So what impressions did Cape Town Tourism’s international travel bloggers make on Cape Town?

We have seen in the past that Cape Town Tourism likes to blow its own trumpet, so when we received the media release on 31 July to brag about how it ‘uses Crowd-sourcing to clock over 13 million impressions on Twitter‘, it attracted interest.  It appears that it exaggerated the impact of the four international travel bloggers who were invited by Cape Town Tourism as iAmbassadors to spend a week in the city, and to share blogging tips at the Getaway Travel Blog Conference.

On Sunday a week ago (29 July) Cape Town Tourism announced a one hour brainstorm (‘crowdsourcing‘) via Twitter from 7 – 8 pm, using the hashtag #LoveCapeTown, requesting suggestions for what the four international bloggers should see and do while in Cape Town. Six questions were asked, relating to typical Cape Town food to eat, places to visit, adventure activities to participate in, places to learn more about the city’s history, people watching spots, and favourite hidden gems.  The Cape Town media release claimed that in a 24 hour period #LoveCapeTown generated ‘1500 Tweets, 13521392 impressions and reached an audience of 623041 followers’. On its blog three days later, Cape Town Tourism grew its claim to ‘4000 #LoveCapeTown tweets were sent. As many as 800000 unique Twitter users were reached by the hashtag and 30-million tweet impressions were achieved’ in the one week period.

Not having heard of a Twitter ‘impression‘ measurement before, I Googled the term.  It describes the cumulative total of followers of persons who use a hashtag (or specified Twitter address) multiplied by the number of Tweets per Twitter address that used the hashtag.  The measurement does not deduct the duplication of the same followers on more than one Tweeter’s list. It also does not measure the actual readership of the Tweet(s), only measuring the potential readership.  Newman PR company, one of the oldest in America, wrote on its blog about the dilemma of presenting statistics to its clients, and came to the conclusion that ‘Twitter Impressions can impress, but actually mean little‘, and decided against presenting this information to its clients.  ScoopDog’s Blog suggested that ‘Twitter reach calculations should be in the 10 – 12% of a follower list’, according to a Harvard study.  The writer calls for reliable benchmark information on measuring performance on Facebook and Twitter, and says that more meaningful measurements should be sales and lead generation.  Stanzr Blog says that only ‘Twitter can verify what users actually are online and observing Tweets, and that no hashtag measurement company can verify how many users were actually impressed with a hashtag or a Tweet.  LoCulReign wrote :“While there are many standardized metrics such as follower, mentions, or even impressions, these metrics are not the end-all answer to the broader question (what is the value of social media), they are simply a slice of the pie. There are many intangible benefits of social media, such as building strong brand awareness or reputation that cannot be measured by total brand mentions or the bit.ly clickthrough rate in a week.”

Not being privy to how Cape Town Tourism generated its statistics (no source is quoted in the media release), we used the Hashtracking.com service to measure the power of #LoveCapeTown in the 24 hours prior to midday on Saturday 4 August.  In this period 483 Tweets generated a total of 461399 followers and 2,4 million impressions.   This measurement tool shows the source of the top 10 impressions, and 84% of this top 10 list generated just over 2 million of the impressions, being the four international travel bloggers, Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, Cape Town Tourism Communication Manager Skye Grove, Cape Town Tourism, blogger conference organiser Getaway, the @CapeTown aggregator for all mentions of Cape Town, and SA Tourism’s @gotoSouthAfrica. Skye Grove is the Cape Town Tourism Tweeter, so she Tweets the same Tweets on both accounts, usually re-Tweeted by her boss Mrs Helmbold too.   It is safe to say, from the Tweets in the timeline, that the bulk of the impressions were Cape Town-based, giving locals a tremendous feel-good about their home city. American and Australasian Twitter followers of the international bloggers may have been asleep at the time of the Tweet-up, and weekend days are poor Twitter days anyway.  Of the 11 #LoveCapeTown Tweets printed out alongside the measurement on HashTracking.com, six were spam accounts, showing that potentially #LoveCapeTown Tweets could not have had more than 600000 impressions (instead of the claimed 11 million) last Sunday!  To bring the measurement of ‘impression’ closer to home, we ran @WhaleCottage on Hashtracking.com at the same date and time, and found that one Tweet (“Tourism is the bread and butter of economy, says Western Cape Minister of Tourism @AlanWinde”), which was re-Tweeted three times, had achieved 449700 impressions alone.

Mrs Helmbold enthused about the success of the Twitter campaign, saying that it ‘truly let Capetonians ‘sell’ their own city and it added instant authenticity to our campaign’. She added that so many suggestions were received that it proved that tourists need more than one week to visit Cape Town.  The numerous suggestions made to the international bloggers via the Twitterthon were not recorded anywhere for future visitors to Cape Town, other than some having been recorded in the media release, showing how short-lived Twitter information is.

During the Getaway Travel Bloggers Conference on Saturday, one of the speakers (@TravelDudes) quantified the value of the 24 hour Twitter coverage at €56564, which was proudly re-Tweeted by Cape Town Tourism.  Again, there is no known standard to quantify the value of a Tweet or an impression. Weird is that the hashtag for the Bloggers Conference changed to #gtbc, losing #LoveCapeTown in all Tweets from Saturday onwards, despite Cape Town Tourism having been a sponsor of the Conference.

