Here is my Travel Content Marketing Campaigns – Top 10 List in no particular order, along with 10 key learnings.
Contiki invited past guests to submit the most legendary travel stories from their Contiki holiday. Stories were posted on the Contiki website, with the best ones given creative treatment from artists around the world. The winning entry was recounted by British actress and star of Game of Thrones Natalie Dormer. #ContikiLegends
In a tie up with social media aggregator Stackla, all social media content mentioning Trafalgar is now aggregated and fed through in real time to the Trafalgar website homepage, under the prepare for your trip section. The content is sourced from a combination of: Official Trafalgar, Travel Directors and guests. Guests are encouraged to the use the hashtag #trafalgarinsider when they tweet.
Whilst impressive, I can’t yet to do a search to find information on a destination or topic within this interface. A general search on the website only brings up a tour list
An older example from a previous blog post, but still a fantastic campaign. #MelbourneRCT
The objective of the campaign was give potential visitors to Melbourne the opportunity to explore up close what Melbourne has to offer before they visit, streamed live and in real time. Conducted over a five day period in Oct 2013, the campaign gave visitors the ability to direct real people (the remote control tourists, available on each day between 12 – 8pm) to what they wanted to see and do around the city.
Using GPS enabled camera technology mounted on their helmets and travelling around the city on bikes, visitors were able to see and hear live video and audio feeds from the remote control tourists via the website and could instruct them on what to do via social media.
Intrepid Travel partnered with Masterchef 2013 contestants Andy Allen and Ben Milbourne to create a 5 episode food and travel series that loosely follows the itinerary of their Real Food Adventure Mexico Tour. #intrepidtravel The series also partnered with Mexican food brand – Old El Paso to produce My Mexican recipes as well as travel insurer Travel Insurance Direct.
STA Travel sent Aussie reality TV star, fashion lover, and social media addict, Tully Smyth to the UK with American musician, Astronautalis to create a content series showcasing the unexpected and diifferent side of Great Britain. #WildcardUK
The 1888 Hotel in Sydney offers a free night’s stay to anyone with more than 10,000 followers on Instagram. All they have to do is follow the feed of parent company 8Hotels Collection, book a room and show up (with mobile phone) to enjoy the vibe at this property in Sydney’s Pyrmont neighborhood.
The hotel has also erected a “selfie frame” in the lobby, set up an insta-walk tour of attractions in Sydney’s Darling Harbour, and launched an Instagram package, which includes “a room to photograph” (with a king-size bed), “foodporn” (complimentary antipasto plate and two glasses of wine), “share-ability” (complimentary Internet connection and iPads in all rooms) and an “envy-inducing start to the day” (complementary breakfast).
At the end of each month, hotel staff pick their favorite photo from the insta-walk (as seen on the #1888hotel feed) and offer the winner a free night’s stay. That’s in addition to the free night they give away to anyone with more than 10,000 followers.
The RoadTrip is a content series that brought Contiki together with some of the most influential content creators in the YouTube community. 11 You Tubers with subscriber numbers ranging from 100k to over 6 Million each. #RoadTrip14
Each trip was built around three central pieces: sightseeing and activities, RoadTrip Challenges where viewers have the opportunity to win Contiki trips, and an exclusive YouTube Gathering where fans got the opportunity to meet the YouTubers. The trip follows a typical Contiki itinerary to that region.
8. Airbnb – Hollywood & Vines
“Hollywood & Vines” is the first film directed via Twitter and shot entirely on Vine. For four days, people around the world worked with Airbnb to share in the creation of a single story about travel, adventure and finding your place in the world.
Airbnb tweeted out one prompt each day for the campaign, called Hollywood and Vines, from Thursday through Sunday. Users had up to 48 hours to submit their Vine videos by tweeting them with the hashtag #AirbnbHV.
Here is the first prompt
This is the result of that global experiment, featuring 100 Viners from everywhere from Kansas to Kuwait.
Your Planet n 7 seconds is a content series that showcases the weird, wild and wonderful things on the planet all in 7 seconds. @gadventures
Currently boasting over 845k followers on Instagram, it is the most followed account amongst tourism and travel brands globally #SeeAustralia
The Tourism Australia social media team trawl through around 900 photos a day posted to the @Australia account from around the world. Instagrammers use the hashtag #SeeAustralia or #RestaurantAustralia to have their shot seen by Tourism Australia, who then republish the best five or six shots each day. Since the account, which is managed 24 hours a day, was launched two years ago, almost half a million photos of beaches, kangaroos, deserts and other iconic Australian imagery have been sent in by followers. Images are chosen based on the research that Tourism Australia has done about what people are interested in seeing and what makes Australia unique. How Tourism Australia dominated Instagram
10 Key Learnings
- User generated content, distributed via social channels is increasingly at the centre of what information travellers are looking for when researching or preparing for a trip.
- Travel brands that survive and thrive are those that will be able to supply the latest content more quickly, ultimately updated in real time.
- That content will be from a variety of sources, i.e. a combination of free user generated content makers as well as paid authors and journalists. It will be distributed primarily via a variety of digital channels: websites/blogs, apps, E-books and social media.
- Developing and harnessing an active social media community is a fundamental requirement for any travel brand looking to generate ongoing relevant, unique content that is frequently updated at relatively low expense.
- Being an early adopter of digital tools and technologies in travel, such as 1888 hotel using Instagram and Airbnb using Vine can really help to differentiate your brand and stand out.
- Content marketing doesn’t need to be a solus exercise. Like the Andy Allen example, Intrepid Travel partnered with complementary brands Old El Paso and Travel Insurance Direct to keep costs down whilst still achieving their own objectives.
- The Contiki Legends example demonstrates that using a high profile celebrity or spokesperson can give user generated content additional cut through and shareability without losing it’s authenticity.
- The Trafalgar Insider example demonstrates that for any travel brand, internal staff/tour leaders are just as important in user generated content as external customers and guests. Everyone needs to be engaged.
- What content should I be offering? For example, could Contiki develop an app guide to key cities in Europe – What to do in 24/48/72 hours? Anecdotally, travellers that join a Contiki tour have spare time before a trip or after a trip to see a destination in more depth than a typical Contiki trip allows. Could Airbnb run personalised guided bespoke tours to particular cities, leveraging the local knowledge of it’s hosts. Could it also develop an app guide to the best local experiences in various cities?
- Lastly, learn who your target audience values most as their key sources of information, which channels they use to access that information and tailor your content strategy accordingly. What is the best combination of free user generated content and traditional content from paid authors and journalists?
Update Sep 2015 – #LiveIntrepid
Here is another great travel content marketing campaign. Intrepid are inviting people to create their own travel mantra, using an uploaded photo and share it across social media.
Update Jun 2016 – Travelodge
The interesting recent Lie Down series with comedians Joel Creasey and Rhys Nicholson
by Konrad Markham
Tips for Improving Digital Marketing