We chat to Philippa Murray, marketing and operations head of Stanford Tourism – a not so sleepy village located between Hermanus and Gansbaai – about the role of local Tourism Offices. Given the village’s positioning, the brand has done well to position itself as not just conveniently placed for shark cage diving (Gansbaai) or whale watching (Hermanus) but as a destination itself. One where the rich historical architecture, foodie markets, owner-run restaurants, and an impressive array of accommodation options, draw guests from around the globe. The ongoing success of the town’s destination marketing is due largely to the effort of the Local Tourism Office and active member base.

Your local tourism office is often the first place strangers visit, and very quickly they get a feel for how your village or town is woven together. Your local tourism office might look like an information kiosk, or booking office, but what is folded inside the tourism offices in the Overstrand region, and those of our neighbouring districts, is a collective body of members, volunteers, businesses and office staff who link the public and private sectors. They work towards a common goal of marketing the destination, injecting opportunity and funding into small business, linking businesses, tourism and the community, and they are the pathway to accessing municipal funding for projects and events. What your tourism office can do for local businesses: Destination & Online Marketing and Networking Opportunities:

  • broaden the reach of your marketing by sharing your marketing on multiple platforms to other tourism offices, databases, local publications, etc.
  • Pass on press or media opportunities as they arise
  • Advise on local visitor and business trends in the region
  • Your membership fee is a fraction of what the Municipality adds to the operating costs of a Tourism Office; so your membership fee gives you access to a much greater return on your spend through destination marketing
  • Market your town as a whole experience of which your business is one part – create the overall glue which makes your town unique. Most visitors visit a town or region, not a stand alone business.
  • Introduce you to other local businesses, people, charities – take you into the fold and introduce you to the other role players
  • Local tourism offices have already done the legwork to master the conundrum of Search Engine Optimisation and most of the tourism offices pop up at the top of general Google searches – new businesses benefit from jumping onto that bandwagon

Events, Red Tape, and the Municipality:

  • co-ordinate a calendar of events to minimise clashes
  • advise on municipal requirements and red tape to help you and your business adhere to regulations
  • assist event co-ordinators apply for Municipal funding
  • assist in placing interns through the national Expanded Public Works programme, and Local Employment Development
  • it is the only office that can advise and assist you in applying for brown tourism road signs
  • Tourism offices can also Advise on best Business Practices – owners of Airbnbs for example can benefit from understanding what really goes into running a hospitality business from indemnity forms to special insurance.

What your tourism needs from you:

  • Do whatever is within your means to market your property alongside the LTB efforts. Your local tourism bureau can only boost what you do for yourself. Your great content can be shared with your Tourism Office’s wider network offering you more reach & engagement opportunities. Take advantage of this and send them as much of your information as you can. Also tag them in posts you do on your own platforms so they can be aware of what your offerings and specials are.
  • Work in collaboration with your fellow members, there is so much opportunity to share, grow and benefit from one another.
  • Take ownership and pride in your LTB, it needs your help to market your region. It cannot market the destination without your input – it needs you to be part of a team which moves in one direction! Attending meetings and sharing your input will assist in aligning the marketing objectives of the region.

 

Phillipa Murray

Marketing & Operations, Stanford Tourism

Gosh, we love small towns, not only for their quaintness and homebaked treats- but small communities and especially ones with a tourism focus have a unique way of working together for the greater good of the village. It is this sense of Ubuntu in smaller towns such as Stanford which have lead to their growth and success of their members. Working together to promote their hometowns and offerings is what sets them apart and we just love a village where collaboration drives their ethos. Smart Octopus is a proud member of Stanford Tourism and we are more than happy to assist members with their online marketing plans to ensure that we all work together to grow our beautiful village.