2020 Big Tree Marketing Round-Up

There is not much more we can add to the many and varied descriptions of 2020 suffice to say we are thankful to be at the end of this year!

Nobody knows exactly what travel in 2021 will look like, we think for the foreseeable future, holidays will look and feel very different to what has gone before. Remote destinations, private travel and outdoor activities will probably be favoured over crowed city tours and cramped public transport. While remote may be best, going off-grid may be less important than being informed and up to date with world developments.

Travellers will be mindful of safe health practices alongside sustainable principles. FIT’s and family ‘bubbles’ will choose destinations that manage the coronavirus responsibly giving them reassurance when making location decisions.

South Africa is an inviting destination being in the middle of our warm summer months, this may be in our favour during the decision making process. The distribution of a vaccine is also good news although it will obviously take time for it to roll out to all our source markets.

It’s been a tough year for tourism but we are a tough tribe. Experience has shown that we have compassion, we are creative and we fight to bring change and eventually this too will pass. We have learnt so much about resilience, but mostly about helping one another not just financially but emotionally holding each other up through hopeless and dark days. This rainbow nation shines bright through its tourism tribe, may this be a legacy that lives long and brilliant.

From our side this what we have been doing over the past 12 months:

New Website

When the President announced Lock-Down we took the decision to put Big Tree Marketing on ice, giving our portfolio partners an opportunity to stop payment, re-group and figure the way forward. After spending two months recovering from eight cycles of chemo, lock-down came in the form of a blessing. Two months to rest and recover reading and watching Netflix but even for a work-a-holic doing nothing constructive became too much and soon it was time to buckle down. We developed a plan to increase our business services after completely recreating our website. New look, new content and images.

Freelance Writing

Next we formalized our writing services and applied to become a member of SAFREA (South African Freelancers Association). Our members page is here!

To date we have written seven themed stories and a Press Release for Oudtshoorn Tourism. Please visit our website blog page to read some of our work and discover some of our favourite recipes. This one may interest you it being the festive season and all – Lindsey’s Christmas Limoncello

Social Media

We stepped up our Social Media services in a big way when Tegan joined our team as a consultant. She brings youth, creativity and an eye for detail which is evident in the feedback we are getting from followers. We launched Instagram Reels and Competitions with a number of successful campaigns bringing good organic growth to our clients.

“Social Media has undoubtedly become a necessity for all businesses in this age of technology. I have taken over this responsibility at Big Tree Marketing with a few years social media experience and many months of training from a local digital company. This has led to major growth in Big Tree Marketing’s online presence. We have run three very successful online giveaways with Oudtshoorn & De Rust Tourism, Aire Del Mar, Stille Woning and Ecoaches, bringing more followers and engagement to each participant. Our recent business trips have been published online in the form of Story Highlights and we are also using the new Instagram tool ‘Reels’ to grow traction. We have published 12 Reels videos over the past two months which have done very well and have brought increased engagement on our platforms. I am grateful for the lessons and opportunities 2020 gave us and look forward to all the exciting new possibilities 2021 brings.”
Tegan Gibaud
Social Media Manager | Big Tree Marketing
@bigtreemarketingsa – on all platforms

Outsourced Educationals

One of our high value skills is co-ordinating and hosting educationals, we have been organising them since 1999 and are damn good at it. While considering how to move forward in these tough financial times we made the decision to include outsourced educationals into specific tourism regions as a management service on offer.

It is said competition makes us faster, but collaboration makes us better. Big Tree Marketing is all about collaborating with tourism partners who share values and work ethic. With this in mind, we wrote a brief explaining what, why, where, who and how we can bring more bed nights into targeted areas and are thrilled to advise that not only did we complete particularly successful educations with great feedback from tourism buyers, the further online exposure has exponentially extended our clients ROI.

Here is some feedback:

‘I have had the privilege to work with Lindsey Gibaud recently. Her company, Big Tree Marketing, assisted our DMO to put together a trip for the Travel Trade to visit our towns. The aim of this was to create awareness, develop business relationships and increase bed-nights into our regions.

They are a service provider who have built heritage relationships with most tour operators across South Africa, have access and relationships with decision makers in the travel trade that we do not have e.g. inbound buyers. From the start the service that Lindsey and her company gave us was top notch.

