South Africa has welcomed the return of international travellers with many popular tourist attractions reporting a busier start to the year than in 2021. This increase is evident from the nearly 600 000 new smiles Happy Snappy, the photo company responsible for capturing tourist experiences, has photographed nationally since 1 December 2021. While not all smiles belong to foreign visitors, it’s a good sign for the tourism sector.
Launched in 2009 by Barry Cooper and James Cussen, Happy Snappy has since photographed more than 55 million people and played an integral role in the brand experience of attractions such as Table Mountain Aerial Cableway, Two Oceans Aquarium, Cape Wheel of Excellence, Ushaka Marine World, Sea World, SAAMRA, Wet ‘n Wild, National Zoo in Pretoria and the Johannesburg Zoo.
The face behind the camera is often a visitor’s first and last experience of an attraction and can have major benefits. Not only can photo staff improve operations and the day-to-day flow of visitors on site, but it can amplify visitor experience leveraging the brand globally, which ultimately impacts the bottom line.
Capturing this many smiles requires exceptional people who are dedicated to making visitors feel special. Tourism relies heavily on the people who offer an experience, which is why Happy Snappy are very particular about who they hire. While photographic experience is not a prerequisite, applicants are selected based on personality and a positive “can-do” attitude.
96% of Happy Snappy staff are previously disadvantaged and with 45% youth unemployment in South Africa, the Tourism Sector is a critical player. All 3000 staff members have been trained from the ground up within Happy Snappy, who say the experience has changed their lives, giving them the motivation to work towards leadership roles and learn how to communicate with people from all around the world. Relationships are formed with community groups that are leveraged for the use of old cameras, equipment and products, which are all provided for by Happy Snappy.
“We have a dedicated approach to train and employ unskilled people from disadvantaged communities and build them up as individuals. Our staff don’t only take photos, they become ambassadors for each attraction and we like to include them in every aspect of our business, growing them until they are confident to venture out on their own, should they wish to do so. We look for individuals who know how to make someone smile and are committed to showing visitors the best our country has to offer.” Says James Cussen, co-founder of Happy Snappy.
Happy Snappy has recorded 48 000% growth in revenue since year one has captured the market with their unique product offering that celebrates the time-honoured tradition of collecting souvenirs. In a post-holiday web-based survey conducted among tourists it was found that satisfaction and co-creation during onsite souvenir shopping at a tourism destination creates memorable souvenir shopping experiences, and that such memories enhance tourists’ feelings of attachment to the destination. The survey also advised that souvenir retailers should interact with customers and engage in onsite co-creation to arouse interest and attention.
Happy Snappy has strong sustainability standards and procedures in place both at their sites and from their suppliers continuously educating and encouraging all stakeholders to become more environmentally aware and sustainable. They implement and monitor recycling programmes and minimise waste, act on their social responsibilities within communities and work to reduce carbon emissions. More than R2 Million (Rand) per annum is donated to Happy Snappy partner Zoos, Aquariums and Wildlife Sponsorships in South Africa from photo sale revenue.
Environmentally friendly inks are used to print all books and improvements are continuously being made to reduce their environmental impact and UpCycle. 100% of photos printed are recyclable. Unsold photos from our South African operations are recycled into quality office paper, hereby giving a prior extra life to the paper product in the form of photo prints. We call this pre-cycling and almost zero-waste is sent to landfills.
For more information please go to www.happysnappy.co.za