Case Studies

UNFOUND AFRICA

Klaarstroom Hotel

  • Project Overview:

    Upon acquisition shortly after lockdown, the Klaarstroom Hotel presented not as a going concern, but as a weathered relic steeped in history, nestled within the quaint hamlet of Klaarstroom in South Africa’s Karoo district. With two centuries of stories etched into its walls, the hotel beckoned for a revival, brimming with character yet in dire need of rejuvenation. Our initial task encompassed crafting a brand identity and devising a marketing strategy, alongside drafting a renovation budget and implementation plan. Our approach honored the Victorian charm and historical significance of the building, aiming to preserve its legacy while infusing modern amenities to cater to the discerning tastes of international travelers. Despite the remote location posing staffing challenges, the existing team’s dedication coupled with comprehensive training initiatives transformed them into a proficient and hospitable staff ready to exceed guest expectations.

  • Marketing Challenges and Triumphs:

    Situated in the lesser-known enclave of Klaarstroom within the popular Karoo region, the hotel faced the formidable task of establishing itself as a destination in its own right. Leveraging nearby attractions and activities from neighboring towns such as Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert, we curated a compelling destination marketing campaign. Securing media coverage through strategic outreach efforts, including magazine features and television appearances, propelled the hotel into the spotlight, garnering attention from domestic travelers and igniting curiosity among South African locals. Through these initiatives, we catalyzed the emergence of Klaarstroom as a sought-after destination, positioning the hotel as a gateway to the region’s hidden gems.

  • Outcome and Impact:

    In the inaugural year and a half of operations, the hotel witnessed a remarkable surge in occupancy, surpassing the 70% mark. Establishing itself as a favored retreat for self-drive domestic tourists, the influx of international travelers steadily gained momentum. Collaborations with neighboring attractions solidified the hotel’s position as a pivotal hub within the Karoo landscape, fostering ongoing exposure and visitation. The refurbishment of the restaurant transformed it into a culinary hotspot, drawing patrons for Sunday luncheons, overnight stays, and private functions and events. Testament to its allure, the hotel played host to three weddings within its first two years, underscoring its appeal as a romantic and picturesque venue. As the Klaarstroom Hotel continues to carve its legacy, it stands as a testament to the transformative power of strategic branding, marketing, and hospitality excellence.

    This case study encapsulates the journey of the Klaarstroom Hotel, highlighting its remarkable transformation from a dilapidated relic to a thriving hospitality destination, while also showcasing the efficacy of Unfound’s branding and marketing prowess.

Klaarstroom - Before & After

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Vida Nova Retreat

  • Project Overview:

    In the wake of the lockdown and subsequent international travel bans, we seized the opportunity to embark on a transformative journey with Vida Nova Retreat, a 21-room establishment located in Hout Bay, just a 30-minute drive from Cape Town city center. Upon acquisition, the hotel lay dormant, its previous reputation marred and its facilities in dire need of rejuvenation. With only a skeletal staff of four remaining, our task was twofold: to revitalize the property and to rebuild its tarnished image from the ground up. The strategic location of Hout Bay, though not widely recognized as a tourist destination, presented both challenges and opportunities, positioned as it was in proximity to major attractions and offering a central gateway to exploring the region. Hout Bay locals see themselves of being part of the unofficial “Republic of Hout Bay”, so our first task after launching the new hotel in November 2022, was to get the buy-in and support of the local community.

  • Transformation Initiatives:

    Our primary focus was on rebranding the establishment and undertaking renovations within stringent budgetary constraints. The austere ambiance of the hotel, devoid of warmth and character, necessitated a comprehensive overhaul, including the introduction of soft furnishings, artwork, and a vibrant color palette. Simultaneously, we embarked on a recruitment drive to assemble a dedicated team and invested in establishing a state-of-the-art commercial kitchen to expand the culinary offerings of the hotel, spearheaded by a young, ambitious, and very talented head chef. Recognizing the imperative to diversify revenue streams in the wake of restricted international travel, we inaugurated an on-site spa catering to both guests and local patrons, in addition to establishing the restaurant to cater to the discerning palates of the local community.

