Case Study: Glamtrails, walking tours in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley

Services: PR and social media management

The challenge: Gillian Faichnie from Glamtrails approached us in July 2019, needing to market their new business – walking tours with wine and food experiences in the Hemel-en-Aarde Valley in the Western Cape. Co-founder Tim Lundy was known as an experienced mountain guide and author of a book on family hikes in Cape Town, but Glamtrails was an entirely new offering, with a different target audience to the Cape Town hiking community. Glamtrails needed to reach tour operators who need experiences for their international clients, and a South African audience looking for an upmarket adventure experience in the Western Cape. They also needed to establish themselves as a business within the Hermanus/Hemel-en-Aarde community.

Our approach: We set about understanding what the business offered and workshopped how we could reach their potential customers. We took a two-step approach to the media outreach – through a press release, and by inviting journalists to experience Glamtrails. First, we arranged for professional photographs to be taken and drafted a press release describing their offering. We distributed it to travel trade, travel and lifestyle media, as well as freelance travel media – and then used the press release as an introduction to invite media to experience and review the Glamtrails experience.

We also took over the management of their social media channels on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and started posting regular, clear and consistent messaging about Glamtrails tours, their partners and the experiences that form part of a Glamtrail.

Results: The press release was published in travel trade media and resulted in trade enquiries from tour operators needing experiences for their clients. A freelance journalist also contacted Glamtrails, resulting in an article for the international magazine National Geographic Traveller.

We had journalists from Getaway, Country Life, Fairlady and Traveller24 join a trail, with coverage resulting in direct enquiries. We hosted freelance journalists Allison Foat and Lynette Botha, resulting in features in the Sunday Times and Escapes magazine. We also ensured that local Hermanus newspapers The Village News and The Hermanus Times ran content, with a Village news journalist also experiencing a Glamtrail.

Through social media we helped build Glamtrails’ profile within the Hemel-en-Aarde community, as well as drive direct client leads to the team.

Client testimonial: “When we first launched our business, we knew we would need a PR agency with specific experience because of our needs as a small start up and our focus on a relatively new tourism niche. Maryann was recommended to us because of her experience working with new business in sports and adventure tourism. We had a planning session before we embarked on a formal relationship and Maryann has delivered on everything we wanted. Our business has appeared in various media relevant to our target market and now we’ll be expanding our focus to other markets too. Maryann Shaw Communications has been a really good fit for Glamtrails.”

This high impact but relatively small-scale project was run over 3-4 months. Small tourism operators need not feel intimidated by the idea of “doing PR”. You can start small and achieve great results. We love tourism public relations and sharing the wonderful places and services that South Africa has to offer. Get in touch to discuss getting your tourism business into the media.