In the week that the international bloggers spent in Cape Town, disappointingly little was written about Cape Town by the bloggers:

*  Keith Jenkins of velvet escape wrote two blogposts last week, one called ‘Iconic Cape Town view’, just containing a photograph of Table Mountain, with a link to a blogpost ‘Ten things to do in Cape Town’ which he wrote in 2009!  The other was written on his arrival, requesting participation in the #LoveCapeTown Twitterthon. He Tweeted mainly about Cape Town in the week that he was here, and it was noticeable that he used other hashtags liberally in his non-Cape Town Tweets.  He was good at responding to Tweets including his handle, and re-Tweeting. This was his fourth visit to Cape Town, and he called the city his ‘second home‘.  He has 16069 Twitter followers.

*   Wild Junket’s Nellie Huang wrote ‘We’re off to Cape Town, South Africa’ two weeks ago, inviting suggestions of things to see and do in Cape Town, and writing that she would be ‘cycling through Kayalitsch‘ (sic), hiking up Table Mountain, and going on a wine tour to Steenberg.  During the week she wrote two blogposts, one being about Table Mountain, which was a collection of photographs taken from the mountain, including onto Camps Bay, and the other blogpost was a collection of photographs of the villa in which the four bloggers were accommodated in Camps Bay.  She has previously visited the city, says she loves Cape Town, and said that ‘I wish that I could live here’.  She has 21591 Twitter followers, and was an active Tweeter about Cape Town in the past week, creating dialogue.

*   Traveldudes‘ Melvin Böcher is an occasional blogger, it would appear, not having posted more than four blogposts per month, but more commonly only one per month on average. He has not blogged since his arrival in Cape Town.  On his website he carries guest posts about various aspects of Cape Town, none written by him.  He has 86814 Twitter followers.  He is an über-Tweeter, obviously pre-scheduling his Tweets, so that his few Cape Town Tweets were largely lost in his daily average of 50 Tweets about a multitude of international destinations.  Noticeable was that he too is a heavy user of hashtags in every Tweet, using non-Cape Town ones for Tweets about other destinations, which must confuse his followers, in receiving so many Tweets about diverse destinations every few minutes every day.

*   Matt Long of Landlopers wrote about his forthcoming trip three weeks ago, and also requested input to things to do in Cape Town.  He has not written about Cape Town in the past week. He said he did not know much about the city before his arrival (odd for a travel writer), therefore coming in ‘blind’. He writes for Lonely Planet too. He has 16071 Twitter followers.  Similarly to Melvin Böcher, he generates about 50 Tweets per day, about a diversity of destinations and they too are heavily (non-Cape Town) hashtagged, once again causing confusion amongst his followers.  Few of his Tweets were about Cape Town in the past week. He repeats links to his blogposts and to a competition a number of times per day, one notices in his Tweets. Odd is that he has protected his Tweets, and one must request permission to follow him!

In the past week, the four travel writers were taken to Gansbaai for shark cage diving and seeing whales as well, hiked up and down Table Mountain (Matt Böcher undiplomatically said the ‘gondola was not working’ when he should have been told that it was closed for its annual maintenance), went to Robben Island, cycled through a township, visited Cape Point, Boulder’s Beach, Hout Bay, The Fringe creative precinct which included a stop at Charly’s Bakery, learnt to cook curry in Bo-Kaap, tasted wine at Groot Constantia (they do not appear to have got to Steenberg), visited some unnamed ‘cocktail spots‘, went on a Jazz Safari, visited The Castle, had dinner at Reuben’s at the One&Only Cape Town, had a drink at the Planet Bar, had a braai at the villa in which they stayed, ate at (unknown) Ethopian restaurant ‘Bebie Rosie’, and had a pizza at Jason’s.   What was noticeable was that the program for the travel writers’ visit to Cape Town was pre-planned, as was evident from Nellie Huang’s pre-visit blogpost, and therefore the Twitterthon on 30 July, billed as being a list of suggestions for the writers to experience whilst in Cape Town, was a con! Predictably they saw the usual tourist highlights of Cape Town, and their eagerly anticipated highlight of paragliding off Lion’s Head was cancelled due to the bad weather yesterday.  Yesterday afternoon three of the travel writers left for Johannesburg, on their way to Botswana today.

At a cocktail event held on Thursday, invited guests were shown the new one minute video made for Cape Town Tourism by National Geographic called ‘The Sounds of the City’, showing a young girl enjoying different parts of the city, including Bo Kaap, Greenmarket Square, the ocean, penguins, the V&A Waterfront, the view from Signal Hill (but not showing the iconic Cape Town Stadium) and the view over Table Bay from the top of Table Mountain.  The sound effects, meant to be the theme of the video, are a vibey rap song ‘Cape Town’, into which are woven the sounds of seagulls, the ocean, lots of minibus taxi hooting, drumming, and a marimba band.  As a Capetonian I missed the Cape Town sounds of Friday afternoon mosque prayers, the sound of the South Easter, the foghorn at Mouille Point, and the ship’s horns entering/leaving Cape Town harbour.  The YouTube video only has 320 views to date.

It appears that Cape Town Tourism wildly exaggerated the impact of its Twitterthon, and the stature of the international travel ‘bloggers’, who appear to be digital travel editors rather than bloggers, rarely blogging!  Mrs Helmbold clearly had not done her homework about her panel of visitors’ blogging habits, or lack of. Interesting is that no blog readership figures were provided for the international visitors, and that their standing was measured only in terms of Twitter following, yet Cape Town Tourism wrote on its blog the following exaggerated and unsubstantiated claim that the writers ‘reach millions of readers each month through their own online channels’!  No readership statistics are quoted on any of the four writers’ websites, nor did Cape Town Tourism divulge this in the run up to the Conference, only quoting Twitter follower statistics.   One does not know how much Cape Town Tourism paid to bring the international travel writers to Cape Town, and how it will ultimately measure the value of the impressions they made for the Cape Town tourism industry, in translating into creating awareness, leading to enquiries, and generating bookings!

