UK travellers are faced with overwhelming choice during the January Sale period. Our challenge to BA was to break the travel category conventions and inspire travellers to chose a BA destination.
January is a commercially important sale period for British Airways (BA) and its competitor airlines. We had implemented a new Sale approach in September 2018 that yielded positive results, but differentiation had decreased. Come January, we were asked to increase incremental revenue and engagement versus last year (VLY), as well as applying further integrated performance marketing into the wider campaign for contextual relevance.
As we were required to use the existing ‘What are you waiting for?’ Sale creative platform and assets for this campaign, it would be our media approach alone that would need to achieve the client’s objectives.
We found an enormous pressure among UK travellers to get trips ‘right’. We found that although 90% of UK travellers are clear on what they’d like to do, 67% still required “help and inspiration” when booking a holiday (Expedia, 2017).
Peer-approved destinations are thus critical for booking confidence. Using BA destination Google search trends we identified interest in these destinations fluctuated considerably by day, time and UK location. But airlines were not mirroring these trends – instead, we saw a wide ‘inspiration gap’ in the market.
Our strategy would be to increase our relevance by tapping into and aligning with consumer-driven travel searches.
We achieved a world media first by serving key BA Sale destinations dynamically and in real time via one API in both OOH and digital programmatic, using a custom algorithm built for BA.
This enabled us to dynamically serve Sale destinations to UK travellers based on their local popularity, as determined by live Google Search data.
Partnering with Kinetic and DOOH.com, our custom-built algorithm scraped the BA Google Search account to inform creative selection via live API data as opposed to manual or pre-scheduled copy changes. Our algorithm gave each destination a “popularity” weighting to determine how much any destination would be served in a local area.
The data was refreshed multiple times daily; 16 weighting changes per day, across 14 days and 269 locations –totalling 744,576 optimisations overall.
Dynamically-served routes yielded +8% revenue VLY, whereas fixed-placement route revenue only increased by +1%, and revenue from non-advertised routes decreased by 1% (BA Revenue Management, 2019).
Prompted brand linkage was significantly higher at 89% (vs 83% in 2018) while eligibility of the adverts sat significantly above benchmark for OOH (22% vs 9% benchmark), likely due to the use of locally relevant destination imagery (Hall & Partners, 2019).