Under the watchful eye of innovative leadership, USTOA has evolved its mission to grow consumer awareness of the benefits of working with tour operators…and more specifically, the tour operator members of the association, which encompasses 160 brands of 50+ companies. This is not a simple mission, as it requires strategically blending consumer education (defining tour operator value, relevance, and importance in an age of easy online self-booking) with richly compelling stories that inspire interest in traveling now. Happily, USTOA has Redpoint in their camp, and we are experts at both education and sexy marketing concepts.
We crafted the idea to showcase today’s “Modern Day Explorers,” the curators and researchers at leading USTOA tour operator members who bring destinations to life for guests through sourcing and offering memorable cultural, natural, and immersive experiences. Drawing the parallel to history’s pioneering explorers who brought all corners of the globe to our collective fingertips, these Modern Day Explorers are their contemporary counterparts…operating on a micro-geographic level to pave the way for others to discover the world through exclusive, enriching tours.
Since videos are a slam-dunk way to showcase experiential travel, we created an in-depth marketing program with vibrant educational-yet-marketing-sexy videos at its core. Modern Day Explorers were selected from six USTOA tour operator members, and each one was sent to a different destination with a videographer to capture their exploratory research. Three content-rich videos were filmed in each location, and these were used as the hub for a campaign microsite, blog series, featured itineraries and tours, PR outreach, and social media programs.
The year-long program was a resounding success. Well-defined campaign goals were not just exceeded, but doubly and triply so, which was vital to USTOA’s commitment to deliver measurable member value through consumer marketing. Media reach was just shy of 2 billion impressions, social media reach exceeded 12 million, the USTOA website (formerly a source for trade information) attracted more than 200,000 visitors, and their Facebook site picked up 15,000 new Likes. Moreover, the videos are – still to this day – enjoying distribution in several strategic places, such as JohnnyJet.com, Huffington Post, Tripfilms, Amazon Prime Video and DirectTV.
Special thanks go out to our collaborators on this campaign, who were themselves “pioneers” in navigating through this complex type of new marketing program with USTOA and Redpoint. They got richly rewarded with marketing results already, but we’re also sending them special hugs. They are: Abercrombie & Kent and the Philippines Department of Tourism; Perillo’s Learning Journeys and the Malta Tourism Authority; Austin Adventures and Xanterra Parks & Resorts; Goway Travel and Tahiti Tourisme North America and Air Tahiti Nui; Cox & Kings, Turismo Chile, and LATAM Airlines; and SITA World Tours and Abu Dhabi Tourism & Culture Authority.
(photo credit: Justin Weiler)