POSTSCRIPT 11/8: The danger of sponsoring travel writers became evident today, when Melvin Böcher of Traveldudes Tweeted a link to blogger Michael Hodson’s blogpost ‘New 7 Wonders of the World: the scam behind the sham’, knocking the New7Wonders of Nature competition, and billing it as a money-making scam.  In Hodson’s blogpost he slates most of the Top 7 list, including our Table Mountain, saying it isn’t even a ‘Top 7 mountain…let alone a top 7 natural wonder’, and he has a beautiful photograph of the mountain in his blogpost.  It raises the question of the loyalty one would expect from guest who was brought to Cape Town, and his services paid for.  The blogpost was written by Hodson on 14 November last year, and even more odd that Böcher should Tweet the link nine months after it was written, and less than two weeks after he himself had hiked up Table Mountain!

POSTSCRIPT 15/8: Last night we received an e-mail from Anton Groenewald, Executive Director of Tourism, Events, and Marketing at the City of Cape Town, the funders of Cape Town Tourism.  Initially I offered him anonymity, in recognition of the support I had received from him, but he wrote an e-mail this morning, saying that he is happy for it to be made public. This is what he wrote last night: ‘Thanks very much for an insightful analysis and critique of the bloggers visit. I share much of your scepticism in regards to this issue’.

POSTSCRIPT 15/8: Cape Town Tourism issued another media release to justify the #LoveCapeTown Twitter campaign today, and one can assume that it is meant as a response to this blogpost (they have not posted a comment to it on this blog). In the media release they have changed their tune, admitting that there is no standard way to measure the success of Social Media marketing: ” Whilst the #LoveCapeTown hashtag ultimately clocked up over 36 million Twitter impressions, it is still difficult to measure the impact of these statistics. Says Du Toit-Helmbold; “We know that this campaign was a success from many points of view. It was instant – and yet there are still many more blogs and tweets that will follow as a result to ensure maximised exposure and reach for Cape Town. It also crossed over onto many other platforms (blogs, Twitter, facebook, Instagram, Pinterest) as today’s social media influencer is multi-channelled. The campaign was followed with interest by traditional media, but the biggest success of this campaign was the citizen engagement it led to. For us, it proves that often we should just initiate and guide the conversation, setting up platforms where it can unfold. Cape Town knows how to sell itself!”

In terms of actual return on investment, Cape Town Tourism agrees that there is no one reliable tool to measure the value of social media, but there is no denying the importance of digital media marketing. Says Du Toit-Helmbold; “We see this campaign as one in which we piqued interest and that was our intention. Now we have to convert that interest into a community that can help us drive more awareness and ultimately conversion and more visitors to Cape Town. People do not just arrive in a destination; they do research beforehand and social media – as an extension of word of mouth – is influencing more and more travel decisions. We are acutely aware that word of mouth through social media is the most powerful tool for any destination marketer today and if we can continue to mobilise more local voices to help promote Cape Town through their own on-line networks of friends and followers, we have a winning recipe. Our work in digital media marketing is attracting global attention and we will be presenting case studies at the forthcoming World Travel Market in London.”

POSTSCRIPT 27/8: @Traveldudes has close to 90000 followers today, yet the Klout score of Social Media influence is only 67 out of 100 (ours is 65, by comparison).  This begs the question of the value of a high number of Followers. At the Blog Conference Klout was not mentioned as a measurement of Blogging or Tweeting success.

POSTSCRIPT 29/8:  A Tweet by Melvin Böcher about his #TOTT (Travel Talk on Twitter) hashtag success took me to his seldom-written Traveldudes blog, and a blogpost about the success of the hashtag.  It makes for fascinating reading, in that he bragged on 19 July already (i.e. 10 days before coming to Cape Town) about the hashtag having created 30 million impressions, exactly the same figure Cape Town Tourism used in its media release a few days later about their misleading one hour #LoveCapeTown Tweet-Up, which included Böcher!  The question style of asking five questions is the same Böcher uses, which means that he organised the Tweet-Up and how it was run, and calculated the ‘impressions’. It explains why he has taken exception to this blogpost, and his childish reaction to it.  Ironic however is by his own admission that ‘impressions’ mean nothing! Every single week #TTOT reaches up to more than 2 Million users on Twitter and creates with the #TTOT hashtag around 30 Million impressions! Just to get you back on the floor… If someone tries to tell you what this number is worth…  It’s worth NOTHING! :). Travelers join events like #TTOT, as they are looking to socialize with each other, not to get a special deal for this or that. It’s about the fun sharing experiences and everybody can be part of it. And the best is… For Free!

POSTSCRIPT 30/8: In News24 yesterday, an interview which they had conducted with Melvin Böcher of Traveldudes was published.  He clearly is very taken with the quantification of the value of Tweets and blogging, something we have not seen quantified by anyone to date!  He answered about the quantification in reply to a question about the biggest challenge he has had to overcome since starting his website: “The biggest challenge is, that people still don’t have a clue about the real value blogging, social media, or the internet in general provides. Who would have guessed that a single tweet of mine would be valued at more than EUR 160 – right!? Or that I can provide a ROI of over EUR 20 000 when promoting a destination in 5 days via writing about it on Traveldudes.org. But this problem is a general one, which all magazines, newspapers and bloggers have”. One wonders what he charged Cape Town Tourism for his services.

