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Inside Thomas Cook’s real-time YouTube strategy that’s garnered 5m views in 4 months

Late last year travel company Thomas Cook announced that it would be adopting a real-time content marketing strategy to better target and engage its broad audience of travellers. A recent part of that activity turned to focus on its Club 18-30 holiday brand which Thomas Cook created a new YouTube series that has gone on to attact 5 million views in just four months.

Working with ITN Productions, Thomas Cook wanted to provide its audience with relevant content quickly, a strategy that saw ITN Production’s Real Time Studios produce Club 18-30 TV fronted by presenter Andrea Lilly, and holiday reps acting as roving reporters.

So far 100 videos have been posted between June and September 2015 – spurring YouTube subscriptions to jump 180 per cent – and production from brief to delivery is 6 hours with multiple versions produced to service different social channels including Facebook and Instagram.

“Club 18-30 has a wide range of customers spanning people who are in education and some who aren’t and reaching that wide audience can be quite difficult for us to do through paid media,” Jamie Queen, marketing and ecommerce director at Thomas Cook told The Drum.

“This audience doesn’t respond as well to typical paid media so we saw this as an opportunity to speak to that audience in a different way and in a much more relevant and timely way that traditional media offers.”

Each of the shows coincides with key points in the holiday week, for example Monday is 'The Recovery' looking back at the weekend’s activities and confessions from holiday makers. Wednesday's 'Holiday Hacks' provides tips on how to make the best of your holiday. Friday's 'Weekend Hype' creates a buzz about the weekend and includes topical news on which DJ's are playing where and footage of the biggest parties and from Club 18-30 resorts.

While Queen declined to answer the specific effect seen on sales of Club 13-80 holidays over the last four months, he said Thomas Cook is “very satisfied with the commercial performance of the activity.” so much so that the company is betting on YouTube video as a key part of its marketing strategy going forward.

“It will definitely change the way that we advertise for Club 18-30 and we will continue to provide relevant and timely content to Club 18-30 customers in this format and continue to try new formats,” said Queen. “I’m pretty convinced this won’t be our final and we will continue to iterate the approach.”

Natalie Mortimer

Natalie is The Drum's fashion, design, luxury and food & drink reporter.

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