When 1,6 hotel rooms are sold online every second through one web site alone, it is clear that Internet marketing cannot be ignored by our travel and tourism industries.
And, with cellular phones as the access device of choice for most people in Africa, mobile marketing has become one of the most crucial elements for local marketers.
This was the common theme at the MyMobiguide re-launch event this week in Johannesburg.
Damian Cook, CEO of e-Tourism Africa, points out that businesses are now dealing with the first digital generation. "They have grown up with the Internet, are more comfortable using this as their chosen means of communication and research, and our studies have shown that many of them don't read newspapers - ever. They are also using their mobile phones more than they are using computers," Cook says.
William Price, global head of e-marketing at South African Tourism, adds that SouthAfrica.net will be hosting MyMobiguide's clips as a key feature on the site from today.
"International tourists have a plethora of destination options," says Price. "They are looking for rich content with compelling audio-visuals to make their final travel choices. We believe that MyMobiguide clips will serve as an valuable marketing tool for South African Tourism and will give our guests the information they are looking for."
MyMobiguide launched two years ago and has grown exponentially. The company now boasts signed agreements with local sites including Maropeng: The Cradle of Humankind, District Six Museum, Constitution Hill and the Lesedi Cultural Village, and most recently with SAB World of Beer. MyMobiguide clips are available in English, French, German and Mandarin Chinese, with additional languages in the pipeline.
"We have seen a growing support for our service offering," says Amanda Forsythe, CEO and founder of MyMobiguide. "Travel destinations and corporates are seeing the importance of reaching their guests in the language of their choice and through a technology that they are comfortable with.
"Our clips are high-quality, easy to access and affordable to both local and international tourists."
The company will be looking to grow its local presence as it signs on new partner sites and enters a grueling production calendar ahead of the football next year. It has also entered agreements to have its content delivered over GPS navigations systems through its partner Audio Trex.
"Support for our service has not been restricted to South Africa." adds Forsythe. "We have had interest from international operations and we will be looking to take our offering global once we have ensured our local operations are running optimally. South Africa has so much to offer and we are delighted to be an integral part of ensuring that the rest of the world sees that."