Popular travel blogger Simone Schwerdtner on her ‘workcation’ stay |06 February 2021
Travel blogger and content creator Simone Schwerdtner has visited the Seychelles islands countless times, after her love affair with the idyllic destination was sparked 10 years ago on her first visit. Despite the Covid-19 pandemic, the nature and environment-enthusiast is back and on her usual ‘workcation’, churning out top-quality content about Seychelles for her 17,000 followers on social media platform, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Ms Schwerdtner, who hails from Germany, has for some years now been involved in marketing and promoting Seychelles as the ideal destination to her followers, most of whom are German, through various social media platforms and her website, under the brand ‘Wolkenweit’.
She recalls that she started the blog over 10 years ago with the aim of showing to the world her adventures, and it has over the years evolved to be focused on the Seychelles islands, providing her audience with as much information as possible to truly make the most of their visiting experience.
The blogs popularity in one of Seychelles’ key tourism markets, soon landed Ms Schwerdtner opportunities for collaboration with local service providers, as well as tourism institutions including the Seychelles Tourism Board (STB).
“Everything started with coming to Seychelles 10 years ago, I fell in love with the islands, and kept coming back. When I started to come to Seychelles, I started writing about the Seychelles, and every time I come here, my blog posts have gotten more detailed, as I come to know everything, the islands. After some years, I had so much content that it became the biggest blog about Seychelles in Germany, so I published a travel guide book two years ago about Seychelles, with 420-pages. If one gets a copy of this book, they know everything about Seychelles, what to do, the different accommodation options, where to go and how to support the locals,” she said.
For her latest visit, Ms Schwerdtner, who arrived in mid-January, intends to stay in the country until April or so, and to within that timeframe carry out research for her second guide book, not neglecting to create riveting content about the islands.
The visit, a collaboration between the influencer, SeyVillas and the Hilton Seychelles group, represents an opportunity for the Hilton Seychelles group to determine from a regular ‘workcationer’ the essentials of catering to such class of visitors and to restore in travel confidence that the Seychelles islands are still a safe destination, amid the pandemic.
“It is perfect. In Germany right now, everything is closed, and people are working from home. For me, it is best to go to places like Seychelles and work from here. I was at Hilton Labriz Silhouette for 14-days, I had really good internet, I was working in my room and I had my little island office there, where I could work from either the veranda, or the bar, and it was nice.”
“For me, it’s not only about the beaches. For sure, you have the most beautiful beaches. Since I have come to Seychelles, any other beach was boring for me. But what I really love is that you can do all kinds of activities, you can stay on different islands, there is so much to see all kinds of activities. When I have time I am always going hiking, snorkelling, diving, just being in nature, and of course I like photography, making videos, flying the drone, and I also love animals.”
On a typical day, Ms Schwerdtner tries to experience and see as much as possible, taking a lot of time to take photographs, create videos and other content and write the blog posts for her numerous platforms and partners. This stay will be no different, as she prepares for her second part of the guide book. In general, she does benefit from freebies and free stays, but her partners in return benefit from increased visibility through her vast following. Asides from large organisations, she is committed to ensuring small and local businesses also benefit from visitors.
“In my first book, it is geared towards people who are coming here for the first time. It’s about everything from how to book a holiday, accommodation options and everything you will want to know when coming here for the first time. The focus of my book is how to support the locals, so I advise them to go to small shops and vendors, buy souvenirs and crafts made in Seychelles, the things that one does not know when coming here for the first time,” she said.
“I really have a good connection to the local people. My goal is to support the local people, so when I recommend boat operators, hiking guides or small guesthouses, especially on Mahé, La Digue and Praslin, the locals know when tourists are coming because of my book. They may ask clients how they knew about the service and when they say from my book, the locals are so thankful, and that is why they let me go on the boat trips every time I want for free, because it is a win win situation,” Ms Schwerdtner added.
Having briefly worked in Seychelles with SeyVillas for the two-year duration while she was writing her first guide-book, Ms Schwerdtner is also a Pristine Seychelles Ambassador, and is engaged in educating her followers and potential visitors on how to be sustainable in Seychelles, content which is sometimes shared by the STB, and other local partners.
For Hilton hotels, who launched the ‘workcation’ programme as of January, the collaboration provides a chance to test out their current programme and to make adjustments to tailor to the group.
“We launched our ‘workcation’ programme in middle of January and since there was nobody to explore it here and experience the programme, we wanted Ms Schwerdtner to come and see what we offer, and point out what we are missing in the programme, and at the same time make some comments because she knows Seychelles really well and she knows international audience very well as well,” notes Ada Baki, cluster director of marketing and public relations at Hilton.
“On Silhouette, she was working full-time actually, she is a hard-worker and sometimes works up to 3,4 or 5 hours every single day. But she also completed her open water diver course on Silhouette this time, which goes to show that somebody on a ‘workcation’ can actually experience the best of Seychelles, they get to stay for a longer period of time. This is something that Seychelles is now getting into doing, and I think in the long-run it’s a big thing for Seychelles because Covid-19 taught us that we can do these jobs from a distance. You can be in the middle of the India Ocean and be just as productive, if not more productive than back home or in the office,” adds Ms Baki.