Innovative travel marketing campaigns that hit the mark: Travel Weekly

Richard Turen

Richard Turen

Travel supplier sales reps often speak to advisors like we’re so many sponges, eager to soak up all the attributes and details of their products. They’ll call on (or Zoom with) our agencies frequently, but you’ll likely never hear from the marketers who work for the same corporations.

It might be beneficial for agency owners to consider that there might be a great deal to learn from some of the most innovative travel marketers. These are some of my favorite marketing campaigns of the past several years. I hope you find one or two of them inspiring and, possibly, adaptable as you look for new ways to reach consumers:

• Brad Pitt and Angela Jolie have split. So how do you use that in an ad? Norwegian Airlines ran a simple ad proclaiming:

Brad is single
Los Angeles. From/one way, incl taxes

This was, I thought, a rather brilliant way to advertise that the airline flies services Los Angeles.

• Some of my favorite ads were developed for the CVC Travel Agency Group in Brazil. Each ad in the series comprises four words — “The World Is Outside” — and each has a large image of a popular website logo like Twitter or Facebook. But the logo is filled with beautiful shots of Paris, Rio and other worldwide tourist destinations. It is a beautiful way to say that real travelers actually travel.

• Eurostar had a challenge in promoting train travel between Paris and London. They decided to try something new by taking to Instagram and designing 200 tile images of the trip so they appeared as a game challenge. Some of the tiles were photos, others were videos and several contained some rather special consumer offers. This campaign strikes me as a creative way to utilize content on the Instagram platform.

(Allow me to pause for a moment to pose a quick question: Do you have a truly tech-savvy social media star on staff? Not even a part-time high school or college student? Trust me, it’s time.)

• Tourism Quebec wanted to do a series of ads that highlighted the senses in such a way that what one sees on vacation is only a portion of the real experience. So they developed a campaign showing a blind American tourist, Danny Kean, experiencing whitewater rafting, helicopter rides and ziplining. The ads were supplemented by a website that enables you to share the best moments of Kean’s travels in the province. It produced over 2 million views on YouTube in less than a month.

• Just imagine that you are an airport in Finland. You won a few awards and you want to launch a campaign to get more tourists to use your airport. What would you do? Well, Helsinki Airport produced an ad campaign called “Life in Hel” in which they paid a Chinese actor, Ryan Zhu, to live in the airport for 30 days while posting his experiences on multiple social media platforms. He liked the food.

• Cheapflights decided on a new approach to advertising that worked extremely well. They designed a banner ad that would appear underneath articles about concerts, music events, sports and major festivals. All the user had to do was drag the article to the banner below and Cheapflights would instantly produce the best available fares.

• Let’s end with one of my personal favorites. SNCF, the French national railway system, wanted to encourage the French to take the train to visit neighboring countries. So they launched a campaign called “Europe. It’s Just Next Door.” They placed actual blue doors in and around Paris. When the person opens the door on the street, an immersive digital experience of a neighboring country appears. It could only be improved if Hugh Grant were behind one of the doors.

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