Crowdsourcing – one of the most disruptive business models of the modern age – is fast becoming the next big thing in travel marketing, according to an article by Econsultancy.
The internet is founded on the idea of crowdsourcing – collecting opinions from the masses in order to help a select few in their decision-making.
These days it's even easier, with social platforms allowing firms to reach out to people around the world instantly and garner a wealth of opinions.
And now it's time for travel firms to catch up to the idea of crowdsourced marketing.
But why does it work so well? Because marketing is all about bonding with your customer – and that's exactly what crowdsourcing is.
Three traditional British travel brands are already using crowdsourcing.
British Airways launched its ‘Great Britons’ programme in 2009, becoming the first British travel brand to use the marketing method.
It asked members of the public – chefs, scriptwriters and artists – to help create its aircraft menus, movies and artwork.
The best submissions were assessed by category experts such as chef Heston Blumenthal, actor Richard E Grant and artist Tracey Emin, and finally their combined efforts produced a new on-board menu, in-flight movies and artwork for the aircraft's exterior.
Then in 2014, the airline went on to produce the first ever live, integrated crowd-sourced travel campaign with Metro, offering consumers the opportunity to create and edit content using social media.
The campaign involved English comedian Joe Wilkinson and Metro readers, who voted online for the places they would like him to visit. There was a live feed of reader comments on Metro.co.uk, and Wilkinson interacted with the audience on social.
As a result of the successful campaign, British Airways customers’ relationships with the brand were strengthened.
Not to be outdone, TUI followed suit in 2012 with its “Name Our Plane” campaign, in which the brand crowdsourced a name via Twitter for its first 787 aircraft. It too has now launched a similar campaign following the success of the first one.
TUI was also the first brand to crowdsource a wedding via Facebook. A total of 700 entries were received, and some 10,000 votes cast for the best dress, best hen or stag party idea and the best venue.
The winners received an all-expenses paid wedding and honeymoon courtesy of the travel firm.
And more recently, last year national tourism agency VisitBritain teamed up with video production firm Genero to crowdsource for short films for a campaign called Sounds of GREAT Britain. The films were aimed at reflecting the sights, sounds and experiences on offer across the UK.
The winning films made it on to VisitBritain's website and were distributed globally, producing original, shareable multimedia content.
Ultimately brands can use crowdsourcing to tap into the creative power of their customers, who are after all, their greatest assets.
The best examples drive interest, website traffic and engagement with brands, says Econsultancy.