Paris Tourism + London & Partners: Partner Marketing Strategy

The key focus of this Case study is how DMOs can partner with a robust strategy for success.

The partnership detailed in this Case study is between Paris Tourism and London & Partners, who both have the role of promoting their cities to the international market for business and leisure. We caught up with the Paris Tourism Office to find out more and discover why industry partnerships are essential for tourism growth.

Paris and London: Two Cities, One Trip!

The key focus of this Case study is how DMOs can partner with a robust strategy for success. The partnership detailed in this Case study is between Paris Tourism and London & Partners, who both have the role of promoting their cities to the international market for business and leisure. We caught up with the Paris Tourism Office to find out more and discover why industry partnerships are essential for tourism growth.

Why Partnerships are important for Tourism Growth

At the #DTTT, we believe that meaningful partnerships in the industry are the foundation for success. Partnerships enable companies to make continuous improvements. Partnered companies can build bridges, undertake specific tasks and share risks, responsibilities, resources, competencies and benefits. Through strategic partnerships, DMOs have the ability to reach audiences, attract awareness, create interest, and achieve increased conversion.

Partnerships are key for DMOs to improve their destinations. The effect of them can:

  • Advance issues of infrastructure
  • Achieve more effective marketing of a destination compared to individual efforts
  • Improve product development
  • Provide strength, unity and leveraged results
  • Reposition a destination

When 2 became 1: The beginning of the Partnership

The collaboration between London and Paris first started in response to the EU referendum decision in 2016. The mayors of Paris (Anne Hidalgo) and London (Sadiq Khan), announced a business and tourism collaboration between the two cities to strengthen trade and investment ties.

“London and Paris are two of the greatest cities in the world and we have so much to gain from joining forces. Never underestimate the incredible benefits to be found when major cities do business together. Our great friends in Paris and across the continent are well aware that working closely together remains to our mutual benefit,” expressed Khan.

Hidalgo, added: “Paris and London share common values and willpower. We want to be attractive to companies all over the world. Since the election of Sadiq, our two cities have been working better together. We are developing new exchanges and new projects. All these initiatives will create employment, activity and economic growth. It is a very positive dynamic that Brexit will not change.”

This partnership saw the two cities working together for the first time to deliver a “unique two-in-one incentive trip” aimed at inspiring North American incentive buyers to book a 2-in-1 trip for their clients. The goal was to attract international visitors to both cities and help companies based in London and Paris to expand into new international markets.  

This agreement was designed to jointly showcase London and Paris to overseas visitors. A new initiative was also developed called the Paris-London Business Welcome Program to encourage and facilitate the flow of trade and investment between the two cities. The partnership created an abundance of opportunities for both cities.

A City-To-City Campaign: “2 Cities, Only 1 Trip”

The ground-breaking city-to-city project started in 2017, targeting the US millennial audience and the ease of travel from Paris to London. The tourism agreement between the two cities provided opportunities, initiatives, networking, preferential Eurostar rates and discounted accommodation. Not only this but it encouraged sustainable travel and demonstrated the ease of travel, with Eurostar taking just over two hours to travel between the two cities.

Partnership Marketing Strategy: A mix of partners and objectives

In terms of collaboration, DMOs must take into account the objectives of their partners when working on their partner marketing strategy. Each partner in the London-Paris collaboration had diverse and complementary objectives.

For the parties involved, particularly Paris and London, the objective was raising awareness and inspiring their target audience. This coincided with part of a wider strategy for Paris, who also wanted to decongest Paris’ busiest seasons and areas and reach different kinds of ‘niche’ tourists, based on their interests. With yearly rising tourist levels, the Paris Tourism Office had clear objectives:

  1. Long-term campaigns with big markets issuers of first-time visitors to Paris and London
  2. Promoting shoulder season repeat visitations in close European markets via digital/social media
  3. Parisian peripheries awareness campaign towards the French Market

London’s objectives were also very similar with the added focus on educating visitors around the world that London is an ‘open and welcoming’ city.

For businesses such as Eurostar, Marriott and United, their objectives were conversion.  Combining the mix of partners and objectives was beneficial for all collaborators, as all their joint objectives were met and exceeded. Each partner was able to raise awareness, inspire audiences and achieve increased conversion.

The Partner Marketing Strategy: "One Epic Trip" Campaign

Here at the DTTT, we see this partnership marketing strategy as a great best practice, putting the potential visitors at the heart of the experience.

“The experience of a lifetime is waiting for you in London and Paris. Visit two amazing cities on one epic trip via Eurostar”.

This enticing statement starts the "Do not wait" campaign off in style and solidifies the partnership with the three tourism heavy-weighs, London & Partners, Paris Tourism Office and Eurostar.  The campaign was conducted from the end of October 2018 to March 2019 (low season).

The Campaign Goals

  • Increase awareness, and consideration of travel to London and Paris among US millennials
  • Increase low season travel
  • Highlight Eurostar as the mode of travel between the two cities
  • Highlight the ease of travelling by Eurostar between the two cities
  • Highlight the variety of experiences each city has to offer

It encouraged American primo-visitors, (mainly millennials residing near international hubs, east and west coast with income), to visit Paris and London together as part of the "2 cities, 1 only trip" concept. The campaign focuses on valuing the complementary factors of the destinations and the ease of travelling from one to the other.

Creating the right content, with the right message

The London-Paris campaign reached out to its target audience with bold statements and a strong call to action.

