As the pandemic began to subside in 2022, people started turning to travel with a newfound fervor. Hopping on the trend, Princess Cruises teamed up with HangarFour Creative to entice travelers to book and take a REAL vacation. A REAL vacation where one can sip tropical drinks with fruity garnishes without having to get up. A worry-free, all-inclusive vacation where concerns like finding your keys or paying extra for food are nonexistent Taking a Princess Cruises vacation means everything is taken care of - it means you can REALLY relax and enjoy. Our “REAL” vacation-themed influencer campaign aimed to increase brand awareness and diversity in the cruise industry.
HangarFour Agency developed a robust influencer strategy outlining key social platforms aligned to the brand's target audience, including detailed creator selection criteria, creative concepts to guide content creation, an influencer brief with campaign messaging and goals, social media trends, and a projected campaign including KPI benchmarks supported with paid media.
Key selected social channels included Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube based on the platforms’ user-base age, reporting access, and relevant search engine trends across Millennials and the Gen-Z audience. Our selection criteria required the agency to review followers, engagement rate per channel, authenticity of followers, content quality, audience diversity, overall cultural relevance, brand alignment, partnerships with competitors within the last 6-months, industry reputation, and personality. A key driver to finalizing our strategy was identifying both travel industry and social media trends to keep the brand relevant and grow Princess Cruises’ share of voice compared to its competitors like Royal Caribbean, Virgin Voyages, Holland America, Carnival, Celebrity Cruises, and more. Lastly, we developed an always-on creative content pillar focused on two key audiences; family travel and diverse lifestyle. Creative concepts included themes of mother-daughter getaways, elevated spring breaks directed towards higher-education professionals and those with doctorate/master’s degrees, and celebrate at sea, directed towards recent graduates, those with upcoming birthdays and/or anniversaries, and bachelor/bachelorettes.
With the above, each influencer was required to have a strong social media presence and engagement rate on at least 2 social media channels (out of the three), a higher percentage of audience following that was between the ages of 25 - 40 years old, affinity for travel, and diverse interests and/or backgrounds such as LGBTQIA+, race, disability, niche interests like gaming, sports, fitness, self-care, nature, and foodies.
Throughout the year, our biggest challenge was placing testing for positive protocol amidst COVID-19 still being active while CDC health guidelines were being pulled back across the world. In order to sail, all guests were required to test negative and show no symptoms prior to boarding. This created challenges for our many influencer groups traveling. For example, we hosted a group of 26 guests inclusive of 3 families preparing to go to Alaska, 2 families of 6 traveled together to find out that 1-hour prior to boarding they were no longer able to attend due to one person testing positive. Both HangarFour and Princess Cruises teamed up to divide up tasks from purchasing additional COVID-19 tests, notifying families about next steps, canceling cruise travel, booking last-minute additional quarantine rooms, notifying the hotel, seeking car rental travel to return home, and managing the remaining creators who were safe to travel onboard.
While this experience escalated very quickly, it required a very strong client-to-agency relationship to trust one another to manage the process seamlessly. Thereafter, we were able to develop a COVID-19 protocol for future influencer trips.
We partnered with a total of 44 influencers across Micro to Macro-tiers (10K - 1M+ followers). Out of the 44 influencers, 23 creators (52%) were dedicated to diverse and inclusive communities expanding Princess Cruises' audience within race, religion, personal interests (sports betting, solo self-care, art, etc.), gender identities, etc. We garnered a total of $15 million dollars social media value, an estimated $14 million dollar savings compared to actual spend. We drove thirty-seven thousand organic link clicks to the Princess Cruises website and booked nearly thirty thousand bookings supported by upper and lower-funnel paid media strategy. With the surplus of influencer content, we were able to launch Princess Cruises’ TikTok channel, wrapping up the year with fifteen-thousand followers for the brand.
This campaign marked a tentpole achievement pushing Princess Cruises out of box by partnering with rising and established creators to develop unique creative messaging to their audience interests such as Deandre Brown and Laura Whaley promoting working remote while at sea, Cole & Charisma and Hunter Woodhall sharing disability accessibility, The Furrha and Hoellein Family creating multigenerational memories, The Old Gays whose comedic posts reached a large Gen-Z and Millennial audience, and original youtube creators and musicians, Us the Duo who created a music video and custom song for Princess Cruises’ newest ship to name just a few.