The Travel & Adventure Show earned it’s heavy-weight champion title as #1 Travel Show Series for the travel-junky. With five annual expos in the U.S.—always taking center stage in the largest DMA markets: Los Angeles, Chicago, Washington D.C., San Francisco Bay Area, and Dallas—TAS brings together destinations, tour operators, hoteliers, and more from across the globe, who all fight for attention of the tens of thousands of trek-takers that flock to the show’s massive halls.
In its mere decade of life, TAS has connected more than 5 million travel consumers with more than 3,500 destinations, tour operators and transportation providers from every country and region imaginable.
Rightly so, recent years has seen TAS shift its focus from a print-heavy advertising strategy to one diversified across broadcast and digital, leading to record attendance year-over-year, beginning in 2011 and continuing today.
Aria was introduced to TAS in late 2012 and was appointed Digital Agency of Record. We saw a unique opportunity to take the valuable, hands-on, face-to-face interaction that occurs at each TAS expo and extend it to the online space—where most travelers start, catalog, review, and share their journeys.
And so, TAS: World Challenge, an interactive—online-to-offline-to-online—social media game was born.
The TAS expo in Los Angeles, January 12-13, was our official launch pad. In the weeks leading to the L.A. expo, we created an integrated marketing campaign. We greased the skids early by hitting our captive audience with a series of targeted emails, which brought exhibitors to a dedicated landing page that solicited exhibitor participation. All consumer marketing pushes followed a strict content calendar, which outlined each interaction. To make sure we could react as quickly as we felt necessary, we took on the monumental task of managing TAS’ social media outlets to promote the World Challenge and push attendance at the expo.
At each show, participants were asked to complete a series of challenges at exhibitor booths and post photos or comments to their social media pages with the unique tag #TASWorldChallenge.
They were tasked with things like:
“Take a seat (and a photo) in one of All Nippon Airways premium economy seats in Booth 303 in Washington D.C.”
“Participate in an augmented reality experience at the SeaWorld Antarctica Exhibit in Booth 137.”
By all accounts, the inaugural run of the TAS: World Challenge was a resounding success. Participants raved online and off about how much fun the game was and how it made their experience at the Travel & Adventure Show more interactive and enjoyable. And, participating exhibitors received a much greater level of exposure and more one-on-one contact with their audience.
But, perhaps the greatest reward from the TAS: World Challenge has yet to be seen. Unlike most paid media, the World Challenge user-generated social media content lives on in various forms on users’ Facebook photo albums, Twitter feeds and Instagram accounts. A billboard gets taken down or a PPC ad campaign runs its course, and then it’s over and the promotional value is gone. Content created during the TAS: World Challenge is housed on individuals’ social media accounts, continuing to promote the Travel & Adventure Show and their travel partners through personal interactions and experiences.
Our audience was incredibly engaged. See for yourself: