Entries tagged with “Velma Corcoran”.


CTT AppCape Town Tourism has launched an App ‘The Official Guide to Cape Town‘, aimed at first-time visitors to Cape Town, described as being like having a local in one’s pocket! The App reflects the tourism body’s strategy to be where tourists are!

The free App for IOS and Android contains locals’ hints and tips of what to see and do whilst in Cape Town, in addition to a list of tools. (more…)

Cape Town Tourism Hello Weekend
This week Cape Town Tourism launched a new ‘Hello Weekend‘ communications campaign at Indaba, to counter the dreaded Seasonality problem the hospitality and tourism industry in our city has in winter.  The object of the (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   The price of petrol is to increase by 96 cents a liter from Wednesday 4 March. The main price influencers are the increase in the price of crude oil, as well as the depreciation of the Rand against the dollar.

*   Mr ‘50 Shades of Grey‘ ‘Christian Grey‘, aka actor Jamie Dornan, is reported by the Weekend Argus to shoot his next film ‘Jadotville‘ in our country and in Ireland from April. The actor has already announced that he will not appear in any ‘50 Shades of Grey‘ movie sequels!

*   Cape Town Tourism has launched a walking tour of suburbs of our city, with VoiceMap Walking Route App. Capetonians ‘guide’ visitors to the city through their favourite suburbs. (more…)

Opulent Living Logo Whale CottageA top event held at the African Pride Crystal Towers last night saw an attendance of close to 700 invited guests, despite the bad weather, testimony to the pulling power of the Mercedes-Benz Opulent Living Style Night, which celebrated the 10th Jubilee edition of the Opulent Living magazine, and the launch of the new Mercedes-Benz C Class. The function tied in with the Mercedes-Benz Cape Town Fashion Week, which runs until today, and highlighted Opulent Livig Magazine Whale Cottagestyle, beauty, and design.

Despite the large number of invited guests, the Century City hotel foyer, in which the function was held, never felt over-crowded, and provided an unusual party venue, probably previously unknown to many of the guests attending.  The choice of the venue may have been motivated by the proximity of the Mercedes-Benz dealership close by.  The weather was kind to guests on arrival, allowing most to get inside without getting wet.  We were handed a paid-for parking ticket on arrival, an organised touch!

Inside the foyer, a number of  artists were performing, two of them doing interesting things with large hoops, sometimes performing movements with them separately and at times (more…)

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines 

*   The Cape Town International Convention Centre has appointed Julie-May Ellingson as its new CEO.  Ms Ellingson has been CEO of the Durban Convention Centre for the past three years.

*   With the assistance of Wesgro and the Department of Trade & Industry, local wine exporters Robinson & Sinclair have secured a national listing with Walmart Sams Club Brazil.  The company represents 18 family-owned wine estates.

*   TripAdvisor ‘reviewers’ have voted Cape Town second best in the world in the categories ‘Best for Restaurants‘ (after New York) and ‘Helpful Locals‘ (after Tokyo), in its World City Survey 2014.  Helena Egan, Head of TripAdvisor Destination Marketing for Europe, Middle East and Africa, said about our country and its people: Everyone is friendly and it’s a genuine friendliness. It comes from the heart. It’s natural. The joy and happiness of the people are key to your destination success’. Velma Corcoran, Executive for Marketing at Cape Town Tourism, added: ‘Any accolade awarded by destination users is a fantastic barometer for us. The fact that we have been voted second to New York as one of the world’s top restaurant cities is truly a testament to Cape Town’s talented and visionary chefs and restaurateurs. It is a moment to celebrate, and luckily Capetonians and visitors can do this at great value this winter as excellent specials abound. On behalf of the destination I would also like to thank each and every person who smiled at, assisted or shared their stories with our visitors. We are so proud to be Capetonian‘.

*   The image of Pinotage is improving, as its association with ‘burnt rubber’ and bitterness is being addressed by the (more…)

WTM Africa Banner Whale Cottage PortfolioI was so impressed with the talks in the Event programme of World Travel Market Africa on Friday that I returned yesterday to the Cape Town International Convention Centre to listen to some more.  It was a much more disappointing and unprofessional experience than on Friday.

