15 Travel Marketing Campaigns

Ve | 15 Travel Marketing Campaigns

The travel industry is a competitive field, but with this competition comes great innovation and creativity. From online to offline and social to video, the travel sector has created some great marketing strategies over the last century.

In light of this, we have picked 15 of our favourite travel marketing campaigns from around the world that we think you'll love.

1. JetBlue, Reach Across the Aisle | 2016

Watch 'Reach Across the Aisle' here

Playing on the disagreement of the US political scene, JetBlue offered 150 people the chance to win a free round-trip to any of JetBlue’s destinations. The catch - every person had to unanimously agree on the location. If not, no one was going on holiday. By doing so they cleverly advertised the airline’s many destinations as well as improved brand image.

2. Tourism Queensland, Best Job in the World | 2009

Publishing ads worldwide, Tourism Queensland offered ‘The Best Job in the World’ – working for six months as ‘Island Caretaker’ on the beautiful beaches of Queensland. From 34,000 applicants, the winner was none other than Ben Southall from Hertfordshire. The campaign was perfectly positioned to gain engagement on social as all video applications were uploaded and the winner had to post about his experiences during the job.

3. Tourism Ireland, Escape the Madness | 2012

Watch 'Escape The Madness' here

To encourage Londoners to go on holiday to Ireland, the video contrasts the mayhem of commuter London with the peacefulness of Ireland, represented in a race between two men – one travelling to work in the capital, and the other travelling to the pub in Ireland for a pint of - you guessed it - Guinness. The ad showed how important timing is, as the Olympic Games were taking place in London in a few months, during which the capital would be as busy as ever.

4. KLM, Surprise, Surprise | 2010

Watch 'KLM Surprise' here

Airline KLM identified a number of passengers who had checked in and were waiting to board their flights at the airport. Searching for them on social media, they gained a little info about them and, based on this, bought them appropriate gifts which they hand-delivered before they got onboard, preparing them for the holiday of a lifetime. A simple idea, but it proved how easily personal touches can leave a positive impression and improve brand image.

5. British Airways, The Magic of Flying | 2013

Watch 'British Airways - #lookup in Piccadilly Circus #DiscoverBA' here

As a British Airways flight flew over their two giant billboards, a BA ad began, showing a child looking up and pointing to an actual BA plane in the sky. This was accompanied with dynamic messages describing the plane’s destination, as well as the CTA ‘#lookup’ to promote the campaign on social. This perfectly integrated offline and online, and as a result the video generated over 1.5 million views on YouTube.

6. Westin Hotels and Resorts, Out of Office Generator | 2012

Out of office generator - travel marketing campaigns

When you go on holiday, it can be dull to write the same unoriginal ‘out of office’ message when someone emails you, as well as to read it. Playing on this, Westin Hotels and Resorts created an ‘Out of Office Generator’ in which you can enter your name, the kind of trip you are going on and when, and it creates a choice of humorous OOO messages for you to choose from. A fun and innovative campaign, Westin showed there are other ways to advertise without resorting to an advert, as well as creating the archetypal campaign that would get passed round the office.

7. HomeAway, It’s Your Vacation, Why Share it? | 2016

Watch 'HomeAway TV Commercial' here

In competition with Airbnb, OTA HomeAway created an ad humorously mocking the awkward and unpleasant situations that you can face when sharing accommodation with strangers, suggesting similarities with the sharing accommodation of Airbnb. These scenes were then contrasted with peaceful and idyllic situations when renting out a property for just yourself – as you do with HomeAway. The ad is so effective because it is relatable to anyone, touching upon at least one situation that everyone would have experienced.

8. Stella Artois, Le Bar Guide | 2013

Watch 'Stella Artois App - Le Bar Guide' here

Though not a travel brand, Stella Artois created a clever travel-related app to help those on holiday find their nearest bar. By holding up your phone in the street, the app would identify the nearest bars to them that served Stella. You could also use the app to search for a taxi in case the Stella has affected your navigational skills. With the rise in mobile, this campaign brilliantly took advantage of this trend.

9. Airbnb, Mankind | 2015

Watch 'Airbnb - Is Mankind? TV spot' here

As part of their ‘Belong Anywhere’ campaign, Airbnb created a minute-long video of a baby walking towards a door in light. The baby represented the fearless view of the world that young people enjoy, and encouraged others to be the same and go "find out just how kind the she’s and he’s of this mankind are" “find out just how kind the she’s and he’s of this mankind are” travelling with Airbnb. A subtle yet clever message that showed how effective minimalist and understated marketing can be.

10. Air New Zealand, Expected Briefing | 2014

Watch 'An Unexpected Briefing #AirNZSafetyVideo' here

In celebration of the release of the second Hobbit film in 2014, Air New Zealand released a video of the typical safety briefing before take-off – but with a humorous Lord of the Rings/Hobbit twist. The video on YouTube has over 15.5 million views, showing how cultural connections can create a great campaign.

11. Metro Trains Melbourne, Dumb Ways to Die | 2012

Watch 'Dumb Ways to Die' here

In an attempt to improve public safety on Melbourne’s Metro system, they created a tongue-in-cheek ad showing the ‘dumb ways to die’, from electrocuting yourself with a toaster to dressing up as a moose and getting shot during hunting season. As of today, the video has over 128 million views on YouTube, proving the power of creating campaigns perfect for social media as the video went viral worldwide.

12. Thomson, Discover Your Smile | 2015

Watch 'Thomson advert ‘A film about a smile’ here

With the soundtrack of Bohemian Rhapsody in the background, Thomson created an ad from the viewpoint of a teddy bear. From sadness and neglect at home, his life improves when he is taken on holiday by the family to Jamaica with Thomson, now played with by the young girl and even finding a holiday romance – so ‘discovering his smile’. The ad perfectly reflected the image Thomson aspires to, as well as precisely targeted their target audience.

13. WestJet, Christmas Miracle | 2013

Watch 'WestJet Christmas Miracle: Real-time Giving' here

Shortly before Christmas 2013, Canadian airline WestJet set up digital installations at their departure gates in two US airports for passengers to tell Father Christmas what presents they were hoping he was going to deliver to them. Listening in, WestJet Staff then rushed off to buy these gifts so when their plane landed, their gifts were left waiting for them on the luggage carousel. A huge success, the airline ran the same campaign in 2014 and 2015, showing how a little personalisation can do wonders for brand image.

14. Travel Oregon, We Like it Here, You

Might Do | 2016

TravelOregon launched a campaign on their site to showcase the unique, beautiful and varied experiences you can enjoy in Oregon. However, whilst the images and videos showed this, the accompanying caption/dialogue presented it with humility and even irony – as can be seen in the above example. This campaign showed how to create ads on a modest budget, relying on the natural beauty of the landscape.

15. Visit London, London From Above | 2015

Watch 'London From Above' here

Visit London created a video via a drone flying over the most beautiful and iconic attractions in the capital, from the Tate Modern to Greenwich. It was a simple, yet highly effective way to showcase London’s best bits concisely and from a unique viewpoint.

Any travel marketing campaigns you thought should make the list? Let us know in the comments. And to find out more about the travel world, take a look at our Resources section below: 

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Posted by Kate Rogerson

Kate is a Copywriter and loves sports, pubs and the tech world.