Dreams 4 Africa Sales & Marketing Representation
Dreams 4 Africa are tourism marketers and not a collection or portfolio You do not join Dreams 4 Africa. You are merely accessing our marketing services. The more of our services you use, the more you benefit. We are proud of the fact that every one of our marketing platforms are the best in the industry. We believe in helping you build your brand in the industry and therefore offer a full range of services to property owners who are serious about their lodge and have a good attitude towards the environment and that of their fellow man.
More on the details of your Sales and Marketing Representation
Sales and marketing representation – let me introduce this very vast subject by isolating it to the travel industry.
To start my introduction to the services we offer you, l need to point out a misconception that often takes place with property /lodge owners in Africa. They are always under the misconception that they need only to concentrate on international operators. What they don’t know is that most international operators work through local southern African inbound operators/agents, known as ground handlers – as high as 80% of international business comes through southern African inbound operators. This means if you do not have sound relationships with local operators in southern Africa your property will not be doing well.
Let me elaborate. We have a comprehensive data base and there are 3500 inbound operating companies in South Africa who in turn may employ thousands of consultants. Your larger companies may employ as many as 200 consultants. The small operators employing 12 or more. There are 1800 inbound operators (companies) in Johannesburg 800 inbound operators (companies) in Cape Town and 400 in Durban; the rest scattered over South Africa. The point is, if you do not have relationships with these operators you have already lost your major percentage of representation for your business, because these operators are only selling Africa inbound to international operators and FIT (independent travelers ). All inbound operators have strong relationships with international operators – this is how the travel business works. What you may not be aware of is that South Africa is the gateway and remains the central hub of international flow of the travel coming into the southern African region.Internationally, operators and independent travelers rely on the southern African operators to arrange their reservations. largely that is what Indaba is all about – International operators meeting up with local operators, as well as meeting up with properties. Even though that is part of it; what really happens, is local operators bring out the international operators to Indaba to meet the properties. You may wonder why some international operators are not using you, well it’s simple – their local partners are not buying you and are recommending other properties. I have been trying to explain this to property/ lodge owners for years. It is very important for you to know and understand the hospitality industry. Like all businesses there are changing market trends all the time and especially with the global economic crisis and how they are effecting certain sectors that affect your tourist market – some are shrinking while others are growing.
At dreams 4 Africa we specialize in southern African markets and the southern African operators even though we have over 2000 international operators on our data bases, who sell Africa and know who we are, and who receive our marketing information every week. Our focus is the local operators because once they are committed to using your property that’s when you see the difference.
We specialize in top – end, owner driven safari and beach lodges and boutique hotels through southern Africa. Our standards are high and we are well respected in the industry as one of the largest, most successful marketers.
I also need for you to note that a lodge and its owners must be actively in control of the lodge and not running by remote control. We see this in too many properties where decision making is left to the lodge manager or even the young receptionist at the lodge. Unless they have a sound background in sales and marketing and management, they are the wrong people to make the decisions Their job should be first and foremost hospitality and running the day to day functions of the lodge.
Your property cannot grow if the owner is not playing an active roll in building his business. Nobody builds your business like you can and yes we all need help from outside for the expertise we lack. Share holders are often a danger to most businesses if they are not active but purely involved for profits and lack the passion. It’s important for us to know that the owners have the passion.
The biggest areas for disaster are bad marketing, bad management and bad reservations systems and an owner who refuses to understand the industry. It is important to pay attention to these points. It is impossible for us to do our job if these points are not covered. A special note to sales – follow up. If the lodge is not following up on the sales calls and enquires from operators – meaning not reservations inquiries, but meetings made with operators at Indaba or workshops or feed back from our sales calls then nothing will happen. You need to be building these relationships. We at Dreams 4 Africa will introduce the agents to you, but unless you follow through, to build a relationship with these operators, nothing will happen.
As much as there are 3500 operators in South Africa and thousands internationally, you are competing with over 14,000 lodges /hotels in South Africa and double that number in southern Africa. They are all competing for that tourist flow. You need to be on top of your game – we will give you all the help and guidance you need to achieve a successful lodge.
