Marketing Advice for Tourism SMEs from SA’s Top Travel Bloggers

Posted on September 15th, 2018
Articles Grow Sales & Marketing Sales and Marketing Technology Technology Tourism

A strong digital footprint is vital for businesses in the tourism industry, and no one knows this better than South African travel bloggers whose job it is to frequent tourism establishments.

We asked three of South Africa’s most prolific travel influencers to advise on how they think small business owners can improve their digital strategies to ensure travellers flock to their establishments.

Katchie Nzama

Mukhatshelwa “Katchie” Nzama is known as The Solo Wandera. She left her job in corporate in October 2014 to pursue her blog Travel with Katchie, full-time. Last year she travelled through Africa using public transport and visited 21 countries.

Her following on her social media platforms is over 17,000.

Make it easy for potential clients to find you online

“Most travellers will check a blog or social media accounts before they go check on Google where they can go on holiday,” says Nzama. “Search engine optimization (SEO) is very important to learn if an SME is to create a digital footprint. Align your SEO to your hashtags to make it easier for your potential clients to find you.”

Make SMART use of influencers

On working with bloggers, she advises: “Find bloggers whose brands can help you achieve your goals. Do your research on the bloggers? You need to understand their audience but also their top platforms, (their way of) content creation and curation.

“Don’t approach a blogger to work for exposure.”

Meruschka Govender

Meruschka Govender started her blog Mzansi Girl in 2012 as a hobby. She has worked, for example, as a speaker at the African travel conference, INDABA Travel Bloggers Conference in 2014. Her other speaking events include the 2018 #Digital Symposium. At the end of 2013, Govender left her job to do blogging full-time. Her social media following across all channels is 40,000.

Share what makes your business unique

Govender says a mistake she has seen businesses make online is having complicated social media handles.

Her advice on using social media is: “Try to be authentic and know your unique selling point.

“Remember to sell the destination story. For example, people choose to go to Durban first before they decide what hotel to stay at. High-quality photos and videos are essential. Try and tell your stories with images and video. Get personal with your audience – tell them the stories of the people in your business or community.”

Make an effort to connect with travellers

Govender added: “Engage with your audience (give them incentives to share). Embrace user-generated content. Create your hashtag.

Anje Rautenbach

Anje Rautenbach started her blog Going Somewhere Slowly in 2012. She says although blogging is not her full-time job, she is consistent with her content.

She has a combined social media following of nearly 20,000.

Have a low-season strategy in place

On working during quiet tourism months, Rautenbach says she thinks everyone should put a low-season strategy into place. “For example:

“Create a seasonal package, at a possibly reduced cost, with other business owners and add a variety of offers to the deal, from accommodation to activities and meals.

“Don’t forget about reaching your locals during low season, piggyback ride on events in the area and perhaps create an offering for your loyal customers.”

Use social media to its full potential

On social media, Rautenbach advises: “Join in and be part of the conversation on social media. You’ll be surprised by the connections you make and the opportunities you can create for yourself via social media. Also, for your sanity, take time away from social media.”