POSTSCRIPT 21/9: In a Mail & Guardian article written by Mrs Helmbold herself today, she refers to the four international ‘travel bloggers’ as ‘Travel Twits’, an absolute insult!

Chris von Ulmenstein, Whale Cottage Portfolio: www.whalecottage.com Twitter: @WhaleCottage

39 replies on “So what impressions did Cape Town Tourism’s international travel bloggers make on Cape Town?”

  1. Michael says:

    Hi Chris.

    I read your blog with interest and am quite amazed to see how you never give CTT any recognition of what they are doing and yet you appear to be very supportive of Wesgro who have shown no sign of campaign or implementation of strategy for the last 4 months.

    I am a Capetonian expat in Amsterdam (working in the outbound industry) and #LoveCapeTown discussions has excite me. I believe that CTT is doing a very good job in selling CT. I will pass the #LoveCapeTown information onto my customers who all love your city.

  2. Tara says:

    Various assumptions made in this blogpost that are far off. Where you at the event on Thursday and the conference on Saturday? I didn’t see you. No – they didn’t play the National Geo video and yes, they did reveal readership of the bloggers. And no – they are not going to “tweet up a storm” in JHB. I would suggest that you check your facts with CTT before publishing assumptions.

    Ps. You really do have an issue with Mariette Du Toit-Helmbold, don’t you?

  3. Dave says:

    These are international bloggers. They travel the world extensively. They would never only tweet about one destination at a time – even if they spend a week in one place. If you follow any travelling bloggers you will see this.

  4. Dave says:

    Also, when a hashtag attract spam bots like the CTT one did, it shows that you are successful. The porn bots have no or minimal followers, hence not attracting any twitter impressions.

  5. Dear Tara

    Thank you for your feedback. All information comes from the Cape Town Tourism website, their media releases, and the Tweets of the last week.

    There is no issue with anyone at Cape Town Tourism, but as the CEO, Mrs Helmbold is responsible for the wise spending of her budget, and for attracting tourists to Cape Town in yet another very depressed tourism winter. She is not delivering on this.

    Chris

  6. Dear Dave

    If these were indeed Bloggers, they would have blogged a storm about Cape Town this past week. They are not bloggers, but editors of digital travel ‘magazines’ in the main, who happen to have a blog on their sites too, on which they write minimally. The speakers are travel Tweeters, and should have been called such.

    Chris

  7. Dear Michael

    Our industry is not reaping the benefit of any international work Cape Town Tourism may be doing – they certainly are not sharing such details with our industry. One #LoveCapeTown hashtag campaign is not going to do it!

    I am equally critical about Wesgro doing absolutely nothing for our industry, and fear that the changeover from Cape Town Routes Unlimited to Wesgro is going to cost us one season in marketing, or lack of, and I told Minister Winde so a week ago. The best I heard yesterday is that they are considering bringing back the Cape Town Routes Unlimited CEO Calvyn Gilfellan as head of tourism within Wesgro! One wonders why they let him go in the first place!

    Chris

  8. Sheldon Du Preez says:

    Please don’t tell me they are bringing back Calvyn Gilfellan. He was the laughing stock of the tourism industry.

  9. Murray says:

    A fantastic campaign. Well done Cape Town Tourism. CTT have our full support and working with Mariette and her team in the last year has been phenomenal. It is up to each tourism business to take charge of their own destiny and not sit back and wait for CTT to turn tourism around.

  10. Jeanette says:

    I loved what CTT achieved in the last week. They got Cape Town talking about our city. And with that the love spilled over to our international friends. Well done Cape Town Tourism.

  11. Deon Fialkov says:

    Thanks for the indepth review of what’s happened.

    Do you have a PDF of your post?

    It’s very informative.

  12. Dear Johan, Mike and Kobus

    I would be happy to post your comments once you have removed the personal attacks.

    Chris

  13. Dear Chris,

    Although the #lovecapetown campaign and the Getaway Travel Bloggers Conference happened almost simultaneously, I do think they had different purposes.

    The campaign was to promote Cape Town.

    The conference was organized by Getaway magazine and attracted a lot of their 160 bloggers. The conference was mainly aimed at travel bloggers who’d like to take their blogs to the next level and see how one can do it more professionally. It was super interesting to hear how the 4 int’l bloggers, each had their own business model. I think it would have made a huge difference if you could have attended the event.

    Few things that I’ve learned:
    – bloggers create realtime awareness through tweets and sharing content;

    – bloggers createlong term awareness through writing blogposts and writing guestsposts at other AFTER the trip for other sites as well as their own. These guys were on a schedule from 8 – 22h00 exploring so there was not much time during the trip to write. Which is similar to travel journalists who might only be published 6 months after a trip or not even. And then maybe only in 1 magazine that ends up in the bin. A blogpost is online forever.

    – blogging community is one of sharing content, knowledge and experiences; @traveldudes runs each tuesday the #TTOT, travel talk on Twitter and is the No1 online Travel & Tourism influencer on Klout.com.

    – the quantified value that you’re referring was merely an example of how one could possilby calculate the value of tweets; a BRIO, Bloggers Return On Investment. Bloggers are professionals who need to write, take photos, do their marketing, pitch their campaigns etc. so I think it’s logical that they like to express their value and are figuring out a way to do that for their clients.

