SYDNEY: As travel marketing has shifted towards portraying memorable, meaningful experiences, legacy travel brand Contiki has adapted its content strategy to broadcast the first-hand experiences of its customers, resulting in e-commerce sales growth of three times the rate of other campaigns.

This is according to Katrina Barry, managing director of Contiki, speaking at the Millennials Marketing Conference in Sydney last month. (For more, read WARC’s exclusive report: Contiki captures millennial travellers with user-generated content).

“These days, you have to deliver experiential travel. You have to create the content. No one drinks anymore and you've got to focus on doing foodie tours, Instagram stops and stuff like that.”

A number of factors contributed to this shift. Research by the brand found that 70% of all user-generated-content is created by 18-35 year olds. Additionally, ads featuring UCG yield a click-through-rate four times higher than standard ads.

Millennials are also concerned with self-improvement, valuing brands that provide educational content. The confluence of the two trends pointed to the micro-influencer. With established, niche audiences, they could speak from a viewpoint closer to that of the typical consumer, while lending the brand expertise.

Contiki put a call out to find contributors that could speak to the brand message that travel creates better humans. A platoon of storytellers was assembled to write and create video around topics from sustainability to giving back and opening borders.

“We needed more content. We needed expertise and we needed to really drive what we were doing,” Barry said.

Beyond UCG, the brand invested in creating content like a publisher rather than as an addition to the marketing department’s responsibilities. Contiki relaunched its Travel Project blog. “It's not just thinking like a publisher when it comes to producing content and seeding that content but actually being the publisher," Barry noted.

Since the start of 2017, the bounce rate on the Contiki website has been reduced by 30% when visitors come to the site from The Travel Project or the blog. Page sessions are 45% higher from The Travel Project traffic and e-commerce sales are growing at three times the rate of other campaigns.

“We really listen to our customers and ask what they want to do, see, feel and experience on trip. But also, how do they want to do, see and experience the brand in Australia and all of our other markets. The one thing that we are not afraid to do is continue to change and continue to innovate.”

Sourced from WARC