SOUTH AFRICA - 19 JULY, 2022 - Sojern, a leading provider of digital marketing solutions for the travel industry, today announced its expansion into South Africa to better serve partners and capitalize on the growing post-pandemic tourism boom. Stewart Smith, Sojern’s Managing Director for the Middle East and Africa, will oversee the launch having successfully rolled out Sojern’s solutions in other regions across the past eight years.
“South Africa was hit harder than many countries by COVID-19, the travel industry in particular across the country was brought to its knees. In the aftermath of the Omicron variant in late 2021, the country is now in a fantastic position to capitalise on global travel recovery and Sojern is launching at a brilliant time to help travel marketers remind travellers why South Africa is one of the greatest countries on earth,” said Smith.
Since the onset of the pandemic, Sojern Insights have powered the travel and tourism recovery research for the U.N. World Tourism Organization, the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and Skift Research. It also provides weekly self-serve travel insights to help hotels, attractions, and tourism boards understand travel behavior and plan for recovery. Here are some of the top travel trends it’s identified for South Africa in 2022:
- Flight bookings are up! In May 2022, flight bookings were up 25% on their 2021 levels.
- Some destinations are recovering faster than others: Destinations like Kimberley and Bloemfontein are up YoY, however, are still a long way off their 2019 booking and search volumes.
- Flight prices are volatile: COVID-19 caused a drastic drop in inbound flight prices, however international fares into South Africa are now in fact higher than their 2019 levels
- Domestic travel is still booming: 49.9% of flight bookings to South Africa originate in South Africa, demonstrating how crucially important domestic travel is. The UK is 2nd, at 9.3%, with the US ranking 3rd at 5.4%, followed by Germany (4%) and Zimbabwe (2.5%).
- How far in advance are people booking? Most domestic travel is immediate, while overseas visitors are booking their December holiday trips to South Africa already. Interestingly, international travelers are booking further in advance in 2022 than they did in 2019, whereas domestic travellers are booking closer to their departure dates than they did pre-pandemic.
“For more than a decade, Sojern’s team of data scientists have analysed the complete traveller path-to-purchase, taking a scientific and data-driven approach to digital marketing,” added Smith. “We work with brands to create integrated marketing campaigns across multiple digital channels helping them engage with travellers wherever they are in their journey, from dream to destination. With South Africa remaining a top travel destination for global travellers we see lots of opportunities for growth throughout 2022. We look forward to building Sojern’s operations and supporting the local travel industry in its rebound.” Smith added
The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic had a significant impact on the South African tourism industry. Tourism contributed 130 billion rand in 2018 and constituted nearly 3% direct contribution to GDP in South Africa, while the tourism sector contributed about 4.5% of total employment. But according to the Tourism 2020 report released by Statistics South Africa, in 2020, the volume of tourists decreased by 72.6% from 10.2 million in 2019 to 2.8 million in 2020.
After two years of turmoil, the country’s tourism and hospitality industry is now showing strong signs of recovery. Despite the travel sector being strongly affected by the pandemic, Sojern continues to work with thousands of hotels, attractions, airlines, and destinations annually around the world. Positioning itself as the key partner for tourism professionals who want to be supported in their ongoing recovery, the company has continued to gain market share in the region. With Sojern, the South African travel industry can now take advantage of the latest marketing technology to drive direct bookings, increase web traffic, develop loyalty programs, and more -- powered by world-class machine-learning and data science technology.
Sojern is a leading digital marketing platform built for travel marketers. Powered by artificial intelligence and traveler intent data, Sojern provides multichannel marketing solutions to drive direct demand. Thousands of hotels, attractions, tourism boards and travel marketers rely on Sojern annually to engage and convert travelers around the world.