To find inspiration for the best travel campaign ideas, we need to look no further than the recent past. Yes, launching campaigns amid a pandemic was unideal for almost every brand. Even the brands whose products aligned well with the new normal, like Zoom, had to write their copy carefully to make sure they were sensitive to the situation. Brands are being held accountable by consumers, who expect them to be more transparent than we’ve ever seen before.

With the right safe return campaigns, brands can showcase how they’ve pivoted to the new environment. We’ve pulled together some of our favorite travel campaign ideas (ever!) to inspire you to create a campaign that shows your customers you’re open for business. Each campaign highlights creative ways travel marketers are connecting to potential visitors using customer-driven campaigns to drive clicks and increase engagement.

As travel resumes, consumers are going to expect the same from travel, tourism, and hospitality. Just as they asked how companies were creating a safe environment for guests and employees during the pandemic, they’re going to ask how brands are continuing to promise safety.

Travel Brands are Using User-Generated Content To Create Successful Campaigns

Travel brands have seen the statistics. They know user-generated content establishes trust and increases conversions. They’re also diving headfirst into it. Travel marketing campaigns are tapping into the need for escapism as a long global delay. Locals and tourists alike looking for chances to find a change of scenery after being stuck at home. This could be high-end resorts in an adjacent city, or even short-term stays booked by app in their own neighborhood. Adventures don’t require an international trip to Europe, and this has the tourism industry looking a little closer to home.

Airbnb Lets Hosts Ring Their IPO Bell

In a perfectly synchronized campaign where ringing the IPO bell was impossible (due to COVID-19), Airbnb handed the opportunity over to their hosts. On December 10th, Airbnb went public with all eyes on their CEO Brian Chesky. In an ode to the hosts who make their business possible, Airbnb created a campaign to share with everyone watching. The campaign showed hosts worldwide ringing their doorbells in place of the infamous IPO bell.

Airbnb hosts rang their doorbells in a multi-clip video highlighting the quirks and uniqueness of homes available for short-term rent. Their campaign took the focus away from the company on their big day and on one of their customer avatars. By giving hosts the opportunity to be part of this moment with them, they created a community moment that we can be sure these hosts will never forget.

Airbnb’s initial IPO price of $68 ballooned to $144, closing the day at more than double the initial price.

Working closely with leading brands to repurpose user-generated content into high-converting campaigns, we’ve seen the power behind putting a microphone on your customer’s voice. Airbnb reminded brands that in their biggest moments when it seems like the entire world’s eyes are on them, it’s essential to bring it all back to who really matters.

Get Inspiration:
As travel reopens, repurpose user-generated content in your campaigns to show your audience how your customers feel about traveling again. Instead of perfectly crafted brand copy, let them tell their stories because that’s what consumers are asking for.

Hilton Has Customers Tell Their Stories

Hilton proved customers are happy to use branded hashtags, even if it may not seem that way. The famous hotel was looking for ways to incorporate their customer’s voices in their marketing. With their #HiltonStory campaign, they figured out a way to hand the mic over to their happy customers.

Using TINT, Hilton created a storyboard of visuals from a social media campaign driven by their customers. Each post using the hashtag #HiltonStory made its way to a storyboard on their website where their audience could see what it was like to stay at the hotel. With user content creating a 20% increase in return visitors and improving the time spent on-site by 90%, Hilton knew the data backed their campaign strategy.

Hilton’s TINT-powered campaign was shortlisted for the best hospitality social campaign in 2016. It also brought in brand new content for the Hilton team to repurpose across their other marketing channels.

Hashtag campaigns are more effective than ever. With the right promotion strategy and incentive, customers are happy to share their thoughts and photos on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, and countless social platforms across the internet.

Get Inspired:
When brainstorming travel campaign ideas consider using hashtags to drive and incentivize your audience, fans, and customers to create user-generated content. Organize that content on TINT to be able to repurpose it in other campaigns and on your traditional and digital marketing channels in the future.

Travelocity Inspires Customers To Promote Their Brand

This was the most successful marketing campaign in Travelocity’s history. Travelocity gave their audience the opportunity to win a free dream vacation. All their audience had to do was share a tweet, Instagram post, or Vine video talking about where they wanted to go. Using the hashtag #IWannaGo, Travelocity kept tabs on the UGC coming their way.

Travelocity used TINT to organize the incoming content and choose their winner. They were able to display UGC on their website so their audience could see where other people were dreaming of traveling.

By the end of the campaign, Travelocity had inspired 25,000 members of their audience to tell them about their dream vacation. If each of those people had only 100 followers, Travelocity’s #IWannaGo campaign reached 2.5 million people. The impressions this campaign created made Travelocity realize the power of asking their audience for content (and the 25,000 new pieces of content to use was a big help, too).

Get Inspired:
Ask your audience to create user-generated content. UGC serves more purpose than just conversions—it establishes brand trust and fills your content pipeline (in Travelocity’s case, for a really long time). This makes UGC an essential tool from top-of-funnel to bottom-of-funnel as your audience learns more about your brand and wants to see your customer’s experience.

The hospitality industry has an opportunity to create UGC that other industries don’t. People naturally reach for their phones to take photos on vacations. The photos are coming—the key is getting your customers to share those photos with you.

As we’ve learned from these top-notch travel campaign ideas, customers want to share content with brands. Center campaigns around amplifying your customer’s voice as consumers continue to ask for more transparency from the brands they buy from.

Marketing was weird in 2020, but it doesn’t have to stay weird in 2021.

Use user-generated content to create authentic, high-converting campaigns your audience cares about.

We’re here to help. Our content and social experts are available for a no-obligation consultation to help you plan your safe return marketing strategy. Together, we’ll walk through a blueprint designed to scale as your customers return. Schedule a time to chat.

Eva Gutierrez
Author