Utter professionalism is the best way to describe it. Communication was always clear and timeous. As the saying goes “The proof is in the pudding”. The trip was a huge success. Lindsey has a way of bringing people of different walks of life together and sets people at ease. Her organisational and communication skills are superb as well as was her co-ordinating of this event, the managing and hosting of it. Big Tree Marketing has an added benefit of being able to do social media as well. At the end of the tour we received all the curated content and images and are now able to use it again on our own platforms. Lindsey has at all times a positive demeanour, she is a problem solver and totally a team player. I am looking forward to work with her again in the future!’
Paarl & Wellington Tourism Officer

Tourism Training

More and more we are becoming aware of new interest in inbound tourism. Restaurants, B&B’s, guest houses, adventure products all looking to bring tour groups to their organisation. In our discussions we realise that many don’t understand or are unaware of how itineraries are planned and tours packaged.

Many don’t understand buying channels while others struggle to grasp the complicated jargon that peppers tourism speak. In the past we would take these new-comers for coffee and spend a couple of hours explaining the ‘rules of engagement’ and give tips and advice. This subsequently lead to us creating a training programme to help small tourism enterprises, SMME’s and other businesses interested in joining our tourism world. Further to this during our educationals we were frequently asked for advice on how to better manage Social Media accounts, this became another practical learning opportunity. Here below are our Training programmes, contact us for details.

Understanding Inbound Tourism 101
A half day training course for newcomers into inbound Tourism

Improving Your Online Presence Social Media 101
A training programme for small business owners to create and maintain best practice on social media platforms

News from our Portfolio Partners

During this past year we have continued to elevate and market our Portfolio Partners and are incredibly grateful for their continued support of Big Tree Marketing. We love the work that we do mostly because we work with clients who have high values, ethical attitudes and who really want to make sure that each guest enjoys the very best experience possible while in their care. It is our privilege to continue working with our partners, here below is their message to you.

Aire del Mar

Fairly late into lock-down we were approached by Aire del Mar to market their gorgeous guest house in Kleinbaai near Hermanus. It has been an honour and a delight to work with Hannelene and her team connecting tourism buyers to their guest house. How’s this for a guest comment: ‘The best place to relax and view the ocean for hours … the rooms, service, friendliness of staff and breakfast were great.  Thanks Aire Del Mar for a safe weekend away despite all regulations, you ticked all the boxes for making our weekend special’ In early October we hosted an educational group to the guest house with very positive results. Should you need STO rates for this well positioned, friendly guest house please let us know.

Hannelene, Elsa, Magda and team wish you a Blessed and happy Festive Season. We are looking forward to seeing you soon in Kleinbaai in 2021.

Cango Wildlife Ranch

Every day we focus on teaching people to care more, about our planet and its inhabitants. These words ring truer than ever… ‘Be kind to our planet and may she be kind to us in return’. It has been an incredibly challenging year for Cango Wildlife Ranch and our ability to survive with no tourism for such a prolonged period of time tested every part of our heart and soul. Thankfully, our enormous monthly overheads coupled with our premium standards of animal care were overshadowed by the kind souls who donated to us, and the many staff who volunteered their time and efforts during the lockdown.

This pandemic has taught us so much. It has reminded us that as a facility we are founded on love and passion and that deep-rooted family values form the
cornerstone of our business.

Every staff member and every animal is part of our family and together we are prepared to face every storm. 2020 has taught us so much; compassion, patience
and endurance but it has also taught us how much we take for granted; like hugging a friend, walking through a shopping centre without a mask and most of all what a privilege travel is! A privilege that we take far too lightly.

May 2021 bring you nothing but health, joy and freedom. May the lust to wander and
make memories rank high on your priority list and may you have the means to do so. As you embark on long lost travels, whether across the globe or in a neighbouring town, realise the impact that you make as a traveller and the communities who benefit from your contribution.

As you gain… they gain, and together tourism can unite and elevate communities the world-over. We anxiously await your visit and we send chuffs, purrs and
Season’s Grrrrreetings from our family to yours. Be safe and see you soon!

