Stellenbosch to be 'uncovered' through international blogger campaign
The pioneering Stellenbosch American Express® Wine Routes amplified its innovation in connecting with more travellers from across the globe with the launch of an experiential #Stellenblog Blogger Campaign.
During the build-up phase of the campaign interest and intrigue will be built around Stellenbosch and just what awaits the selected bloggers, before they arrive on the fifth of May.
The campaign aims to affirm Stellenbosch as a multifaceted and must-experience destination worth much more than just a day trip or a wine tasting. It forms part of the region’s year-long Stellenbosch Experience marketing campaign, designed and coordinated by Destinate and initiated in conjunction with Stellenbosch 360, to showcase the region’s authentic wine tourism offerings on a global scale.
#Stellenblog, which is hosted in association with iAmbassador – renowned for successful blogging campaigns like #Blogville in Emilia Romagna, Italy – will see high-ranking international travel and leisure bloggers joining top South African lifestyle and travel bloggers in a ‘connected’ villa on a working wine farm in the Winelands. As ‘digital ambassadors’ they will immerse themselves in a bucket-list itinerary of sights, sounds and tastes of Stellenbosch and the broader Cape and live the ‘Stellenbosch Way of Life’ like a local, hosted by locals in the know, for one week.
The underlying theme of this campaign is ‘discovery’ and the bloggers will be ‘let loose’ in Stellenbosch and surrounding areas to get up close and personal with the region and its people, uncovering and sharing secrets and stories along the way.
For many travellers to “escape” does not mean a wilderness experience, but rather immersing themselves into a new destination where they can lose themselves for a few days in the everyday life of places where people live, work and play. Visitors do not want “perfect places”, but rather seek real places that offer unique, real and memorable experiences that can truly enrich their lives and provide a broader perspective on the world.
We all have a deep need to connect emotionally and share our experiences with each other. Research indicates that travel experiences and visuals are the most shared on social media platforms, influencing others’ travel decisions and general outlook on the world.
The great news for destinations and other brands is that the web and social media leveled the playing field somewhat, making it possible for smaller and lesser known places like Stellenbosch to take advantage of new trends in consumer behaviour and digital marketing to compete with long established and well known traditional destinations for a larger market share.
Word of mouth through social media is now the most powerful tool for any destination marketer today and this is being utilised fully through the campaign designed by Destinate for Stellenbosch.
The top international bloggers for the #Stellenblog campaign were selected for the quality of their content, ideal target audiences and social media reach. The bloggers who will be making Stellenbosch their ‘home’ represent the wine route’s core international markets: the USA, UK, Germany and the Netherlands and enjoy an extensive following in the online travel, lifestyle, food and leisure sphere.
The international bloggers include the award-winning Matt Long of the luxury adventure travel site, Landlopers; Niamh Shields of Eat Like a Girl, who was recently recognised by The Times magazines as the most influential food blogger in the UK; Norman Röhlig of I-REF, one of the most reputable lifestyle websites in Germany, and Keith Jenkins of the opulent Velvet Escape travel blog.
They will be joined in the historic villa by ‘local Stellenbosch host-blogger’ Ilse van der Merwe aka The Food Fox, whilst the sixth spot in the house has been left open for now as the search is on for the #Stellenblog South Africa Top Lifestyle Blogger.
It is important for destinations to mobilise more local voices and influencers through the on-line networks of citizens, visitors and bloggers – encouraging the creation and sharing of fresh, authentic content, which will continue to attract interest and more visitors for places like Stellenbosch that desperately need sustained economic development to which tourism is a great contributor.
A number of campaign partners are being brought on board to extend its reach and impact, like the popular South African lifestyle and wedding blog, The Pretty Blog, which is a showcase of local talent, designers, beautiful spaces and unique getaways.
“The itinerary of discovery planned for #Stellenblog is complex and full of surprises, for the bloggers to peel away the layers of Stellenbosch and share their first hand experiences with the world. It will also aid in collecting authentic content for the region to use on our own web platforms and for promotional activities,” explains Annareth Bolton, CEO of the Stellenbosch Wine Routes.
"Through #Stellenblog we aim to expose Stellenbosch beyond the veneer of its Cape Dutch history and the wine bottle. We want to introduce the world to a place that has a far more interesting story to tell and invite visitors to come and discover the warm heart of South Africa’s wine and gourmet capital."
This week-long digital exploration will kick off with a Tweet-Up with various local bloggers, online influencers and the hosted international guests in the oak-lined streets of Stellenbosch before moving on to the ‘secret location’ of the #Stellenblog villa for an evening of mystery and magic in the company of interesting local personalities, celebrities and other key personalities.
The #Stellenblog campaign is supported by South African Tourism and is aligned with its #MeetSouthAfrica and Indaba 2014 programmes, which will see a number of top international bloggers visit South Africa. The international bloggers, who will be flown courtesy of South African Airways, will be using the #Stellenblog hashtag on social media platforms throughout their journey.
Sensory engagements will include those with key Stellenbosch Experience partners such as the Adventure Shop, Cellar Door Collection Passport, Dornier, Delheim Estate, Evergreen Manor, Fleur du Cap, The House of JC Le Roux, Kleine Zalze, Majeka House, Middelvlei Estate, Oldenburg Vineyards, Spier, Stellenbosch Vineyards, Tokara Restaurant, Van Ryn’s Distillery & Brandy Cellar and Warwick Estate.
You can become part of the journey of discovery by following and using the #Stellenblog hashtag. Stay tuned to developments on the blog, follow Stellenbosch Wine Routes on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram and share your Stellenbosch stories and secrets with us.