Jacques du Bruyn, MD at digital marketing agency Flume, covered the topic "The untapped African youth market" at World Travel Market Africa 2017 - addressing the questions "How do you (as a travel brand or individual) speak to the African youth from a digital perspective?" and "How do you convince the African youth online?" We asked Du Bruyn to give us some of the answers.
Jacques du Bruyn
Tell us about the young African traveller - their needs, wants and requirements
Africa is a young continent. An Ernst Young research project into Africa found that by the year 2020, three out of four people will be an average of 20 years old. Their needs are largely self-actualising which is fuelled by the need to have a voice and be heard. Mobile data is what enables this for them; being connected lies at the heart of what they do. They believe that if they’re not online they don’t exist. As a traveller, they desire to experience new cultures and to find themselves in the world as a ‘new type of African’.
What does Africa’s online digital landscape look like and how enabling an environment is it for young Africans to utilise as a tool for travelling?
Africa’s online landscape is mobile but mostly feature phone based. Travel still needs to better embrace mobile by delivering mobile and “thumb ready” experiences to the African youth. Feature phones also seem to be forgotten and data is expensive. The digital world is getting there but still has a long way to go in making sure that African youth have ease of use and entry. Obviously, exploring new destinations via the internet is easy, and the internet is enabling communication across borders which inevitably enables access to travel.
What is lacking in the digital landscape in terms of the needs of young African travellers?
Meaningful marketing. The technology is there, marketers just aren’t using it meaningfully to speak to young Africans in a way that matters.
How can the industry convince young Africans to travel online?
By connecting with them on their terms. It’s very important to showcase the type of African that they hope to become. If travel businesses can mirror a new type of travelling, then it will be able to convince young Africans to travel.
...digital allows us to speak to individuals at scale, and that’s exactly how to engage with the African youth.
How important will the role of digital marketing be in tapping into this market?
Digital marketing is crucial as it’s the only meaningful channel that can deliver addressability at scale. What this means is that digital allows us to speak to individuals at scale, and that’s exactly how to engage with the African youth. Broadcasting one standard message to speak to them all isn’t going to get you anywhere; they want personalisation. Digital can do that from start to finish, through to targeting and unique landing experiences.
What is the main message you want leave stakeholders and attendees at WTM Africa with?
Data - it’s all about data. Young Africans are online, they’re consuming information and partaking in content creation. Through data management platforms we can learn more about how they behave online and start to build meaningful databases to market to online.
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