Yas Island's Badr Bourji explains the strategy behind a flurry of campaigns.
Yas Island has been on a roll with a number of campaigns in the past few months, including Toy Talks, Stayin’ On Yas, and a celebrity partnership with Kevin Hart. Experience Hub’s Marketing Director Badr Bourji tells us more.
What are the current trends in staycation marketing strategies?
As the world moves towards a new normal, the uncertainties and restrictions regarding international travel still very much exist. What this created in return is larger-than-normal search volumes for staycations, making it the biggest holiday trend globally since the pandemic. Hoteliers and destinations alike rushed to market with domestic daycation and staycation packages offering everything they can at incredible value to capture demand from ‘vacation-hungry holiday-goers.’
How has the content of staycation marketing campaigns changed since the pandemic?
In the industry, the content itself hasn’t changed much, to be honest. It’s still very much the same messaging and the same visual representation but different brands and offers. If I asked you to recall a staycation campaign over the last two years, how many could you recall? What changed is the scale, frequency, exposure, and the increased interest from the masses as a result of travel restrictions imposed by the pandemic. This reality on its own was one of the key drivers for us to do things differently.
What should marketers be wary of while creating staycation marketing strategies?
Stand out, own a unique space. While the majority of us have the same combination of hotel rooms, pools, and beaches amongst other activities to promote stays, our challenge as marketers is how to reflect an attitude and a personality that is true and distinctive to our brand in a highly competitive landscape. Domestic leisure has been more important than ever, and relying on the same old playbook on its own may not be enough to both capitalize on demand and realize our true market potential. It is also important to highlight health and safety protocols to address concerns around visitors' wellbeing.
How were the latest Yas Island's staycation marketing campaigns developed?
We executed exactly what we preached, despite all the complexities and obstacles. Though "Stayin’ on Yas" got the lion’s share of public traction upon its launch, we also had another distinct and very successful launch of our "Kids Go Free" summer offer ahead of the school break. As part of our efforts to promote the summer promotion, we developed the "Toy Talks" video series, using toys as spokespeople in a fun and entertaining way, highlighting their need to take their own break! Aiming to emotionally connect with children and parents alike via relatable humor through the eyes of toys, the video series was based on the challenges of keeping the kids entertained whilst stuck at home over the last year and of toys being used and abused. We used this narrative to create seven snackable content pieces that encourage families to go on a break because when they take a vacation, so do the toys. The results were fascinating and, combined with "Stayin’ on Yas," it was practically a summer home-run for us.
Why execute a celebrity partnership for a staycation campaign with a celebrity that doesn't live in the country?
We collaborated with Kevin Hart, a globally-recognized celebrity, as part of a wider, top-of-mind destination strategy to keep Yas Island Abu Dhabi on the radar for travelers. We want Yas Island to be one of the top bucket-list destinations for holidaymakers as travel restrictions continue to ease. Stay tuned for more.