23 Jun Stellenbosch Ready – the Currency of Trust
Customer and guest confidence in times of COVID-19 and beyond will be the driver of demand for our destination and tourism businesses.
As we inch towards the ‘new normal’, we know travellers will be looking for destinations that are safe and responsible, destinations that put their guests’ wellbeing first and destinations that guarantee that, in this fluid environment, their booking is safe.
Stellenbosch Ready delivers on all three critical guest needs:
- Health and safety protocols
- Safe and secure environment
- Flexible booking terms
By supporting Stellenbosch Ready, we present a unified consumer-friendly front as a collective and reassure customers and guests that they are the center of our efforts to ensure a safe, welcoming, and responsible environment for their next visit.
Health and Safety Protocols
At the core of earning the confidence of our customers and guests are robust health and safety protocols. Visit Stellenbosch has devised these for each sector, based on those defined by the Tourism Business Council of South Africa (TBCSA) and World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), and these are all available on the Visit Stellenbosch member site for download.
That’s just the first step of our Stellenbosch Ready journey. In conjunction with Stay Stellenbosch, Visit Stellenbosch’s campaign will also include 3 important components:
- Adoption of Protocols: Face-to-face training through Bergzicht Training Centre and eLearning training for staff, virtual information sessions, and a Members’ toolkit, including a business ready checklist, protocol infographics, document templates, signage, self-regulation declaration, and staff-facing marketing collateral.
- Endorsement of Protocols: The establishment of a Stellenbosch Ready stamp, as well as TBCSA and WTTC endorsement.
- Marketing of Protocols: Guest- and customer-facing marketing collateral, a Stellenbosch Ready web landing page with consumer information, and inclusion within our consumer-facing #warmheartStellenbosch marketing campaign.
Safe and secure environment
The safety of our guests is of paramount importance to the Stellenbosch community. We have always prided ourselves in offering a pedestrian-friendly, safe, and secure community environment for travellers who want to explore our diverse history, culture, and local hotspots on foot.
To achieve this, a private-public partnership was established in December 2019 to ensure that 24-hour security was deployed in the town center to monitor key areas frequented by tourists.
This initiative, launched by property and business owners in downtown Stellenbosch, has been expanded and enjoys the support of law enforcement officers who assist the security guards as required.
Along with this, important information and safety protocols for visitors to Stellenbosch are in development and will be available online, on Visit Stellenbosch’s website.
Flexible booking terms
The start of our peak travel season is looming and, for many of us, the need for our customers to confirm their bookings for September travel is near.
Until we have a firm date for reopening of travel, our customers and guests will be reluctant to confirm their travel for September and October now, which is what they will be required to do based on a 60-day cancellation penalty period.
You can reduce their fear of booking or confirming existing bookings by instituting more flexible booking policies and shortening your cancellation penalty periods to 30 days or even 15 days prior to travel.
For new bookings, instituting a guarantee that you will refund in full a deposit for any COVID-related cancellations (only) will address any fears that their deposit will not be returned should they need to cancel due to COVID illness, travel bans or related reasons.
The more flexible we can be in terms of our cancellation policies for the remainder of 2020, the longer we can hold on to those confirmed bookings and instill trust need for new bookings as we wait for travel to reopen.
If you have any questions or comments, please do not hesitate to contact a Visit Stellenbosch team member.