As March Madness Ensues We Reminisce

As we return from this year’s HSMAI Adrian Awards with a Gold Award for Travel Faceoff, we reminisce about how this successful campaign was brought to life. Strategically developed to capitalize on American’s love of “bracketology” and the attention surrounding 2011’s March Madness, Travel Faceoff aimed to generate excitement and passion around travelers’ favorite destinations and take advantage of Best Western’s perception as a hotel brand committed to advocating the love of travel.

As we brainstormed ideas our goal was clear– grow Best Western’s number of Facebook fans and increase levels of fan engagement.

In order to tie Travel Faceoff to March Madness, the ideas*Collide team developed a tournament bracket system was and 36 of the most popular travel destinations worldwide were divided into two brackets. Over the course of 16 days Best Western Facebook fans had the opportunity to vote on a photo matchup between two destination cities (New York, London, Rome etc.), one from each bracket, posted on Best Western’s Facebook wall.

Because we wanted to encourage current Facebook fans to share the contest with their friends, with each “like” fans would earn an entry in a daily drawing for 5,000 Best Western Rewards points. In addition, all had the opportunity to win the campaign’s grand prize — a trip to the final, winning destination.

By the end of Travel Faceoff’s final match-up, which coincided with the last game of the NCAA basketball tournament, Best Western had seen its fan count grow by 24% from 30,240 to 37,406. Going from an average of 1,000 new fans a month to over 7,100 fans in 16 days was well above what Best Western had expected.

Most notably, this campaign helped build a targeted and engaged audience. Engagement levels grew by 15% to an industry-topping 85%. Remarkably, Best Western’s fan engagement levels have never gone down to the levels seen before Travel Faceoff. Over the last year, the brand has continued to see the same level of active user participation in their social media efforts.  Today, those active rates continue to average 80 percent a month, making this a true example of a social media campaign that helped build the brand.

Posted on March 19, 2012 in Events & Happenings, Inspirations

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