The Knysna Accommodation Association (KAA) will continue to actively market, advertise and promote its members collectively. This was confirmed when the cooperative elected to remain an independent, membership-driven tourism association during a Special General Meeting held on 17 April.
Spokesperson Colleen Harding said it was important that the local tourism industry knows that there is a local organisation who actively looks after its members’ interests. “We have been active for over 15 years. And currently the Knysna Accommodation Association is the only local tourism body to accept members – and is committed to actively market those members.”
“We are very happy that Wesgro and Knysna Municipality have signed the service level agreement that mandates Wesgro with marketing Greater Knysna as a destination, as well as managing Visit Knysna, the tourism information centre. The KAA enjoys a very good relationship with both Wesgro and Visit Knysna. While theirs is not a membership-based organisation like the KAA, we know that Wesgro excels at destination marketing and look forward to Greater Knysna being marketed to South Africa and the world as the fantastic holiday and investment destination we all know it to be.”
“Our primary purpose is to promote each of our members via our very popular website,” Colleen continued. The dynamic site at www.exploreknysna.com features a 14-day availability component through Nightsbridge and the trade industry is continually encouraged to make use of this user-friendly feature. The association also makes use of a local social media guru and influencer to raise awareness of Greater Knysna in general and, more specifically, the KAA’s members. “We are on Facebook as ExploreKnysnaSouthAfrica, Twitter as @exploreknysna and Instagram as ExploreKnysna. You will see that these pages are very active, with a high rate of interaction with leads,” she said. “We have also popularised the hashtag #exploreknysna.”
Aside from these innovative marketing efforts, the KAA has its members’ practical issues at heart: committee members from the association often meet with Knysna Municipality’s Economic Development and Finance Departments to discuss matters relevant to its members; the KAA regularly engages with entities like Nightsbridge, Expedia and Booking.com to facilitate meetings and workshops within Greater Knysna; it holds scheduled business and networking meetings with a variety of relevant guest speakers; and circulates newsletters regarding local and national tourism developments, legislation, trends, statistics and more to its members.
Membership to the KAA is not only available to accommodation establishments. “We know that the only way to keep tourists in our area for longer is to keep them well-fed and entertained,” said Colleen. “As we recognise these enterprises as vital role players within our tourism economy, we have specifically designated membership categories for restaurants, activity providers and other businesses associated with the tourism industry.”
As tourism remains the main contributor to Knysna’s economy, the KAA has long been regarded as a valued member of local business. “We look forward to continue supporting Knysna’s business community and to be a part of any future efforts in marketing our town,” Colleen concluded. “But, for now, the KAA remains the only organisation in Knysna with the express goal of promoting its members.”
The Committee comprises members who serve on a volunteer basis. These are Kitty Frey Hopkins of Footprints of Knysna (membership), Kevin Jackes of Moncrieff Manor (finance), Colleen Harding of Hide Away Guest House (marketing), Chris Botes of CX Adventures, Mandy Stubbs of Knysna Hike & Bike and Ian Butchart of The Islander Guest House. Non-permanent members include Lidy van Leent of AestAs Bed & Breakfast (municipal matters), Helen Louw of Inyathi Guest Lodge (matters pertaining to Airbnb) and Kevin Cross of Roseroc Boutique Guest House (legal matters).
For more information on how the KAA represents its members, the various membership categories and fees, and to become a member, send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.exploreknysna.com.