Three travel brands innovating in crowdsourced marketing | Econsultancy

The first act of out-reaching to the crowd is 300-years-old (dates back to 1714), but the term ‘crowdsourcing’ was first coined in 2005 by two Wired Magazine editors Jeff Howe and Mark Robinson.

The whole idea of the internet is inherently based on the idea of crowdsourcing.  The internet is the place where the opinions of thousands are collected to help others in their decision-making.  And now social platforms have made it very simple to instantly reach out to many people and pick their brains.  The web is a silo of opinions, ideas and services curated by the mob.  People also tend to be more open in web-based projects.

Crowdsourcing has proven to be one of the most disruptive business models of the modern age.

In travel, the most notable examples are TripAdvisor and Airbnb, whose business models are built on user-generated resources.  The traditional travel sector has woken up to the value of crowdsourced marketing, too.  It’s not only the popular (and cost-effective) thing to do: it’s just plain good marketing.

Why? Because marketing at its core means bonding with your customer.

These three traditional British travel brands below use crowdsourcing to bring their products to market in new and exciting ways and drive innovation:

1) British Airways

In 2011, British Airways was the first British travel brand that turned to the public to co-create its aircraft menus, movies and livery.  Budding chefs, scriptwriters and artists were called upon to submit their ideas as part of the airline’s ‘Great Britons’ programme, initially launched in 2009 in anticipation of the Olympic Games.

These ideas were then taken forward and enhanced by category experts like renowned chef Heston Blumenthal, actor Richard E Grant and artist Tracey Emin.

The final outcome: a new on-board menu, in-flight movies and artwork for the exterior of the aircraft.

British Airways and Metro crowdsourced collaboration.

Following the success of this project, British Airways went on to pioneer the first ever live integrated crowd-sourced travel campaign in partnership with Metro in 2014.  This initiative gave consumers a unique opportunity to create and edit content using social media channels.  As part of this campaign English comedian Joe Wilkinson was tasked with a series of globe-trotting challenges.

Metro readers voted online for the places they would like to see him visit and the experiences they wanted him to have on his adventure.  The campaign featured a live feed of reader comments on, plus Wilkinson directly interacted with the audience using social channels.  This campaign strengthened customers’ relationships with the British Airways brand in an innovative way.

2) TUI Thomson

TUI Thomson’s “Name Our Plane” campaign saw the brand crowdsource a name for its first 787 aircraft on Twitter in 2012.

The success of this type of campaign has led Thomson to run a similar campaign this year, which focuses on both suggestions and user votes.  The selected winner’s name will be fitted on the new Dreamliner 787 and winner will be flown to a free long-haul destination on the brand new plane.


Thomson crowdsourced the first wedding

TUI Thomson is also the first travel brand that crowdsourced a wedding decided by Facebook fans in 2015. The “Your Big Day” campaign invited people to vote for their favourite couple, the best wedding dress (which the bride then had to wear), the best hen or stag party idea and the best venue.  All expenses for the wedding and honeymoon were paid for by Thomson. The contest received 700 entrants and 10,000 votes.

3) Visit Britain

In 2014 VisitBritain worked with Genero to crowdsource a number of short films to feature on its international Sounds of GREAT Britain campaign.

Genero represents a global network of filmmakers, who were tasked with producing a number of short films reflecting the variety of sights, sounds and experiences on offer across Britain. T

he winning films were featured on VisitBritain’s Lovewall and were distributed across all global markets, with a bespoke end result for each language and region.

The films were created to give different perspectives of the locations and themes featured in VisitBritain’s ‘Sounds of GREAT Britain’ campaign.

The resulting multimedia content was original, sharable and a good example of evergreen content.Crowdsourcing allows brands to utilise the creative power of their greatest asset – their customers – in exciting new ways. The best projects drive interest, website traffic and all round good vibes to the brand in question.

Source: Three travel brands innovating in crowdsourced marketing | Econsultancy

Royal Caribbean launching new marketing campaign that shows off incredible and immersive vacations | Royal Caribbean Blog

Royal Caribbean has launched a new marketing campaign entitled, “Come Seek”, that aims to show a Royal Caribbean cruise is more than just a vacation on a floating hotel.

