Travel brands get creative with content, social and storytelling
19 May 2016
KLM – #FlightFunding
As with all airlines, KLM receives requests daily from hundreds of people who would like to travel but can’t afford the ticket. These requests often come with a heart-wrenching story, where people need to visit relatives and friends but simply can’t support it themselves.
Of course, KLM is first and foremost a business that needs to run the complex logistics of managing hundreds of flights on a daily basis. Moreover, if they were to help one person, therein lies another issue of ‘why them and not me?’ from requestees. So, step up #FlightFunding.
Labelling it as a special experiment, KLM made use of their social followers (well into the millions) and put forward some of the stories being sent to them. Their question to their community: are you willing to help someone’s dream become a reality? The answer was a resounding yes. The 1,000+ cost of one entrant’s flights – Juanita – was fully funded within just seven hours. As a result, she was able to travel from the Netherlands to Canada to see family she’s not been with in years. It doesn’t stop there. KLM upped the social ante by filming the before, during and after, in what formed an amazing piece of brand storytelling. The result was an incredibly emotive piece of content with a twist; the community made it happen. So, all in all, KLM [essentially] paid for nothing, filmed an amazing story and then re-told that story to their communities.
Inspired By Iceland – #AskGumundur
We all know that personal service is the best kind of service so, last year, the Icelandic Tourism Board launched a new campaign that saw the introduction of the world’s first human search engine: #AskGumundur. It provided a genuine human alternative to the traditional online search, with seven Icelanders named Gumundur (male) or Gumunda (female) across Iceland (from all seven regions) volunteering for the opportunity to offer local secrets, advice and food tips to tourists who wanted the ultimate Iceland experience.
Every single facet of the Inspired by Iceland concept was designed to work across social platforms to create a maximum ease of access to #AskGumundur. Travellers were able to ask questions on either Twitter or Facebook and responses were directed back on Facebook, Twitter or YouTube. They also brought #AskGumundur to the real-time world, taking advantage of Periscope to stream Q&As live. The aim of the campaign was to provide a truly personable service; it worked. Thousands of questions were asked, hundreds of pieces of user content created and best of all, hilariously engaging brand content led by the Gumundurs and Gumundas.
A similar idea was then developed by Sweden which involved the country getting it’s own telephone number. It connected callers from around the world with random Swedes who had signed up to the scheme. They’d received no training or advice about what to say, and that was the point. They were giving an honest, authentic view of Sweden.
The Marriott Hotel – #LoveTravels
The Marriott Hotel’s #LoveTravels campaign has been a social movement for two years now. The first iteration of the movement focused on LGBT rights during an extremely important time for the community in the USA, bringing influential individuals – including the openly gay player in the NBA, Jason Collins – to the fore on social; recounting their experiences and struggles. Late last year they released a further four social videos on Facebook and YouTube starring actors, musicians and artists geared at empowering the Latino community in America. In each of the clips, the subjects talk about what they get out of traveling as well as their Latino and American backgrounds, with each of their musings being particularly emotive and touching.
Clearly, the goal of the campaign is to have a wide spectrum of travellers present their life and travel experiences and to make it – quite explicitly – known that everyone is welcome at Marriott. Yet, what makes the content truly powerful/effective is the ability of the people featured in the films to discuss their backgrounds and life experiences with no filters, reflecting the behaviours of the primary demographics watching them: the Millennials. As a result, thousands of users got involved with the campaign and told their real stories, in the way they wanted to. Not only did the videos act as content marketing for Marriott but moreover, engagement platforms where the audience got to have their say too.