RAMBLERS WORLDWIDE HOLIDAYS AND THE TELEGRAPH
Walking holiday specialist Ramblers Worldwide Holidays consistently invested in newspapers to
generate customer leads and website traffic, but increased competition and challenging market
conditions had produced disappointing results, with press occupying 40% of the budget, yet
generating only 9% leads. Identifying The Telegraph as one performing title, December 19
approached the newsbrand to create a year-long partnership across all reader touchpoints, including
print, online, tablet and live events. In addition to delivering +361% leads with only +28% increase in
budget, RWH recorded its highest ever day of web traffic and hosted one of The Telegraph’s most
successful live events.
BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVES
Ramblers Worldwide Holidays (RWH) the small-group walking holiday specialist, came to December
19 (D19) following a disappointing run of media results. National press had always seen heavy
investment to drive customer leads but FY14 results identified that although 40% spend was in
national press, it was yielding just 9% of leads. Growing competitor spend had also left them
struggling to stand out.
D19’s priority was to optimise the media mix, revaluating national press to address the issue of
dwindling response, and stimulate leads and new website users across all RWH brands.
The secondary objective was to consider opportunities for differentiation.
Before considering national press’s future, D19 undertook a detailed evaluation of RWH’s market
and competitor landscape, also revising the target audience.
Analysis uncovered a declining market, in interest and participation of walking. Even
those ‘interested’ were difficult to convert to a walking holiday, as more holidaymakers favoured
relaxation to being physically challenged.
With growing competition, activity was subject to increased clutter both in seasonality and media
channel. National press was widely used by competitors and although some budget was being
reallocated, diversification seemed slow and cautious.
Established for 70 years, RWH had strong heritage, with expert leaders on every tour. It was this
expertise that enhanced travel with RWH, proving a key driver for bookings.
This experience and authenticity appealed to our consumer target audience. Although the role for
walking varied between RWH brands, consumers were united by a desire to extend their passion for
walking into a holiday. These ‘Walking Partisans’ represented 3.3m individuals (Source: TGI).
They were confident, educated and cultured. They sought authentic travel experiences, suggesting
that leveraging RWH’s expert status, could yield positive results.
This insight informed our media strategy “Everyone’s an expert” which utilised trusted media to
engage and inspire customers through reinforcing RWH expert positioning.
Newspapers were key to reaching Walking Partisans, and supported our desire to build
trust and reinforce expertise. D19 had seen newspapers be effective in other response campaigns,
but with the role for digital growing in travel research and booking, we had to seek efficiencies
CY14 results showed The Telegraph had performed well at driving leads. Almost always
read by ‘Walking Partisans’ (Source: TGI Index 187) it had strong travel credentials and quickly
established itself as a ‘newsbrand’, also seeing positive print growth in a declining market. Having
enjoyed a favourable relationship with RWH editorially, we were keen to maximise this, accessing
readers on other platforms which had no prior RWH interaction.
The Telegraph partnership underpinned a year-long multi-media strategy.
Our collaboration devised a package which prioritised new users and new leads, supporting RWH
expert status and improving efficiency by allocating inventory across the range of RWH brands.
Travel classified 5x4s and larger display advertising in Daily Telegraph and Sunday Telegraph.
Enabled a presence in the ‘go-to’ section for travel planning, supplemented with main paper
display to support brand awareness and brochure release.
Digital channels employed to drive traffic, new users and leads to RWH website, included:
o Impressions across Telegraph.co.uk utilising ‘Krux targeting’ to identify those within the
interest area, supplemented by a ‘look-a-like’ audience to ‘Walking Partisans’
o Bespoke microsite including native content (image gallery, articles, event invitation)
guaranteed to deliver 5,000 impressions
o 27 x iPad edition placements in ‘Top travel offers’
o 2x Solus emails to 40,000 Telegraph readers within the interest area
We elevated RWH’s expertise by utilising The Telegraph’s 100-seat in-house theatre for a reader
event. Originally intending to invite an expert RWH leader, when celebrity Julia Bradbury was
confirmed as RWH brand ambassador for the year, we leveraged this opportunity. The event was
a discussion and Q&A to inspire walking adventures with the audience distributed ‘goody bags’
including catalogues and a list of “Julia Loves” tours.
Activating a partnership with The Telegraph newsbrand enabled us to provide more efficient leads –
increasing Telegraph leads by 361% with just a 28% increase in spend.
The Telegraph was the top traffic source to RWH after digital marketing responsible for
delivering an overall +1192% in traffic to RWH website YOY and +1340% in new users. Activating
untapped channels meant 83.89% clicks delivered across the year from The Telegraph were new
users. Adagio saw similar success by utilising inventory secured.
Partnership status gifted us a free trial of The Telegraph’s First Available Impression (FAI). The first
banner seen by visitors from Google, FAI contributed to the highest day of RWH website traffic that
year driving over a third of traffic on 19th
November through 1338 sessions, 1311 of
which were new users.
Live in August, the microsite resulted in +84% traffic and 2605 new users in its first week (3rd
August) with the competition, Julia Bradbury event and a worldwide walking destinations features all
Finally, guest places for our event were filled within a week of registration opening, and a full house
on the night led to one of the most successful Telegraph events ever hosted.
RWH ended FY15 with a more efficient national press plan. The Telegraph now accounted for 80% of
all national press leads with only 40% share of the national press budget, versus FY14 which was 45%
of leads using 55% of the budget.
Alongside driving new leads and new users, activity highlighted that reinvigoration can be as
effective as reinvention. Success was not only reliant on extracting further value from The Telegraph,
but diversifying communication proved a shrewd tactic to grow awareness and interest amongst
like-minded digital readers.
“Evolving our relationship with national press to include a bespoke partnership with a
newsbrand, had a significant impact on our website traffic and new users. The multi-channel
strategy proposed by D19 unlocked new opportunities to maximise our brand ambassador
and increase those exposed to our brand and products”
Lynn Scrivener, Head of Marketing, Ramblers Worldwide Holidays