The new campaign which made its début on October 19, 2015 conveys that a Royal Caribbean vacation is not simply a cruise and those that take a cruise are not taking a conventional vacation.

Royal Caribbean’s multi-million dollar campaign wants to “roll out red carpet for next generation of cruisers” that are not just new to cruising, but also tech-savvy and relish an immersive and experiential kind of vacation.

Royal Caribbean are calling these people “Seekers” because, travel is not about vacations or being a tourist: travel is a way of life.  “Come Seek” has three main messages: This is not a cruise; You are not a tourist; This is not the Caribbean.  At the end, it ends with simply, “This is the Royal Caribbean”.

Through a variety of channels, Royal Caribbean aims to have “Come Seek” invoke imagery of mashing up surprising on-board experiences, such as North Star, the FlowRider and connecting on social media with Voom high speed internet.  In addition, Royal Caribbean wants to show the depth of places to explore in the Caribbean.  All of this works towards giving guests experiences and memories that they cannot wait to show off to their friends and family.

New television ads made their début on the October 19th in 15 and 30 second spots.  In addition, Royal Caribbean added 5 second ads in programs with heavy live viewership on US TV networks, such as The Voice and Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, with a 30 second ad later on to expand upon the 5 second teaser.  People may also have seen 5 second ads will run across the web including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

Going beyond traditional media:

Perhaps one of the most innovative parts of this new campaign are the brand new “live billboards” in the New York city area that will feature live look-ins to Royal Caribbean’s ships.  Two hundred and thirty geo-target units across New York City will show live broadcasts via Periscope in high traffic commuter areas, such as John F. Kennedy International Airport terminal, news stands and subways.

Using the Voom high speed internet, these live tune-ins from the ships to show off the experience as it’s happening in real time.  These live look-ins will occur throughout the month of November and be shown around peak commuting times.  Most, if not all, of the tune-ins will come from Anthem of the Seas sailings.

Royal Caribbean will also look to guests to suggest experience that Royal Caribbean should broadcast back on Periscope.  Going off the map Royal Caribbean is also trying something else new to show off the kind of amazing experiences waiting in the Caribbean with a new Tumblr page called, “Uncharted”.

Royal Caribbean crew members will become ambassadors and share content as they experience it on their cruises.These Uncharted experiences will also be on the website, advertising and social media.  If it proves successful, the program could eventually extend to guests and travel agents.

Getting noticed:  

The idea behind this kind of advertising is to get past the traditional produced and polished advertising people expect.

Royal Caribbean believes authentic experiences will be something guests really value and notice.Royal Caribbean is very cognizant that consumers are used to being advertised so much that a lot of gets tuned out or fast forwarded.  With live Periscopes and crew ambassador reviews, the hope is the public will take notice because this is not a traditional kind of ad.

Source: Royal Caribbean launching new marketing campaign that shows off incredible and immersive vacations | Royal Caribbean Blog

Brand Karma & TrustYou Partner to Bring Hotel & Tourism Brands the Best of Reputation Management & Virtual Reality –

Brand Karma and TrustYou have announced a strategic partnership, bringing together TrustYou’s powerful reputation management tools and Brand Karma’s digital innovation in virtual reality (VR).

The needs of the travel enterprise continue to evolve. Hotels now need to unify a complex mix of traveller feedback from reviews, social media, and guest survey data to delight the guest and stay competitive.  At the same time, new media platforms are rapidly changing travel distribution, with virtual reality revolutionizing hotel sales and marketing.

Source: Brand Karma & TrustYou Partner to Bring Hotel & Tourism Brands the Best of Reputation Management & Virtual Reality –

3 Marketing Lessons From The Top Travel Brand Videos On Social

Digital video is taking off as a marketing tool, and brands are using it in more and more creative ways on social media. For travel brands – which can benefit from showcasing the visual elements of the experiences they offer – it’s especially important to have a strong video strategy.

Source: 3 Marketing Lessons From The Top Travel Brand Videos On Social 08/31/2015

Digital video is taking off as a marketing tool, and brands are using it in more and more creative ways on social media. For travel brands — which can benefit from showcasing the visual elements of the experiences they offer — it’s especially important to have a strong video strategy.