  • Marketing Challenges and Triumphs:

    Navigating the dual challenge of repositioning Hout Bay as a desirable destination and establishing Vida Nova Retreat as a premier lodging option demanded a multifaceted approach. We orchestrated a series of engaging events, including outdoor music performances and cultural showcases, which not only attracted media attention but also fostered a sense of community engagement, positioning the hotel as a cultural hub within the locale. Leveraging these events, we garnered favorable publicity and cultivated lasting relationships with local influencers and residents, who emerged as staunch ambassadors for the property. Notably, hosting esteemed international acts such as the Schönbrunn Palace Orchestra from Vienna further elevated the hotel’s profile on both the domestic and global stage.

  • Outcome and Impact:

    Through targeted initiatives such as familiarization trips, influencer collaborations, and agent site visits, Vida Nova Retreat witnessed a commendable annual increase of approximately 60% in international visitors. The hotel’s prominence was further accentuated through its inclusion in two separate South African television shows and its role as a filming location for various productions. Additionally, the restaurant and spa garnered unwavering support from the local community, ensuring sustained patronage during quieter seasons. The meticulous attention to detail evident in the renovated facilities garnered acclaim from guests, reflected in glowing reviews praising the transformation. As Vida Nova Retreat continues its upward trajectory, buoyed by its newfound reputation and local support, Unfound takes pride in having nurtured this project from conception to fruition, driven by a genuine passion for hospitality excellence.

    This case study encapsulates the journey of Vida Nova Retreat, underscoring Unfound’s ability to breathe new life into dormant properties and forge meaningful connections within communities, thereby redefining perceptions and fostering sustainable growth in the hospitality sector.

Vida Nova Retreat - Before & After

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Vida Nova Kruger

  • Project Overview:

    The inception of Vida Nova Kruger, a once-unassuming establishment nestled within Marloth Park, marked a formidable challenge for our team. Acquired in February 2021 by Fire Island Eco Retreats, the property stood as a testament to untapped potential shrouded beneath its unremarkable façade. Initial apprehensions notwithstanding, our team embarked on a transformative journey, poised to redefine the property’s identity and elevate its stature within the luxury hospitality landscape. Situated amidst the picturesque environs of Marloth Park, albeit a destination overshadowed by its more illustrious neighbors within the national park, the property boasted unparalleled proximity to the iconic Kruger National Park, offering a gateway to untamed wilderness adventures.

  • Transformation Initiatives:

    The metamorphosis of Vida Nova Kruger from a nondescript edifice to a beacon of African opulence was an endeavor fraught with challenges and opportunities alike. Tasked with revitalizing the property within stringent budgetary confines, our approach centered on resourcefulness and ingenuity. Repurposing existing wooden furniture and meticulously sourcing antiquities through unconventional avenues, we imbued the interiors with an old-world charm reminiscent of a Victorian hunting lodge. Modernizing the bathrooms while infusing personalized touches with antique furnishings underscored our commitment to marrying heritage with contemporary comforts. A focal point of our strategy was the establishment of a state-of-the-art kitchen to elevate culinary offerings to unparalleled heights. Concurrently, the introduction of an on-site spa catered not only to discerning travelers but also to the local populace, fostering community engagement and diversifying revenue streams.

    We also converted one of the bedrooms into accommodation for the on-site management team, ensuring guests are well looked after.

  • Marketing Challenges and Triumphs:

    Navigating the uncharted waters of Marloth Park’s tourism landscape necessitated a strategic approach to position Vida Nova Kruger as a destination of choice. Leveraging its strategic proximity to Kruger National Park and the Mozambique border, we crafted enticing packages that seamlessly integrated bush and beach experiences, appealing to the intrepid traveler seeking a multifaceted adventure. Cultivating symbiotic relationships with agents and operators facilitated seamless guest experiences, while a robust online presence and shuttle service catered to the discerning needs of international visitors. The accolades garnered through numerous 5-star reviews underscored our success in establishing Vida Nova Kruger as the preeminent choice within Marloth Park and a preferred partner for industry stakeholders.

