Wilderness becomes a ‘brand house’

    150 150 Daniel Fountain
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    My first visit to a truly African hotel was , I suppose to Bushmans Kloof in 2008. Truly African in that it was not urban and was focussed on generating a wildlife experience for the guest. The owners, the Tollman family invest money from their European Red Carnation Group in various wildlife trusts and it was from them I found out about Wilderness.There are plenty of urban hotels in Africa that are setting standards and providing a level of service and environment that is competitive with the best of Europe or the Americas. When I talk about African hotels though, in this context I mean those operators who mix hotel operation with a true engagement with Africa’s landscape and wildlife.

    That this impacts design is undoubted and I have tried to show this through my reviews of Little Kulala, Damaraland and Ongava. The trends shown in these hotels run through their 65 lodge operations, the latest two of which are totally solar powered, probably a first for any hotel operator.

    Now Wilderness, who fund charities and development programmes for small communities (see Wilderness Trust) have arrived at a more coherent branding for the various activities they undertake.

    The first step in this in-depth process was the rebranding of Safari Adventure Company as Wilderness Adventures late last year. Wilderness Adventures now joins Wilderness Safaris as the two camp-operating brands in the group, with clear market differentiation.

    Clarifying market niches even further has resulted in the independence of the mobile safari operating brand, Wilderness Explorations. The new separate identity of this brand that represents the original roots of the group is expected to allow it to reach its full potential.

    The logical next step, based on the ‘family’ concept, has been to rebrand Sefofane Air Charters to become
    Wilderness Air.

    Wilderness Adventures and Wilderness Safaris are already branded and reorganised with releases to the market complete. Wilderness Air and Wilderness Explorations have now begun the process of replacing livery on aircraft and vehicles, changing uniforms and other collateral. As they work through this phase guests and travel partners will start to see an increasing use of the new branding and logos.

    Wilderness CEO Andy Payne described the process as, “essentially moving from what we called ‘a house of brands’ to a ‘branded house’; in other words, a way of showing the inherent connections between all members of the Wilderness family while celebrating their differences.”

    Patrick Goff

    Daniel Fountain / 19.02.2011

    Editor, Hotel Designs


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