  • “Book your Adventure”
  • “Incredible Itineraries”
  • “Watch the Video”

Keeping the website simple, the target audience could easily organise their entire trip to London and Paris with Eurostar, Marriott, and United. Just a click on the partners’ details and everything could be booked, there and then. Including a short but visually inspiring “call to action” video ensured maximum engagement from the “mobile-first” generation.

From insta-worthy icons, adventure activities, serious fashion goals, must-see culture, foodie experiences and unforgettable hidden gems, the partnership was able to successfully speak to their target audience and fulfil their ultimate #travelgoals.

Managing the content to maximise the message

To achieve maximum reach, the Digital campaign redirected to the dedicated website londonandparis.com, highlighting the sales of airline tickets, Eurostar tickets and combined route suggestions. The campaign utilised an array of marketing assets:

  • Partnerships
  • Digital reach
  • Email
  • Social Media
  • PR
  • Own Media

It also incorporated critical strategic evolutions:

  • Vision
  • Focus
  • Measurement
  • Partnerships
  • Expertise

Other Key Factors in the Campaign

Agencies

Specialising in content marketing, agencies were able to advise and steer the campaign in the right direction.  For the content and micro-site, agencies were hired to have a neutral view and neutral landing place for the campaign. Every partner took part in the pitching session as part of the whole process. The creative input from the agencies helped to boost the campaign.

Influencers

As we know, Influencers are now key to purchase decisions and conversion. The campaign worked with US influencers but didn't focus on travel influencers. There was a mix of influencers to target different customer groups, for example:

  • A fashion influencer
  • A travelling couple
  • A sport and adventure influencer


Paid Media

Paid media is an essential component of brand awareness and revenue growth.  The campaign utilised paid media by working with Buzzfeed and cinemas to promote the campaign. Media for the campaign was distributed cross-platform, on both BuzzFeed and Facebook. It was delivered to multiple groups on Facebook, allowing for optimisation towards the best-performing groups, as well as using audience insights for leverage for the next campaign.

Partner Channels

Partner channels can prove hugely beneficial and can boost conversion, and provide access to a wealth of shared resources. Throughout the campaign, the pushed content through all the partner channels was able to deliver impressive results.

Business Challenges

As with all campaigns, there were challenges as well as opportunities. To create a big international campaign incorporating two cities, DMOs need to be aware of the following issues:

  • On-boarding Partners\

When considering campaign partners, find partners with the right mindset and manage them in a way that is fair for everyone and meets their objectives.

  • Flexibility

Managing uncertainty, such as political events, team changes and restructuring. In this case, even though there were many team changes in London, Paris was impressed everyone in the London team was always fully briefed and prepared.

  • Compromise

Compromise is essential to ensure there is a fair balance between partners and all objectives are met.

  • Data

Data is a key element here. There is often a difficulty to align data and KPIs, as all partners have different ones.

  • Time

For this campaign, it took two years for the project to become live. Good time management is essential for any campaign.

Why was the Campaign a Success?

At the DTTT, we see this partnership as a highly successful collaboration between the two competing DMOs. The initial announcement itself from both cities generated widespread global media interest and resulted in thousands of articles across the world.

Taking two of the world’s most visited cities, (Paris being the number one most visited place and London second, in terms of the number of tourists of any European city) and combining them, repositioned the destinations and made them stronger together. The campaign was able to transform them. For both cities, it:

  • Transitioned Paris and London from places you see to places you experience and feel
  • Expanded awareness of each city and what they offered.
  • Extended the cities prime seasons by promoting Paris and London in the shoulder seasons

The engaging campaign also educated visitors about London and Paris and even sparked behavioural changes. The majority of respondents exposed to the campaign indicated that they plan to take action, find out more about the cities and investigate costs. Furthermore, 1 in 3 confirmed that they wanted to book a trip!

Using the London-Paris Case study, DMOs can follow suit and create their own success story.

The Facts and Figures of a Successful Campaign

  • 5 participating Partners (Paris, London & Partners, Eurostar, United and Marriott)
  • The partners doubled and exceeded their objectives
  • Over 50 Million Engagement
  • 85% of the audience was from the US
  • 12.2:1 Return of Investment (ROI)

New Vision, New Audience

This successful partnership is an ongoing collaboration, however now the focus is on targeting a different audience, the Chinese market - but this is still in discussion.

Key Takeaways

1. Partnerships are important for Tourism Growth

Partnerships are what enable many destinations to grow. Through strategic partnerships, DMOs have the ability to reach audiences, attract awareness, create interest, and achieve increased conversion.

2. Partner Marketing can encourage sustainable travel between destination

Taking a partnership approach is often the most effective way to find successful lasting solutions for industry issues with collaboration from all parties.  Partnerships are key to help solve complex problems such as how to bring about more sustainable tourism development. DMOs can collaborate to encourage sustainable travel and out of season travel between their destinations

3. Partnership Marketing can improve a destination

Knowledge is power, and there is so much to be gained by DMOs when collaborating with another destination. The sharing of data, knowledge and ideas can improve destinations in areas such as infrastructure, product development and effective marketing.

4. Be ready for the opportunities and the challenges

Partner Marketing can be full of opportunities and can provide collaborating destinations with strength, unity and leveraged results. However, it is important to address the challenges and be flexible, adaptable and be willing to compromise to ensure that all partners are happy and the campaign is a success.

5. DMOs can reposition their destination

When DMOs collaborate it can be hugely successful for the destinations in terms of repositioning and reaching new audiences. It can change the perception of a destination from just an option to a real consideration in the eyes of consumers.  Through successful partnership marketing, DMOs can educate visitors and show their destination in a whole new light to a whole new audience.

Published on:
June 2021
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