Three ways to make your travel content go viral

by Stratton Craig

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It may seem like your ability to produce viral-worthy content is as far away as the destinations you’re pushing, but all successful travel campaigns have several things in common that we can learn from. Here are three that caught our eye.
Season’s greetings
Tying content to seasonal celebrations is an easy way for your campaign to garner greater attention. Christmas in particular is failsafe, and its success shows no sign of slowing.
In 2013 Canadian airline WestJet ran a John-Lewis-esque Christmas campaign, in which Christmas Eve passengers tell Father Christmas their Christmas wishes. Fuelled by what is unmistakably ‘Christmas Spirit’, WestJet’s little helpers run madly round department stores, high-fiving with every purchase. As the unsuspecting flyers grab their gifts from baggage collection, viewers cannot help but feel sorry for the man that asked for socks and pants as he looks over at the family tearing open their huge flat-screen TV.
Regardless of whether you buy into the fact that they had ‘no idea’ or not, it is hard not to let the emotional appeal of the video grab you. Seasonal selfless acts of giving seem to be a pretty sure bet for success, with the campaign attracting 41 million views on YouTube.
All eyes on me
Getting your content on as many platforms as possible increases the attention the brand can get and brings your campaign closer to those precious sharers. There are some platforms that money just cannot buy though, and viral success does not come to those who monopolise bought media space.
Richard Branson announced via a press release and on Twitter that Virgin Atlantic was developing a glass bottomed plane that would be flying from London to Glasgow. This April Fools’ Day joke was such a high-flyer that it was picked up by the BBC and even gullibly reported as fact in Chinese news. With one little tweet, Virgin Atlantic was propelled to viral-hyper-speed, with a reach of three and a half million.
When you smile the whole world smiles with you
It may seem offensively obvious, but your content needs to have something about it that somebody would want to share. Thorne Travel’s wonderfully low budget campaign became an accidental ‘must-see’, as the so-bad-it’s-good video left viewers in a bizarre state of confusion, suspecting the video was a farce, but fearing that it was not.
Few could resist sharing the hilarity of the small town travel agent’s employees, awkwardly sashaying down the high-street. If anything is to be taken from this mighty piece of marketing (which saw a 110% rise in bookings for the company) there’s no better way to showcase your company’s abilities than a cross-dressing man back-flipping into the shot (at 1 min 58 seconds into the video if you’re interested).

Seen any viral travel content that rocked your boat? Let us know in the comments below or by tweeting @strattoncraig.


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