Lastminute.com is one of the best known names in the tourist trade, having launched to a wave of publicity as one of the initial dot-coms. The company was founded by Martha Lane Fox and Brent Hoberman back in 1998, and Lastminute.com was initially forced to cope with a torrent of publicity, and often criticism, as the evaluation of its business by the city was seriously questioned by many market analysts.
Despite this initial storm in a teacup, Lastminute.com has since established itself as a very credible business, and millions of people all over the world access the company’s website in order to identify holiday bargains at short notice.
100 Things in London
Recently, Lastminute.com has produced an intriguing piece of content. This latest campaign is intended to provide visitors to its website with an insight into parts of London that only locals and discerning travellers will have discovered. The feature is being dubbed ‘100 Things in London’, and very much follows the trend of tourism marketers attempting to create a narrative in order to promote a particular destination.
The ‘100 Things in London’ campaign is focused on providing engaging content, which really stands out to people that visit the Lastminute.com website. Instead of providing a wall of text, the ‘100 Things in London’ campaign provides 100 engaging images of the UK's capital city. Users can then click on the images to read intriguing stories and little known facts about London's best bits, and where to find them.
This campaign indicates that Lastminute.com has recognised that visual content provides a much more attractive spectacle than mere text. The main page of this campaign is entirely composed of photographs, but also provides useful information. For example, visitors to the website can locate each destination on the Google Maps utility.
By providing the information in this manner, Lastminute.com is able to create a visually appealing page, which does not suffer from being cluttered. Additionally, it is possible to cram a great deal of information into a single page, and allow users to access this on a selective basis. This is a superior approach to presenting users with an intimidating morass of text.
In line with this notion of selectivity, Lastminute.com has also made it easy for users to filter the content on their website to make it more relevant to their particular interests. Users of the ‘100 Things in London’ website are able to filter content by geographical location, or by a variety of different subject areas, which include Museums and Galleries, London Landmarks, People, Beautiful Buildings, Theatres, Parks & Gardens, Streets, Hotels, Wildlife and The Underground.
Lastminute.com has also taken the time to specifically collaborate with local London residents. Jo Harris-Cooksley, the content marketing manager at lastminute.com, worked with local tour guides, historians and bloggers to create content that mixed intriguing trivia with engaging content. The intention was to create a truly unique page, which gives an insight into Britain's capital city that it would otherwise be impossible for consumers to access. Working with locals helps the campaign borrow a certain regional authenticity.
Importance of Social Media
In general terms, this is an excellent campaign which provides a unique and engaging take on one of the world’s most iconic cities. However, it is not beyond criticism. One element of the campaign which has been neglected is social media engagement. It is surprising from a marketing point of view that the site does not feature social media, with content and destinations included on the campaign not shareable via social platforms.
It has been shown continually that social media sharing is an important aspect of destination marketing, and critically one that can help create a communal feel around a particular destination or website. Additionally, destinations are usually keen on attracting young, upwardly mobile people to visit, and social media has been statistically demonstrated to be a key element of digital marketing for the so-called millennials group of 18 to 34 year-olds. Lastminute.com would be advised to consider this as part of their ‘100 Things in London’ promotion in the future.
Additionally, it seems like a minor oversight that although the website is customisable, visitors to it cannot save their discoveries. This would make planning a trip easier, and also make the content that visitors to the website really wanted to view more easily accessible to them.
However, on the whole, the approach that Lastminute.com have taken to this campaign is a very sensible one, providing information in an engaging and attractive format, and one that enables users to sift out what they really need instead of being battered over the head with data that they do not require. The ‘100 Things in London’ campaign is a good example to digital marketers of how destinations can market themselves within the contemporary Internet, as well as also inadvertently underlining a couple of areas where improvements could be made.
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