Tapping into travel stories

Engaging marketing – Eurostar is looking for your memories from a trip to Paris

When it comes to engaging in a conversation with a potential customer, Eurostar has tapped into a stream of memories of people travelling to Paris or Brussels. Most of us have had some positive and often emotional experiences on our travels, so the odds of people having these experiences are good, which is the first step in designing these types of campaigns. Secondly the willingness to share happy travel stories is again a highly likely occurrence, most of us have done it with friends. Here is were the reward for doing this, encourages the opening of the conversation with the brand. The reward is free travel and the opportunity to have your story retold as part of an ad campaign for Eurostar.

The game dynamics at play here are definitely reward as well as storytelling, exploring unique adventures and social sharing of experiences. What the company has also cleverly done is created television advertising as well as social media streams on Facebook, Google + and Twitter as well as their dedicated stories web-page with people’s stories and pictures uploaded to once again enhance the social aspect. Check out the #WhenInParis to see how they are using Twitter for sharing.

They are keeping the barriers to entering a story really simple with an obvious button on their webpage and the invitation on social media to share from there. My guess is that the real objective of this campaign is to increase a mailing list of potentially interested people wanting to re-live their memory or for the first time explore Paris, Brussels or London. At the same time it gives the added bonus of fresh content and marketing material on all their media, which will rank them higher on search engines.

What is quite nice about it the campaign that it transports all readers in a bit of a daydream, escaping reality for a split second to venture in someone else exploration of a city. It creates positive associations with the destination, which in turn creates a desire or likelihood of wanting to travel and explore for yourself. Neurologically the more positive associations we have with a place, the higher the likelihood of us wanting to go there. The fact that Paris “the city of romance’ was picked is no accident although stories about Brussels and London are also welcome, but emotionally the feeling of ‘Love’ and ‘Romance’ tends to run deep for most people. So when you can tap into emotions always aim for the strongest one and for positive associations, you obviously want to connect to positive experiences.

Interestingly what I also noticed is that because the conversation is now open and actively curated, more complaints are being discussed through their social media channels. In order to keep the associations positive it is important to manage these conversations also, which is clearly being done and in most cases the resolution seems to happen in private messaging. From an organisational point of view this gives a clear insight into what customers want as well as experience both positively and negatively.

For each story and picture that is posted and published, the friends and family of this person will be notified because social media sharing is made easy and they are tagged in the original post. Who wouldn’t let all the people you know in on the fact that your story made the official selection? 15 minutes of fame, anyone? Once again reminding all of their connections of the happy time their friend spoke about. It is word of mouth marketing, without knowing all the people involved.

This in my view is a well thought out campaign both from a gamification point of view as well as emotional connection building.


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