HelloWorld, Australia’s leading integrated travel group, wanted to start its 2015-2016 fiscal year with a bang. As the “experts in everywhere,” the company wanted to create a huge splash that would inspire people to plan their next holiday, as well as demonstrate its global reach and deep expertise.
Turning “lookers” into “bookers”
According to survey data, 1 in 3 Australians were already familiar with the HelloWorld brand—up from 1 in 10 just a year earlier. Marketing efforts from brand advertising to customer EDMs and Facebook advertising helped to increase awareness among Gen X and older consumers, who typically book family package holidays with the company.
The company wanted to build on this growing momentum with an integrated campaign that would drive not only brand awareness, but purchases as well. “It’s great to have lookers,” Kate Shilling, Head of Marketing Strategy and Partnerships at HelloWorld. “But we needed them to become bookers.”
The “experts in everywhere” create a global event to highlight destinations worldwide
Working with PR agency Holysmoke! and media agency OMD Australia, HelloWorld hatched a plan to stage the world’s first Instagram relay. The team worked with destinations to select 80 Instagram influencers to anchor the campaign, from different locations around the world. Each one was charged with uploading 12 photos in 12 hours, showcasing a day in the life. Travellers around the world were encouraged to join in as well by submitting their own photos, either on social networks using hashtag #HelloWorldRELAY or via direct upload.
“Wherever possible, we encouraged our destination partners to engage bloggers and other influencers who had a following,” says Shilling. “We wanted to show that we have connections in every location around the world.”
When planning the #HelloWorldRELAY campaign, the HelloWorld team consulted its own data to determine the best timing. Analytics revealed that Australians tend to spend consistently on travel throughout the year, with spikes in September/October and February/March. Based on this information, the company chose to launch the campaign on September 27, 2015 to coincide with World Tourism Day.
“At HelloWorld, we’re the ‘experts in everywhere,’ so we wanted to involve as many countries and as many of our preferred suppliers as possible,” says Shilling. “We knew we wanted to keep the online assets really fresh, and we wanted them to be inspiring. We knew we wanted to incorporate social media. And we knew Stackla could help us do it.”
#HelloWorldRELAY generates 20K+ content posts
Prior to the relay, HelloWorld focused its online marketing primarily on offer-driven content. However, knowing that travellers were booking trips fairly consistently throughout the year, the team wanted to think about ways to inspire people think ahead and start planning their next trip.
Working with Stackla, the HelloWorld team created the centrepiece of the campaign: a microsite featuring a custom-built interactive map. As relay photos were aggregated using Stackla, they went through the moderation queue and were published to the map, where visitors could browse unique travel tips and content by location. The pins on the map were designed to grow as more content became available in each location.
The relay began at sunrise in Samoa, where Australian Instagrammer Garry Norris kicked off the event with a photo of a vivid yellow sunrise.
The relay picked up momentum throughout the day, eventually generating 16,515 Instagram posts, 5,391 Tweets, and 1,077 Facebook interactions across more than 80 countries over 36 hours. 29 Instameets were also hosted globally—including on a double-decker bus in Hobart, on paddleboards in Lord Howe Island, on an underground river in Palawan, and at the top of Blackcomb Mountain in Whistler, Canada.
“We couldn’t be more proud of the results that we have seen from the #HelloWorldRELAY and really want to thank Australian and global participants, our agents and our travel partners for showing us what a wonderfully diverse and beautiful planet Earth really is,” says Shilling. “This event showcased that HelloWorld really are the experts in everywhere—a trusted group of travel professionals that truly can deliver your dream holiday no matter where on earth that dream leads you.”
Stackla rights management features streamline permissions and collection of user data
Stackla’s rights management features played a pivotal role in facilitating the campaign and allowing HelloWorld to leverage the content it generated in a variety of ways.
Each of the 80 #HelloWorldRELAY Instagrammers for the relay were whitelisted on Stackla so their content would be published automatically. Consumers who submitted photos using the hashtag or via direct upload were asked to accept terms and conditions specifying that their content could be repurposed in email, display, out-of-home, and other advertising campaigns.
