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Does the bunny still make estates money?

Here’s how Easter may be mined to benefit all

By Esther de Villiers

, |

Does the bunny still make estates money?

Here’s how Easter may be mined to benefit all

By Esther de Villiers

, |

3 min read

Easter is not only a date commemorated by believers the world over, but also a time for commercial enterprises to entertain the general public and generate welcome revenue in the process. Here’s a peep at what some of South Africa’s best-known estates have in the pipeline this year.

First, let’s flash back

When looking at some of the activities planned for Easter ’22, it’s impossible to ignore that this year marks our return to semi-normal from the watered down nature of events across the board since the start of South Africa’s lockdown over two years ago.

Crowds numbering in excess of mere double-digits are accommodated anew, so there’s much more leeway to use Easter as an opportunity to grow awareness of your estate and its unique offerings.

This may include anything from pristine courses displayed during Easter golf days, unique amenities attached to residential developments, or new menus, cultivars and activities added to a wine estate’s portfolio.

Wine, children and tunes

Two cases in point are the historic Boschendal and burgeoning Spier wine estates, both part of the world-famous Cape Winelands itinerary. What’s on the slab this year differs from Easter ’21 promotions, most significantly in its freedom to accommodate increased numbers.

Last year’s Boschendal offerings comprised an invitation to picnic while enjoying live music, and for kids to join an Easter egg hunt; this year, the menu includes everything from Easter-inspired breakfasts (April 12-19), picnics throughout the weekend, a Good Friday Night and Potter’s markets on April 15 and 16 respectively, and dining specials from April 15-18.

Picnic baskets are priced at R660 (for two), R350 (single), and R150 (per kid); two-course sharing menus for two cost R520, and a three-course menu on either day R460pp.

In 2021, Spier’s three-course Easter Sunday lunch was accompanied by live music from local bands; kids’ activities included craft stations, and weekend stay-over guests received complimentary Easter egg kits to create their own hunts and so avoid the gathering of big crowds amid strenuous lockdown regulations.

A pop-up braai station was operational from Good Friday to Easter Sunday in a bid for scattered attendance throughout the weekend.

This year, there’s a marked hike in activities complementing special offers for gourmet dining and well-priced weekend stays. But perhaps the most cunning combination is Spier’s invitation for kids to decorate Easter cookies while their parents enjoy a wine tasting. The cookies go for mahala, the wines not so much…

Timing is everything

When comparing Easter weekend dates over the past decade, it’s an ever-changing affair. In South Africa, this year’s Easter does not fall within public school holidays, and precedes the Freedom/Workers Day (April 27/May 1) long weekend by 10 days.

‘We didn’t go big with promotions over Easter weekend as such,’ explains Pinnacle Point liaison and events manager, Michelle Parsons.

‘Instead, an enterprising group of residents performed a pantomime over two nights to Mossel Bay visitors and locals, including first citizen Dirk Kotzé, who gave the show a blazing review on social media, so adding excellent mileage to the reputation of our estate.’

The Easter Express pantomime was staged on the estate by members of the Pinnacle Point Arts & Culture Association, and cover charge of R150 per head included the musical as well as a meal. Perhaps this idea will inspire estate managers with an artistic bent to follow suit next Easter – you’ve a year to plan the show!

Everyone’s invited

GM at Le Pommier Elmien Botha says that Easter ’22 presents an opportunity to welcome all visitors with open arms: ‘Our eatery on the estate is a family restaurant, so everyone is welcome.’ Reservations are essential for Le Pommier’s Easter egg hunt on April 17 and 18, and kids under-12 stay for free when you book a weekend getaway.

The final word goes to Mother City-based hospitality maestro Reg Ferreira: ‘People are hungry to travel and elated to attend events once more. And they are happy to pay for it. With the Easter weekend historically presenting significant commercial opportunities, managers should carefully plan the marketing of their estates during this time.’

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