Booking.com influencer engagement campaign leveraged 5 influencers on social media to define the future of travel in the COVID-19 impacted world and drive conversations around hope and optimism.
This case study explores how the Booking.com influencer campaign on social media engaged consumers to reach over 6 Cr+ people through digital portals. The initiative was aimed at instilling faith when influencers shared their possible travel goals for 2021.
India is the most digitally advanced traveler nation in terms of digital tools for planning, booking, and experiencing a journey, as per IBEF. India’s rising middle class and increasing disposable income have supported the growth of domestic and outbound tourism.
The Indian tourism and hospitality industry has emerged as one of the key drivers of growth in India’s services sector. Tourism in India has significant potential considering the rich cultural and historical heritage, variety in ecology, terrains, and places of natural beauty spread across the country. Travel and tourism are also a potentially large employment generator besides being a significant foreign exchange source for the country. In FY20, as per IBEF, 39 million jobs were created in the tourism sector in India; this accounted for 8.0% of the total employment in the country. The number is expected to rise by 2% per annum to 52.3 million jobs by 2028.
Part of Booking Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ: BKNG), Booking.com’s mission is to make it easier for everyone to experience the world. By investing in the technology that helps take the friction out of travel, Booking.com seamlessly attempts to connect millions of travelers with memorable experiences, a range of transportation options, and places to stay – from homes to hotels and more.
As one of the world’s largest travel marketplaces for both established brands and entrepreneurs of all sizes, Booking.com enables properties all over the world to reach a global audience and grow their businesses. The platform is available in 44 languages and offers more than 28 million total reported accommodation listings, including more than 6.5 million listings of homes, apartments, and other places to stay. No matter where you want to go or what you want to do, Booking.com makes it easy and backs it all up with 24/7 customer support.
Travel was one of the most impacted industries by COVID-19. The year 2020 put a pause on travel, and while people have started traveling to closer-to-home destinations, travel behavior and priorities have evolved. From traveling solo to going on road trips or planning quick weekend getaways to exploring the home country, Booking.com wanted to understand what travelers are looking forward to doing in 2021.
‘What, according to Indian travelers, is the #FutureOfTravel?’ is the consumer sentiment was what the brand campaign wanted to uncover through an influencer outreach initiative.
The objective was to reinstate the importance of travel, and communicate how one’s experience of 2020 has an impact on their travel goals in 2021 through the booking.com influencer engagement campaign.
Booking.com looked to drive a campaign to trigger conversations on the evolved travel behavior, building on their experiences in 2020. Their goal was to highlight the redefined meaning of travel in 2021 and more importantly, emphasize the value of travel in people’s lives. With that in mind, the task at hand was to get people to talk about what their journeys in 2021 will be like – the ones that will inspire, the ones that will rediscover India, and the ones that will make a difference.
- Engage with influencers from different walks of life to set 2021 travel goals, aligned with how they see their #FutureOfTravel
- Each influencer was to highlight how travel plays a key role in their life and one travel goal they have set for themselves in 2021 basis their learnings from 2020
- To drive engagement for the campaign by inviting followers to share their 2021 Travel Goals, tagging @bookingcom and the influencer’s handles
- To gratify some followers sharing their travel goals with gift cards that can be used to realize their travel goals in 2021 when it is safe to do so
One of the technical issues was some of the participants keeping their Instagram accounts private, which caused some challenges for the campaign.
Booking.com partnered with five influencers to post an image of themselves that closely resonated with their travel goal of how they plan to travel in 2021 using the hashtag #FutureOfTravel and tagging Booking.com on Instagram. These influencers included Rohit Saraf, Sanaya Irani, Ridhima Kapoor Sahani, and travel influencers Shramona Poddar and Ankita Rai.
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Weekend getaways, solo travel, family travel, sustainable travel, and local travel were the themes covered by each of the influencers respectively.
As a part of the Booking.com engagement campaign, the influencers invited their followers to post an image of themselves, tagging their two favourite travel buddies, and caption it with their 2021 Travel Goal, using #FutureOfTravel and tagging @bookingcom and the influencer.
One winner per influencer was to win a Booking.com gift card to live their travel goals in 2021. This gift card was a co-branded debit card with a local Indian bank which the winner can use to book a stay at Booking.com.
The booking.com influencer campaign also engaged with the press to highlight the 2021 travel goals of the influencers, thereby landing the message of the campaign beyond social media.
- 6cr (60 mn) people reached through digital portals
- 50 lacs (5mn) people reached through social media, with 4 lacs (462K) engagements*
- 30+ entries received through the contest
- The campaign was successful in meeting its objectives of stirring conversations on the refined meaning of travel post-pandemic and positioning Booking.com as a platform of choice through influencer posts
- Key message themes were successfully highlighted through the campaign, including sustainable travel and back to travel
- Strong influencer partnerships resulted in additional deliverables (stories) through the two travel influencers, maximising ROI
- Booking.com engaged with contestants of the campaign by commenting on their posts, thereby boosting the morale of the participants, resulting in a two-way engagement between consumers and the brand
“Travel is an integral part of our lives and holds different meanings for different travelers – be it experiencing cultures, food or be in the company of nature and at peace with oneself at a picturesque destination. While 2020 was a breakthrough year for travel, it gave everyone the time and opportunity to introspect their priorities. We believe that the #FutureOfTravel campaign has given travelers an opportunity to re-prioritize their travel goals as learning from the pandemic. It is great to see travelers wanting to make a substantial difference going forward and talking about their travel goals in 2021 through our campaign, and Booking.com continues to remain committed to make it easier for everyone to experience the world, as it is safe to do so again,” said, Ritu Mehrotra, Regional Manager, South Asia, Booking.com.
Points to note:
*indicative of duplication in followers as well