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WIT Day Two - New Zealand's House of Travel is WIT's Groovy Marketer

Posted on 19 Oct 2011 at 09:23 am

House of Travel, New Zealand was hailed as Web In Travel’s first Groovy Marketer at its annual conference this week as part of its inaugural WITovation Awards 2011, presented by Amadeus Asia.

The Christchurch-based tour operator was chosen by WIT for an innovative mix-and-match game on Facebook, which was such a huge success that it will be launching another game shortly.

Pctiured left: Niall White of House of Travel

The Mix and Match game, which allowed players to match friends with holiday prizes, was played in two rounds over 28 days. In all, it attracted 68,070 unique players, saw 279,613 competition entries with a 13-minute average time spent per session and resulted in 37,128 total hours engagement with its customers. It also gathered 16,000+ new Facebook Likes (fans) over the period.

"Groovy Marketer"  was the only editorial choice in the WITovation Awards, the rest of which was through a nomination and judging process.

Said Ms Yeoh Siew Hoon (pictured right), editor and founder, WIT, “It was a hard decision because there are a lot of companies doing good and fun things in digital, and there were some of the obvious more high profile examples.

"But I chose House of Travel because one, as a traditional tour operator, it is battling against the odds in a world turned topsy-turvy by technology and changing customer behaviour, it operates in a very small market – four million people – so it has to be extra creative; and New Zealand is really far from anywhere so every trip it sells is almost a longhaul one except if it’s just across the ditch; and it’s in a space which has been regarded as slow to move into the new areas like social media.

"Yet it has managed to stay on top of changing trends and changing customer behaviour with other things it’s done and this year, launched this Facebook campaign that was both groovy and fun. The idea of a slot machine-type competition, I thought, would work so well in the Asian context given that two of the world’s biggest gaming destinations are now here – Macau and Singapore."

In the other categories:

Cleartrip India was awarded Mobile Mover – the judging panel, led by Timothy Hughes, CEO of Getaway Lounge, Australia, chose the Indian OTA’s mobile apps for their excellent user experience, simplicity and ease of use. “Simply excellent. Booking process very fast, easy to use, and if you have an account it is even easier,” was a comment. See Cleartrip mobile.

Pictured right: Cleartrip's Satyajeet Singh with the award

Accor Australia was the Social Groover for its creative celebration of its 20th anniversary which revolved around the message “A lot can happen in 20 years – share your moment” and it invited the public to share life changing moments around their website. The judging panel, led by Morris Sim, CEO and Co-founder of Circos Brand Karma, praised the campaign for its “stories, likeable characters and authenticity”.

Added Sim, "In this year's Social Groover entries we saw interesting use of social media for branding. The winning entry, Accor Australia, connected with users emotionally in its use of memories, pictures, and videos through multiple channels.

Pictured right: Accor's Maria Taylor saying thanks

"Accor integrated users sharing their experiences in social media with traditional marketing channels such as broadcast and retail. As social media becomes mainstream, marketers will incorporate social channels as part of the overall brand engagement, and Accor's campaign can be used as a successful case study."

(Watch video here)

Ibis on Bencoolen, Singapore won in the Groove Specialista for its successful viral Pay What You Want campaign when it opened its doors with the judges, led by Jens Uwe Parknity, managing director, Expedia Affiliate Network, saying that other than it being a novel idea, it had a clear message, demonstrated consistent use of regional social media networks and blogging sites, and delivered measurable results. The campaign generated 10,000 registered members from over 100 countries, a total of 80,000 addresses were collected and it attracted 57,000 unique visitors. It also resulted in substantial room revenues.

Pictured left: A jubilant Puneet Dhawan from Ibis on Bencoolen

• The Customer Lover award went to AirAsia. The judges, led by Timothy O’Neil-Dunne, managing partner of T2 Impact, said it came to a close call between AirAsia and Cleartrip but “we believe that Air Asia with its reach and pedigree of loving its customers just edged out Cleartrip’s entry”.

The judges commented, “Air Asia's approach is very user-friendly and appeals to a wider market with varied demographics. The use of a named Avatar gives the service a personality and creates an online rapport with the user. This service exceeds customer expectations regarding budget airlines where cheap equates minimal service.”

Pictured right: AirAsia's Frank Bateman with the trophy

Added the judges, “We also want to give honourable mention to Banyan Tree who submitted in a separate category as we believe that they provide a special kind of love for their customers.”

Meanwhile, in a live competition round today (October 19) GetFlight won the Grooviest Start-Up. At the WIT Bootcamp on October 17, Monday, seven start-ups pitched to a panel of investors and advisors, out of which three finalists - FlextripGetFlight  and - were chosen. The panel of judges included investors from around the world, and also featured two representatives from the Business Angel Network of South-east Asia (BANSEA).

GetFlight is a winner!

The WITovation awards are aimed at recognising companies or individuals which have made a difference in a chosen field, either through a specific marketing campaign or an overall strategy, in the digital travel space.

'We congratulate all our winners who have shown creativity and innovation in an exciting space in travel and hopefully they will inspire others to follow,” said Ms Yeoh. “We also want to thank our judges for putting in the time and effort and to those companies who sent in their nominations, thank you for supporting our inaugural awards.'

Karun Budhraja, Regional Director, Corporate & Marketing Communications, Amadeus, said, "Amadeus is very proud to be associated with the WITovation awards in its first year. These awards recognise innovation and excellence and they are two things we like to aspire to ourselves. This year it’s all about finding your groove and I hope the WITovation awards go forward in leaps in bounds in the same say that WIT has.”

Picture above: GetFlight's Ian Cumming celebrating with judge Don Birch

Tags: House of Travel , Mix and Match , Cleartrip India , Cleartrip mobile , Accor Australia , Ibis on Bencoolen , AirAsia , Banyan Tree , Groovy Marketer , Mobile Mover , Social Groover , Groove Specialista , Customer Lover , Grooviest Start-Up New Zealand , Singapore , WIT Bootcamp , Web in Travel , Amadeus Asia , Facebook , OTA , Yeoh Siew Hoon , Karun Budhraja