  • Outcome and Impact:

    The exponential growth in occupancy, soaring by an impressive 80% within the first two years of operation, stands as a testament to the resounding success of our endeavors. Beyond mere statistics, the transformation of Vida Nova Kruger transcends bricks and mortar, epitomizing the power of vision, innovation, and unwavering dedication. From in-house safari experiences to culinary delights lauded by guests, each facet of the property reflects our commitment to excellence and our relentless pursuit of hospitality perfection. As we reflect on the journey thus far, we take pride in our role as architects of change, shaping destinies and creating indelible memories in the hearts of all who grace the hallowed halls of Vida Nova Kruger.
    This case study encapsulates the extraordinary journey of Vida Nova Kruger, celebrating its evolution from obscurity to eminence under the stewardship of Unfound, and reaffirming our unwavering commitment to redefining hospitality excellence, even when faced with numerous challenges.

Vida Nova Kruger - Before & After

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Ilha Do Fogo

  • Project Overview:

    In 2018, Unfound was entrusted with the task of spearheading the development and marketing initiatives for Ilha do Fogo, a secluded island situated off the northern coast of Mozambique. Upon our initial exploration of the island, its unparalleled beauty and untouched wilderness left an indelible impression on us. At the time, the island lacked substantial infrastructure, with only a basic camp in existence. Our mission encompassed both the planning of a luxury tented camp featuring 10 suites and the formulation of a comprehensive marketing strategy to promote the island as an exclusive destination.

  • Conservation Initiatives:

    Aligned with our fervent commitment to environmental preservation, we collaborated on a documentary shedding light on the perilous state of marine life surrounding Ilha do Fogo, particularly focusing on the harrowing plight of sea turtles. Renowned South African filmmaker Koos Roets helmed the production, amplifying the impact of our conservation message. Throughout the development phase of the accommodation, we orchestrated numerous expeditions to the island, welcoming marine biologists, environmental scientists, and other experts to conduct research on local species and implement vital rehabilitation measures. Concurrently, we initiated community projects aimed at empowering local residents while safeguarding the fragile marine ecosystem. These conservation endeavors not only safeguarded the island’s biodiversity but also garnered widespread media exposure, positioning Ilha do Fogo as a pivotal conservation destination and attracting international funding for ongoing projects.

  • Marketing Challenges and Triumphs:

    Undoubtedly, our journey was beset by multifarious challenges, including adverse international publicity stemming from political unrest in northern Mozambique and the subsequent disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the island’s remote location rendered it a costly travel destination, posing logistical hurdles. However, our unwavering resolve enabled us to navigate these obstacles adeptly. Despite the tumultuous backdrop, our concerted efforts bore fruit, manifesting in prominent features across 12 esteemed online and print publications, fostering global interest in Ilha do Fogo as a premier diving destination. Furthermore, our strategic endeavors catalyzed partnerships with international agencies, facilitating the influx of paying researchers to the island and solidifying its reputation as a hub for marine conservation. Notably, our endeavors culminated in the establishment of a dedicated Wikipedia page for Ilha do Fogo, cementing its status as a recognized marine conservation area and bolstering its allure among discerning travelers.

  • Outcome and Impact:

    Beyond immediate successes, our endeavors have yielded enduring dividends, positioning Ilha do Fogo as a magnet for ecotourism enthusiasts and adventure seekers alike. Notably, our concerted conservation efforts have galvanized international interest and support, fostering a symbiotic relationship between sustainable tourism and environmental stewardship. By leveraging our expertise and resourcefulness, we have not only elevated the profile of Ilha do Fogo but also laid the groundwork for its sustainable development and long-term viability as a bastion of ecological resilience. We are in the process of extending the conservation efforts to other nearby islands on the archipelago where Ilha do Fogo is situated, furthering the conservation efforts but also cementing the area as a tourism destination by shining a spotlight on activities in the area.