It was a shame that the afternoon session was very quiet for all at the exhibition,  having to compete with the Stormers playing Highlanders. It did make finding parking outside the Convention Centre easy though.  In between two talks I went into the Media Centre, and was horrified at how rude the security person was, questioning my presence there, after I had used it the day before as well without question, annoying too as I had blogged about the first day yesterday!  It is disappointing that the quality of the food at the Convention Centre, which had improved greatly after the arrival of Chef Warwick Thomas almost a year ago, was uninspiring in the Media Centre, with some pieces of feta, lots of olives, cherry tomatoes, green leaves, and cucumber slices (the day before they came with mini pita bread), baby potatoes and slices of roast beef with stir fry vegetables (the day before much better rice and tender chicken breasts), and fruit and a mini milktart, which leaked all its content the minute one used the spoon (compared to the excellent fruit tarts and WTM Africa desserts Whale Cottage Portfoliochocolate mousse served the day before).   At 15h00 the content of the small bar fridge, consisting of cold drinks and water, had been cleared out, and they were not refilling it for the next three hours until closing time, because the budget limit for drinks had been reached!  The day before a Convention Centre staff member announced that no more drinks could be had by the writers using the Centre, despite the fridge still being three quarters full!  This all happened despite Natalia Thomson, the PR consultant for the exhibition being in the Media Centre, but she did nothing about the drinks shortage, despite the feedback to her. (more…)

enver-duminy-cape-town-tourismOn his 46th day in the hot seat as CEO of Cape Town Tourism, Enver Duminy was generous with his time yesterday, and we covered a lot of ground, each interviewing the other! I was impressed with his ability to listen, really wanting to know my views on tourism and Cape Town Tourism, even though many of them have been documented on this blog.

Enver and his predecessor Mariette du Toit-Helmbold could not be more different. Enver is very much quieter, more reserved, gentle,  interested in others and their views, is not opinionated in presuming to know all the answers, is friendly, is diplomatic, is not focused on himself but on his job to attract more tourists to Cape Town, and surprised me when he gave me a hug on leaving instead of shaking my hand!  He didn’t want the interview to be about him alone, and he took the opportunity to ask about me as well, and I realised that he knew little about me (he did know that I enjoyed MasterChef SA, and has read this blog, being intrigued about how I see things so differently!).

Enver grew up in Mitchell’s Plain, studied Computer Sciences and Mathematical Statistics, and his first job took him to IBM in Johannesburg.  He returned to Cape Town, working at ESKOM, running a computer training company with friends, working at Nedbank in their ATM, software and home loans departments, and at Integer, a home loans company.  All along his career he has done management courses, believing in ‘educating yourself’, but with a focus on ‘how to apply the knowledge‘, as ‘anything is possible‘, he says.  He is currently doing a (more…)

Wesgro Judy Lain Whale Cottage PortfolioI was recently told that Wesgro had finally appointed a Marketing head after looking since April 2012.  I called Judy Lain, its new Chief Marketing Officer, and was able to set up an appointment to meet her after her trip to South America.  We agreed to meet last Friday at Café Paradiso, on Judy’s recommendation.

All I knew about Judy was that she was better known as Judy During, and had run an advertising agency called 34 Woman, focusing on generating information about women’s purchasing behaviour, being responsible for not only FMCG but also big ticket brand decisions in their households.  Prior to that she worked at Inviseo Media, at Bester Burke Underground, and at draftfcb, therefore having a practical marketing and advertising background.   Our telephonic interaction in setting up the meeting was very different to the bureaucracy I experienced when I arranged to meet with Wesgro CEO Nils Flaatten.  Judy answered the phone herself, sounded friendly and bubbly, and decided that we should meet over lunch.

We had forgotten to describe one another over the phone, but we both (more…)

mariettedth_1369339943_39Last week two senior members of staff left the services of Cape Town Tourism, being its CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, and its PR and Communications Manager Skye Grove.  A new era lies ahead for the tourism body, which can hopefully get on with the focused marketing of Cape Town and its tourism industry again.

Given how badly Cape Town has been marketed as a tourism destination in the past few years, it is a fantastic opportunity for new CEO Enver Duminy to show what he can do to deal with the city’s terrible problem of Seasonality with barely any business in the winter months, which is unique to Cape Town, compared to South Africa’s other major cities.  Every year Mrs Helmbold has paid lip service to the problem, and promised to tackle the problem, but she never did, and business has become progressively worse every winter.

Shocking was the blatant exploitation in the past ten days by Mrs Helmbold to actively market the services of her new destination marketing consultancy whilst still in the employ of Cape Town Tourism.  She announced that she would establish a consultancy in April after her resignation from Cape Town Tourism became public in February.  As if Tweets on her own Twitter account were not enough to market the new consultancy whilst still working for Cape Town Tourism,  Cape Town (more…)

Last week Cape Town Tourism invited its members to attend a Marketing feedback meeting, to share with them what the organisation has done in terms of marketing since it launched its Marketing Strategy with fanfare at its AGM six months ago.  It was also an opportunity for Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold to reconnect with her members, still being on maternity leave, which is due to end next month.