The interaction created by the rights management workflow also served a second important purpose: it enabled HelloWorld to collect email addresses from people who participated in the relay. These email addresses were added to the company’s CRM database for use in future email marketing campaigns.
Smart multi-channel promotion strategies support the campaign
The #HelloWorldRELAY was supported by a multi-channel marketing campaign that brought images from the relay to Aussie consumers via out-of-home (OOH) advertising, digital retargeting, and TV ads.
“Our initial media spend focused on Facebook, where we raised awareness with Gen X via a consumer promotion,” says Shilling. “Then, as we ramped up into the relay, we increased our media spend with out-of-home (OOH) advertising using custom Stackla-powered visualizations. We also ran TV ads around the event.”
Dynamic UGC-powered OOH ads delivered by Adshel
HelloWorld worked with OOH advertising partner Adshel on two separate UGC-powered activations to support the relay. Large digital displays in more than 230 bus shelters featured content aggregated through Stackla. The ads were generated dynamically using a JSON feed and ad templates built by Adshel.
In addition, Stackla built interactive touchscreen displays for Adshel’s Sydney Trains screens. These displays were updated in real time with new content from the relay, engaging commuter audiences and encouraging them to share their own experiences and photos.
Dynamic UGC-powered retargeting ads delivered by Adroll
Retargeting ads, delivered by Adroll and powered with Stackla UGC, helped to drive return visits to the site and drive purchase enquiries. Users who visited the microsite were served with new user-generated images from the relay.
Because the user-generated images featured in the ads were generated by other consumers, the ads conveyed a level of authenticity that is often difficult for brands to achieve. In addition, using UGC enabled HelloWorld to generate a large volume of ad creative at a much lower cost than if they had generated the creative in-house.
UGC-powered TV ad extends the campaign’s reach during primetime
The night of the relay, HelloWorld launched another first: a just-in-time UGC-powered TV ad.
“We selected 25 of the best images aggregated using Stackla and cut them together into a magnificent ad,” says Shilling. The ad aired during primetime on Sunday evening, reaching 1.3 million Australians.
Stackla’s rights management features helped make this innovative ad possible. “We already had permission to use the images generated by our hand-picked Instagrammer partners around the globe. With those permissions in place and our template built in advance, generating the ad and getting all the proper broadcast approvals was a simple process.”
Offline coordination with travel agency franchises generates a spike in sales
The HelloWorld network consists of over 1,000 franchised travel agencies around Australia. The company asked a handful of their super agents to put together dream itineraries for each destination represented in the relay. “The super agents did an amazing job,” says Schilling. “They really got creative and highlighted the knowledge they have about each destination and our preferred suppliers in those destinations to help people have the holiday of a lifetime.“
As a follow-up to the relay, HelloWorld launched a week-long sale to further encourage travellers to finalise their bookings. Working with preferred suppliers, the company created deal packages to the destinations highlighted in the relay. These deals were available both online and in-store with travel agents. In each context, user-generated content served to inspire prospective travellers with beautiful photos and convey authenticity and trust.
These efforts were wildly successful, generating more than 10,000 enquiries from customers over the seven-day sales period following the campaign. In addition, the campaign won the Award of Excellence for Marketing Effectiveness in Social Media at the 2016 Communicator Awards.
Up next: Always-on UGC
Following the success of the #HelloWorldRELAY, HelloWorld plans to move forward with an always-on campaign that makes UGC a permanent part of HelloWorld’s brand voice.
“We used the #HelloWorldRELAY as a catalyst to create better content online in general,” says Shilling. “We’ve got a great website already, but we want to make it really, really great.”
The company is developing new sections on their website that will incorporate sophisticated personalisation technology from Sitecore, enriched destination pages featuring UGC gathered during and after the relay, and additional UGC-powered remarketing strategies.
“There’s a big wide world out there,” says Shilling. “We want to inspire people to take a holiday—and to take it with HelloWorld.”