    – business models: @traveldudes: online community for and by travelers where you can find info and share yours as well which makes it an interesting site for advertisers;

    @wildjunket: online/digital travel magazine;

    @velvetescape: creating campaigns and partnerships with destinations, tour operators or other stake holders in the travel industry;

    @landlopers: creating partnerships with industry partners where one enhances each others brand.
    All of them have been featured in travel books/magazines/sites etc and have worked with different destinations.

    With regards to the #lovecapetown campaign. I thought it was great to see so many locals and internationals ppl participate on a Sunday evening and I think we even got the topic trending, didn’t we? I participated quite actively and enjoyed sharing my passion and knowledge of the city.

    After implementing the things I’ve learned during the conference I’ve doubled the amount of reader to my blog.

    With regards to the video on the cocktail night, not sure if we were at the same event but as far as I remember it was the launch of the new CTT Facebook campaign. I didn’t see you at the Pepper Club hotel so maybe you’re referring to some other event that I’ve missed.

    Anyway, I hope my comment helps a bit for your understanding. Maybe try to come to the next Travel Bloggers Conference to meet a great crowd of people, all passionate about Cape Town and South Africa and travel in general.

    Take care, Jessy

  14. Dear Jessy

    Thank you for your detailed input.

    I will respond briefly, as I feel that I have covered the topic extensively in the blogpost, based on all the Tweets over the week and from the Conference, as well as blogposts written by Cape Town Tourism, bloggers attending the Conference, and the little that the international travel writers wrote:

    1. The Sunday Tweet-Up was a con, as the program for the international visitors was planned before their arrival. Two of the four writers had been to Cape Town before. Almost none of the suggestions was visited.

    2. Cape Town Tourism’s bragging media release, quantifying the ‘value’ of the Sunday night #LoveCapeTown Tweet-Up, was also a con, as the millions of impressions mean nothing, for the reasons I wrote about.

    3. Although the four visitors were labelled ‘travel bloggers’ in the marketing hype by Cape Town Tourism, they are travel information publishers, pushing content at their audiences, complete overkill in the case of @Traveldudes, who Tweets every 5 minutes or so all day and night, often sharing other’s links. They rarely blog, although three of the four have a Blog linked to their websites.

    4. There is no time like writing about a topic while it is hot and one is in the country/city – I doubt whether they will write anything more about Cape Town. But then they are not bloggers, but rather commercial money-earning information providers. I wonder if their appearance fee included a prescriptive quota of articles to be written?

    5. The absolute final cherry was that Melvin of @Traveldudes Re-Tweeted a link to a most disparaging blogpost about the ‘scandal’ relating to the New7Wonders of Nature in general, and disparaging Table Mountain’s inclusion in the list in particular – this after Melvin left our city as its guest and ‘client’ a week ago.

    I would love to know how much of the marketing budget was spent on this failed attempt at a social media marketing campaign, in my opinion!

    Chris

  15. Melvin says:

    Thank you for your article. I really appreciate when people are critical, but it seems that you miss many points. But I’m happy to try to explain further, at least a few. We reached over 1 million people via Twitter and sure, not all have seen our tweets, if we would just have had 1,5 impressions. But as we had so many more impressions, the chances are very high that most of those 1 million saw our tweets. The impressions number alone doesn’t say much, you have to see it in the combination. How is that with print? How many newspapers/magazines get printed? How many actually get sold and how many article actually get read? With our stats, we are a step ahead.

    For a tweet you only have 140 characters, but you should only use 120, which makes it easier to retweet these. That’s a good reason to use #gtbc for the conference and not as well #loveCapeTown. The priority was the conference on Saturday, makes sense, right?

    So you expected us bloggers to explore Cape Town and in the 1-2 hours before dinner to write articles right away? Maybe right from the shower? Do you have any idea of blogging and that it’s a full time job and that we even used these 1-2 free hours to check emails etc.? It seems that you had a lot of free time yourself to write this article, but it seems that you don’t really know what Traveldudes is. I’m not full time traveling, but run Traveldudes, which is a mix of a blog, community and guidebook. It’s usual that there is post published of a trip after 1-2 weeks time, after returning home. Try that in a magazine or Newspaper. 😉

    More posts will follow in the next couple of weeks and months. We can even publish after a years time more posts. Try that as well in traditional media. 😉

    What do you think my followers would do, if I would tweet a week only about Cape Town? It is important to have a variety in my tweets. I talked about how to use Twitter on my presentation at #gtbc, you should have come. One recommendation I gave was not to buy followers. Is that of use for you? 😉 It’s not just about the quantity, but also about the quality, otherwise I wouldn’t be listed as one of the top influencers worldwide, whatever software you use. Thank you for mentioning the value of our tweets. There are ways to calculate the ROI of tweets, if you are interested, please visit the next WTM in London to find out more.

    Talking about the scam with the New 7 Wonders… Just because Cape Town is listed, it doesn’t have anything to do with what I think of that scam. It is not Cape Town who runs that project, right? Cape Town is one of my favorite cities in the world and I would add it on many recommendation lists. Just because a place is listed as a New 7 Wonder, doesn’t make it a bad place, or does it for you? I’ve tweeted that article many times in the last couple of months and I will do so in future as well. I think it is very important that people get informed about that scam. I’m sorry that you see that different. That gets me to the next point?

    What is wrong with you, that you try so hard to fight Cape Town with this article? Shouldn’t you just be happy, that Cape Town gets pushed for tourism?

    You should have contacted me before and get some info, before you write such a negative article with so many wrong facts, information and little knowledge. Sure, opinions are different, which is good, but I think I could have helped you to understand many things.