We researched the videos travel brands posted to Facebook that received the most likes, comments, and shares so far in 2015. A few clear themes emerged over and over again, giving us some insight into what makes an engaging travel video. Here are the creative marketing lessons we learned from the most engaging videos.

Tap into experiences everyone values

In the beginning of the year, Singapore Airlines created a video around something everyone can relate to: New Year’s resolutions. The footage takes a look at different groups of people and their resolutions that relate to travel. (For example, one man wants to take his family on their first family vacation ever, one woman wanted to take a solo trip, and so on). Singapore Airlines paid for their trips and documented their experiences. Much of the footage was filmed using GoPro-type devices, which gives the video a more personal vibe.

The video works especially well because it’s about something that’s consistent with an airlines brand. New Year’s resolutions are a common experience for people and travel is often a part of them. Singapore Airlines was clear about their involvement in each group’s trip, which works well because people value transparency. The video received roughly 105,000 interactions and 218,000 views. (That’s nearly one interaction for every two views.) It’s the fourth most-engaging video from a travel brand so far this year.

Give your audience an inside scoop

In February, KLM released a video demonstrating how autopilot on planes works. It gives viewers an inside look into the cockpit and the procedure of flying from the pilot’s perspective — all the way from takeoff to landing. The video got shared on Facebook nearly 30,000 times and was viewed over 2.2 million times. It’s the eighth most-engaging travel video this year.

The reason this video works so well is that it taps into an area of people’s imagination. Fans love to get the inside scoop into what’s going on, and they appreciate feeling like they get to access something that had been inaccessible before. That’s one of the reasons why, for example, the McDonald’s video earlier this year showing how their fries are made got a lot of attention.

Overproduction isn’t always necessary

Not every video needs the planning and precision of a full-length feature film. Social is a great place to share real things that are happening. When overproduction happens, brands can often appear ingenuine and out of touch. Sometimes, the best videos can come out of filming real people experiencing real things.

In June, Virgin Atlantic uploaded a video of a surprise they gave passengers on a Detroit flight: Richard Branson and the Virgin Atlantic team arranged for the cast of Motown the Musical to perform in the aisles in celebration of the airline’s new Detroit service. The light-hearted video gives us a glimpse into the performance and the reactions of the passengers.

It’s clear this surprise was enjoyed by more than just the passengers on the flight; it received over 86,000 interactions and was viewed almost four million times. It ranks seventh on the list of top engaging travel videos on Facebook this year.

Perhaps the best feature of a strong video strategy is being dynamic. Travel brands can approach online video in many different ways. They have a huge opportunity to showcase visual content since it’s so closely tied to their industry. It’s important for travel brands to keep exploring to figure out which ideas are a hit and which are a miss, and they should continue to test out videos on social in new ways to continue connecting with their audiences. In order to succeed in the eyes of consumers, they must be willing to explore meaningful experiences and share openly with their audiences.

The Next Big Thing In Visual Storytelling? Destination Selfies.

Source: The Next Big Thing In Visual Storytelling? Destination Selfies. – Monday, 14th September 2015 at 4Hoteliers

By Frederic Gonzalo
Monday, 14th September 2015
Travel destinations are often among leaders using digital marketing and social media to convey their message and connect with travellers and potential clientele;

Instagram continues to makes strides within the travel marketing realm, as travellers and travel brands alike grow to appreciate and use the mobile application acquired by Facebook back in 2012.

In August, Instagram announced it will evolve and move away from its known square-photo format in order to allow panoramic shots as well. Not to mention ads now rolling out to mainstream access…

Destination Selfies, Japanese Style!

And then Tourism Australia comes along, with its Giga Selfie initiative. As you can see in the video below, this campaign aims the Japanese traveller market, tapping into an already hugely popular phenomenon – taking selfies – and bringing it to the next level through this new feature.

In selected destinations, such a Gold Coast over the past weekend, Japanese travellers (or anybody using the Japanese language mobile application) can snap pictures of themselves… and reveal lots more about the location where they are at!

A great way to show more and influence travellers’ circles of friends and colleagues back in Japan. Note that Japan is an important country to Tourism Australia with more than 320,000 travellers in the past year, representing $1.4 billion in visitor spend.

