Tag Archives: Cape Argus

Camps Bay Drive roadworks completion delayed by more than two months!

imageThe City of Cape Town has announced that the Camps Bay Drive roadworks will be completed at the end of November, two months later than the promised completion date, and announced more than two weeks after the work was meant to have been completed!

Instead of communicating with Camps Bay residents (and those from Hout Bay, being Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 25 June

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   AirBnB is increasing in popularity, and becoming a greater threat to hotels, especially as it is accepting hotel room listings at its attractive 3% commission compared to the norm of 15-25%, and because the guests are verified, reports MarketWatch!

*   Reports speculate that the Formula One could be held in Cape Town Continue reading →

World Design Capital 2014: overpayment by City of Cape Town?

World Design Capital 2014The Cape Argus has reported that the City of Cape Town may have overpaid more than R300000 on Cape Town hosting World Design Capital 2014 to International Council of Societies of Industrial Design, the organisation which coordinates and awards the biennial World Design Capital host cities.

The cost to the City of Cape Town and its ratepayers for the honour of having been elected as World Design Capital 2014 was R1,5 million, payable in three instalments of €150000 each.  Despite an agreement by the City to get forward cover on the Rand/Euro exchange rate, this was not done, and the declining Rand relative to the Euro meant Continue reading →

WhaleTales Tourism, Food, and Wine news headlines: 4 February

WhaleTalesTourism, Food, and Wine news headlines

*   SAA is cancelling its Johannesburg – Beijing flights as of April, its acting CEO Nico Bezuidenhout said at a media briefing. Air China will service the route in a code-share agreement with SAA from May. The number of SAA flights to India has been decreased, and may be cut altogether, being another loss-making route. Changes to the USA route may also be made.

*   SAA-owned low-cost domestic airline Mango will decrease its fares with immediate effect, by as much as 25%, due to the lower fuel price.

*   SA Tourism is targeting India as its largest source market by 2020. Hanneli Slabber, Continue reading →

Freedom Day 2014: reflecting on 20 years of democracy!

SA FlagIt was the interview with a Cape Argus reporter on Friday that made me reflect on how far not only our country, but also I personally and my business have come in the 20 years since we voted on 27 April 1994.  The Argus interview was focused on the progress over the past 20 years I have seen personally, business-wise, and politically.

My very first feedback to reporter Dylan was that 1994 was the first and only time that I was allowed to vote, having a German passport.  I do not recall how it was possible for all foreigners (by passport) to be allowed to vote, when it has never been allowed before nor since then.  I loved standing in a queue somewhere in Sea Point, being part of the exciting day that would change our country forever, and how much goodwill there was amongst South Africans whilst waiting patiently in the queues. Little did we know that the rest of the world waited anxiously for the outcome of the election, fully expecting a revolution to take place, unbeknown to us residents, with thanks to the SABC in ‘protecting’ us from this world scenario.

I moved to Cape Town in 1990, and transferred my marketing research consultancy Relationship Marketing from Johannesburg, changing its emphasis to Public Relations for food clients such as Baker Street Snacks, Bonnita (now Parmalat), Aylesbury, and more.  The late John Harrison was a favourite client when he was GM of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway.  Even Mark Shuttleworth was a client, before he became famous for selling his Continue reading →

New City of Cape Town logo: Yellowwood agency creative spin lacks credibility!

City of Cape Town logo newThe Brand Strategy Consultancy Yellowwood, part of the KIng James Group and  TBWA\Worldwide, is back-pedaling and presenting an implausible creative spin in the justification for its severely disliked new logo for the City of Cape Town.

David Blyth, Group Managing Director of Yellowwood, explains the elements of the logo design, for which work commenced in the agency on 6 January and on which 140 hours was spent.  Interesting is to read the website, which informs that the focus of Yellowwood is to ‘build valuable brands for ambitious businesses‘, hardly a description of the City of Cape Town!  From its list of services offered, it sounds more like a brand development consultancy than an ad agency, which is how the local media have described it.  One can be pretty certain that Yellowwood did not write the strategy, and that it was presented with an ‘academic’ document which had to be translated into a logo!

