#visitWestCoast: Saldanha Bay Tourism Organisation’s brand new marketing journey

by on 10.07.2017

#visitWestCoast: Saldanha Bay Tourism Organisation’s brand new marketing journey

With its quaint white-washed cottages, colourful fishing boats, wind-swept beaches, picturesque back roads, burst of wild flowers in spring time and, of course, ‘lekker’ people who know how to spin a good yarn, it’s no wonder the West Coast of South Africa holds a special place in the heart of anyone who’s spent some time exploring here.

Saldanha, picture by Mike Eloff @thelawry

 

So, when we recently got the opportunity to help guide Saldanha Bay Tourism Organisation through the process of developing a new regional tourism strategy and launching a new marketing plan for the West Coast Peninsula, we jumped at the opportunity.

Home to seven towns – Langebaan, Hopefield, Vredenburg, Paternoster, Jacobsbaai, Saldanha Bay and St. Helena Bay – the peninsula is located a mere hour’s drive from Cape Town and offers a wealth of experiences for travellers to enjoy.

And this is also where the key to the new marketing plan lies – experiential travel that requires a few days of immersion in this special region.

The importance of EXPERIENCES

Shown to be the single biggest trend in international travel right now, people are no longer satisfied with traditional tour bus itineraries, but instead want to immerse themselves in the culture, history and traditions of a given place, preferably through direct contact with local people. 

So, we spent some time mining the seven towns for the type of experiences that would delight travellers and soon found that each held a wealth of treasure that makes each down truly distinctive and worth exploring. 

Shareability and online presence

Of course, even the most amazing experiences run the risk of going completely unnoticed if they do not have some sort of online presence and lack in shareability.

For this reason, we focused much of the marketing plan around the launch of new digital platforms, including a brand-new website, www.visitwestcoast.co.za and social media platforms, and created the #visitWestCoast-hashtag to encourage sharing on social media.

With its clean lines, gorgeous high-res photography and accents of blue and yellow, the new website makes it easy for visitors to find information about each of the towns and their top restaurants, attractions and experiences. It’s also home to a blog, where more in-depth stories can be told, as well as an events calendar for travel planning purposes.

The site relies on influencer and local storytelling, sharing images and stories from the region to inspire more to visit and explore the region beyond the well-known towns.

The new website was launched at the end of June, along with the region’s brand new tourism information office, located in the beutifully refurbished Old Station Building in Vredenburg Main Road. 

Opening of the new visitor centre in Vredenburg, picture by Mike Eloff @thelawry


Kicking it off with a fun three-day campaign

In order to help raise awareness about all these new developments, we invited a group of local media, influencers and bloggers to join us for a three-day adventure on the West Coast Peninsula, asking them to share their experiences far and wide, using #visitWestCoast.

The jam-pack itinerary included:

- A visit to the Hopefield Museum, where local volunteers add an element of liveliness to the setup, as they dress up in vintage garb and bring the town’s history to life for visitors
- A fascinating educational experience at Simply Bee in Hopefield
- A tour of the West Coast Fossil Park, as well as a sneak peak of the brand new educational centre set to open to the public in September
- Dinner at chef Kobus van der Merwe’s truly exceptional Wolfgat restaurant in Paternoster
- A comfortable stay at Langebaan Country Estate
- Breakfast at Saldanha Bay Protea Hotel
- A visit to the Saldanha Cultural Village and Heritage Museum, where local guide, Linda Prezens, regales you with tales of the town’s colourful past
- Stand-up Paddle Boarding in the Langebaan Lagoon with Windtown

Wolfgat Restaurant, picture by Mike Eloff @thelawry

 

Stand up paddling in Langebaan, picture by Alfred Thorpe @vuurtoring

 

Simply Bee in Hopefield, picture by Mike Eloff @thelawry

 

Hopefield Museum, picture by Mike Eloff @thelawry

 

Of course, this only scratched the surface and we can’t wait to get a little deeper under the skin of this special region with a next visit.

What next

With Tourism Month (September) being just around the corner, we’re planning an exciting campaign for the West Coast Peninsula, focused around the opening of Fossil Park’s beautiful new Educational Centre as we celebrate the themes of culture and heritage in tourism.

Carlinn Meyer at the West Coast Fossil Park, picture by Mike Eloff @thelawry

 

A fascinating visit to the West Coast Fossil Park, picture by Mike Eloff @thelawry

 

While we don’t want to give too much away just yet, we’ll be sharing more about the campaign closer to the time.

In the meantime, why not make a little West Coast weekend trip of your own? And be sure to share your travels, using #visitWestCoast.

The Destineers at work in Paternoster, picture by @mariettedth. From left to right: Nadia Krige, Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, Annareth Bolton

 

If you want to talk to Destinate about destination marketing, a campaign or communications and marketing support, send us an email to info@destinate.co.za and the Destineers will be in touch.

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