How long until we see a similar campaign here in North America or in another friendly country?

Think with Google debuts a travel dashboard to help US marketers – Tnooz

Google logo.jpegIn August Google’s marketing research arm, Think with Google, unveiled its Travel Dashboard — a free online tool that highlights recent and year-over-year trends based on Google data across the car rental, air, and hotel verticals in the United States.

The data has been designed to help marketers in planning their campaigns. It will be updated quarterly. For instance, the travel dashboard shows that between January and June 2015, airline direct brand queries rose 19% year-over-year for Delta and 52% year-over-year for Allegiant Air. That’s a sign that those airlines’ search marketing, AdWords, and branding campaigns may be working.

For hotels, search volume on mobile devices increased 49% during the first half of the year, relative to same period a year earlier. The gain for tours-and-activities was 47%, relative to the first half of 2014. More air queries were coming from mobile, too — up 32% year-over-year, as of March 2015, across all Google Data.

Drilling down for context One of the travel dashboard tools lets any user select from 25 major US markets to find out where people were traveling between July and September 2014, according to Google’s data. For instance, people in San Antonio were visiting Las Vegas 21% more during that quarter than they were in the same period a year prior — making Sin City the biggest gainer among destinations measured. The site reveals where travelers were coming from. Columbus, Ohio, (“Go Buckeyes!”) saw a 90% year-over-year increase in Chicagoans visiting.

The travel dashboard is looking at Google search data that shows where people in one location are searching for travel to another city. It’s not data from Google Flights or Google Hotels metasearch tools, says a company spokesperson.

GO DEEP: The Travel Dashboard by Think with Google

MORE: This Air France ad is the top travel brand video of 2015, so far, says Google – See more at:

Social Media and Travel Go Hand in Hand (Infographic) | SocialTimes

Social Media and Travel Go Hand in Hand (Infographic) | SocialTimes.

Social media has provided many opportunities for businesses in all categories. Customer service, marketing, and customer engagement have all emerged as useful tools for achieving your business goals. Social media can also have unintended benefits, as more users share on specific topics. According to an infographic from Internet Marketing Inc, travel companies can benefit a lot from this specific sharing.

Facebook is one of the prime destinations for sharing life events and travel related content. 52 percent of users surveyed said their friend’s photos inspired travel plans, and 76 percent post their vacation photos to social networks.

During vacation research, 55 percent of those surveyed liked pages relating to the trip they were planning. This is a very important touch-point for travel brands, as social media is an important research tool for vacationers. If a brand is able to present itself to a vacationer then it could influence those 33 percent that change hotels, or the 7 percent that change their destination.

Brands can also influence potential customers as they research their potential vacations. Humorous posts nudging readers toward taking vacations, posting breathtaking images, interacting with consumers who reach out, and creating brand advocates are all great ways to engage users and potentially push them toward your brand.

Leveraging the power of the types of content users choose to share on certain networks can give your business model a major leg up. Engaging with those consumers who are excited about the services you provide should always be the aim of your social media activity.


Top image courtesy of Shutterstock.

TripAdvisor will offer a million dollar digital marketing campaign to PATA CEO Challenge winners

pata logoEmerging tourism destinations have an unprecedented opportunity to boost their digital marketing campaigns, thanks to a collaborative venture between the Pacific Asia Travel Association (PATA) and TripAdvisor.

The PATA CEO Challenge offers two prizes, each valued at US$500,000, for regional, state and province tourism organisations, and secondary and tertiary cities that are able to demonstrate the uniqueness and authenticity of their heritage, customs, culture and natural beauty to local and international travellers. Awards valued at US$500,000 will be presented to the winners of each category: States, regions and provinces; and second-tier/third-tier cities.

Trip AdvisorThe winning organisations will work with dedicated teams from TripAdvisor to create unforgettable digital marketing campaigns that showcase their destinations to global stakeholders.“The PATA CEO Challenge is gathering momentum and we are receiving enquiries and entries from a very broad spectrum of new and emerging destinations. This is a remarkable opportunity to work with TripAdvisor’s digital marketing experts,” said PATA CEO Mario Hardy. “We have received many enquiries from organisations in mainland China and to assist them we are accepting entries in Simplified Chinese.”“Travellers around the world are always on the lookout for places to discover and explore.