Dreams 4 Africa offer the most comprehensive in-house marketing plans in southern Africa.
Many large organisations use our marketing services. Listed below are the following services we offer as tourism marketers.We have strong relationships with the agents and operators and are well respected and trusted for offering authentic, high quality properties – if a property is not up to standard this reflects badly on us.
1. Sales representation to the southern African operators.
This service forms the biggest part of our successful marketing for property owners. All our other services are brought together by this service Our sales and marketing staff visit the buyers and product managers of the operators on a daily basis doing introductions and product training. We have very strong relationships with all the top operators in South Africa, such as Tourvest, Wilderness, & Beyond, Welcome, Fairfields, Grovenor, Albatross and Bidvest Travel inc to mention just a few. We only work with senior management, buyers and product managers.
Every month you will receive a full report on operators that have been visited with all their contact details so that you can begin to further your relationship with them. These operators would have received all your information – brochures and fact sheets and rates
Being part of our sales marketing you benefit for free from all our TV, magazine and other media activities. We are one of the only companies supplying SABC TV’s 50/50, a nature, wildlife program with our properties. This costs our marketing clients nothing but a prize consisting of a 3 nights stay for two in exchange for 4 weeks of exposure on 50/50 That would have cost you R200,000. Millions of people view this program in South Africa.
The magazine marketing is again with 3 of the largest distributed magazines in southern Africa and your exposure is free in the YOU, HUISGENOOT and DRUM magazine. The readership is in the thousands and it again is in exchange for a bed night prize. We are the only company they work with. This service is not available to non marketing clients.
All marketing clients are included onto our website, for free, as part of the sales marketing plan. Our website is visited by thousands of operators and independent travelers every month. All information is directly linked to each individual property. There is also a direct link to your reservations. All inquiries go directly to the relevant lodge or property. This internet marketing is available to non sale representation clients at a fee.
Dreams 4 Africa also offer e marketing as part of sales and marketing. This is a free service to our sales marketing clients but is open to other properties at a fee. Our e marketing goes out every month, covering every region of southern Africa, so there is e marketing going out every week. This marketing goes to over 15,000 operators and trade as well as top company executives. These have proved very successful, with top properties using our services. Our e marketing is the best in the industry.
This was created in 2006 as a top quality book that features top authentic safari lodges. Every year a brand new edition comes out, in time for Indaba. We are now on our 7th edition for 2013. This book has been our biggest success and is the best travel publication in southern Africa. The operators are given the book for free and use the book as a trusted guide.
Its power lies in its high quality as a coffee table book and has a annual readership of over 100,000. It has also been voted the best safari travel book, in the travel industry, in southern Africa.
The marketing focus of the book is travel operators. Every year the the new publication launches at Indaba, going for free to local and international operators.The book goes out to all operators attending our Top Destinations Workshops. The book goes out to all operators in South Africa and all their consultants. The book is found in leading bookstores and airports in South Africa and in the rooms of lodges and hotels that feature in the book.
There is a Cost of inclusion in the most powerful marketing tool in print and this forms part of our sales and marketing contract.
Our workshops are the best and most successful in southern Africa and attract over 400 top inbound operators. Our workshops are held every year in Cape Town in March, Durban in August and Johannesburg in September. Each workshop is exclusive and allows for 30 top destinations in southern Africa to exhibit. Only the top operators and their buyers and product managers are invited. Each workshop is an intense day of networking and relationship building – a day where the operators can get to meet the owners of these properties and a day where business is written.
Our indaba stand is without a doubt the most successful stand at Indaba. Every year we get better and larger. Every year, over 400 inbound operators visit the properties on our stand. Our stand is located in the main ICC hall and takes up an entire isle. Indaba is definitely a place of growth for any property owner, but knowing how to use Indaba or trade shows is important and this is one of our success stories, along with all our marketing platforms.
We provide everything – even assistance with booking your appointments with operators. We create an online diary for each exhibitor – each exhibitor starts Indaba with 60% of their diary full of appointments.