Cape Town Tourism launched a new Facebook travel app this week, designed to allow “virtual visits” to the city through a user’s Facebook profile. In what Cape Town Tourism titles a “world’s first,” the innovative app “is a creative user experience that utilizes the latest technology and Facebook’s immense global reach” to raise awareness of the city as a travel destination. Users can send their Facebook profile on a holiday to Cape Town – and earn the chance to win a trip to the city in real life.
The campaign launched this past Monday (October 2) and will run until the end of December 2012. Facebook users can “tailor-make experiences” based on their personal interests, and a unique itinerary for their ‘virtual’ trip to Cape Town will be assigned to each user. The app aims to demonstrate the variety of activities that Cape Town has to offer.
How exactly does it work? The I ♥ Cape Town Facebook page – which has over 257,000 likes – prominently features the contest, directing users to www.mycapetownholiday.com (still located on Facebook) where they can just click on the app to get started. “Anyone signing their profile up for a trip gets a boarding pass in their profile’s name from their home town and heads off on a five day virtual trip to Cape Town. Each day they receive an update with photos of where their profile ate, went, partied or stayed – with gripping point-of-view photos and videos showing the full experience,” says Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariëtte du Toit-Helmbold.
The chance to win a real trip to Cape Town is the “incentive” to play the game. Du Toit-Hembold believes the campaign “will give thousands of people a chance to do a virtual ‘test drive’ of a trip to Cape Town in a really engaging way, and it should whet appetites around the world resulting in more arrivals for Cape Town.”
The potential audience is huge, given that Facebook just announced it has now topped one billion users. According to Cape Town Tourism, the social networking giant sees more than 300 million photos uploaded every day, many of them travel photos.
This isn’t Cape Town Tourism’s first creative attempt at social marketing. Back in September, we covered Cape Town’s “iAmbassador campaign” which combined travel blogging, crowdsourcing and social media to draw attention to the city as a travel destination. That campaign resulted in over 36 million Twitter impressions in just three weeks.
Will ‘My Cape Town Holiday’ and the virtual Facebook vacation create even more buzz?
Watch a video explaining the campaign here:
Check out the results of this campaign in our follow-up post: Tourism Marketing: How a Facebook Game Lured Fans to Cape Town