Creating a successful travel marketing campaign presents a significant challenge for many reasons.

Challenges include tremendous competition within the sector, an increasing pressure on budgets, and the wealth of channels on offer to choose from in order to cut through the clutter and reach the widest audience.

As a result, we’ve hand-picked some of our favourite campaigns from the last few years to help inspire your next big idea.

1. Visitbritain – The Great campaign

This pre and post-Olympic campaign aimed to attract tourists to visit Britain and emphasised the wide variety of choice Britain has to offer visitors. After a 4 year campaign and £100 million spent the results definitely proved it was all worth it;

  • At least £2.5 billion in additional visitor spend.

  • £52.5 million in partner funding – cash and in kind.

  • £8.9 billion in advertising equivalent value.

Throughout their campaigns in 2015/2016 they have reached even higher success showing that-

  • Over £800 million in additional visitor spend by overseas visitors.

  • £12.7 million in partner funding in cash and in kind, for their inbound activity.

The results show the huge effect the long-running campaign has had on the overall income from tourists to Britain.

VisitBritain focused on highlighting the famous culture, heritage, sport, music, countryside, shopping and great food on offer in the UK. As part of the campaign they also worked in partnership with the James Bond movie Skyfall, which was also featured during the impressive Olympic opening ceremony reaching a massive worldwide audience of over 900 million of potential visitors.

2. Westjet Christmas miracle

In 2013 Westjet, the Canadian airline launched a huge campaign spanning the Christmas period, to grant passengers their Christmas wishes through a live digital stream to Santa, before they boarded their flight.

Unbeknownst to the passengers (who believed it was just a fun game to talk to Father Christmas before they boarded!), during the flight the staff at their destination quickly bought and wrapped the presents off their wish list like Santa’s Little Helpers! This was a heart-warming marketing campaign to watch as it showed how happy all the families were to be surprised at the other end of their flight. To be waiting for their luggage and everything they had asked for was waiting for them!

The campaign went viral all over the internet generating a huge amount of publicity. On YouTube alone they had over 47.9 million views… Twitter went crazy over the #westjetchristmas. Quite clearly, WestJet’s social media pros are experts in creating highly engaging content and integrated marketing campaigns. However, the success of the Westjet Christmas Miracle video must have far exceeded even their own expectations.

Winning a multitude of awards within the Travel and Tourism sector was yet a further indication that their campaign had delivered.

WestJet achieved a huge growth for brand awareness and loyalty opportunities from within and beyond North America. This is evidenced by the overwhelming positive reactions from the media, huge video views and amazing consumer feedback.. Bringing them joy at a stressful time of the year!

3. Thomas cook – Try before you buy

The virtual reality experience created by Thomas Cook and Visualise launched in January 2015 after a successful trial in their Bluewater concept store to create a new experience for consumers. The experience went on to win many awards including The Experience Awards – Best Retail Theatre and 2015 Mobile Innovation Awards: Most Innovation Development in Entertainment

As veterans in the travel and tourism industry, Thomas Cook already command an enviably large client base. However, the highly effective VR experience was picked up all over the press after they launched, resulting in some fantastic sales such as a 190% uplift in New York excursion bookings after the public had trialled the 5 minute version of the holiday destination.

Being the first travel company to launch a virtual reality experience was a huge success for the company, proving that being innovative and brave can definitely pay off!

4. SNCF - Europe, it’s just next door

SNCF, the French railway network focused on running a number of successful publicity stunts over several years. These included their 2012 campaign which offered a chance for the residents of Leon in Spain to ‘Put their head in Brussels’.

Due to it’s great success, they followed it in 2013 with ‘Europe, It’s Just Next Door’. This was a similar experimental marketing concept - directly engaging with the consumer and encouraging them to interact. It was innovative, imaginative and clearly a success for SNCF as it was highly effective in growing brand recognition and awareness through educating the public.

Doors in bright colours were placed in public spaces around Paris, encouraging passers-by to open these portals. The doors opened up to special digital flat screens broadcasting live streams from different European cities. The user engaged by immersing themselves in different city experiences which focused on cultural differences, relaxation, escapism and tourist attractions.

‘Europe, It’s Just Next Door’ achieved tremendous stand out as it was such a creative and innovative concept, which encouraged the public to understand the SNCF product offering. It was groundbreaking in its success attracting public attention and creating a memorable experience.

It created a connection not only between the consumer and the location, but also with SNCF. This PR stunt was a huge success and a very creative way of enticing people into understanding and considering the brand.

5. Norway - Sheep with a view

A triple award-winning campaign that brought to life the beautiful sights of Norway by promoting the country through an animal’s viewpoint. The ‘sheep with a view’ was a truly beautifully shot campaign which captured viewers attention with its unusual approach.

Within 3 months of releasing this series of short videos their social audience reached almost 8 million and netted 14,300 extra Instagram followers.

Their light-hearted comedy based trailer made the campaign so interesting that the audience wanted to delve further into their stories.

The objective of the campaign was to showcase an in depth view of Norway as a travel destination; including the lifestyle, the food but mainly the gorgeous sights of the Norwegian landscape. Marketing campaigns especially in the travel industry have to be very bold, to pick up the widest target audience and try to be the main point of conversation at that certain time.

Social media trends in travel whitepaper

Social media has become the ultimate form of word of mouth marketing. So as a travel business, discovering how to leverage your audience is key.

In this whitepaper we cover a variety of topics from techniques to integrate into your social strategy, types of content to use, and the benefits of individual platforms, empowering you to head into 2020 with a social media strategy that gives you confidence.

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