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How to Attract South African Travelers: Key Differences and Preferred Amenities Compared to European Tourists

Are you looking to attract more South African travelers to your accommodation? Understanding the distinctive preferences and expectations of South African tourists compared to their European counterparts can be the key to enhancing your establishment's appeal. In this blog, we will explore the unique characteristics of the South African traveler, discuss what amenities they prioritize, and offer actionable tips on how to cater to this market segment effectively.

an image of a fancy guest house showcasing amenities and facilities that south africans prefer


Tapping into the South African travel market can significantly boost your accommodation business. But what exactly draws South African tourists to a particular spot? More importantly, how do they differ from European tourists in their accommodation preferences? In this comprehensive guide, we'll dive into these questions, offering practical advice on tailoring your offerings to meet the specific needs of South African travelers and outlining the key differences that set them apart from European guests.

Understanding the South African Traveler

South African tourists are known for their love of adventure, cultural experiences, and value for money. Unlike many European tourists who might prioritize location or prestige in choosing accommodations, South Africans typically look for comfort, good value, and excellent service. They are also more likely to travel in larger family groups, which can influence their accommodation needs.

The Appeal of Amenities: What South African Travelers Look For

In-room Facilities

South African travelers typically appreciate in-room facilities that combine comfort, convenience, and a touch of luxury, much like any discerning guest, but with specific preferences that cater to their lifestyle and cultural habits. Here are some in-room facilities that tend to be popular among South African guests:

  1. Strong Wi-Fi Connection: High-speed internet is crucial for South African travelers, especially given the high cost of international roaming. They value being able to stay connected with family and friends, as well as the ability to stream media or work remotely from their rooms.


  1. Tea and Coffee Making Facilities: A common preference for many South Africans is the ability to make their own tea and coffee in the room. This is a comfort of home that many travelers appreciate, especially those who start their day early or enjoy a warm drink before bedtime.


  1. Comfortable Bedding: Quality bedding is a must-have, with a preference for larger beds that offer comfort and space. South Africans, particularly when traveling with families, appreciate spacious sleeping arrangements, including extra bedding options like sofa beds or cots for children.


  1. Effective Air Conditioning: Given the warm climate of much of South Africa, effective air conditioning systems are particularly appreciated, ensuring comfort regardless of the destination's weather.


  1. Safety and Security Features: Safety is a significant consideration for many South African travelers. In-room safes, secure key-card access, and information about the security measures in place at the accommodation are highly valued.


  1. Mini Fridge: A mini-fridge stocked with water, snacks, and space for personal items like medication or additional refreshments is particularly welcome. This feature is appreciated for its convenience, especially by those who like having fresh snacks and drinks on hand.


  1. Local and Satellite Television Channels: Access to television channels, including local South African networks, helps travelers feel connected to home. It's also seen as a source of entertainment and relaxation after a day of touring or business activities.


  1. Power Outlets and USB Ports: Adequate, conveniently located charging points are essential for today’s travelers, equipped to handle multiple devices like smartphones, tablets, and laptops.


  1. Personal Care Products: High-quality toiletries, including items that might cater specifically to the preferences or requirements of South African guests, such as hair products suitable for all hair types and skin care items that consider the local climate, can be a thoughtful touch.


  1. Desk or Workspace: A functional workspace is crucial for business travelers and those who may need to organize their itinerary or catch up on work during their stay.


Connectivity and Technology

While both South African and European tourists appreciate connectivity, South Africans place a high value on free and fast Wi-Fi services, as international roaming costs can be high. Offering a seamless digital experience, from online booking to in-room smart devices, can significantly boost the appeal of your establishment.

Outdoor and Leisure Activities

Given their penchant for exploration, providing information about local sights and arranging tours can appeal to South African guests. Facilities like secure parking, pools, and outdoor recreational areas are highly valued, especially for those traveling with children.

Food and Beverage Options

South Africans enjoy local cuisine and hearty meals. Unlike some European tourists who might prefer continental offerings, South African guests often look for familiar tastes along with the option to explore local dishes. Offering a good mix of both can cater to their culinary preferences.

Family-Friendly Services

Since South Africans frequently travel as families, accommodations that offer family-oriented services—such as kids' clubs, family rooms, and entertainment options—are particularly attractive. These features can make your establishment stand out.

How to Market Your Accommodation to South African Travelers

Authentic Experiences

South Africans are increasingly looking for authentic travel experiences. Highlight local attractions, unique experiences, and community involvement, which can resonate well with this demographic.

Seasonal Promotions

Consider the timing of South African holidays and school breaks, as these are peak travel times. Tailoring your promotions to align with these periods can attract more bookings.

Reviews and Social Proof

Positive reviews from fellow South Africans can significantly influence booking decisions. Encourage satisfied guests to share their experiences on platforms popular among South Africans, such as TripAdvisor and Google Reviews.

Direct Booking Incentives

Since value for money is crucial, offering better rates or perks for direct bookings can be a strong draw. Consider implementing loyalty programs or special discounts for repeat guests.

Understanding Cultural Nuances

Familiarize yourself and your staff with some basic cultural preferences and common South African languages like Afrikaans or Zulu to make your guests feel more at home.


Attracting South African travelers to your accommodation involves understanding their unique preferences and tailoring your offerings accordingly. By focusing on what makes South African tourists different from their European counterparts and adapting your marketing strategies to meet their expectations, you can create a welcoming environment that encourages repeat visits and word-of-mouth recommendations. Start today by assessing your current offerings and see where you can make changes to attract and delight the South African traveler.