Travel Tech

Skyscanner, the global search engine that enables people to find comparisons for flights, hotels and car hire, recently took to Periscope in order to promote its brand. Periscope is not particularly well known as of yet, but it certainly has the potential to become a disruptive technology. For those not yet acquainted with Periscope, it is a live streaming app which runs via Twitter, which enables brands to reach out to their customers in real time with absorbing video content.

Logistically Complex Campaign

The Skyscanner campaign was certainly a logistical challenge for the company, as it involved four and a half days of planning, a miniscule budget, and 24 hours to cover 24 destinations across the world. This was certainly an ambitious project, and one that would have been impossible in the days before the Internet and even social media.

But Skyscanner evidently sees massive potential in Periscope, and consequently intended to test it out to its fullest capabilities. The company perceived that this exciting new platform could provide a richer experience for travellers looking for inspiration. It was also believed that reaching out to Periscope at an early date will enable Skyscanner to establish themselves as valued early adopters of the technology.

While social media is still in its infancy has a technology in relative terms, it has already become a central part of marketing. And it is important to understand that new technologies within the social media sphere now increase in prominence and attract users at a much more rapid rate than one would have expected a few years ago.

Twitter Buyout

Periscope is virtually brand new, yet it has already been purchased by Twitter for $100 million, and is becoming a significant marketing technology. While brands, companies and destinations could previously afford to take a wait and see approach to new social platforms, it is increasingly important to jump in at the deep end with such technology as quickly as possible.

So this ambitious project by Skyscanner was not as ill-founded as it might initially appear. The company was using this as a sounding board for future endeavours, and learned a number of valuable lessons from the first major Periscope campaign.

One should firstly emphasise with regard to this project, that the actual broadcasting element of what took place was a pretty significant undertaking. Aside from the planning taking place in just under five days, the Periscope project of Skyscanner ultimately required 24 hours of consecutive broadcasting from 19 travel bloggers located all over the world. This then had to be co-ordinated with internal teams at Skyscanner, with global offices all over the planet being utilised in the process. Finally, it was necessary to work closely with the Twitter platform itself, as everything could have fallen apart very easily if there were any technical issues at any stage.

Collaborating with Twitter

This last point should be considered very carefully by any travel-related company or destination wishing to launch a Periscope campaign. Collaborating closely with Twitter and the various Twitter senior creative content producers which are available is extremely beneficial, as it not only offers you guidance, but also raises awareness of a particular brand or destination within Twitter’s Periscope team. The importance of this shouldn't be underestimated, as building a strong relationship with Twitter can make your brand considerably more visible on the social media platform.

Skyscanner also found that although tighter turnarounds can be intimidating, they certainly shouldn't be considered something which are off-putting. Organisation is key to major Periscope projects, and content plans are particularly valuable. These can be made visible to all people involved in the project at all times, ensuring that the project is carried out systematically. Close attention to detail with scheduling is extremely important in order to pull off a Periscope project of this magnitude.

Another important takeaway from this Skyscanner project is that relevance is incredibly important when interacting with bloggers. This was a pretty large-scale project, with Skyscanner working closely with 19 bloggers, and it is important to emphasise that the company had existing relationships with each of the people involved. This should be considered a particularly key point; it is important to get spontaneous and authentic content, but there is such a thing as content which is too unpredictable! Understanding your audience and knowing that you've got people involved that will deliver something relevant and valuable to them is an absolute most for a project of this nature.

Affordable Marketing

But the good news is that the Periscope campaign can be put in place with an extremely small budget. This was a pretty large prospect, yet by Skyscanner's own estimation it was an extremely affordable and cost-effective one. Skyscanner generated a bit of traction for the project ahead of time by investing a little money in paid Twitter ads to help increase visibility and awareness. Aside from this, there was a minimal budget expenditure, with most of the remainder of money involved being spent gifts of gratitude for the bloggers involved.

Yet despite the relatively paltry expenditure, Skyscanner has been extremely pleased with the results of the campaign. The company is always looking for innovative new ways to share inspiration with travellers around the world, and has found that this has been rather successful. Considering that this was a test project in which the company merely wished to test out Periscope as a potential social media influencer, the numbers which have been generated by Skyscanner are pretty encouraging.

#24hPeriscope delivered in spades - an average of 237 views per broadcast, 23,715 viewers in total, and 91,074 Periscope hearts. The campaign reached 1.6m users across Twitter and generated 1,200 tweets, with #24hPeriscope becoming a trending hashtag on the day.

Ultimately, what Skyscanner learned from the experience is that Periscope is a great new way to inspire people all over the world with absorbing real-time content. Travel-related companies and destinations should definitely be aware of this platform, as it is really an ideal one for the travel industry. The potential for video blogging from travel destinations in particular is massive, and yet Periscope is not particularly well-known yet. This is a platform with massive potential that will become much bigger in the near future, yet browns and destinations can gain a massive advantage by becoming an early adopter of this disruptive platform.

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