The mighty Z’s and what I learnt at #WTM Africa 2016

2016 World Travel Market® Africa was hosted in Cape Town in April at the CTICC. It is the leading business to business (B2B) exhibition for the inbound and outbound African travel & tourism markets. Some say it is giving the well known “Indaba” a run for its money. WTM® Africa creates a platform for industry networks, global reach and regional focus and there are personal and business opportunities abound, providing customers with quality contacts, content and communities.

It is vibrant, diverse, and fun.


Cape Town V&A Waterfront

It is a “must do” business-to-business travel and tourism event, and as a marketer with a keen interest in travel, I am very happy that I did. My main focus was to attend as many of the forums and talks around travel and travel marketing through social media and see what trends are on the horizon.

Why? Travellers are trend setters, they are the explorers that are willing not to only test the boundaries of adventure, but also of technology.

Traveller mobile phone

Travellers are connected, tech savvy and looking for value ads when travelling

Travellers are connected, tech savvy and looking for value ads when travelling

They are wise and informed and will tell it like it is.

Travellers are exposed to challenges of technologies on the go and are true and honest guinea pigs when it comes to brands and brand experiences. They are also not shy at giving their opinions. Does your product make a travellers life easier? They will say so. Not only to you, but to their following (and perhaps never even directly to you) Is your accommodation offering sub standard or is a staff member misbehaving? You will hear of it not through the customer call centre, but via #hashtags, comments and posts.

A few statistics shared at the WMT Africa 2016 talks (specifically around Travellers and Twitter):

  • 40% of Twitter users have travelled for leisure in the past 12 months (Nielsen)
  • 48% of Twitter users intend to travel for leisure in the next 12 months (Nielsen)
  • 30% of Twitter users intend to travel for business in the next 12 months (Nielsen)
  • Twitter drives travel connections (56% view ads on Twitter at least once a week) (72% use mobile device to access Twitter)
  • Travellers use Twitter whilst on or planning a holiday (51% while planning, 42% after, 41% during)
  • The value of the Travel follower: 51% of those who follow travel brands have recently travelled for leisure. 50% intend to travel within 12 months.

The main trends for 2016 discussed at the #WTMAfrica:

There are key points applicable to ANY business, not only ones operating in travel.



Cute, but not ideal if you are relying on travellers on the go for your business.

Wifi is key. Yes, the “we don’t have wifi, talk to each other” approach is valid, but if you are travelling and want to update Social Media, check flight details or organise your next stop you are going to go where the wifi is fast and free. Do you own a coffee shop or accommodation? Do not be stingy. Invest in your business. Good wifi is a marketing tool all on its own. 


  • Think tech cities, real time traffic updates, integration accross apps, multi device functionality. Think MOBILE exclusive solutions. Your designs need to START for mobile, not be adapted for mobile.
  • You can win the early adopter by designing for them. Mobile also helps us KISS it – keep it simple : ) Any unnecessary info or design has to go! Prioritise interface design and UX (user experience)
  • If you can solve a REAL problem, you will WIN over REAL customers and followers (think real time traffic updates
  • Timely, relevant, personalised
  • Minimise taps to purchase 

“African Safari” is a popular trend on Twitter

Side note: Did you know the theme “African safari” received 65k tweets last year globally (that is 178 tweets a day, everyday of the year!)


They have Multi touchpoints, they are enabled (they have money), they are connected and influential, they like to experiment but don’t waste their time (or money), they are social, tech savvy, and informed.


Millennials might be your main market for now, but Gen Z is on their way!

They 7 to 17 year olds born between 1998 and 2008 and it 1/4 of the population.

  • They $44 billion in annual purchasing power.
  • 61% want to start their own business (they live in an age where blogging and gaming can be a well paid career if you do it right).
  • 85% visit YouTube more than other sites. If Millennials are tech savvy and social, Gen Z IS technology.

How are you preparing your business to satisfy and entertain their needs?

And lastly, to summarise:


Travellers are having fun; on the web, on their smart devices, on social media. Make their lives easier, better, or more fun. Otherwise you are obsolete.

There were opportunities to meet and mix with well established travel bloggers and learn how they are making it work. Professionals from the industry shared tips and casestudies on best practices. It was well worth attending.

If you want to get a better idea of what WTM Africa 2016 was all about, have a look at the video.

WTM Africa 2016 VIDEO!

Registration for 2017 is already open. See you there!


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