2020 was a devastating year for the travel and hospitality industry, bringing international travel to a screeching halt. With the industry seeing glimpses of recovery in 2021 and travelers itching to plan their next trip, we saw a unique opportunity to tap into this cultural moment and generate excitement about getting back on the road with W Hotels.
Thus was born Trip Swap, a 6-part Instagram Video series chronicling the return to travel for eight social media creators and members of our “Friends of W Hotels” influencer community.
Our goals for this campaign were to:
CREATOR-DRIVEN APPROACH FOR AUTHENTIC STORYTELLING
Working with our “Friends of W Hotels” creator network was important for us for two key reasons: first, we wanted the excitement of returning to travel with W Hotels to feel authentic in our storytelling. Second, in this new remote world, we had to select seasoned W partners who we could trust to shoot footage independently, with no crew or brand team members alongside them.
REMOTE TRAVEL PLANNING & COORDINATION
With our creator partners in place, it was time to plan travel. Our first challenge was a result of our ambitious creative concept: in Trip Swap, seasoned W travelers reminisce on a pre-pandemic trip to our hotels and curate recommendations for the creator traveling in 2021. To put it lightly, matching creators who had traveled to particular hotels pre-2020 (and had sufficient archival video footage) with creators who were able to travel to that hotel due to constantly changing travel restrictions was... quite the Tetris exercise. Once creators and locations were matched, Zoom interviews were conducted, FaceTime calls were recorded, and travel could begin.
ART DIRECTION & CONTENT CREATION: LO-FI MEETS HI-FI
The core of our videos is comprised of archival iPhone footage fromo creators' past trips with W Hotels, as well as iPhone footage from their trips with us in 2021. Throw in our recorded FaceTime calls-- we fully embraced a remote shooting style for this campaign. To tie all of this footage together into a consistent video series, we created a creative treatment that gave our campaign an elevated look befitting of a luxury lifestyle brand.
Halfway through our campaign, Instagram discontinued IGTV in favor of Instagram Video (never a dull moment in the world of social media!) but our focus on creating socially-optimized 9:16 vertical video meant the transition had minimal impact on this campaign.
STRATEGIC DISTRIBUTION VIA EARNED, PAID AND OWNED CHANNELS
For this campaign, we implemented a robust paid, owned and earned distribution strategy across creator/influencer channels, organic W Hotels channels, and dark sponsored posts on Instagram.
6 Hotels. 8 Creators. 35.6M Impressions across paid, owned, and earned channels.
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