  16. Liz Hardman says:

    Hi Chris,
    I found your article and the subsequent comments very insightful. It appears there’s a real danger in basing stats on such nebulous calucations as “tweet impressions”.
    Liz.

  17. 1. The tweet-up was part of a campaign to create awareness for Cape Town and all that the city has to offer. The program was planned before their arrival and after the tweet-up they added and changed some things around. That’s all.

    2. If the millions of impressions mean nothing, I wander what each and every business is doing on Twitter. P.e.
    Sharing 1 picture on Twitter about ice floating resulted in 4 bookings the next day (campaign of velvetescape with TO in lapland)

    3. traveldudes has about 86.000 followers on Twitter so I guess some ppl do enjoy his information and find inspiration from his tweets for their next travel destination.

    4. Why would you doubt that they write more? That’s just an assumption.

    5. I agree, bad timing but we alreday read about this quite some time ago so it was actually nothing new.

    I don’t think it was a failed social media marketing campaign at all. But that’s just my opinion. Cape Town Tourism is here to promote the destination which is what they did with this campaign. I thought it was very refreshing and enjoyed being part of sharing the passion for Cape Town and South Africa.

    Have a lovely day, Jessy

  18. Dear Jessy

    I know you are very passionate about the visit of the travel writers and the Travel Blog Conference. I respect your point of view, and that it differs from mine.

    I feel like I am repeating myself in answering your third comment, and will try to keep it brief.

    1. It was dishonest to call for suggestions for things for the travel writers to do when the programme was pre-scheduled. I checked the suggestions received relative to where they went, and there was little overlap. It was a Twitter campaign that just created noise, and made Capetonians feel good about our lovely city. This is fair enough, but does not attract tourists or lead to bookings, and is not Cape Town Tourism’s mandate.

    2. The fewest of us on Twitter are there to create ‘impressions’ – it was a foreign term to me and other Tweeters I have asked. Twitter is about creating awareness, and interest in blogposts one or others have written. Twitter ‘impessions’ are a nonsense measurement, as my research links showed.

    3. Every social media expert will tell you that quality of following is more important than the number of followers one has on Twitter.

    4. I have checked the three blogs of the four writers, and only WildJunket has written in the past week since they left Cape Town: two blogposts, one on the Getaway Travel Blog Conference, with slides of her presentation, and one on diving with Great White Sharks in Gansbaai, both blogposts not directly of benefit to Cape Town. Landlopers has not written about Cape Town at all whilst in or after his visit to Cape Town, despite a number of other blogposts that he has written since.

    5. I think you miss the point about the New7Wonders postscript – imagine that Melvin was paid by Cape Town Tourism to come to Cape Town, talk at the Travel Blog Conference, and hopefully write about our city. He left Cape Town a week ago, has written nothing about our city, and then Re-Tweeted yesterday a link that slates not only the New7Wonders competition ethics, but also Table Mountain’s position on the list specifically, a severe criticism of our city’s tourism icon!

    Cape Town Tourism did not market our destination with the campaign – there is no evidence of its impact on actual enquiries or bookings received.

    Chris

  19. Dear Melvin

    Thank you for taking the time to write this lengthy comment.

    I don’t think you read my blogpost well enough, and somehow you seem to think that I am not a blogger, or do not know the time demands of blogging. I am a passionate (but critical where necessary) tourism blogger about Cape Town and the Western Cape. I don’t accept advertising nor sponsorship, so am free to express my point of view with responsibility.

    I did look at your http://www.Traveldudes.org website, and your blog specifically, as you and your ‘colleagues’ were billed as Travel Bloggers by Cape Town Tourism and Getaway, which was completely misleading as you are largely commercial content generators, and only occasional bloggers! You should have asked Cape Town Tourism to correct this incorrect descriptor for yourselves.

    I think it is shocking that you Re-Tweeted such a damaging blogpost about Table Mountain and the New7Wonders of Nature – you may not know that Table Mountain is the tourism icon for Cape Town (it’s even in the logo of Cape Town Tourism!), and that Cape Town Tourism was heavily involved in generating votes, especially as one of their Board directors is the Managing Director of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company, which drove the voting campaign for this New7Wonders finalist. When Table Mountain was included in the top 7 list, Cape Town Tourism took the credit for the accolades received, as if they had been responsible for the success in this competition! It is clear that you have not researched this before writing your comment to this blogpost.

    I love Cape Town and would not live in this city if I did not. Being critical about the visit by you and your travel writer ‘colleagues’ does not deserve your accusation, which is ‘frech’, as is most of your comment, and a cheek, given your expression of disrespect towards Table Mountain, and therefore our city! What gives you the right to be critical, but not allow others to be so?

    I stand by what I wrote. No one, not even you or Cape Town Tourism, have corrected anything I have written. I do respect your right to your opinion.

    Chris

  20. Thank you Liz.

    ‘Impressions’ is uncharted territory in Tweeting. It would be great if we had an acceptable equivalent measurement such as Google Analytics to measure the impact of Tweeting.

    Chris

  21. Mike says:

    Hi Chris

    I do find it astonishing that you would slay a campaign that has got Capetonians talking about their cities on social media and sharing with the world how they love this city.

    The calibre of these international bloggers are not people sitting in the middle of the night turning our little stories, they have diversified across different channels and mediums. One cannot be a blogger alone to sustain oneself. They all started as bloggers and have gone on to publishers, marketers, PR people and world travelers.

