Thursday, 30 January 2020 10:18

January CTO Committee Meeting for 2020

Visitorrs enjoying a visit to PheZulu Safari Park in Bothas Hill Visitorrs enjoying a visit to PheZulu Safari Park in Bothas Hill Photo by Shelldon Wells (www.cctouring.co.za)

The 1st committee meeting of 2020 is done and dusted, and it's clear that the committee has a lot to achieve in this year. From upcoming events, networking session to the creation of a new map to better represent the 1000 Hills area, we have a lot to do but as is normal, very little time in which to do it!

As the new year gets started, we at the 1000 Hills CTO management committee would like to take a moment to wish all our members a warm and successful 2020. The 1000 Hills CTO management committee had their monthly meeting mid-way through January and based on the enthusiasm the committee members displayed, 2020 is going to be a great year for the 1000 Hills tourism area. The meeting ended up being one our longest ever but it was reassuring that no one complained and was passionate to the end!

 

Events

Events are an important and effective channel in drawing attention to any area, and the 1000 Hills is no different. At the meeting a number of event ideas were put forward that the 1000 Hills area can promote and call it’s own, some examples are;

  • the Beer and Boerie Festival
  • Art in the Valley
  • A Food’ie Week
  • Sports events
  • A wedding fair

At this stage they are just suggestions but it's absolutely clear that we need an annual draw card that brings visitors to the 1000 Hills area and keeps them here. Throughout the course of the current committee's seating we will be exploring the options available to us and will be investing in events that speak to tourism throughout the 1000 Hills area.

 

Marketing

Over the course of the next 6 months, the 1000 Hills CTO will be participating in a number of different marketing events. The first of which coming up in April is WTM Africa. WTM Africa will be a fantastic opportunity to sell the 1000 Hills area to the rest of the world. In preparation for the event we are preparing a new map which we hope to launch at the first of our networking events (proposed for March) as well as new marketing material for this and other events.

More news to follow closer to the date.

 

Website Stats and Google Ads Marketing

For a short period over December the committee embarked on a Google Ads campaign to attract traffic to the 1000 Hills website. Although the campaign started late due to the previous AGM only being held in December, the overall results were very positive. The fact is that most people today use their mobile device to access the internet, the stats (see the upcoming blog past) support this; around 50% of visitors are using their mobile devices. Based on the stats, the committee has resolved to update the 1000 Hills website (more about that later).

Over the next few months the committee has agreed that we should start featuring our members on a monthly basis, this would introduce them to the public and of course to other members. This is a project that all paid up members back be a part of and promote. Expect an email detailing the project soon.

 

1000 Hills Website

It’s time for an update of the 1000 Hills website. Over the next few weeks you will notice changes being made, more blog posts appearing, more events being added and so on. Over time we will be advertising on various platforms (Google and Facebook) in order to drive traffic to the website – so it’s really important to ensure that the information of your product is up to date (and you’ve paid your subs of course).

The 1000 Hills website is really the most cost effective way to reach visitors from around the world, but in order for it to work, we need the assistance of all our members. If you read a blog post you like, please share it on all your platforms, whether it’s your own website, Twitter or Facebook (or even another channel), doing so spreads the good news of just how amazing the 1000 Hills area is.

Another way to promote your business is to send in news and/or blog posts to us and we'll upload them - this means you earn back-links from your own website and at the same time promote your self all the more. It's an easy and effective opportunity to market your business and it only costs a little time

 

Membership

Over the last few weeks some members may have found an email from Adrian Rowe sitting in their inboxes. Fact is the membership database of the CTO has been in disarray and it needs to be dealt with. In this, Adrian Rowe has volunteered (I’m not sure he realises what he’s got himself into!) to assist with the membership issues. In order to make this process as painless as possible for Adrian, it would be great if members that are contacted assist him where possible.

In other marketing news the CTO has embarked on a process to update the existing 1000 Hills map which looks a little colored sphegetti dumped onto a white plate and sprinkled liberally with colored “100’s and 1000’s”. For a visitor to 1000 Hills, this map definitely isn’t very user friendly. With all the events we hope to be a part of this year, we hope that a new map that reflects all that is available to do and experience in the 1000 Hills will be easier to navigate and digest.

This is quite a big project that involves a number of voices but we hope and aim to have the map ready to launch before WTM Africa. As we’ll be using it at events and adding it to the current 1000 Hills brochure, we will also have the map available online for visitors to download and print out.

 

Membership Fees

We have made a small change to our memberbhip costs. Currently the costs are as follows;

  • New Members - R500 pa
  • Current / Returning Members  - R400 pa

 

Recognising the fact that some new members may actually join the CTO mid-way through a year, the committee voted to change the rates to the following;

  • New Members - R500 pa
  • Current / Returning Members - R400 ps
  • Members joining after 01 January - R200 for the remainder of the financial year.

 

Networking Sessions

As I touched upon on the previous newsletter, the 1000 Hills CTO is supposed to have regular networking sessions which allows the management committee to report to it’s members on the progress the CTO is making during it’s sitting period. We are going to resurrect these events and make them something that you as our members, wont want to miss. In addition to giving feedback and answering questions, we will all be dedicating each session to a tourism sector and inviting roleplayers to give short talks in issues relating to those sectors.

As an example, for the next networking session in March, we will invite Durban Tourism members to chat about marketing for the accommodation sector as well as invite the N3 Gateway Association and find out how our members can benefit from our association with them. This is a great opportunity to network and learn – we hope that all our members will find the time to attend.

 

How You Can Get Involved

The marketing of the 1000 Hills area and all that is offers cannot be done by just the 8 individuals who make up the 1000Hill CTO Management Committee - it needs to be a combined effort by all our members. We need your ideas, whether it is a marketing idea, an idea for a new event or existing event, or perhaps you want to get more involved and write a blog post once in a while, we want you to contact us!

And again, if you are a paid up member, or even perhaps a business owner who is thinking about joining the CTO, you are more than welcome to attend a committee meeting and learn more about how we operate.

 

 

Until next time, sala kahle!

 

Shelldon Wells

Chairperson, 1000 Hills CTO

 

Shelldon

Hi! My name is Shelldon Wells and I'm a tour operator based in the Valley of 1000 Hills. Not only do I manage Country and Coastal Touring and take guests on tours, but I often write about the Valley of 1000 Hills as well as subjects such as the battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal, fly-fishing and more (I clearly do not own a TV!). It just so happens that for my sins I am also the Chairperson of the 1000 Hills Community Tourism Organisation and serve on a number of tourism related associations.

 

 Follow me on Twitter or Instagram.

https://www.cctouring.co.za

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