Travel brands in the spotlight

Representatives from Thomas Cook Group Airlines, Kayak and Celebrity Cruises reveal how the travel industry uses experiential.

Experiential marketing in the travel sector is on the rise
Experiential marketing in the travel sector is on the rise

Tom Morey, Senior marketing manager, digital marketing Thomas Cook Group Airlines

Our Fantasy Flight virtual reality activation was our most high-profile social campaign to date, showcasing the investment we have made in our fleet. Using 360-degree technology was a fantastic way for us to invite customers into our aircraft.

Buying a flight can be a long process, with customers using multiple channels, often spending weeks on research. Experiential, and VR in particular, helps us make this process easier, and removes some anxiety about making the wrong choice. We aim to stand out in a competitive market, and as a leisure airline we're looking to put the fun back into flying – it's important that all our campaigns stem from this starting point. Experiential allows us to do that.

Activations also have to connect emotionally with customers. This means thinking differently, whether that's using the latest tech or simply casting Lady Gaga lookalikes.

Loella Pehrsson, Regional director UK, Ireland & the Nordics Kayak

This year, Kayak introduced its first VR experience, Virtual Voyage, to the UK. We created a pop-up beach in London with a 4D experience, immersing people in the sights and sounds of Miami and letting them feel the sand between their toes at the same time.

At Kayak we are first and foremost a tech company, which is why we used the latest VR technology for our immersive experience. The challenge when using experiential in the travel sector is creating a realistic representation of what you are trying to showcase. If your activation is a pop-up focused on food and drink from a destination, for example, it makes sense to bring a chef and the ingredients over from that location.

For our Virtual Voyage event, the aim was to fit content into two minutes for people to feel as if they had had a real experience of the destination, not just through the VR goggles but also the event location itself.

Toby Shaw, Director marketing and PR Celebrity Cruises

Our activations have brought to life the food and wine on our ships. We have even recreated bars, entertainment and restaurants to give visitors a feel for the onboard experience.

Experiential activity is a great way for the travel industry to highlight experiences offered. The cruise sector in particular can sometimes fall victim to the myths around what this type of holiday offers, so it's a great way for us to challenge those misconceptions.

It's important to add to a consumer's day, rather than impede it. In January, we brought our Lawn Club to Waterloo station and made people's journey better by being part of it – not stopping people, but interacting with them. Experiences with a social media element also work really well for us.

Most importantly, it's about showcasing elements that grab people's attention – something you wouldn't traditionally associate with cruising.

More: Experiential trends in the travel sector 

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