Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Zoomtra - Digital marketing ; A case study for the travel industry

Travelling in India with Zoomtra - A case study

Client : Zoomtra.com
Name of Agency : In-house
Year : 2008
Category : Online Marketing

Zoomtra.com, the makers of India Dekha! had an objective of providing a platform for travel enthusiasts and planners to connect and share their travel interests with one another. Zoomtra.com saw a clear opportunity on Facebook and launched India Dekha - a traveller networking application using the Facebook tool that allows third-party applications to integrate on its platform. Two months later in February 2008, India Dekha! was one of the first 20 global applications that went live with Orkut’s third party application tool as well.

Project summary

The online travel space in India has already started to look cluttered with over 20 significant online travel sellers with exorbitant marketing budgets. In such a scenario, how does a newly launched travel search engine reach to the masses and differentiate itself?

Zoomtra.com’s goal as a travel search engine is to provide the most comprehensive, fastest and easiest to use results for any travel search requirement of an Indian user. A significant USP of Zoomtra.com is that the search results consist of real life user generated inputs by experienced travelers. This enables a more powerful and unbiased approach to travel search as a concept. To make this concept clearer, think about the following point - Would you rather believe a travel seller about the quality of the destination and hotel you are planning to go to, or your friend who went to the same location and hotel a couple of weeks back?

The strategy team at Zoomtra.com had to come up with a long tail strategy that could reach the masses and could produce immediate results. The team saw a clear opportunity in Facebook’s and Orkut’s newly launched tool that allowed third-party applications to be plugged into its platform. The tool enables the third party applications to interact with their user base and networking features.

The strategy team proposed a traveler networking application called India Dekha! that would evolve as an India-centered travel community. The application would enable all Facebook and Orkut’s users to display their own travel history in a fun manner and connect with fellow travel enthusiasts to share their feedback on various destinations in India, along with ratings to the cities’ shopping, eating places, night life etc.

Challenges, objectives and strategy

The main objectives were:
* Creating India’s largest traveler community
* Reaching the masses
* Being cost efficient
* Collecting user generated inputs about Indian Destinations to power our travel search results
* Ensuring consumer involvement and engagement
* Automated spread of word had to be viral.

The biggest challenge was to involve an Indian internet user since Indians are relatively new to concepts like online communities and they refrain from writing a lot unless given easy to use options. The team came up with a fun concept wherein a user would select a location on the map of India and place a pin and tell what type of a place is it, whether home town, place visited, place on a wish list etc.

We categorized the reviews and ratings into various things about a city like, night life, shopping, eating places, what you like and dislike about that city. This ensured an easy-to-use tool to give feedback in an interactive manner.
Another tool that we added was the travel planning tool. Whenever someone marks a place where he wants to go, the application prompts the names of friends with whom he might want to travel to that place. On mentioning the names of friends and auto-invite reached the friends.

Using Orkut and Facebook, this personalized map automatically got shared with the friends’ network of a user. The friends in turn comment and share their experiences of those locations as well.

The key aspect to note is that this strategy had all the right marketing elements in it. It was fun to use, launched at the right place and to the correct audience, viral in nature and inexpensive to create.

We launched our application where people were already present and networking with each other i.e. Orkut & Facebook. This application allowed these same users to express their travel interests, thoughts and aspirations. The cost that went in was that of the man hours spent in designing and developing the application. Creating a new community from scratch and launching an independent website would have been cost prohibitive. Various other big players in this space had their communities present for over 4-5 years in existence with moderate success. Facebook and Orkut also proved to be a place where competition was nil.

The application carried a powered by Zoomtra tag, that would help in brand recall. User interaction was taken care of by asking them to mark places they’ve visited and to rate their home towns and placed they’ve traveled in India. Above that, one could also share his/her India Dekha! Map with friends, invite new friends and one’s activity on India Dekha! was published in friends’ mini feeds. This ensured the viral spread of the word.


The launch was an instant success on both Facebook and Orkut.
Current Day Stats across both platforms:
* 1.5 lakh Registered Users.
* 4 lakh Reviews & Ratings.

The content on the travel community about various destinations and traveler tips is used to power our search results on Zoomtra.com for people planning to travel.

Source: Zoomtra
Reproduced with permission from Advertising professionals of India - facebook group

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