SriLankan Airlines has just concluded a massive three-month press/Internet promotion of Sri Lanka in Europe.
“We undertook a massive campaign promoting Sri Lanka in our European destinations by using the mainstream print media and their websites,” says SriLankan`s Manager Corporate Communications Victor Abeyesekera. “This combined press and Internet campaign was enormously successful.”
He added that with the current peace initiatives on, the national carrier felt that the time was right to do a major marketing push in Europe.
The campaign covered a cross-section of the mainstream consumer and travel print media in the UK, France and Switzerland, Where SriLankan Airlines operates. The press advertisements and websites of each publication lead potential customers to micro-sites in English, French and German which detail information about Sri Lanka and SriLankan Airlines.
“There was enormous interest in our campaign and we received 28,470 responses in the three months that the campaign ran,” says SriLankan`s Advertising Manager Priya Epitawela.
The micro-sites also allow a hyper-link to the SriLankan Airlines website. This campaign allowed the travel trade in Sri Lanka the advantage of creating a hyperlink from the SriLankan website to their own sites. Therefore Sri Lankan tourism, hotels, travel agents and tour operators could promote a whole gamut of facilities available to foreign visitors to Sri Lanka.
“We ran competitions which offered free air tickets and hotel accommodation in Sri Lanka and the Maldives as prizes to attract people to visit the micro-sites,” says Epitawela. Aitken Spence Hotels and John Keells Hotels offered free hotel accommodation. What was unique about this campaign is that the micro-sites enabled us to measure the effectiveness of the advertising,” says Abeyesekera.
Using Retro, a computerised system which can track the effectiveness of advertisements, SriLankan will be able to determine which publications were most useful in reaching target markets and obtain a database of potential clients who could be further targeted by means of direct mailers.
Retro also has the facility of tracking and forming a database of consumers who request more information about the airline or related products. This database has proved to be a vital source of sales leads for travel agents.
“As a second phase of this project, a tracking system will be formulated to determine how many of these sales leads have actually converted into real time sales, thus forming a direct link between advertising and sales,” says Epitawela.
In the UK, the Financial Times, Sunday Times, Times, the Guardian, The Observer, Brides (magazine), Travel Trade Gazette and Travel Weekly and their websites were included in this advertising campaign.
In France, SriLankan advertised in Le Monde, Le Figaro and L`Echo Touristique and their websites, while in Switzerland the airline advertised with Tages Anzeiger, Sonntags Zeitung and Schweizer Touristik and their websites.
The multinational agency Ogilvy Primary Contact was associated with SriLankan for this campaign. The campaign ran from January to March 2002.