KLINK: Voting for wine tourism
Tourism remains one of the Western Cape’s most competitive sectors, and initiatives like the Klink Awards – an annual competition that engages the public to vote for their best wine tourism experiences – play such an important role in showcasing what the region has to offer local and international visitors. So says Tim Harris, CEO of Wesgro – the official tourism, trade, and investment promotion agency for the Western Cape – which has announced it is a partner for the fourth consecutive awards. It launched today in Franschhoek in association with the timelessly classic wine valley’s CEO, Jenny Prinsloo.
“The Klink Awards is the only one of its kind in South Africa and is a user-generated twist on the more traditional competitions that the wine industry participates in,” explains its founder Monika Elias. “Instead of awarding just the wine, we showcase the holistic experience that the Winelands offers – from first-rate accommodation, creative food and wine pairing, adventure activities and now even craft beer. Through a strict vetting process, we curate the 78 nominees; the public are then given carte blanche to vote for their favourite 17 as well as one overall Supanova winner.”
Past winners have included Harvest at Laborie, The Spice Route and Blaauwklippen.
This year, Klink’s 17 categories reflect the diversity of food, pamper and adventure experiences on tap on Cape Town’s doorstep. Among them is the Tread Gently which recognises sustainable practices on an estate; Tracks & Trails, a round-up of the best hiking, running and biking trails on a vineyard; The Wild Card which is a collection of off-the-wall adventures including tree-top zip-lining, river cruises and a tram ride; the Spoil Me where only the most pampering experiences on a wine estate make the cut, as well as Klink’s newest category, On The Hop; a round-up of the most innovative craft breweries or labels available on a wine estate or route.
“In just four years we’ve seen how quickly the industry has integrated wine tourism into its marketing, and is why each year we’ve added a new category to reflect this adaptability, innovation and progression,” explains Elias.
Besides the new On the Hop category launch, Klink is also proud to announce its relationship with Wesgro for the duration of the 2015 Klink Awards season. “Our role as Destination Marketing Organisation is to put in place strategies and campaigns that help tell our destinations’ unique stories. In order to do this, we have niche sectors that we focus on, one of which is wine tourism. We’ve decided to partner with The Klink Awards as it encourages consumers to discover new places while giving the industry an opportunity to showcase their products and services. It also drives geographic spread which is a priority for us in terms of driving feet to the outer regions of the Province,” explains Harris.
With Wesgro’s support, Klink can extend its initiative’s depth and breadth, not only with respect to driving public participation through the votes, but by also showcasing the significant potential that a consumer-driven award of this kind means to the growing South African tourism economy.
“We live in a user-generated world where consumers use TripAdvisor and other review and recommendation platforms to plan their holidays or day-trips. This is a reality and players in the wine tourism sector are becoming increasingly aware of the power of the people; they really do have the upper hand in today’s always-on marketing world and smart brands are encouraging this through the adoption of attractions and experiences that are on-trend for today’s cosmopolitan consumer,” she says. “Pre social media, people voted with their feet; today they vote with their posts.”
Affording its 78 nominees access to an active online consumer community, Klink has refined its voting platform so that visitors can easily peruse the categories, review a short blurb on why its nominees are in the running, and then cast their vote (one per category) quickly and simply online, through Facebook, Twitter or by sending an email. Voting is open for 10 weeks between 11th September and 13th November. Unique votes will be tallied and audited to reveal Klink’s top 17, as well as the overall campaign’s Supanova winner on the 19th November at the official Awards gala evening, presented in collaboration with Wesgro.
“The public have been incredibly supportive of Klink to date. In 2014 for instance, 13 000 uniques were cast in the 10 week period,” says Elias. “With the support of our stakeholders we anticipate that Klink will continue to grow alongside an always-on connected consumer who, thanks to mobile phones, has the power to rate or hate an experience with the touch of a button and Wi-Fi access. Our over-arching goal as Klink is to drive plenty of rates,” concludes Elias.
For more information visit www.klinkawards.co.za or follow @KlinkAwards, #klinkawards or www.facebook.com/klinkawards.