Episode #005 - Leslie Dance (Hawai'i Tourism Authority), niche tourism, South Africa's UK taxi campaign
It's episode five of the Destinationists and we're speaking to Leslie Dance, Vice President of Marketing and Product Development at Hawai'i Toiurism Authority (HTA), about their ground breaking Discover Your Aloha campaign in partnership with Expedia.
Leslie sets the scene by saying that HTA was looking at an expected downturn of business and decided to work with Expedia to counter this with a global, data-driven initiative that would allow the team in Hawai'i to easily adapt to the changing needs of its various target markets. And so, the Discover Your Aloha creative was born, with an aim of taking share from key competitive destinations by putting Hawai'ian culture front and centre in a way that had not been done before by the state.
Using a world-first facial recognition technology, Leslie says that 75% of users opted-in to use that technology to interact with the creative and deliver personalised itineraries that took in all areas of Hawai'i, including the more regional and remote destinations. Andrés says this combination of the facial recognition technology with Expedia's deep data set about HTA's target audiences was a key aspect of the campaign's success. Leslie adds that this combination allowed them to "leverage Hawai'i as a leader and innovator in travel, technology and marketing and connect closely with millennials."
The campaign has delivered extraordinary results for Hawai'i with more than 482,000 room nights and 176,800 flights purchased and less than 1% bounce rate on digital campaign properties. However, industry stakeholders, especially large hotel operators, pushed back on the campaign and the partnership with Expedia given their preference for bookings to be made directly with the hotel rather than any third parties. Leslie says that, despite the commercial success of the campaign, Discover Your Aloha was a one-off because of political pressures and stakeholder feedback; she jokingly sums up the experience as "my best failure ever."
Next up, in 'Trend Monitor', we talk about the increasingly popular niche product trend in tourism and travel marketing. Citing recent examples from Ultimate Winery Experiences Australia and Vacation With An Artist, Lauren says this style of product is growing in popularity along with the trend to market unique and personalised holidays to travellers around the world and that it creates an opportunity for premium and mass-market products. Andrés and Lauren also discuss how airline marketers could take some of the learnings from this marketing approach to help differentiate their product and experience from competitors.
In this episode's 'Campaign News' we look at South African Tourism's UK taxi campaign where they've wrapped fleets of iconic black cabs in vistas of South Africa's safari regions and experiences. Lauren reminds us of South Africa's penchant for trying to be all things to all people, recalling a previous tagline for the destination of 'a world in one country'.
This campaign is designed to re-focus UK travellers' attention on the country's core differentiator. Andrés and Lauren discuss whether this work can "shift perceptions" of broader concerns that UK travellers might have of the country, such as poverty, political tensions, crime and other factors. Lauren says that, although the approach is not as compelling as other travel campaigns, "what's more interesting is not so much the execution, but the shift in strategy."
Discover Your Aloha//Hawai'i Tourism Authority and Expedia
South Africa launches 'big five' taxi advertising campaign//Travel Weekly (UK)