The Yellowwood website states that the consultancy links its client businesses to their brands via marketing strategy, brand strategy, research insights (which appear to be lacking, no Capetonians having been interviewed for the strategy input nor about the appeal of the logo), data analytics, and strategic design solutions.  In its Design section, which appears to be a lesser service, being last on its list of services, it states that its designs are based on ‘strategic insight’.  Clearly the logo is a failure as Yellowwood was not involved in the strategy!  Other public sector clients are the Western Cape government (via Carol Avenant, who worked there previously and now works for the City of Cape Town’s Integrated Strategic Communications and Branding department) and Iziko Museums.

Yellowwood’s justification for its logo design is as follows, as reported in the Cape Argus: Continue reading →

Vergelegen Mediclinic Sweet Service and Giorgio Nava Sour Service Awards!

Medi Clinic Somerset WestThe Sweet Service Award goes to the Vergelegen Mediclinic in Somerset West, its staff, the City of Cape Town Disaster Risk management team, as well as local residents for their amazing work in evacuating more than 100 patients from the hospital after the dreadful flood caused by the severe rainstorm last Friday.  The news spread via Twitter, and assistance was called for.  Patients were relocated to other branches of Mediclinic. Odd was that Mediclinic ran an advertisement in the Cape Argus this week, to thank everyone for their assistance. The ad seemed to be in reaction to Continue reading →

Cape Town tourism industry confused about Festive Season tourism prospects!

Yesterday the Cape Argus and Cape Town Tourism released their forecasts about the Festive Season and the November – January period.  The Cape Argus prediction of a ‘flood of tourists’ over the Festive Season and Cape Town Tourism’s description of the November – January period seeing ‘positive seasonal growth’ are exaggerated, and not reflective of what the tourism industry is experiencing.  Both information sources do not acknowledge something we have called ‘Summer Seasonality’, which is becoming more pronounced!

Cape Town Tourism astounds with its poorly written media releases, and it is clear that their PR and Communications Manager Skye Grove struggles in expressing herself coherently, sounding out of depth in writing about accommodation occupancy, rates, and RevPAR (Revenue per Available Room), clearly terms which are foreign to her, as is market research in general.   While her headline refers to ‘positive seasonal growth’ being seen by ‘Cape Town’s Tourism Sector’, she contradicts herself in her introductory paragraph, clumsily writing that there are ‘slight growth trends across occupancy and average room rates indicators for the months November 2012 – January 2013‘.  She forecasts Occupancy over the three months at 71% and an average room rate of R 1136, without providing details of how the information was arrived at.  She then compares the results from two different surveys conducted a year apart, and concludes that Occupancy will be higher this summer compared to last, a nonsense deduction.

Even worse is the poorly written paragraph attributed to Cape Town Tourism CEO Mariette du Toit-Helmbold, in which she contradicts herself in predicting that ‘we are not expecting a record season of arrivals and bookings’, yet states in two sentences further that ‘..the City Bowl, The V&A Waterfront and the Atlantic Seaboard will be a hive of activity’, clearly not knowing what is happening in the tourism industry! She does admit that the Festive Season only covers the period of the third week of December (i.e. from 21 December onwards) to ‘early January‘.  Mrs Helmbold admonishes the tourism industry for not coming up with ‘new and interesting experiences‘, something our tourists are ‘hungry for’, she writes!

A statement by poor Nils Flaatten, the CEO of Wesgro, is also incorporated in the media release (aren’t they in competition with each other in marketing Cape Town, one would ask), and justifies the hard work they are doing with Cape Town Tourism to ‘ensure improved dispersal of visitors across the greater Cape Town region and beyond’, his mandate being to market the Western Cape and to minimise the duplication of marketing Cape Town. Flaatten refers to international tourists visiting the V&A Waterfront to shop, and to visit Robben Island and Table Mountain.  Domestic tourists, he says, ‘are experiencing a greater appetite (sic) for festivals and events across the province’, and then refers to the 600 festivals which took place in the province in the past six months!  Ironically there are no festivals and events taking place over the Festive Season!  We have seen no marketing activity or communication from Wesgro and Cape Town Tourism to ‘disperse’ the Cape Town-based tourists into other parts of the province, the tourists doing their own research about where else to stay. Fact is that the Atlantic Seaboard is the most desired location for Festive Season visitors to Cape Town, and it would only be the non-availability of accommodation in this area that would make them stay further away from the city.

