With Winter rapidly approaching,
we’ve been busy crowdsourcing
some of the best examples of
branded content in travel
marketing from around the globe
for you to enjoy, along with some
crystal ball gazing about what
might be on the travel marketing
horizons next year.
India’s largest media conglomerate The Times Group in partnership with leading online travel service
provider Yatra.com showcases some of the India’s greatest & best Experience Architects on Times Passion
Trails – offering inspiration to the experience enthusiast travel segment, and the opportunity to actualise
their passions via unique travel challenge experiences.
A Summer Without Rain was a campaign devised by McCann Erickson Norway to help promote the unique
summer ticket offered by Norwegian domestic airline Widerøe that allows you fly as much as you want
across a country that probably has the most unstable and rainiest summer weather in the world. It resulted
in the planes being overbooked during this period for the first time in the airline’s history.
This Virgin Produced #VXsafetydance pop promo inspired safety video was nominated for the Webby
Branded Content category this year, and has been seen over 9 million times on YouTube – providing a more
entertaining way of grabbing people's attention before take off when they're not normally engaging with the
important safety information.
JWT transformed real 5-star traveller reviews on TripAdvisor for the Puerto Rico Government Tourism
Company into stunning dream-like short films with voiceovers from the Island’s stars that were embedded
into TripAdvisor – helping Puerto Rico become one of the top 10 searched for destinations in the world.
Stories Are Waiting is a Pinterest-style gallery that aims to inspire EUROSTAR customers to explore top
destinations with film, photos and stories from the travellers, as well as top bloggers and photographers.
You can read more about the origins of the campaign in the second edition of the Best of Branded Content
Marketing here on Slideshare.
As part of their reframing of customers as guests, and their role as hosts to the rapidly growing #bleisure
traveller market Renaissance Hotels has launched their R Navigator local expert guides who help provide
inspiration on where to savor, sip, shop and what to see.
Global Pass from InterRail is more than just a marketing as service example, it sees them transform into a
mobile operator by buying the leftover data from the networks to help the ‘flashpacker’ generation be
always on, any time, any place – keeping in touch with friends and family even when they get arrested.
Can sex save Denmark's future asks Danish travel agency Spies Rejser in a racy viral that calls for Danes
to have more sex while they're on holiday to help save the country. It also included an integrated
promotion if couples then managed to conceive while on holiday. Do It For Denmark got international
press coverage and clocked up over 7 million views on YouTube.
While many focus on stunning dream-like inspiration during the early stages of the customer journey,
Tourism Ireland is another brand who’ve opted instead to engage audiences with humour. As their Central
Marketing Director Mark Henry points out, this is how the Irish like things. They’ve been running a series of
campaigns including the Escape The Madness in the run up to the 2012 Olympics (despite not being able to
mention that word, of course!), and their promotion of The Gathering Ireland last year.
Google emotionally engage audiences with their Reunion film that has been seen over 12 million times
on YouTube. It highlights their travel-related services, and shows how they helped bring together two
childhood friends who were separated as as result of the partition of India and Pakistan.
RENAISSANCE OF THE BRANDED TRAVEL
GUIDE AND OTHER SPONSORED BOOKS?
Expect to see a renaissance of the branded travel guide
like the R Navigator example, given the long history of
the format in the sector (e.g. Michelin and Cook’s Tours
guides), and recent research showing that 6 out of 10
people still use a guide book on holiday.
Whether brands will move beyond their obsession with
online content and start to see Amazon as a customer
engagement channel like Twitter and Facebook remains
to be seen, but, who knows, maybe next year some
travel brand will even sponsor some free summer reads
for you to enjoy, perhaps crowdsourced from a travel
writing competition along the lines of the BAILEYS
Womens Prize for Fiction.
VERSUS CURATED UCG?
