Tourism Marketing: How a Facebook Game Lured Fans to Cape Town

Cape Town image_Cape Town TourismCape Town Tourism placed a clever spin on the Facebook game – and contest – with the competition, launched back in September 2012.  The campaign invited people to ‘send their Facebook profile on holiday‘ at Cape Town, and thousands chose to play by using an innovative Facebook app, cited by Cape Town Tourism as a “world’s first.”

The competition was open through December 31st, 2012, and winners were revealed on January 25, 2013.  Potential travelers had serious motivation to participate, with prizes including:

  • first prize — an all-expenses-paid trip to Cape Town
  • second prize — a week long holiday for a domestic traveller
  • third prize — long haul flights on Virgin Atlantic Airways

Throughout the course of the campaign, the Facebook game was played by 8,212 people. Participants hailed from South Africa, the UK, USA, India and Germany (in order by number of participants).

Back in early October, the  I ♥ Cape Town Facebook page had just over 257,000 likes.  Now, the page boasts over 275,000 likes – an increase of nearly 20,000 in just 4 months.

Cape Town Tourism gained valuable exposure, built up buzz around the brand, and can now incorporate all players of the Facebook game into their visitor database, sending regular updates about Cape Town deals and notifying them of future campaigns.

While the competition is closed, the game is still open for any potential travelers who still want to send their Facebook profile on holiday in Cape Town.

The campaign demonstrated “the incredible power of sharing on social media,” said Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold, CEO of Cape Town Tourism.  She sees gaming as a “creative playspace for a brand” and notes that many major tourism destinations are now incorporating gamification into their marketing strategy.  The move into this space was very deliberate: du Toit-Helmbold adds, “We researched this field extensively before embarking on our campaign and we have learnt a lot in the process.”

Has your brand used a social media contest – or ventured into gaming – to engage potential customers?

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  • Hi Marissa, thanks for covering this! I work with a great company that focuses on this sort of engagement advertising – it’s a huge advantage in both the social media and the overall digital marketing realm. Offering incentives like Cape Town Tourism’s contest is a great and easy means of building brand loyalty, and creates a more personal connection. Optimizing contests like these is incredibly easy too, and I think more companies should try it. People like to participate!

    • Rachel – I agree! The contest provided incentive for people to get excited about Cape Town, and the game allowed them to really get a look at the city and what it has to offer. Funny fact: the (future) grand prize winner became so interested in visiting Cape Town after entering the contest that she booked a vacation there (assuming she wouldn’t win). She was shocked and delighted to realize (after winners were announced) that she now has two Cape Town trips lined up! Makes you wonder how many other participants may have booked travel as a result of entering the contest….

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