Cat Creature

It is easy to get swept away by the sights, sounds, and tastes of a new place. The challenge is figuring out a way to make others feel the same excitement of traveling through a video. That’s where Contiki comes in.

Contiki’s videos aim to capture the essence of any destination. The company finds unique vloggers to travel on their trips, experience various cultures, and tell their personal story of the trip.

With their Travel Project videos, the brand is hoping to personalize travel and show how various influencers weave the traveling experiences into their lives and into the context of the broader world.

We caught up with Ginny Copestake, the Chief Marketing Officer for the Contiki Marketing Lab, to dig deeper into the Travel Project and the ideas behind it.

What is the approach and goal of the Travel Project? How does it interact with the larger Contiki brand as a whole?

Ginny Copestake: The Travel Project is our influencer program, and the umbrella under which all of Contiki’s influencer activity lives. It is a visual and editorial storytelling project, created to help our travelers connect with the wider world on a deeper, more personal level.

The program allows us to show how travel isn’t a topic that lives in isolation, but is connected to real life issues and conversations [about sustainability, mental health, sexuality and culture] in a multitude of ways.

Who is the target audience for your digital content?

GC: Our core target audience is our 18-35 demographic – the age range of our Contiki trips – but through the topics we explore and influencers we work with, we’re also speaking to Gen Z’s aged 16-18.

What trends do you see in how and where people travel?

GC: Young travelers don’t want to go somewhere just to tick it off a list, they want cultural immersion, personal connections, and a wealth of memories. They want to meet ‘real’ people – locals who can share and impart wisdom, allowing them to do something others haven’t done – partly for the experience, and partly for the bragging rights.

A few years ago this was Iceland; this year, the likes of Israel, Jordan and Sri Lanka are hot topics. Young travelers are politically active, outspoken on injustice – they know they have a voice, and they want to use it for good. They don’t want to be just purveyors of culture, they want something more tangible than that – they want to see it, feel it, taste it, experience it, and leave feeling changed by it.

What is your selection process like when choosing videos to feature on the site? Are you involved in the development of the video itself or do you just curate them?

GC: The content created for The Travel Project is a mix of in-house work, and content created by influencers. In both cases, we identify the story we want to tell, and then seek out an influencer/partner to help us tell it. In regards to content created by influencers, we share with them the story we want to tell and the reasons why, but then give them creative freedom to create content that works best for their audience.


If you are involved in the development, how do you find and decide on the stories you tell in your content?

GC: As a youth travel brand it’s our responsibility to tell stories that reflect the topics, issues and causes our audience care about. We spend a large amount of time researching and analyzing trends in order to understand our audience better, and through this process we create an editorial calendar that sets out the stories we’ll be telling for the year ahead. Once we have our topics identified, we’ll then decide on both the location, and the storyteller.

How do you measure and track the success of a video?

GC: Brand awareness is our key objective for The Travel Project, so this isn’t something that can be exactly tracked with a clear, tangible result. We measure our video metrics and traffic driven through to our editorial site six-two, and we also track increases in traffic to our consumer site, looking at spikes in traffic to the spotlight destination.

What were the KPIs and results of this campaign?

GC: For this campaign we were looking to increase brand awareness of Contiki, and to do this we partnered with UNILAD Adventure, creating a video that accumulated 822k views and reached over 6 million people.

How are consumers interacting with your brand?

GC: We engage with consumers on platforms such as Instagram, Facebook and Twitter; we also have a messenger feature on our website where guests can interact with a customer service agent. In terms of the actual product, all of our travelers experience our brand when they travel on a Contiki.

What role does video content play in your overall marketing and brand strategy?

GC: Video is at the heart of our marketing and brand strategy. Through video, we are able to bring the brand to life, showcasing not just the incredible destinations we visit, but really trying to hone in on the fundamental element of any Contiki trip – sociability. We know our audience trust the opinions and judgement of their friends over a brand, so by showcasing real travelers content on real trips, we’re painting an authentic, honest picture of the Contiki experience.

[This interview was edited for clarity]