    I would expect that you thank Cape Town Tourism for a campaign that is lauded by everybody (but yourself) as a massive success. But then again – you would never give Cape Town Tourism any credit for any campaign, no matter what they do.

  22. Ann says:

    I picked up the #lovecapetown campaign on twitter and it has the trade in the UK talking. An excellent initiative by the Cape Town Tourism Board. I wish Visit London would do this. We certainly need it after the Olympics disappointed with arrivals.

  23. Sue says:

    Your criticism of tourism in Cape Town have reached a new low with this write-up. How can you not see the value of an entire social network talking about their city.

  24. Dear Sue and Mike

    Thank you for your point of view.

    Cape Town Tourism is not tasked to make us Capetonians have a feel-good feeling by running a Twitter campaign.

    The only feel-good Cape Town tourism players have is when we receive enquiries and bookings for our accommodation establishments, restaurants, and other tourism products and services. There has been no benefit at all.

    The fact that Capetonians were conned in providing suggestions which were not used, just for the sake of creating ‘impressions’, is an insult to our city and its people!

    Chris

  25. Claudia says:

    I was at the tweet-up as a guest of Cape Town Tourism and the bloggers. As a blogger and visitor to South Africa this has been one of the most innovative campaigns I have seen. The tweet-up was everything but a con. Many of the suggestions of the tweet-up has been worked into the programme of the visiting bloggers. I have to concur with some of the previous comments. Why do you have such a big problem with this campaign? Were you in fact at the tweet up or any of the events? It seems as if you are jumping to a lot of conclusions without having been there.

  26. Thank you for your input Claudia.

    A Tweet-Up is exactly that – it does not necessitate one’s presence, as one follows the conversation by iPhone or computer, which is what I did.

    I have also read the invited guests’ Tweets and their blogs (the little that they have written), and have been able to draw conclusions from their social media engagement.

    I don’t think I have to repeat yet again why this campaign is a social media and marketing failure – it was dishonest and has made no contribution to tourism in Cape Town, which is at the lowest of low this winter!

    Chris

  27. Dear Kobus

    Each one of your Tweets and Blog comments is disparaging, and therefore not welcome on our blog. You can save yourself the trouble in sending them.

    Chris

  28. lolla says:

    Chris, you have “balls”! I love your work.

  29. Thank you Lolla.

    I get the feeling that Ms Grove has unleashed a Comments campaign to this blogpost, something she has done in reaction to our Cape Town Tourism blogposts in the past!

    I was astounded to receive support from a source very close to Cape Town Tourism, but I will not reveal the name, in recognition of the trust placed in sending the e-mail of support.

    Funny too to see the retaliation by Cape Town Tourism: blocked on Twitter by @CapeTownTourism, @SkyeGrove and @MariettedTH, all of which Twitter accounts are easy to read, whether locked or not.

    Chris

  30. Hi Chris,

    I’m sorry to see your unexamined assumption that Ms Grove has ‘unleashed’ a Comments campaign to this blogpost… I think you’re really disrespecting your readers and their views if this is what you assume.
    You and I are friends on Facebook and I saw your post, have clicked through and felt I needed to react because I strongly disagree with your opinion. Whereas in quite a few instances I agree with your opinions, in this case I don’t. That’s all.
    Have a sunny day in our beautiful Cape Town, Jessy

  31. I respect that we can have a debate Jessy, having a difference of opinion.

    Unfortunately you are not up to date with the flack I have received for previous Cape Town Tourism blogposts, from non-regular readers, and not debated or discussed via Twitter. It is Skye Grove’s job to attract positive comment and to discredit negative comment! You will note Cape Town Tourism’s silence in not responding to our blogpost – does this mean that they agree with our points of view?

    As a result of this blogpost, Mariette, Skye and Cape Town Tourism have blocked us on their Twitter accounts – is that the right way to react to an opinion piece?

    Chris

  32. Frances Beasley says:

    Having followed this discussion with interest and not being aware of any of the bloggers or tweeters that were invited to the conference, I decided to check out one of the blogging sites of one of those invited to attend.

    What a shame to find that not only was the level of English grammar so poor that it was an insult to the reader but the high level of commercialism through competitions and sponsorship made one wonder exactly what one was supposed to focus on.

    Oh well each to their own but I had to smile at one comment that one of the invitees made that they claimed to have one million twitter followers however not all of them actually read the tweets… What on earth is the point? Its also perhaps worth noting that there are many in the world who don’t follow twitter because they are simply too busy working! How long the phenomenon will last is anyone’s guess. They do say that any PR is better than no PR but I do hope that Cape Town does reap some benefits from what must have been costly funding from someone somewhere to have these four ‘tweeters’ and bloggers visit the Mother City.

    Frances

  33. Thank you Frances.

    You are probably referring to Melvin Boecher’s Traveldudes website – he is German, and rather arrogant, as you can read in the comment he posted yesterday. His English is not perfect.

    I think he was referring to impressions and not followers (he has about 86000 of those), but as I have tried to point out, so what! No one talks about ‘Twitter impressions’ as a measure of success – most would say that the number of followers and the quality of the content is what really counts. The ‘bloggers’ are selling their sites to gain more followers (although I am sure they lose many too due to the volume of Tweets) and to sell their ‘impression’ stats to would-be advertisers!

    Chris

  34. Jessy Lipperts says:

    Dear Chris,
    Please accept my apologies in case I make some spelling or grammar errors. English is not my first language. I try my best.