The Cape Argus article, written by journalist Daneel Knoetze, was based on two interviews, with Mrs Helmbold and her Board member Susanne Faussner, the headline shouting that a ‘Flood of tourists expected in Mother City’, and misleadingly stating that our industry is ‘expecting one of the most successful festive seasons to date’! The only justification for this misleading claim is a quote attributed to Mrs Faussner about an increase in Occupancy relative to last year, but as the Festive Season has not even begun, no accurate Occupancy figures are available! She added that the poor European winter and the favourable exchange rates are in our industry’s favour, but we have not seen the effect of this. Immediately after the exaggerated positive claim, the journalist lists dreadful crime-related accusations against Cape Town, and states that the positive publicity generated by Cape Town performing well in international tourism lists will outweigh the negative shock crime information relating to Cape Town! Mrs Helmbold places all her bets on an increase in tourism numbers on Table Mountain’s new ‘New7Wonders of Nature’ status, which was confirmed at the beginning of this month.  Ironically Cape Town Tourism Chairman and CEO of the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway Company, Sabine Lehmann, deplored the very windy beginning of December, and the number of days that the Cableway had to be closed due to adverse weather conditions in the Cape Town Tourism release.  Funny was seeing the Christmas Lights on Adderley Street, supplied by the City of Cape Town, which includes an illustration of Table Mountain and the incorrect title ‘New7Wonder of Nature’!  One would have thought that Mrs Lehmann or Cape Town Tourism would have advised the City of Cape Town of its faux pas!

Summer Seasonality is becoming increasingly apparent, and adds to the woes of the Tourism industry, which experienced extreme Winter Seasonality in the past two years, worse than ever before, largely due to the extremely wet winter, which kept Johannesburgers from Cape Town, and Capetonians from the rest of the Western Cape.  Even more frustrating is the increased Summer Seasonality, which gives the industry two very good weeks and two very slow weeks each in November, December, and January, resulting in an average Occupancy of 50% for each of these months, an unsustainable performance.  February is the best booked month, the only one with Occupancy close to 90%.

Cape Town Tourism likes to brag about its performance, and clearly is under pressure from the City of Cape Town to justify the R35 million it receives from the City. It is irresponsible to mislead the Tourism industry with platitudes, contradictory information, and the false presentation and interpretation of statistics!  We would like to request the City of Cape Town to act against this unprofessional communication by Cape Town Tourism, and to appoint a professional Communications company that can assist Cape Town Tourism in issuing more credible and professional media statements, for the benefit of our City’s image and reputation!  The PR company it uses currently appears to only distribute the media releases.

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

Blues Sweet and Independent Newspapers Sour Service Awards!

The Sweet Service Award goes to Blues restaurant in Camps Bay, for its invitation to attend its inaugural Supper Club last week. Since the restaurant is back in family hands, they wish to get the personal touch back, said its Marketing Manager Christine Hommel. Once a month they will host a Supper Club dinner, by invitation only, with a special wine list.  Themes for the dinners will vary. Four half-size tasting portions were served, to give guests a taste of the menu, including Mushroom Risotto, Kingklip, Mediterranean Chicken Roulade, and Sticky Toffee pudding. Chef Lorenzo requested feedback for each dish from each guest, guiding him in his menu development.  They will also run a recipe competition, and the best recipe will become a dish added to the summer menu.

The Sour Service Award goes to Independent Newspapers and its Subscription department.  We have subscribed to the Cape Times and Cape Argus for years, in Camps Bay, Franschhoek, and in Fresnaye. While there is nothing nicer than having the paper arrive on one’s doorstep, there is nothing worse than not receiving it.  The company is extremely poor at responding to delivery complaints, delivers undelivered papers up to a week later when notified, and when it does respond, always has an excuse why the paper was not delivered.  Only one apology has ever been received for the delivery problems experienced in the past ten years.

The WhaleTales Sweet & Sour Service Awards are presented every Friday on the WhaleTales blog.  Nominations for the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be sent to Chris von Ulmenstein at info@whalecottage.com. Past winners of the Sweet and Sour Service Awards can be read on the Friday posts of this blog, and in the WhaleTales newsletters on the www.whalecottage.com website.