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 Metro.co.uk, 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.