By participating in the PATA CEO Challenge, emerging destinations will have the opportunity to showcase their unique destination to TripAdvisor’s global travel community,” said Sarah Mathews, Head of Destination Marketing, APAC at TripAdvisor. “We look forward to receiving even more creative entries as the deadline draw near.” Deadline for submissions is Thursday, October 1, 2015. The awards will be presented at the PATA Aligned Advocacy Dinner in London on November 2, when the guest of honour will be UNWTO Secretary General Taleb Rifai

via TripAdvisor will offer a million dollar digital marketing campaign to PATA CEO Challenge winners.

You’ll Never Guess Which Travel Site Americans Are Most Loyal To (Hint: It’s Not Priceline) | The Motley Fool

You’ll Never Guess Which Travel Site Americans Are Most Loyal To (Hint: It’s Not Priceline)  Steve Symington

With the advent of online travel sites, it’s never been easier to book a quick vacation, business trip, or even a spontaneous jaunt for almost anywhere in the world. Though the online travel industry is relatively young, it’s still growing quickly, with dozens of viable sites ready to make your trip happen.

The sites with the most loyal customers stand to grab the biggest share of this market as Internet usage increases around the world. But maintaining customer loyalty is even more challenging in markets like the United States, where online travel is becoming second nature as nearly 90% of the population is already online.

Thanks to online travel sites, resorts like this are just a click away.

This of course begs the question, which travel site are Americans the most loyal to?

Thanks to prominent advertising campaigns, several incorrect names might immediately come to mind. Take the various sites operated by Priceline Group (NASDAQ: PCLN), for example, which notably include, KAYAK,,, and — thanks to a $2.6 billion acquisition last year — even restaurant reservations specialist OpenTable. Since it was founded in 1997, Priceline has enjoyed the charisma of spokesman William Shatner talking up its negotiating skills, while KAYAK earns business by comparing the prices of “hundreds” of travel sites at once.

Collectively, these businesses helped Priceline Group achieve $50.3 billion in total gross bookings last year alone. And with a market capitalization higher than $61 billion as of this writing, it’s no surprise Priceline regularly calls itself the “world leader in online accommodation reservations.” But “world leader” or not, none of Priceline’s sites are tops in customer loyalty.

Or how about Hotwire? Specific financial details are scarce for the privately held site, but Hotwire earns customers by selling off unsold travel inventory at a huge discount, saving people planeloads of cash on all their travel needs from airfare to hotels, rental cars, and comprehensive travel packages.

Unfortunately, though, even Hotwire’s approach doesn’t translate to the most loyal users. It’s not Expedia (NASDAQ: EXPE), either — though we’re getting closer.

Travelocity’s roaming gnome, Credit: Travelocity

Love for the Roaming Gnome

According to the 19th annual Brand Keys Customer Loyalty Engagement Index, American consumers are most loyal to a travel site acquired by Expedia less than two months ago: On January 23, 2015, Expedia paid $280 million in cash to buy Travelocity from travel-technology specialist Sabre (NASDAQ: SABR), which itself was a subsidiary of American Airlines until being spun off in 2000.

According to Brand Keys president Robert Passikoff, 2015 was Travelocity’s first year atop its category in loyalty. And this year’s results were driven by the brands’ abilities to “identify customers’ expectations and address them via authentic emotional values.”  So why do Americans specifically love Travelocity so much?

A little focus goes a long way

First, keep in mind that Travelocity signed a strategic marketing agreement with Expedia in mid-2013. Per the terms of that deal, Expedia agreed to take the reins of the technology platform powering Travelocity’s U.S. and Canadian websites. In exchange, Expedia received performance-based marketing fees that varied based on the amount of travel booked through those Travelocity-branded sites.

Travelocity’s #IWannaGo campaign was wildly successful, Credit: Travelocity.

While this meant less revenue for Travelocity at the time, it also greatly improved the site’s profitability by drastically lowering operating costs. In its most recently reported quarter as part of Sabre, for instance, Travelocity’s adjusted revenue fell nearly 45% year over year, to $89 million, while adjusted EBITDA skyrocketed 116% to $16 million. Without the need to focus on maintaining its technology platform, Travelocity was free to redirect those resources toward promoting its brand — something it arguably did more effectively than any of its deep-pocketed rivals, anyway.

