Shortlisted 2023

Travel & Tourism


Visit London

Entered by:

Wavemaker Global

Let’s Do London

The Challenge

Post the pandemic, the tourism & hospitality sector in London needed a boost to revive the economy and bring visitors to the city again. The aim was to attract international tourists with a pent-up desire to travel post the covid restrictions in order to fast-track the visitor recovery to 2019 levels by 2023, one year ahead of current forecasts in the government’s Tourism Recovery Plan. This would in turn, protect a significant number of jobs in the London economy, support London’s hospitality sector and the wider tourism recovery of UK plc. To ensure that London is the preferred destination by travelers, it was essential to develop an insight driven, emotional connect with the audiences with the unique & diverse experiences that city has to offer.

With the covid restrictions being lifted, a recent surge in ‘revenge travel’ was on the rise, which basically meant the unparalleled desire to travel. With the significant pent-up demand for people to start travelling internationally, roughly 8 in 10 people are considering international travel as vaccinations increased and travel restrictions were removed. The marketing challenge was to make London the first choice for travellers as opposed to other locations in Europe.

The Content Solution

Since we were targeting people from France, Germany & US, we needed to account for the difference in consumer behaviour and travel patterns. Whilst US audiences are long haul travellers; German & French audiences look for short escapes from their daily routine. The US audience has a high affinity for Exploring new things, food, museums, galleries; European audiences had a strong connect with landmarks, discovering new things, shopping. Research & insights showed that the American international travellers are slightly older and with children, whereas German & French travellers to London are young, maybe in a civil partnership or might prefer to travel alone.

Our response to the brief by London & Partners was based on a three-pillar approach. The first one being Market Considerations capturing the audience size in that market, cost of buying media in that market and people’s propensity to spend on travel & leisure. Budget allocations were determined by the digital audience as well as the potential audience in France, Germany and US. Undoubtedly US has the largest audience segment to be tapped into. CPMs for programmatic & social media were highest in the US, followed by Germany and then France. Propensity to spend on travel in the US was 2x higher than that in Germany & France.

The second pillar is around Campaign Flighting which takes into consideration forecasted travel months, booking windows in the respective markets which would determine the appropriate time to implement our media strategy. Looking at the monthly data around travel trends, it indicates two peak travel periods for USA annually, Summer Holidays (June to Aug) and Thanksgiving Holidays (Nov and Dec). In France & Germany however, we saw one longer peak travel period annually, from June to October.

Lastly, the third pillar is considerations around the communication to our potential as well as future travellers. The communications strategy was to Inspire, Convince & Optimise. The campaign aimed at inspiring people to book travel to London while they still haven’t decided on a destination. Key KPIs for Inspire were Awareness, Reach, site visits. Next, we aimed to convince the potential (in-market) traveller to choose London as their destination. Key KPIs for Convince were clicks to OTA sites, site visits and bookings. Lastly, we wanted to optimise the London experience for the travellers that have already made their bookings for London, by retargeting engaged audiences with unique London offerings and things to do.

The Media/Content Amplification Solution

Using data to inform the strategic approach, US received a majority of the budget owing to the size of the opportunity there. FR and DE received an equal share of the remaining budget given the audience size. The campaign flight period in the US was split between a summer peak & an autumn peak; whereas for FR and DE, there was one long summer flight period.

For the Inspire phase, we launched DOOH in the US & Connected TV in US and DE. We partnered with two Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) Expedia & Tripadvisor to encompass the Inspire & Convince phases of the campaign leveraging their travel and consumer insights for maximum coverage. We had Meta, YouTube and programmatic as an always on strategy which helped deliver the incremental awareness, reach & impact throughout the campaign.

With Tripadvisor we had bespoke branded trips created for customised London itinerary, a destination sponsorship, Alexa voice tour of London to help users explore London through voice commands and video & social media placements both natively as well as via Tripadvisor’s social handles. With Expedia we developed a custom landing page for this campaign, a co-branded marketing campaign and a custom content series to help users explore London through the eyes of local London professionals. Social (Facebook & Instagram) played a critical role in keeping the users engaged throughout the campaign while seeking inspiration or planning day trips or while building an itinerary. Programmatic campaigns were used for delivering impact across the campaign.

The international campaign was also coupled with a domestic campaign that ran parallelly within the UK to attract visitors to London.

The Result

The campaign drove intent to book travel to London as well as strong ad recall. The performance was above benchmark across almost all channels with precise and effective targeting accompanied by regular optimisations. Each tactic was successful in driving their respective goals: OTAs drove bookings,

video platforms drove strong VTR, Social drove strong reach & ad recall, and programmatic partners drove strong engagement. The campaign did not experience any creative fatigue throughout the campaign due to the variety of iterations that were implemented across the channels.

Overall, the campaign generated an effective ad recall across the three markets and an ROI of 28:1, brining £289Mn in additional spending in the city, as reported by the Mayor of London’s office. The campaign drove a reach of 193 Mn which was 3x higher than planned, with 667 Mn impressions and 1.5Mn clicks. The campaign observed a 24% uplift in ad recall in France, and 19% uplift in ad recall in Germany, 41% higher intent to visit London in the US.