Thursday, July 25, 2024

Travel’s great. Booking’s not. Travelport’s 7 Wonders Challenge had the answer

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Taking B2B Gold at The Drum Awards for Marketing EMEA 2024 is The 7 Wonders Challenge from Travelport. Here is the award-winning case study.

Coming out of lockdown, media consumption was at an all-time high. It would take something pretty outstanding to grab attention, especially when marketing B2B travel software typically considered a bit ‘meh’.

So we set out to reignite the wonder and mystery of travel through cinematography. Think: swirling mist enveloping ancient ruins. The vibrant colors of markets that pop off the screen. Sizzling street food you can almost smell. The smiling faces of locals you’d love to meet. Now, pair that with smart edits like a ticking clock, a thumping heart, and goosebump-raising audio… and you’ve got one hell of a masterpiece.

The Problem & Objectives

People love to travel but they hate the booking experience. So many options, so many screens, so hard to make changes. Our new platform, Travelport+, was here to make modern retailing easier for travel agencies (e.g. Expedia, Booking.com) and travel suppliers (e.g. Qantas, Hilton) enabling them to transform the consumer experience.

But how do you prove it?

The brief was this: create a big moment to showcase our tech to the world in an entertaining, relatable way. Our goals? To grow product adoption among our existing travel agency user base, drive more leads, and improve consideration.

From our key driver analysis research, we knew certain brand attributes drive up to 4X consideration*. So we set out to improve brand attribute scores for perception in these areas versus our competitive set. We targeted an uplift in aided awareness scores globally as Travelport has the smallest market share in the category.

The Idea

We conceived the most outlandishly difficult task to put our new platform, Travelport+ to the ultimate test. Could we get a traveler to visit each of the 7 wonders in under 7 days, using only public transport, setting a Guinness World Record™ along the way?

The route would be planned by a travel agent using Travelport+. Something this complex would normally take days to plan and be impossible to service across so many airlines and hotels.

And who would fit the bill for this sleep-depriving caper? Pride of Britain winner, ultra-marathon runner, and charity fundraiser Jamie ‘Adventureman’ McDonald. He’d go 22,000 miles around the globe, taking 13 planes, 9 buses, 4 trains and 1 toboggan all to set a new world record. A wild ride, all captured in video, photography and brought to life through creative storytelling.

The Approach & Strategy

Research we commissioned from Edelman DXI and Toluna showed that consumers loved traveling but hated booking travel (the ‘experience gap’), they visited 30+ websites before booking a trip and ranked booking travel as hard as applying for a mortgage. We wanted to show that our new platform would take the complexity out of travel.

The target audience was travel industry professionals, segmented into Supply (airlines, hotels, rail, car) and Demand (travel agents, online travel platforms, and corporate travel).

We used the more emotive narrative for broader targeting of non-users via PR, social media and advertising to drive awareness of the record-setting program. For more technical comms, we used email, website journey mapping, trade publications, webinars, plus VIP events to tailor our message to different segments.

We created a suite of 7 Wonders branded upgrade materials targeted at customers using the older version of the platform to upgrade to Travelport+.

Campaign Execution

The 7 Wonders Challenge campaign ran from April-July 2023, showcasing exceptional craft in every touchpoint of this B2B campaign. We had incredible footage at our disposal, and we cascaded that across all channels.

The PR strategy, including a satellite media tour in the UK and USA, landed the stunning footage on main news bulletins on national broadcasters in China, Italy, and the UK.

Paid media on YouTube, LinkedIn, and programmatic channels used snippets and stunning photography to create a distinctive campaign. Organic social media was a masterful blend of copywriting and art direction, directing users to the 7 Wonders Campaign Hub.

A longer-form documentary version of the film was shown at customer events initially and subsequently released via YouTube. Virtual and in-person events were not just about showcasing technical capabilities but using the backdrop of literally the most wonderous sites in the world against a tension-filled record-breaking attempt.

The Results

The campaign led to a 6-fold increase in new leads and enquiries in the month after launch. More impressively, we saw a huge increase in bookings on the new platform from existing users.

Aided brand awareness saw a significant increase and we moved from third to first place versus our competitive set. We are now ranked the number 1 brand for future ‘consideration’ when looking for a new travel technology player.

More than 6,000 customers and prospects attended our screening events.

Our core brand attribute scores improved with a significant increase over our direct competitors.

Media coverage reached a staggering 2.76 billion, with coverage from China to the US, including 2,163 broadcast airings.

The hero video has 1,547,565 YouTube views to date, with overall views of the video series across all platforms at 5,722,048. This demonstrates that exceptional video production engages audiences even when it’s about B2B software.

Ready to get your work recognized on a global stage? Enter The Drum Awards today. Need more inspiration, read our Award Winning Case Studies.

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