Big Tree Marketing - Ecoaches


We are Super blessed as the business started picking up now. We are currently running with only 7 vehicles( Rushes, Fortuner and Quantums). 
Most importantly we are excited to be able to start helping our staff get back on their feet and looking towards the future with gratitude and faith for a better year and future.

We have decided to freeze our 2020 rates to help operators close deals from their end. So with that said whoever doesn’t have eCoaches 2020 rates please advise asap so that we can get them to you straight away.

May God bless each person and their families in this time.  Keep the faith and don’t give up. Have a peaceful, healthy and prosperous Christmas &New Year. 

Michele, Jaco, Bheki, Mxolisi & drivers

Garden Route Game Lodge

Garden Route Game Lodge jumped early with a selection of special offers being promoted on their website. This 4 star lodge just 4 hours from Cape Town offers the following:

Guided Game Drives | Reptile Encounters | Kids on Safari | Birdwatching | Flora and Fauna Interests | Mountain Biking | Guided Game Walk | Picnic in the Reserve | Private Dining | Food & Wine Paring | Poolside Cocktails | Games Room & Lounge.

Meals are served in Serengeti’s Restaurant, poolside or at our African Boma. The award winning wine list is guaranteed to delight. End your safari with a pampering session at the Ayana Spa.

Anthony, Natasha, Malcolm and everyone at GRGL send best wishes for a happy Festive Season.

Big Tree Marketing - Stille Woning

Stille Woning

What a crazy year this has been! But God has provided every step of the way and we have realised what is important and what is not.
We are honoured to have had our first international bookings coming in over the festive season, a slow start but things are moving in the right direction.
We are looking forward to what 2021 has in store for us. May you have a blessed festive season.

From Lucille and her staff at Stille Woning.

Big Tree Marketing - The Graywood Hotel

The Graywood Hotel

Owner Denni-Lyn has taken over management at The Graywood Hotel and will be joining me for meetings in Cape Town early in 2021. The relationship with this hotel and its sister property in Port Elizabeth goes all the way back to 2004 when I was their marketing manager. Both hotels have a special place in my heart as we started our independent journeys together. The Graywood Hotel is absolutely perfect in terms of Knysna location, affordability being 3 star and close to the waterfront and town centre.

From Denni-Lyn, Millicent in reservations and the team at The Graywood Hotel, here’s to a happy festive season, may 2021 bring us all good news, good health and good business.

Big Tree Marketing Client - The Kelway Hotel

The Kelway Hotel

After we opened our doors again in July 2020 with new protocols in place to ensure the safety of all our guests we have seen many new clients as well as old familiar faces. We have been incredibly blessed so far and hope to continue rising above the challenges while going into 2021.

We have frozen 2020 rates for 2021 and also offer special rates for local travellers for both leisure and corporate. Our Conference facilities are also COVID-19
compliant and we will ensure that any event, conference of meeting takes place with ease. Please contact our reservations department for any enquiries or bookings: Nadia on reservations@thekelway.co.za or 041-5840638

Wishing you a good Festive Season, may this time be an opportunity to reflect on the good that 2020 has brought, and the hope that 2021 meets your every hope and wish.

White Shark Projects

The 1st of December marks 15 years with Charmaine Beukes at the helm of White Shark Projects. With new adventures and opportunities presented she has now handed the “captain’s cap” to the very passionate Jessica Smit. Jessica has been part of WSP for a number of years having moved to SA after a period volunteering. Her roots are firmly in South African soil with her husband and child living close to the WSP lodge in Kleinbaai.

The Shark Team is looking forward to sailing into the future, building and expanding on all their values, building new relationships and strengthening existing ones with Jessica at the helm.

Happy Christmas from Jessica and everyone at White Shark Projects. We look forward to seeing you in 2021.

From myself and Tegan at Big Tree Marketing, we wish you happiness and peace over this Festive Season. For those celebrating Christmas, may God bless you at this very special time with your family.

‘It came without ribbons, it came without tags. It came without packages, boxes or bags.
And he puzzled and puzzled ‘till his puzzler was sore.
Then the Grinch though of something he hadn’t before.
What if Christmas he thought, doesn’t come from a store.
What if Christmas perhaps means a little bit more!’

And that’s a wrap for 2020.

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