Customers Expect Brands To Know Them Better Than Their Mother: Contiki MD

Customers Expect Brands To Know Them Better Than Their Mother: Contiki MD

Contiki has made the bold decision to completely revamp their website, and given the last one was about 10 years’ old it seems like a smart decision. Pulling user-generated content, personalisation and a few smart youth-targeted tricks out of their sleeves, the new look is steering the good ship Contiki in the right direction.

Hannah Edensor
Posted by Hannah Edensor

Contiki has ensured that whatever the user is coming to their site for, they get it, so B&T spoke to global CEO Casper Urhammer and MD Katrina Barry to find out how the youth brand manages to stay on top.

“Today, customers are expecting their brands to know them better than their mother, and we want to make sure we’re understanding that trend and delivering on it,” Barry said.

“Contiki is not a youth travel brand, it’s a brand. Our people are just young people who are always experimenting with new technology. We were one of the first brands to start doing geo-targeted Snapchat filters.

“We hire young cool people, and young cool people are always going to be on trend.”

Speaking to the fresh website look, Urhammer said, “We know there is a barrier to conversion, and convincing a client or traveller about a trip or going to a travel agent to buy that trip. It’s a big investment for them and being convinced of it online has some barriers.

“So we hired some very clever people to look at what those barriers are, then spent three months doing research and came up with 11 opportunities of how we could articulate product online and create that initial interest so people could go out to agents and seek more information.

Casper Urhammer left) and Katrina Barry middle) enjoying the annual Contiki Legends party on Wednesday.

Casper Urhammer left) and Katrina Barry middle) enjoying the annual Contiki Legends party on Wednesday.

“It’s built mobile-first, and that’s an acknowledgement of the fact that most young people today consume internet through a mobile phone. We see about half of our website traffic come from mobile.”

On top of putting mobile up on the holy pedestal, Contiki realised that there’s no good word of mouth like the unadulterated first-person praise of travellers.

“Whilst we can, of course, recite from a brand point of view how incredible a trip is, there is a good validation in seeing what it’s like from real people with real photos.

“We’ve used a lot of various trends – and one key one is user-generated content. If you look at a trip page in our brochures, each trip has a hashtag, and over the last 12 months since we launched these hashtags, there’s been about 250,000 uses of those hashtags.

“This allows us to pull that content into the website,” Urhammer added, with Contiki using Stackla to pull all related social content onto the site.

“If someone has been on a European Horizons trip, they hashtag their pics on Instagram with #EuropeanHorizons, and we use those images on our website to display what the real life experience is on one of those trips.

“We want to be honest about what you get, and articulate that in a tone that’s relevant. We spent a good six to nine months identifying what is our tone of voice for the future to sit alongside this personalisation, user-generated content, and third-party reviews.”

Urhammer stressed that personalisation was one of the pillars of the new website strategy.

“If you visit the website one day and check out a certain category or operating region, when you visit us next time we can serve up content that is relevant to the interest you have shown us.

“We have identified a vast array of personas and have a very complicated algorithm on how to identify these personas.”

On millennial trends, Barry said the key ones were focusing on the experience economy, ‘Insta-ism’ and ‘Seetomania’, an obsession with food.

“We’re calling it a number one trend for youth in 2017,” Barry added, regarding the ‘seetomania’. “It’s the number one thing you’ll see on Instagram.”

Speaking of Instagram and ‘Insta-ism’, Barry said it’s a “trend that’s gone far beyond the Kardashian selfie and letting your mum know where you are. We like to call it a disease. “Be it Insta, Snapchat, Facey – there really is a compulsive desire to share our lives.”

Urhammer added, “Whatever’s coming up next we don’t know yet, but we can guarantee we’ll be on top of it.

“We try to get inspired by what happens out there, we allow ourselves to be a bit foolish and try some things that may work out, but others work out well, and we employ some very smart, young people to support the business.”