    ‘there is no evidence of its impact on bookings or enquiries’ , comment 18

    The campaign ended about a week ago. Do you think it is fair to expect an impact in this short amount of time?

    postscriptum 15/8: so the funder of Cape Town Tourism has expressed his concerns to you but not directly to CTT? I find that very worrying and doesn’t proof of any leadership skills. But again, that’s just my opinion.

    You expect CTT to respond to all your comments. They would need to employ a fulltime employee. LOL!! You are a hand full! I guess they are too busy marketing Cape Town.

    Take care and have a lovely evening, Jessy

  35. Dear Jessy

    Thank you for your 4th comment to this blogpost. You must feel very strongly about the topic to come to Cape Town Tourism’s defence so valiantly!

    I have no problem with your grammar or spelling.

    The campaign ended 10 days ago, to be precise, or more if one says that the #LoveCapeTown campaign ended on Friday 3 August. Social Media has a short ‘shelf life’. The international ‘bloggers’ are almost forgotten as they Tweet and write about other destinations. Impact is immediate or not at all.

    I cannot speak for the City of Cape Town – if they can share their sentiments with us, then they probably have told Cape Town Tourism too. I last communicated with Anton Groenewald at the Cape Town Tourism meeting at the Fugard Theatre about 5 months ago.

    You must have misunderstood my comment about Cape Town Tourism’s lack of response – I don’t expect them to react to every comment to this blogpost, but their lack of response to this blogpost about their campaign can be seen as an acceptance of its content. I did note that Cape Town Tourism sent out another media release about the Twitter campaign today, and while praising its success, they do admit that there is no definitive measurement of success, a contradiction! They are too busy Tweeting to respond, methinks!

    Chris

  36. Jessy Lipperts says:

    Dear Chris,

    I feel very strongly about this particular campaign run by Cape Town Tourism. I have no interest in defending Cape Town Tourism. I’m not a member and not linked to them in any way besides following them on Twitter.

    With this particular campaign it was good to see the industry, local and international people and Cape Town Tourism send out one message to the world: We love Cape Town and you’re missing out big time if you don’t visit!

    ‘Social media has a short shelf life’ I don’t agree. We all know that social media is here to stay and that produced content lasts longer than any other form of media. If you follow the bloggers / tweeters /speakers or social media entrepreneurs, you will have noticed that they still share blogposts, tweets, pictures and stories about their stay. I really think that you’re jumping to all kinds of conclusions which is really a pity.

    Kind regards, stay warm, Jessy

  37. Thanks for your 5th comment to this blogpost Jessy.

    I feel that we are going around in circles, as you are not reading my comments correctly, or perhaps not understanding them.

    I have observed that you are having your recent blogpost links Re-Tweeted by Cape Town Tourism, Mrs Helmbold and Ms Grove, so they clearly are ‘rewarding’ you for trying to take me on! As a non-member of Cape Town Tourism you should not be receiving this service, as they rarely pass on links to the work of others writing about Cape Town, even if they are members! That demonstrates their political nature, which we have seen in the past week, e.g. blocking us on Twitter as a result of this blogpost. I see that since I have written about the blocking of the Twitter account Mrs Helmbold and Ms Grove have unblocked us, but that the Cape Town Tourism account remains blocked! Heaven knows, we may receive a lawyer’s letter next, as we did a year ago!

    Cape Town Tourism is pulling out all the stops to spread the PR message about the bloggers, in defence against this blogpost. I have never seen such dedication and energy spent on their work!

    A Facebook post or a Tweet about a specific topic or with a link has a short life of about 2 days at most – with someone like Melvin Boecher of Traveldudes Tweeting at least 50 times a day, if not more, his Tweets ‘decay’ quickly, given the flood of 350 – 500 Tweets received from him per week.

    I am not jumping to any conclusions at all – you are stubbornly trying to find fault in everything that I write.

    Chris

  38. Jessy Lipperts says:

    Dear Chris,

    Gosh, another comment full of insinuations. Why would I want to take you on? There’s just no benefit for me to that so pls forget about that. I’m really very sorry that you feel that way.

    Sharing links, content, tweets and blogposts, was one of the things we’ve learned at the conference. So I’m sure whoever writes positively about Cape Town this will be shared by CTT if they just notify them. Its not a service they give. I actually give them a service by writing content and sharing about Cape Town! But again, that’s my opinion.

    Kind regards, Jessy

  39. I’m not into insinuations Jessy. I write the truth. This is comment number six from you, and you seem to want to have the last word.

    You are naive to the politics of Cape Town Tourism, and from Skye Grove in particular, but Mrs Helmbold plays the game too. Have a read of my past Cape Town Tourism blogposts, and the picture will become clear to you: Twitter block/unblock, attempts to cancel our Cape Town Tourism membership, and lots more.

    Cape Town Tourism should share ALL blogposts and pics taken in and around Cape Town – they rarely do, not even those of their members. We are probably one of the larger Cape Town content generators, and have never had anything Re-Tweeted, even before we resigned our Cape Town Tourism membership a year ago, no matter how positive the content is. They should be a Cape Town blog aggregator, like Cape Town Alive, which sends out a daily summary of Cape Town blogposts, including those from Life is Savage, 2Oceansvibe, Getaway, and more. It doesn’t cost us a cent, and is fabulous exposure: http://www.capetownalive.com/blog-aggregator.html. It was offered and not asked for.

    I think you and I should get on with exploring Cape Town and writing about it, and discuss any further issues and questions over a cup of coffee : 0825511323. Let me know when suits you.

    Chris

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