side to the hashtag, however: it can also be used as a means of researching travel to Cape Town.
“Anyone wanting to visit here who wants to know more about what to see or do can investigate on their social media platforms by looking up the hashtag. It’s a much more personalised and intimate way of discovering the city than by checking out a brochure,” Corcoran says.
Another benefit to the hashtag is that tourism-related businesses can use it to spot trends and marketing opportunities, and in turn to make use of these in providing the kinds of offering that visitors will most enjoy, Corcoran explains.
“It’s special to us: locals can use it to find out more about things to see and do in Cape Town, and, with a simple share, they are helping to tell the whole world about what makes the Mother City one of the best places to be on the planet. I’d encourage everyone to have fun with #LoveCapeTown this holiday season – you’ll find out new places to go and things to do and you’ll be contributing to the tourism economy by encouraging others to visit.”