Inside: Korea Tourism Organization’s attempt to revive tourism with #TakeMeBackToKorea

Korea Tourism Organization

Based on the desire of vacationers to escape the confines of their homes and look back on their travel memories, Korea Tourism Organization’s (KTO)  #TakeMeBackToKorea seeks to evoke exhilaration to visit this vibrant destination soon.

Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) launched #TakeMeBackToKorea for holidaymakers, urging them to reminisce their travel days, while boosting tourism.

The campaign film encapsulates glimpses of memoirs from popular YouTubers vacationing in South Korea. Each YouTuber moves on to placing their treasured photo from the trip onto the album and passing it to their peers who mirror the action.

The Brief

Travel has been adversely affected by the pandemic. The brief from KTO  to GolinOpinion, New Delhi was to create a positive sentiment towards traveling with a clear focus on Korea as the preferred short-haul travel destination.

Conceptualisation & Execution

“All our team members from the Korea Tourism Organization, New Delhi Office, jotted down their recommendations for the new campaign. We brainstormed and finally landed on our key objective – go digital to remain at the top of the traveler’s mind, considering the time spent on digital media and social content consumption has been exceptionally high during the lockdown period,” informs Young Geul Choi, Director Korea Tourism Organization, New Delhi Office.  

The company also observed that its target audience is primarily social media savvy and well connected on digital apps and platforms. #TakeMeBackToKorea is conceptualized to engage people across India and remind them about the beauty and uniqueness of traveling to South Korea.

“With a very specific brief in hand; our challenge was to provide a creative solution to help travelers feel safe while traveling abroad, given the current pandemic. Through a thorough insight mining process, we landed that the most impactful route to showcase South Korea and remind travelers of its safety and hygiene protocols coupled with the country’s captivating beauty,” shares Nicky Singh, Vice President, GolinOpinion, New Delhi.

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The intent was to associate with influencers who had already visited the destination. The team devised a throwback campaign by way of which they captured moments and memorabilia of influencers re-living their unique Korea sojourns by sharing interesting anecdotes and travel trivia – from World Heritage sites, Instagram-worthy locations to traditional Korean cuisine and unrivaled shopping spots.

Social Media Play

KTO joined hands with celebrity bloggers Varun Vagish, Kritika Khurana, Nitibha Kaul to narrate their love for Korea, conversations on their experience, and how they cannot wait to visit again!

Going by an influencer led the campaign, the aim was to keep Korea, and its people, in the hearts and minds of Indian and International travelers. “To achieve this, a digital route was best suited owing to its large reach and impact. In order to showcase the 5K’s of Korea: K-Food, K-Style, K-Place, K-Wave, and K-Spirit, we shortlisted three popular YouTubers who we had hosted in mid-2019 as they fitted the brief perfectly,” shares Choi.

South Korea is known for its bustling streets, shopping centers& luxury brands, authentic local food, and beauty products, and the blogger partners have managed to transport viewers to the lanes of South Korea, through their enthusiasm and travelogues. The entire concept highlights how these YouTubers are missing and cherishing their South Korea moments.

With a combination of online PR and social media content, KTO hopes to garner more conversations around the campaign and build brand affinity.

 “We all are well aware of the impact and engagement that social media offers today, especially with digital dependence growing in lockdown. Our approach was well thought out whereby we used dominant platforms including Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and online media to generate buzz and build interest towards the destination,” says Choi.

KTO Communication strategy

When quizzed how did KTO partake in keeping the hopes alive amidst travelers amidst the lockdown and COVID 19 havoc, Choi elucidates that the company leveraged on a number of destination pillars and tried to bring Korea to the comfort of people’s home.

“K-Food has emerged as a winner. To teleport travelers straight to the streets of Korea gorging on lip-smacking ‘K-Food’, we released recipes for easy to make dishes which people can easily recreate. Since we physically cannot travel and experience South Korea’s rich culture, our aim was to allow people to experience the wonders of this cuisine at home with their family,” he explains.

KTO identified strategic elements that resonate well with its audience, for instance, K-Beauty is becoming a favorite. Consumers are experimenting with different Korean beauty products and DIY tips, therefore the company is leveraging on this aspect. Additionally, it has chalked out unique experiences that Korea has to offer, like a traditional Hanok stay which is a safe option for travelers with minimum contact.

Choi adds here, “On our social handles, we are also running interesting contests to keep our followers connected. We adopted an integrated PR & Digital strategy to communicate the 5K’s of Korea by crafting engaging content pieces detailing different aspects of South Korea, whether it was zen experiences, night tours, glamping, or solo travel among other activities.”

Along with recognizing popular influencers from various categories, KTO is communicating the destination’s USPs, whether is it K-Food, K-Style, K-Place or culture; to cater to the varied interests of its target audience.

Marketing ‘Travel’ amidst a global pandemic

The key communication route for KTO has been to focus on digital media with an aim to continue to deliver significant results in driving awareness and conversion for the Indian market.

“To promote K-Food, we have associated with a popular Celebrity Chef to create awareness about vegetarian Korean food and making Korean cooking easy for Indians. Another campaign is Korean Khana in association with History TV 18, with Rocky and Mayur which is very nostalgic as they have visited Korea and are seen preparing local dishes in their home kitchen,” highlights Choi.

The company is also exploring new avenues like destination weddings as Korea is home to numerous scenic locations, private spots, and breath-taking natural wonders of the world; ideal for wedding celebrations.

Moreover, it is also conducting a range of trade associations and joining hands with regional tourism boards in Korea to promote products and regions which are safe and less visited. Choi shares, “Our plan is to further strengthen presence in the India market through series of webinars for the tourism & trade segment, to be well aware of all that South Korea has to offer – including a safe and renewed travel experience.”

Road to Recovery

The Korea Tourism Organization is gearing up for holidaymakers to come and experience South Korea in a new, transformed way, adhering to all safety and precautionary guidelines. The destination offers a host of experiences and offerings keeping in mind social distancing and safety.

The Country has also introduced Safe and Healthy Wellness tours. Owing to the current situation, visitors will opt for traveling in private vehicles as an alternative to crowded, community transport. Korea offers self-drives at the exotic Jeju Island,.

“We are also promoting local regions to our global audience; a host of off-beat locations are being showcased through digital campaigns and B2C travel media publications. With carefully, curated strategies in place, safety measures, and abundant private locations to explore, we look forward to welcoming visitors to our abode soon,” Choi concludes.