With a limited budget for traditional media marketing, and the growing importance of digital media for marketing destinations, the aim of this project was to develop and implement a digital marketing strategy for the Lesotho Tourism Development Corporation (LTDC). The strategy included the development of a new website, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram advertising, development of an e-Newsletter, regular blogs, and tracking the performance of the marketing campaigns. Significantly, it also included the training of staff within the marketing department of the LTDC to be able to continue to effectively market Lesotho after the project had been completed.
In addition to digital marketing, the project included the development of five “Know Your Market” guides for each of Lesotho’s key source markets (South Africa, UK, Germany, Netherlands and USA). These were aimed at the private sector to provide practical advice on how to effectively market their services to these countries.
The project commenced with the development of the “Know Your Market” guides, as these also provided useful insight into the profile of visitors to Lesotho, and therefore the development of visitor personas for digital marketing. Each guide was researched through focus groups and tour operator interviews in each source market as well as desk research. Each guide was carefully designed to appeal to a broad audience, included infographics and charts, and printed for distribution to businesses in Lesotho.
The digital marketing strategy commenced with the design and development of a new website (www.visitlesotho.travel) that was very much private sector oriented, with each accommodation, restaurant, guiding service, tour operator, and retail outlet having a record within the Destination Management System (DMS) that fed into the website. A photographic assignment was undertaken to capture quality images and video for the site, as well as a comprehensive tour of Lesotho to compile inspirational and informative content.
The new website included the facility to develop a database of consumers interested in Lesotho, and this was expanded through the use of competitions to drive traffic to the site and encourage new sign ups. Social media marketing was significantly improved with the introduction of paid-for advertising on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. A system for tracking website usage, social media impressions, and cost per click on paid-for advertising was set up, and a comprehensive training programme was run for all staff in the Marketing Department.
LTDC’s marketing has been transformed through this project, with website hits increasing by 25% month-on-month, and increased social media profile. The Marketing Department have all the skills required to keep the website updated with content, blogs, events, and other information for consumers and the trade. Staff also have learnt how to produce inspirational and targeted social media posts using a new stock of photos and videos. The private sector has been better informed about marketing to the key source markets through the “Know Your Market” guides, and are also more aware of the importance of their digital presence, including updating information on the visitlesotho.travel website and developing their own social media.