Five ways you can boost tourist on your estate
Capitalising on the post-pandemic tourism boom1st Aug 2022
There is no denying tourism is big business in South Africa. Pre pandemic figures show that the country generated more than R130 billion from tourism each year, which directly contributed to nearly 3% of our GDP.
Post pandemic tourism is changing, with travellers now opting for a self-contained rental unit than a hotel room. This shift means residential estates a huge opportunity to cash in. Here’s what you need to do to get in the game.
Chose the right target market
News that international fight bookings are up will be music to the ears of most. ‘In May 2022, flight bookings were up 25% on their 2021 levels, with some destinations like Kimberley and Bloemfontein recovering faster than others, although these figures are still a long way off their 2019 booking and search volumes,’ says Stewart Smith, managing director for the Middle East and Africa at Sojerna, a leading provider of digital marketing solutions for the travel industry.
If you want to target the foreign traveller, focus your marketing and advertising on the usual suspects. Tourists from the UK, Germany, the US, and other African countries tend to holiday here during the summer months, while those from the middle east will come in the winter, to escape their high temperatures.
Don’t forget domestic travel – it is a crucial component of tourism too and is still booming. Smith tells us that nearly 50% of flight bookings to South Africa in the last year originated from with the country, with some areas like Kimberley and Bloemfontein recovering faster than others.
Sell the lifestyle
Consider your multi-dimensional service offering and make sure it stands out from others.
Usually, people do not like to stay in a property that is below the standard they have at home says Elize Sewell, who has owned and rented out luxury villas and apartments in Camps Bay for over 20 years.
‘They want to be able to use a Nutribullet, modern coffee machine, beautiful crockery, good quality linen. Fun things like fire pits, pizza ovens and outdoor kitchens are currently all the rage, but you cannot put a price on stylish interior design and fantastic views that can be shown off on social media,’ she says.
Plan out the logistics
Balancing the needs of your residents with the expectations of a tourist can be incredibly tricky. Think about what areas of the estate will be accessible to short-term guests – will they be able to use the communal pool and golf course; will they have to pay to use the onsite gym and spa and what about offering a dedicated workspace, for travellers to work and do business?
A huge issue will involve managing an influx of traffic during the busy months and ensuring there is enough parking space. It’s a good idea to work with your security provider to find the most accommodating solution.
Remember to also think about how personally involved you want to be. ‘Some travellers really appreciate local insights from the host, including advice on where to go and helping organise shuttles, tour guides and bookings for nearby attractions,’ says Dean McCoubrey, founder of LuxuryTravelEditors.
The remote working trend has fuelled an upsurge in digital nomads travelling the globe and staying in places for extended periods of time.
‘Properties that can offer dedicated workspaces and high-speed internet are more likely to get booked,’ says Max Urban, co-founder and managing director of Propr, South Africa’s largest short term rental management company.
He goes onto explain that although most foreigners are not aware of load shedding, the news is spreading globally causing them to demand energy resistance. ‘Properties need to offer solutions that minimise the impact on guests. This ranges from special lamps and bulbs to inverters that can power internet routers. The initial cost outlay is quickly recouped through increased bookings,’ he says.
Safety adds solace
The added problem is the high rate of crime and security concerns in South Africa. ‘A residential estate which offers 24-hour manned security to reduce this risk will be very popular,’ says McCoubrey. Ensure your security service is aware of any influx in footfall so that they can prepare adequately.