In a super competitive landscape, travel, leisure and tourism marketers certainly have their work cut out for them when it comes to attracting travellers and driving new bookings. And with the ‘Insta-era’ in full swing, the search for creating standout has stepped up a notch. Better use of data, automation and a focus on storytelling content that taps into key consumer passion points is taking marketers on a new journey to connect with consumers.
According to specialist travel digital marketing firm Sojern’s 2019 Report on Travel Advertising, travel marketers are betting big on digital this year, with 72% of marketers in APAC planning to increase their digital ad spend. Top of mind considerations for these marketers were personalisation and sending relevant content to prospective travellers in real-time.
“Personalisation across multiple customer touch points has always been the goal for travel marketers,” said Kurt Weinsheimer, chief solutions officer at Sojern. “It’s not just a better brand experience, it’s the difference between winning or losing the booking.”
A number of brands from the travel, tourism and leisure sector featured on the Festival of Media APAC Awards 2019 shortlist in categories ranging from ‘Best Branded Content’ to ‘Best Use of Technology’, ‘Best Communications Strategy’ to ‘Best Use of Digital Media’, ‘Best Partnership Award’ to ‘Best Local Execution of a Global Brand’.
Exploring the key trends from these entries, the most prominent was a focus on producing great visual content, supported through a range of music, TV, digital and social partnerships. This content is then being brought to life through high impact display ad units, digital video, search and beyond. The clever use of data and retargeting techniques created a seamless experience.
Tapping into consumers’ passions was another key theme across the entries — ranging from music to architectural design, travel and cruising — and both travel-specific and social media influencers were utilised to add an authentic voice to the brand message. The power of Instagram, in particular, for the travel and tourism industry proved to be a great fit and an ideal showcase for pushing out relevant visual content that engages consumers.
Video proved to be a popular vehicle for pushing out travel-related content, as well as real-time marketing techniques that react to consumer actions or behaviour to support retargeting efforts. The focus was also firmly on creating personal, emotional connections, showing that the travel, leisure and tourism sector is clearly upping its game on this front.
With a wealth of inspiration now available at consumers’ fingertips, the importance of impactful marketing creative can not be underestimated. By combining personal, emotional, storytelling-fuelled content with the ability to connect through real-time data automation and technology, the travel, leisure and tourism sector is proving that to really make meaningful and actionable connections with consumers, it’s about taking them on a digital journey that appeals to their passions and sense of adventure.
We put the spotlight on two Festival of Media APAC Awards 2019 shortlisted entries, which highlight this trend:
Find your True North | Emirates Airlines | Havas Media | Australia
Shortlisted for: Best Branded Content, Best Use of Technology (SILVER WINNER)
Research showed that Australian travellers perceived Emirates as an airline that was too premium, up-tight and impersonal, with limited destinations and appeal. As a result, local carriers dominated the Australian market in sales and consideration. The challenge was to build brand equity and increase consideration with Australian travellers. It needed to break the norms of traditional airline communications and allow travellers to connect with Emirates in a uniquely personal and emotional way.
In a sky-of-sameness, it was hard for Emirates to stand out. Competitors were tapping into the senses: Touch/Experience, Taste/Food, Sight/Culture across all communication channels, yet the power of Sound remained an untapped opportunity. Music could help break the category norms as the communication hero, as it is a multi-cultural vernacular not just in Australia, but around the world – a global language of people. Music was the passion and strategic platform it needed. There was category white space and a media first content opportunity.
Rather than the airline dictating the desired destination(s) to the consumer, it wanted Emirates’ travellers to let their passions chose their next destination through the power of their own music taste. To make this a reality, Havas Media created the world’s first musical algorithm that analysed an individual’s musical data to curate a personalised Emirates destination experiences. In partnership with Spotify, the agency created a musical algorithmic engine for the audience and all Spotify users to discover their perfect destination with Emirates.
A partnership of passion and storytelling | Princess Cruises | MediaCom | Australia & New Zealand
Shortlisted for: Best Partnership Award (BRONZE WINNER)
Within the cruise category, Princess is a well-known brand with awareness at roughly 85%. With the newest and largest Princess Cruises’ ship ever to visit Australia, Majestic Princess, it needed to engage and inspire +45-year olds to book a cruise with Princess by increasing brand consideration and preference. While ongoing efforts were being made to improve the brand’s preference, it needed a new and innovative way to reach its audience, ideally engaging both existing cruise fans and the new to cruise market.
An engineering and design masterpiece, the Majestic Princess includes the ‘SeaWalk’, a dramatic over-the-ocean glass walkway, the first of its kind at sea, luxury accommodation for over 3,500 guests and a total of 19 decks. With a focus on the design and engineering feats of the ship, MediaCom looked for inspiration in the passions and consumption habits of its target market. This search suggested the audience shared an interest in design.
Understanding these nuances meant the agency had its strategy – to partner with Grand Designs Australia and Facebook to create content in line with the way the audience consume the media and in a familiar format they would immediately recognise. Entitled Grand Designs Offshore, it developed a social media digital series that explores incredible design in stunning locations, both on land and at sea. The partnership and social campaign provided a unique perspective into a truly international world class ship through the familiar format of Grand Designs Australia with the show’s host Peter Maddison.