The road less traveled presents greater opportunity for achievement when evaluating the potential media landscape for a brand. Working closely with the travel industry, we recognize that there are only so many opportunities that we can seek for our clients.
In fact, our practice continues to observe an evolution within the tourism and hospitality space. As many print publications become few and far between – with the majority of outlets solely offering a digital version – we look to broaden the media horizon and encourage brands to look for coverage beyond the travel pages.
Whether looking to relaunch a brand or simply celebrate an anniversary, an impactful event resounds with a variety of media channels. For example, when challenged to create excitement among consumers to mark Super 8’s 40th anniversary – Coyne Travel thought leveraged the timely occasion to not only commemorate the brand’s birthday but reach above and beyond the brand’s lower budget reputation, while also generating coverage beyond the travel sector.
With the noted value and influence of a publicity stunt – we looked to raise the perception of the brand by garnering national media exposure with a focus on engaging with new travelers in an unexpected way. In grand fashion, the team set out to beat the Guinness World Record for the largest pillow fight in the brand’s home state of South Dakota.
The formula included tapping TV host and former NSYNC pop-star Joey Fatone, combined with breaking a world record at a memorable sports event, resulted in a wide variety of media coverage, including all major local market affiliates and top travel, entertainment and lifestyle outlets – like Sports Illustrated, USA Today, CBS News Online, Yahoo! Celebrity, HotelChatter.com and Celebuzz.
Additionally, vacation-bound consumers have evolved over the past five years – no longer are the glossies like Travel & Leisure and Conde Nast Traveler their only source for news. While we recognize that change can be daunting, we help our clients understand the value of the thinking outside the box. By identifying key target audiences along with program objectives – we look to creatively make news while upholding a company’s character.
For example, when Coyne Travel was tapped by Heathrow Airport to tackle one of its most exciting and first-ever challenges – serving as host airport for the London 2012 Olympics – the team looked to go beyond the typical travel and airport trades and tell the story to notable sports and business media. In the months leading up to the Games, Heathrow Airport was inundated by a wave of negative media coverage, with outlets around the world questioning the airport’s ability to handle the influx of passengers and luggage that would arrive. Therefore, we developed an aggressive strategy targeted towards an array of U.S. media above to spotlight Heathrow’s years of planning and creative thinking. Together, we built three strategic briefs providing a detailed media strategy surrounding the airport’s Olympics initiatives and exclusive services, luxury concierge service, Heathrow by Invitation and the Heathrow Express direct train line to London. Accordingly, we successfully turned the conversation around and secured positive coverage in top tier media, such as The New York Times, USA TODAY, The Huffington Post, and Bloomberg.
In contrast, we have also helped brands target travel media that they otherwise would not necessarily think to leverage. For instance, Coyne Travel took Daytona International Speedway (DIS) from sports and speed to a family destination. To showcase DIS and the highly-anticipated DAYTONA Rising project, the team secured a group of distinguished travel media reporting for Family Circle, CNBC Road Warrior, Travel Weekly, Fodor’s, Dreamscapes, and Trekaroo, along with their families for the first-ever “Great American Vacation FAM Trip”. The program was a win-win for all participants, while the group received the ultimate VIP experience, including the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to ride in pace cars; we also garnered some new NASCAR fans along the way.
Whether it’s a family trip to grandma’s or an international honeymoon, everyone travels. Thus, by diversifying our clients’ exposure through inventive campaigns, we reach a variety of audiences on a global scale.
Lauren Mackiel Gory Is Vice President of Travel & Tourism Practice at Coyne PR