The highlight of the meeting was the re-introduction to Cape Town Tourism of Anton Groenewald, the new Executive Director of Tourism, Events, and Marketing at the City of Cape Town, reporting to Mayoral Committee member for this portfolio Grant Pascoe. While Mr Pascoe has been an ineffective figure head of this department since he took over this portfolio, Mr Groenewald has a good track record of a tough no-nonsense approach to the management of public tourism monies.  He worked for the City of Cape Town ten years ago, and was instrumental in the closing down of the previous Cape Town Tourism, and the creation of the new amalgamated Cape Town Tourism.  Mr Groenewald left the City of Cape Town to take over the management of the Argus Cycle Tour, and thereafter the FNB Big Walk, and was most recently working in the office of the Premier of the Western Cape, giving him a good all-round management and public service experience. He mentioned that the Cape Town Stadium is one of the key assets he will manage for the city, and is the toughest one of all.  Since May 2011 the City has been supporting Cape Town Tourism, when Councillor Pascoe was elected to the Mayoral Committee. Mr Groenewald emphasised that his department is City-focused. His role will be to enhance the co-operation and collaboration between the City and Cape Town Tourism. He will also connect with the tourism industry directly, not explaining in which regard he will do this, but if it is to receive feedback, it would be most welcome. Cape Town Tourism receives the largest chunk of the City’s R426 billion budget, at R42 million per year currently, he said.

Enver Duminy, the acting-CEO in Mrs Helmbold’s absence, shared that the past six months have been tough in terms of budget, and that they had to ‘bite the bullet’, ‘put their money where their mouth is’, and ‘think out of the box’.

Mrs Helmbold provided the background, repeating what members had heard before in that Cape Town now is positioned as the ‘City of Inspiration’, going beyond its ‘Natural Beauty‘ positioning of the past. She reminded us that the new pay-off line for Cape Town is ‘You don’t need a holiday, you need Cape Town’, which was prominently displayed in the slides and banners on the stage of the beautifully renovated Fugard Theatre.  She acknowledged that the past six months were not easy, due to the funding shortage, but she did not explain the reason for the funding problem, having been very confident at the AGM last year, when the campaign was introduced to the industry. She recapped, stating that the main marketing goal is to increase the demand for Cape Town, not only in terms of tourism, but also its business and education sectors.  She said that Cape Town had ‘nothing to be ashamed of’, and in fact is on a par with or exceeds its competitors.  She mentioned that most of our business comes from the USA, the United Kingdom, and Germany, saying that these countries were all seriously affected by the recession, showing that she is misinformed, given how well Germany is doing, and what great numbers of German tourists have come to our country in this past summer.

The Cape Town Tourism marketing campaign was designed to attract the domestic travellers to take a short break in the city, as well as attract international visitors, offering them a broader economic and business tourism proposition.  The marketing approach is three-pronged:

· Increase demand

· Increase their spend when the tourists have arrived in the city

· Capitalise on the greater number of arrivals in benefiting the tourism industry.

The ‘Inspiration’ communication campaign presents Cape Town as a thriving and vibrant city against a ‘jaw-dropping backdrop’. Mrs Helmbold admitted publicly for the first time that ‘Inspiration’ is not a unique differentiator for Cape Town. The campaign ‘juxtaposes the usual with the unusual’, and is built on ‘stories of our own people’, she said, adding that Cape Town is packaged as ‘an unexpected city wanting to be discovered’. The New7Wonders of Nature and Cape Town winning the 2014 World Design Capital bid, as well as other impressive media accolades and awards, were good for Cape Town, and the past summer was better than expected.  But she added that they had not achieved the advertising budget to ‘spearhead the full campaign’, meaning that they had to re-prioritise, with hard work lying ahead.   Mrs Helmbold took credit for the media coverage for the New7Wonders of Nature and winning the 2014 World Design Capital bid, little of which was generated by Cape Town Tourism!  The organisation has redesigned its website, and achieves 500000 visits, especially from Brazil, she said.

Velma Corcoran has been the Marketing Manager for the past eight months, and she impressed with her professional and charming presentation of the marketing activities of the past six months, and those lying ahead, designed to counter seasonality and to grow tourism demand.  She showed the audience a video entitled ‘An Unexpected Cape Town’, which mixed footage of Cape Town with grainy out-of-focus unattractive stills shots of the city, which was launched to the travel trade and media at ITB in Berlin last month.  It has been put on You Tube, and has had 30000 hits to date.  An Events Calendar was compiled, and 20000 copies printed quarterly, but its print run has not been enough, and will be increased to 50000.  Cape Town Tourism has been involved with the Volvo Ocean Race, Design Indaba, Cape Town International Jazz Festival, the Beer Festival, and the Toffie Pop Festival, mainly having a stand at each event.  At the Design Indaba, for example, they had an interactive stand, with 1000 tiles which visitors had to attach to the wall.  They also hosted YFM during the J&B Met, and 30 international journalists during the Cape Epic, the media interest being greater for this event than for the Argus Cycle Tour and Two Oceans Marathons combined, Mrs Corcoran told the audience.

