We are constantly being creative when it comes to commercialising Stellenbosch University’s assets. Two of the biggest electronic platforms of their kind, Airbnb and Takealot, will be helping us do so like never before.
Up until a few years ago, even with decent internet access, shopping was still something you did with your feet. If you wanted something (perhaps you had seen it online?), you had to visit a variety of stores, compare prices, quality and stock availability, before you decided on the one you wanted, paid for it, and left with it in a bag. The market for temporary property (for, something like a holiday) was also not much further ahead, but at least you could compare locations and prices from behind the comfort of your desk.
Then the ‘electronic platform revolution’ started and with it came two companies who made our lives so much easier (and in some cases, our bank accounts emptier) – Takealot (which is like Amazon but only for South Africa) and Airbnb. Now time-strapped people (ahem, everyone?) can find what they need on Takealot, whenever convenient, and have it delivered to their door, no matter where they live. In Airbnb’s case, we can find new doorsteps, behind which are comfortable, non-hotel spaces, for a fraction of the cost, and twice the experience.
And we have quite a lot to offer, through both of them.
The Airbnb trial run began in September this year, as we tested the desirability of our widely-dispersed flats, houses and dormitories as viable options for visitors. It turns out there is a great demand, and as we have a number of properties that are only occupied for literally 10 months of the year, it is a demand we can meet. We are only the second university worldwide to start using Airbnb to commercialise our properties and these will soon be filled by conference attendees, tourists, international sportsmen (see our Maties Gym update article) and travellers, as they come to see what the pristine region of Stellenbosch is all about.
We hope that this platform, its ease of use and variety of offerings, is going to contribute to the 5th income stream of the University that we are tasked to grow. Check out (and then check-in) our initial offering. We’re neither the priciest, nor the most exclusive, which gives us a substantial advantage.
The University is also attractive because of the variety of products we create right here, in the hands of our students and faculties. There’s branded clothing, bespoke jewellery, Maties Milk, sports paraphernalia, food products, plants from the botanical gardens and, most notably, the wonderful wine our region is so famous for. All of these products are available for purchase but, up until now, none have been available for online purchasing, nor easy, country-wide delivery. This means that simple geography was alienating keen buyers from purchasing our products.
A new partnership, forged with Takealot - South Africa’s favourite way to get all the things we need, and quite a few we don’t – aims to change all of that. You can now purchase the first available product we have listed, and it is quite a special one…
You may not be aware of it, but the first ever Pinotage was bottled in Stellenbosch. We invented it. For the last few years, you have been buying that very wine as a part of the prize winning Die Laan range made by our very own winemaker, Riaan Wassung, in our University’s Welgevallen Wine Cellar. The very unique offer, as a part of the University’s Centenary year, is a limited-edition version of this superb, ruby varietal, released under the rather fitting name of Eeufees. There will only be around 2000 of these released and, as the entire country can now quite easily get them into their Christmas stocking, we strongly recommend you click here and order yourself a case or three of these individually numbered bottles of Pinotage.
We will be expanding these two offerings with more products in the very near future. As we attract more interest to our neck of the woods, with affordable, and liveable spaces in which they can stay so, too, will we be exposing our unique products country-wide, so that everyone can enjoy them wherever they are.
Innovus, Stellenbosch University
15 De Beer Street
PO Box 3135
t +27 (0) 21 808 3826