Take Travelocity’s “Roaming Gnome” mascot, for example, whose offbeat TV spots have been at the heart of its viral advertising efforts for more than a decade. But starting in 2013, Travelocity also began using the gnome to engage consumers on a personal level with a wildly successful social media campaign centered around the hashtag #IWannaGo.

By following the @roaminggnome handle on Twitter or Instagram, then using the hashtag to tell Travelocity where you wanted to go, you were automatically entered to win a chance to make your travel dreams come true. Then. last year, Travelocity built on that momentum by combining the hashtag with its new “Go & Smell the Roses” tag line.

According to Travelocity chief marketing officer Bradley Wilson: “‘Go & Smell the Roses’ is more than a tag line in an advertising campaign, it’s a rally cry. […] We are using our most powerful asset, the iconic Roaming Gnome, to inspire and instigate people to get off the couch, to go and smell the roses.”

If Brand Keys’ latest Loyalty Index is any indication, Travelocity’s efforts to connect to customers on an emotional level are obviously proving effective in its core American market. If it can translate that good work under Expedia’s wing to inspire people around the world, something tells me Expedia’s $280 million purchase price will look brilliant in the end.

via You’ll Never Guess Which Travel Site Americans Are Most Loyal To (Hint: It’s Not Priceline) | The Motley Fool.

Travel Companies Ranked on Best Social Media Practices | TravelPulse

Engagement Labs, the technology and data company, has recently released the social media rankings of the top performing hotel chains, airlines, online travel agencies (OTAs) and metasearch sites.

The rankings are based on Engagement Labs’ eValue scores, which take into account three factors: Engagement, Impact and Responsiveness.

Travel Companies Ranked on Best Social Media Practices

The top three hospitality companies on Twitter are (in order) Hyatt Hotels, The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Trump Hotel Collection. Hyatt was highlighted for using highly visual vacation-related content and the use of creative hashtags.

The top three Facebook marketers in the hotel industry are The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group and Country Inns & Suites by Carlson. Ritz-Carlton stood out based on its regular engagement with travelers and its posting of images and facts of its resorts.

“As social media is increasingly becoming an all-purpose communication tool, the hotel industry excels by providing real-time information to their customers on their social media channels,” said Bryan Segal, chief executive officer of Engagement Labs, via a release. “Companies like The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company and Hyatt Hotels utilize their social media channels to provide up-to-date resort news and industry information as a one stop shop for their audiences.”

American Airlines, United Airlines and Alaska Airlines led carriers in Twitter marketing. American Airlines also was No. 1 in Facebook marketing, followed by Island Air and Delta Air Lines.

On Twitter, American Airlines was adept at responding to consumer postings and weaving in topical news and events to drive interest, according to Engagement Labs.

On Facebook, American Airlines received a high eValue score for updating travelers on company information and relating major news and events back to the airline industry (to celebrate Women’s History Month, the major carrier asked Facebook followers to share stories about female American Airlines members who exemplified premier customer service).

In terms of the travel aggregators (OTAs and metasearch sites),, OneTravel and CheapOair were the top Twitter marketers (parent company Fareportal owns both OneTravel and CheapOair). was highlighted for using Twitter to dish out the latest deals and promotions, as well as posting travel tips and trivia to boost engagement., Orbitz Worldwide and Travelocity were the top three Facebook marketers. scored highly in large part because the site posted articles that included travel ideas, tips for things to do in particular destinations, and contests for their followers to win trips to different destinations.

Travelers on social media “want convenience, trusted brands and good deals,” Segal said. “Social media is a key resource to help consumers navigate the complexity of travel today. We see marketers optimizing social channels to enhance user experience, customer satisfaction and develop trust and loyalty with their audiences.”

Engagement Labs’ eValue Analytics leverages more than 300 conventional social media metrics to produce a single benchmarked score, analyzing more than 75,000 handpicked, verified brands that include marketers, advertisers, publishers and broadcasters around the world.

via Travel Companies Ranked on Best Social Media Practices | TravelPulse.