To counter the perception that Cape Town is expensive, events packages have been put together with Mango and Thompsons, providing an airline ticket, accommodation, and tickets to the event at very affordable prices. At the Cape Town International airport the new campaign message is visible in the Arrivals and Departures sections.  Cape Town Tourism has also just had the campaign erected on the exterior of its offices in Burg Street. The refreshed website has simplified navigation, and the content a website visitor will see is determined by the country from which one is visiting the site.  A Cape Town Tool Kit was also developed, allowing access to an ‘on-line hub of images and itinerary ideas’, which the trade, the media and Cape Town Tourism members can access. A Brand Ambassador campaign, to teach the Cape Town Tourism staff about marketing, has also been launched.

Mrs Corcoran said that they will be going to Indaba next month, sharing space on a new Western Cape Pavilion with thirteen product owners representing expected and unexpected aspects of Cape Town. A Three Cities Alliance has been established with Johannesburg Tourism and Durban Tourism, through which they share with SA Tourism what they have achieved, and to prevent duplication of activities. Mrs Corcoran had to admit that Johannesburg Tourism was not able to fund any planned joint marketing campaigns, and therefore it left Durban and Cape Town to jointly take on an amended National Geographic campaign, and to drop the Discovery campaign, which had been announced at the AGM as the most important marketing activity its Australian marketing consultant Ian Macfarlane had organised. Mr Duminy told me at the meeting that Mr Macfarlane has completed his contract with Cape Town Tourism, while Mrs Corcoran said he is still working with them! His name was not mentioned at all during the presentation! The National Geographic campaign has the potential of exposure in 173 countries in 37 languages, with 20,3 million online unique visits, as at February 2012. National Geographic will work with Cape Town and Durban, ‘the first urban tourism collaboration of its kind in South Africa’, said the Cape Town Tourism media release about the joint campaign, which for Cape Town will feature Boulders’ Beach, Robben Island, District Six, Woodstock, Bo Kaap, Table Mountain, the city’s wine routes, as well as its design, innovation, and inspirational strengths:

· Sending ‘Digital Nomad’ Andrew Evans to Cape Town (he has just arrived) for a two week period, and he will Tweet (@Wheres Andrew) to 14000 followers and blog (receiving 2,8 million unique visitors per month) about his visit.

· A TV crew will document Andrew’s visit

· 60 second ‘vignettes’ will focus on the ‘sounds of the city’, e.g. the Noon Gun, ghoema music, with exposure to 11,4 million viewers in the UK, 3,9 million in Germany, 7,4 million in the Netherlands, and 4 million in Africa.

· Advertorials will go into the National Geographic magazines, with a joint readership of 600000, in the USA, China, India and Australia

· On-line travel guides will gain exposure for 12 months, from July 2012 – May 2013.

· An one-hour documentary about Cape Town and Durban will be featured six times on the National Geographic channel between December 2012 – June 2013.

A domestic campaign ‘Discover why Cape Town warms up in winter’ will run in airline magazines, while ads with members’ special winter offers will run on Five FM, the Sunday Times, in-flight magazines, and on the Cape Town Tourism website.  Four top international Travel Bloggers have been invited to Cape Town, and will address a travel bloggers’ conference in August.

Comparing the Marketing presentation of last week with the promises made at the AGM in October – one should question why the joint venture with the Johannesburg and Durban Tourism bodies for the then planned Discovery and National Geographic campaigns was announced at the AGM before any agreement had been signed, the organisation losing face in the inability of Johannesburg Tourism to participate in what was planned as a R24 million campaign, each city to have contributed R8 million – the planned reduction in the number of Visitor Information Centres, the planned tiered membership program, the City Brand Ambassador campaign (which was to have included Archbishop Tutu and TV and radio presenter Liezel van der Westhuizen), and the Nightsbridge accommodation booking system were not addressed in the Marketing presentation last week.

POSTSCRIPT 1/6: Other than having attended Indaba, no marketing action is visible from Cape Town Tourism over the extremely poor winter period.  The organisation has only Tweeted once about the 8 Nation Under 20 soccer tournament taking place in Cape Town now, seemingly seeing it as a non-event, as do most Capetonians and the city’s news media.  Last night the Twitter account of Cape Town reported on a  dinner at Harbour House in the V&A Waterfront, and a few days before that the husband of Velma Corcoran, the Marketing Manager of Cape Town Tourism, wrote a blogpost for the Cape Town Tourism blog about the Gugulethu Wine Show, which took place last weekend! Cape Town Tourism’s Tweets are identical tot he Tweets by its Communications Manager Skye Grove.

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