Virgin Holidays drives 8.5k new users to site with interactive social travel guide

December 3, 2019

The travel company pooled and analysed thousands of social interactions to create an interactive guide to five North American destinations, boosting traffic and social engagement.

Social media is now a key part of the research phase for younger holiday makers. Seeking to drive this audience to its site, Virgin Holidays worked with ForwardPMX to create an interactive travel guide that collates social media posts and ranks popular attractions based on millions of opinions.

The Trending Travel Guide refreshes daily with the latest posts, top tweets and inspirational imagery from the most iconic holiday hotspots – specifically those in New York, Las Vegas, Orlando and the Caribbean. ForwardPMX also created original content for the campaign, interviewing former NASA astronaut Jon McBride to promote the ‘Lunch with an Astronaut’ program offered by Kennedy Space Center.

The campaign delivered more than 9,500 total visitors and 8,500 new users to the site. It also received at least 287 referring domains from publications including Marketing Week and The Drum, as well as from institutions such as the Brooklyn Museum and the Orlando Museum of Art.

Objectives & Aims

Virgin Holidays sought to create an innovative content strategy that would increase brand awareness all year round. Its agency partner, ForwardPMX, found that although Virgin Holidays could sell the holiday, more work was needed to sell the locations. The site lacked top funnel content that would inspire users to take the trip of a lifetime. ForwardPMX wanted to create a travel guide that would fill this gap, but that stood out from other guides on the web.

Its objectives were to:

  • Strategize new ways of increasing brand visibility throughout the year, not just in peak periods.
  • Achieve higher levels of user interactivity on site and keep users exploring content on site for longer and drive a new, younger audience to site
  • Drive link authority back to category pages of the Virgin Holidays.

Implementation, Execution & Tactics

For younger holiday makers, social media is a critical part of the research phase when it comes to booking a trip. ForwardPMX created The Trending Travel Guide using social listening practices, crunching more than 30 million social media posts and analyzing genuine social interactions to guide users towards similar experiences.

Working with social listening tool Crimson Hexagon, it built an algorithm that measures social interaction around locations and filters out negative sentiment, ranking locations according to social mentions, including selfies, tweets and reviews. It also partnered with travel writers, influencers and well-known locations to create its own content.

ForwardPMX spread the word about the guide by reaching out to every location featured in the guide, including jazz bars, museums, Michelin-starred restaurants and rooftop lounges, and Kennedy Space Center, which put the agency in touch with astronaut Jon McBride.

Results

Following its launch in late October 2018, The Trending Travel Guide has brought 21,000 new users to the Virgin Holidays site, and chalked up a 75% increase in landing page click-through rates (from 49% to 87%). There have been 24,500 visitors to the content in total, and 39,000 page views.

The campaign has also led to new broad keywords driving traffic to the site, including high-volume keywords such as ‘travel guide NYC’.

Social engagement:

  • 812,500 Facebook impressions
  • 8,000 Facebook engagements 
  • 839 Facebook interactions
  • Paid social reach of over 625,000
  • Paid social saw an 85% increase in landing page views vs. average campaign performance.

Links:

  • 486 links built back to site
  • 492% of target
  • Average Domain Authority: 41.
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