You can expert to see more travel brands crowdsourcing
content through creative challenge platforms like MOFILM,
Genero, and eYeka, e.g. travel versions of the Bombay
Sapphire® Imagination Series film competition. But as
Barney Worfolk Smith from Th@t Lot warns, there are
challenges ensuring brand continuity with crowdsoucing.
Another, perhaps more additive option, is to curate user-generated
content, e.g. the 5-star traveler reviews on
TripAdvisor and Stories Are Waiting examples mentioned
earlier, or even the uber-successful Facebook page from
Tourism Australia that receives over 900,000 photos daily
and tens of thousands of 'likes' on each post.
MORE LONGER FORM
It’s likely we’ll see more longer form content
aimed at capturing the hearts and minds of
travellers in new and growing markets.
Examples like The Reunion from Google, and
Go further to get closer by British Airways
India deal with issues that emotionally
engage audiences, such as the impact of
India’s partition and how young couples
struggle to find time for each other having
made work a top priority.
As Rory Sutherland from Ogilvy Group UK
points out, these are ideas that need more
than a 30 second spiel to communicate.
This death-defying ride along the notorious Cuillin Ridgeline by Danny MacAskill on the Isle of Skye is
actually sponsored by the Five Ten, Enve Composites, Red Bull and Santa Cruz Bikes, and has already been
seen by several million. It could pave the way for the likes of Visit Scotland and others to take more risks
too, and perhaps will also inspire more longer form and even feature length examples.
MORE AGENCY FACILITATED BRAND
ALLIANCES, MORE CONTINOUS
CONTENT PRODUCTION AND KITTENS?
It’s not just more agency facilitated brand alliances that are
being predicted, but also the evolution of contract publishing
where content creators become agencies themselves, e.g.
Unilever’s £1 million sponsorship of The Guardian’s newly
formed branded content Labs. Then there’s the rising social
stars, so expert to see travel reviews from YouTubers aimed
at a younger audience, and maybe even cats giving holiday
guidance to humans they care for via BuzzFeed.
Other see a need for the production of more continuous
content rather than ad-type campaigns based simply on
ideas with legs, and by those that understand editorial and
programming, such as publishers and broadcasters.
MORE EARNED MEDIA PLANNING AND
RESPONSIVE CAMPAIGN MANAGEMENT
Expect to see a lot more examples of what is becoming
known as earned media planning, where brands pre-plan
'spontaneous' customer engagement through social, i.e.
along the calendar of the travel customer decision journey:
dreaming > researching > booking > experiencing > sharing.
Also expect more responsive campaign management like
the way Expedia Canada dealt with the negative social
sentiment about the “shrill” violin in their Winter Escape –
Fear ad. After a joking apology was sent out to dissenters
from Expedia via Twitter and Facebook (together with a
new ad where the violin gets thrown out the window), the
Expedia team ended up going round to one of the
dissenters homes and gave him the violin to destroy. Now
that’s one way of showing customers you are listening.
MORE COMPARATOR NOT JUST
There's no shortage of rounds ups, reports and advice
being dished out about travel marketing by industry
analysts and experts. But you might want to look at
what good likes like beyond your industry and
competitors. As Mittu Sridhara from TUI Travel Plc
explained earlier this year, when they continue to scan
the market to look at what competitors are doing,
they look at anyone who is out there potentially
servicing customers in a better way:
“Your best experience is your best experience and it
doesn’t matter whether that’s in travel or if it
happened in a shop, or it happened on a web site.”
That’s why we’ll be producing more mini-reports
looking at other markets that we hope you’ll enjoy.
This report was compiled by Justin Kirby,
VP, Content Strategy at Tenthwave Digital.
Justin is a writer, speaker, and strategist
who curates the Best of Branded Content
Marketing (#BOBCM) eBook and event
series in partnership with the Branded
Content Marketing Association (BCMA).
We’re launching a new site at BOBCM.NET
soon, and are planning a live event in
London early next year. In the meantime, if
you are interested in finding out more, or
you have news or case studies to share,
please join the #BOBCM LinkedIn Group or
email us at: