CTC, Upgrade to Canada, OMD GOLD

CTC, "Upgrade to Canada," OMD International (Multinational)

For the Canadian Tourism Commission, the mission was clear: to harness Canada's collective voice promoting their country around the globe. However, despite its huge offering, Canada has recently seen a drop-off in the difference between those who intend to book and those that actually booked trips. Barriers to purchase such as cost and lesser known landmarks mean that Canada is often ‘saved for later.’ Unlike the US, Canada suffers from a lack of exposure as attractions are not immediately recognizable. Familiarity on itinerary and routes to take is also very low. A faltering European economy also increases the barrier-to-entry further while Canada’s biggest competitor, Brand USA, boasts glamour in New York, cultural diversity in LA and bohemian, laid back folk in San Francisco. Due to these iconic destinations frequently being featured in films and TV, the USA has an immediate advantage. CTC needed to clearly demonstrate the rich diversity in culture and activities Canada has to offer thus encouraging more travellers into the country. Establishing the targeted markets as Germany and France. CTC’s first business objective was to accentuate the magic and appeal of Canada by demonstrating its beauty and diversity and creating momentum for discussion and sharing on social and campaign sites. The second objective was to increase bookings and consequently visitors to Canada completing advised itineraries and activities. Identifying and collaborating with Expedia CTC was able to leverage their voice and strong reputation, driving a positive reaction towards Canada. With the partnership and habits of the target audience the strategy was completely digital. We hosted an event, co-supported by Expedia, at check in desks at airports in both Lyon and Frankfurt. Travellers were offered the opportunity to swap their holiday with a dream trip to Canada when checking in. Upgraders reactions were then recorded and posted to social media sites. was used extensively supported by wider re-targeting efforts through a DSP amplified through behaviorally targeted reach using a DSP allowing optimization in real time and pool cookies for serving successive creative to tell the story. Expedia also included an integrated widget on their site enabling visitors to immediately search for Canada itineraries. The CTC identified 2 target groups, the first being Free Spirits who are highly sociable and open-minded basking in high-end hedonistic experiences. Being experimental and adventurous, their enthusiasm for life extends to their outlook on travel. We also identified local nuances, the French Free Spirits being young people and young families who are well educated, full time working city dwellers. German Free spirits on the other hand are middle aged living in small towns and rural areas. The second consumer, Cultural Explorers aredefined by their love of constant travel and continuous opportunities,they tend to immerse themselves in the culture of the places they visit.French Cultural Explorers are middle aged with no kids at home and living in small towns and rural areas they are more likely (than the French average) to take holidays of 3 weeks or more.German Cultural Explorers are also middle aged with no kids, they are well educated, mostly working full time and are more likely (than the German average) to take 3-4 weeks holiday. For almost everyone, Canada is a long-haul destination therefore cost is a huge factor when planning to travel there. Previous campaign research (Source: CTC) shows that affordability suffers when compared to competition such as the USA. Our 2 target groups, the Free Spirit and Cultural Explorer seek unstructured, spontaneous travel. They crave escapism and with a penchant for risk, they enjoy exploring places in depth.They also like to throw themselves into the local culture and are very conscience of value for money. They are inspired by word of mouth from peers and (around 75%) use the web to plan trips. Our groups are also enthusiastic advocators when returning home.Therefore with motivations such as unstructured, spontaneity and escapism, our approach required a ‘wow’ factor capturing traveller’s imaginations, in the right place at the right time.Nothing says spontaneous better than stopping travellers in their tracks immediately prior to check-in offering them dream itineraries prepared by (CTC’s partner) Expedia.‘Upgrading’ provides the unexpected promise of a premium experience whilst ensuring only the bravest and most committed would take up the challenge. Those fortunate enough to be selected feel as lucky as lottery winners, generating likewise reactions. All 14 chosen travellers went on an all-expense paid 2-week trip to Alberta, British Columbia, Quebec and Ontario. Delighted to be visiting Canada for the first time, each pair of travellers was provided with their own blog space to capture the full story of their experiences. They tweeted, posted, videoed themselves and received visits from film crews to the benefit of CTC’s content supply.Content was deployed around social sites, PR kits and display banners driving traffic to the CTC website. Those drawn to the promotional website from France and Germany were offered the opportunity to upgrade their own trips to Canada, available to book through the integrated Expedia widget. We had 2 clear objectives to accomplish, the first being to convey Canada as a dream tourist destination creating momentum for discussion around social sites. In turn this would generate greater demand and desire and therefore bookings. We achieved the first objective with 1.3million views (Source: YouTube), 30% over-delivery against our initial goal. Visits to the campaign website exceeded 150,000 with an overwhelming amount via referral with Facebook driving 87% and 93% (Source: Agency Research) of French and German site traffic respectively. Further PR interest was gained and social commentary increased 680% (source: Agency Research) against the same period in 2011. The second objective of increasing bookings and therefore visitors to Canada was also delivered. According to Expedia’s year-on-year sales figures, both markets (France and Germany) recorded an average growth of 9.2% in bookings. This was a result of an unprecedented 21% increase in visitors to Canada related content through the national versions of the portal (Source: Expedia). Creation of momentum for discussion on social sites was a great success with lots of positive feedback and posts across various platforms. In Germany, flight tickets sold increased by 12.5% YoY, increasing Canada’s share within the competitive set by 21.5% and hotel room nights by 10%. The Germany promotional page on Expedia reached almost 7,000 users with a 1.18mins average time spent. France saw a 32% increase in room night booking and the French promotion page was seen by 12,000 users spending on average 1.27 minutes on the page significantly above site average. The solus email activity for both sites experienced a much higher than average interaction with a 7 point above average increase in both France and Germany. It is clear that we accomplished the objectives set at the start of the project. Increased traffic on social sites was delivered along with additional PR interest. Furthermore, the number of bookings and visitors saw a huge growth, the majority via Expedia thus emphasising the success of the digital strategy further.