Travel for Good™ 2019 Program Strategy, Design, Relaunch and Management

Travelocity® is pleased to announce the 2019 relaunch of the revamped and refocused Travel for Good™ program.

Travel for Good™ is a long-standing, brand-led corporate social responsibility program at Travelocity. 

At its inception 12 years ago, it was a quarterly grant program generally aimed at students who intended to complete long term service projects abroad, like teaching English in Cambodia, working in vaccination clinics across Africa, or building orphanage facilities in Central and South America. Over time, the program evolved from a small, unpublicized and minimally-marketed program to a widely-broadcasted social media contest that awarded a dream voluntourism trip to a few lucky winners each year. In recent years, the program has consistently shifted closer to Travelocity’s brand platform and has increasingly been integrated into business operations, setting the stage for the iteration of the program launched this year.

In the most recent (2014) version of the program, Travelocity leveraged then-new social media platform audience targeting tools to reach users who were already interested in charitable organizations or volunteer work, which was highly effective in terms of generating follower growth and high impressions. However, the brief nature of the contest format presented challenges: the short communication window made it difficult to build an association in a consumer’s mind between the program and the brand, and the lack of an ongoing content initiative made it impossible to sustain the follower growth rate and retain the new followers attracted. As a whole, this iteration of the program accomplished its goals, and the challenges encountered were fairly unavoidable in light of budget and resourcing limitations.

In 2017, Travelocity identified a new lead for the Travel for Good™ program – a tenured employee who’d begun work on the program in 2014, and was deeply embedded and invested in Travel for Good™ via the logo and branding work, creative development and social media work she’d completed on the program over the course of several years. With the perspective gained from an inside view of the previous iterations of the program, the new program head set out to design a strategy that would more fully demonstrate the Travelocity brand promise, deeply embed the program into the overall content strategy, integrate the program more fully into the business and more effectively reach and engage new customers.

Travelocity undertook months of research around current and target customers, particularly as it relates to their charitable donations, involvement in charitable organizations, purchasing behaviors around brands with social responsibility initiatives and willingness to participate in volunteer activities. In the initial background work, the team relied heavily on third-party data to get a general sense about how corporate social responsibility initiatives affected brand recall, awareness and consideration. 

The analysis yielded anticipated results, but the data point that was most compelling was that the majority of American consumers (89%) demonstrated a willingness to switch to a brand that supports an organization, cause or initiative if price and quality were comparable. This indicated an opportunity not only to differentiate the Travelocity brand from competitors, but to engage new customers who fit the target audience profile and currently book with competitors, and also to potentially drive loyalty among existing customers. 

To test this theory, Travelocity launched its own research to validate findings and to understand firsthand how Travel for Good™ could influence consideration for Travelocity among current and target customers. Not only did the results confirm the hypothesis about the overall effect of launching a social responsibility initiative, but also pinpointed very specific interests and behaviors that helped inform a focused, targeted strategy for the program that was executable with the allotted budget and resourcing and also would have the flexibility to grow into the future:

  • 59% of people are more likely or much more likely to support a brand that supports causes
  • >65% said that they were more likely or slightly more likely to consider Travelocity for having launched the Travel for Good™ program
  • People are more likely to support the cause than actually take action like booking an activity
  • Humanitarian and Animal causes were significantly much more compelling to people
  • 62% said they would travel with family and 31% said they would travel alone/li>

The above data were (in context with the rest of the survey data) distilled into a few key points that formed the framework for the new program strategy:

  • Travel for Good™ increases likelihood to consider Travelocity
  • Travel for Good™ makes people feel better about booking with Travelocity
  • The Travel for Good™ target audience is 35-44, earns over $100k income, has kids
  • We should target both non-bookers and bookers, as they both have increased consideration of Travelocity

The core mission was already clear – the Travel for Good™ program would be a core demonstration of Travelocity’s brand promise by taking care of customers and the causes and organizations they are passionate about. To define the workstreams and tactical executions that would fulfill the mission, four key pillars were identified:

Enable travelers who want to travel for good, or who want their travels to do good.

Inspire travelers to do good in big and small ways while traveling.

  • Go-Gooders Content Series: launched Tuesday, March 12, 2019, and posted weekly on Tuesday, Travelocity social media accounts shared stories from real travelers who have given back in both big and small ways on their journeys. The purpose of this social journalism series was to show travelers how easy it could be to travel for good. The series was and is supported with a paid social strategy that focuses on our target audience and users who are interested in charitable organizations and volunteer travel.

Support travelers who Travel for Good™ by sharing their stories and highlighting the organizations they are passionate about.

  • Interactive Organization Finder Map: located on the landing page, travelers can discover and connect with organizations in our top 10 domestic booked destinations where they can easily volunteer for a few hours or a few days, should they choose.
  • Donation to the American Red Cross: Travelocity is committed to donating up to $30,000 to the American Red Cross to support Disaster Relief across the USA. This donation is the “Give” part of the promo code customers can use on their qualified hotel bookings.

Advocate for Travel for Good™ by “walking the talk” with the business and encourage employees to do the same.

  • Travelocity local Travel for Good™ event: on March 28th, the Dallas Travelocity office volunteered at the North Texas Food Bank to assist in sorting donations and performing various other tasks.

The executions above were specifically targeted for the program relaunch on March 12, 2019, and additional plans included a social media sweepstakes leading up to the Memorial Day booking window and summer travel planning, which launched in early April to capitalize on National Volunteer Week and National Volunteer Month. 

The launch of #SweepstakesForGood was supported by a comprehensive PR initiative that drove interviews and national television exposure via news programs across the country. The sweepstakes (running through May 13, 2019, https://www.instagram.com/p/Bw2CP4vDzl9/#advertiser) has showcased three organizations in destinations across the USA, with grand prizes of one volunteer trip to each organization up for grabs on Instagram. And for those who didn’t win a grand prize, Travelocity made it easy to book those trips on their website, which can be accessed through the Travel for Good™ landing page.

The program is anticipated to continue through 2019, with core initiatives planned in social media, content marketing, partnerships and employee engagement via regularly sponsored volunteer opportunities.

Author: Amelia Leicht