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In a competitive and commoditised world, a household name in travel is rising to the multichannel challenge

Since Club Med launched back in 1950 the mission has always been to create ‘happiness’ in the here and now. Campaigns may have had to be adapted for different points in history, and to the needs of different markets, but the word ‘happiness’ remains at the core of the group’s message. In fact the company slogan is ‘Where happiness means the world”.

But successfully getting this this message out today is a tricky business. “We’re operating in a very crowded and highly commoditised market with all our competitors working hard to entice the customer with perfect beaches, the perfect vacation and perfect visual images,” says Alicia Javelon, Head Content & Product Marketing, Club Med.

In order to challenge the competition and create a visually disrupting and compelling brand story requires a two-pronged approach. This, says Javelon, involves strong customer insight and a deep understanding of the core product and experience; it includes really understanding what is happening at an operational level in the resorts.

So what broad customer insights has Club Med identified?

In the North American market, the group has learnt that fewer and fewer people are taking vacations, and for those that do they are becoming shorter; the average of 20 days has dropped to 16 in recent years. “That’s frightening,” says Javelon.  Another insight, is that in many societies even when people go on holiday they are struggling to ‘unplug.

Frightening it may be but this ‘crucial’ insight is something that Club Med has focused in on, in a recent campaign.  That people need to disconnect in order to reconnect with the world is something Club Med’s content and product marketing teams have honed in on because it also ties in with the brand’s original promise – to bring happiness into the here and now.

A multichannel approach

The curtain raiser in the new Escape à la Club Med campaign was the launch in October last year of a new strikingly illustrated online brochure with the strapline ‘Press pause’.

This drew on that all-important ‘customer insight’ - that people today need to slow down and disconnect. As one marketing line has put it to ‘swap the computer screen for the sunscreen’.

From here the team took a multichannel approach using both online (website, email, social media) and offline (direct mail) channels to deliver a message that helped it stand out from the competition. On this point Javelon says: “We really wanted to state things in a fun way, to be a bit different in tone, maybe even a little bit quirky”.

Here are some examples of Club Med’s promotional content.

Video: Thank Goodness it’s Monday; I hope we miss the plane just two examples.

360° Video: is increasingly playing role in allowing guests to experience the here and now in a more visually immersive way before they travel. It is also great for travel agents selling to new clients. (More here New Twists come to 360-degree marketing)  

Testimonials: Check out what customers have to say - also on video

Infographics: Used to highlight how just how badly Americans need to ‘Let Go’, these were effectively leveraged in direct mail and email campaigns. 

Screensavers: Another fun and captivating way to commit the brand to every day memory and reminds customers of where they have been/could be.

Social contests: used to further drive UCG  

User-generated content:This has “huge potential,” says Javelon, because people do really want to hear from their peers. “UGC is engaging, authentic and therefore believable and we actively encourage guests to share to our community,” she says. Recent examples include:

  • A social wall on clubmed.us website as well as on the resorts Facebook & Instagram accounts

  • A live streaming initiative on the official US Facebook page which included, for example, a ‘cooking lesson’ for guacamole at Club Med Cancun Yucatan. According to Javelon, initiatives like this can generate as many as 40,000 view and hundreds of reactions in the form of either comments or likes.  

To hear more about how Club Med is approaching content, and how other leading brands are winning in a competitive world, join us at TDS North America (October 6-7)

TDS N. America 2016

October 2016, Las Vegas

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