With the welcome announcement that interprovincial travel is allowed, SMMEs have a valuable opportunity to spark travel interest, reassure their customers and encourage them to take that first, much-anticipated post-lockdown holiday travelling South Africa.
Now is the time to take stock, reimagine and re-excite your customers about local travel and tourism.
Here are six easy ways to get South Africans excited about travelling South Africa:
Think solitude and self-care
After being cooped up for months, travellers are dreaming of solitude, space and wide-open spaces. The solitude aspect might be somewhat surprising, but given the rigorous mental, emotional and physical challenges of living through a pandemic, the common individual craving for space to breathe, think and meditate simply is not far off the mark at all.
Self-care, wellness and off-the-beaten-track travel is one of the key trends expected to emerge as the world eases out of its hibernation.
South Africa is ideally positioned to meet this desire. Think solitude and self-care and tailor-make and personalise your travel product around this trend. Highlight these aspects in all your marketing to get your customers excited about heading off the beaten Mzansi track.
Test drive your product
First-hand experience and recommendations are always first prize. Test drive your product, or if you suspect your bias will come through, give a colleague (or if you’re brave enough, a competitor) the chance to experience your product for themselves. Use their feedback to improve the customer experience and document their findings.
Ask them to share live Instagram stories as they check into your establishment or join you on tour. Seeing the travel experience, shared honestly, without fancy filters or marketing speak, will go a long way in reassuring your traveller in taking that first travel step. It will also give them added confidence and peace of mind in knowing what to expect in the “new normal” of travel.
Use the technology at your disposal to make the customer experience, from start to finish, as seamless as possible.
Highlight hidden gems
Hidden gems are your trump card. Travellers are craving different, unusual and private experiences – those hidden gems in your backyard.
Highlight those hidden gems. Your customers may think they’ve seen all South Africa has to offer, but you know better!
Think of a “did you know” angle on social media, fun polls and more. Showcase your knowledge and expertise of your niche – share the food, culture, history, daily life and things that may seem ordinary to you but will reveal the heart and soul of your offering to your customer.
People are craving connection. After months of virtual relationships, the need for face-to-face, physical contact (while keeping that 2-metre distance wherever possible) is higher than ever.
Showcase this not only in your product but in the way you interact with customers. Schedule a virtual consultation or coffee catch up and make it personable, much more than just a business meeting or sales pitch.
Share the history of your establishment, highlight which recipe is your grandmother’s and tell your story. Human connection is the most valuable weapon in your arsenal.
Don’t just hard sell
Customers need inspiration, information and reassurance. Now is not the time (was it ever?) for a hard sell.
Provide them with the inspiration to spark their wanderlust. Give your customer all the information they need upfront (minus any jargon) and continuously communicate to provide reassurance and peace of mind. Missing an updated FAQs section on your website or Instagram profile? That’s an excellent place to start.
Flexible bookings are becoming a key consideration factor. Ensure you have clear terms and conditions in place, including a flexible cancellation policy (in case of travel bans outside of a client’s control) so potential customers can book with confidence.
Share the positive
Keep things positive and forward-looking. Certainly, be honest about your challenges and paint a realistic picture for customers but keep things positive. Share positive South African stories, the smiles of your staff and the good news.
There’s never been a better opportunity to showcase value to your customers, to reimagine local travel and to get them excited about travelling across South Africa once again. Sign up to Jurni’s Booking Tool today free of charge, and make it easy for South Africans to book your product.