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The Eiffel Tower, All Yours!

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Insight

HomeAway is an established and successful hosting enterprise.  For some consumers, however, it lives in the shadow of Airbnb, the poster child for the sharing economy. Guests and hosts were being lured away by the easy-come-easy-go nature of the Airbnb ‘hosting’. France in particular was suffering with brand consideration at a lowly 11% while Airbnb’s was 22%. The sharing economy was all the rage, even when planning vacations it seems.  

Market research uncovered a simple human truth though. Humans NEED to get away to spend time with their family and friends. There are lots of people who feel vacation is not a time to waste sharing with strangers. HomeAway wanted to become an agent for change. It wanted to awaken the world to a better vacation where people can have it all to themselves. No compromise. HomeAway has WHOLE houses to help you get truly away from it all with the whole family.

The rallying cry? Get HomeAway from it all.  

To cut through it needed to create talk and wonder that would bring a greater volume of site traffic and buzz and awareness around this offering in 2016. It started by becoming the ‘Official Host in Paris’ for the one of the biggest events in the year - Euro2016.

How could agency Blue449 use that to make HomeAway more famous than Airbnb and change the way people think of their vacations?

Strategy

Sponsorship of the Euro2016s brought with it all the usual publicity and naming entitlements but the agency had an appetite for a WHOLE lot more. While the eyes of the world were turned towards the football events, and brands competed for attention in and around the stadiums or the mass media veering the event, Blue449 did what HomeWay does best: Create a whole new vacation experience in a whole new property for family and friends... in the Eiffel Tower!

In true brand once-in-a-lifetime style, an agreement was reached for HomeAway to have access to the building. While this was a perfect match to its own ambition, the agency needed to ensure this golden opportunity stayed true to the stature of the location and the class of HomeAway’s own offering.

Working as an integrated team, ‘The Eiffel Tower, All Yours’ idea was born. HomeAway would build a dazzling home in the Eiffel Tower where, for 30 days, a series of competition winners could celebrate Euro 2016 and Paris. Night and day.

Central to the strategy was a global competition inviting people to share what they and their family would do if ‘The Eiffel Tower was all yours for the night?’ A 10-week calendar of communications was designed across HomeAway’s own channels, PR, media placement and events to raise excitement and drive entries (pre), share and celebrate the winner experiences and the HomeAway Euro2016 events (during) and relive the highlights and hot topics (post). All efforts would direct people to the HomeAway site, where people could not only enter the competition, they could also see an unprecedented listing of the Eiffel Tower alongside other tempting family homes in Paris and beyond.

The whole Eiffel Tower apartment for you, your friends and family - now that is getting HomeAway from it!

Execution

Creating an apartment in the Eiffel Tower was a genuine world first. In itself a large installation, Blue449 gambled on it being a big enough idea that it would not need to spend a lot in paid media. With such an emphasis on a hoped for buzz, it focused the media on the need to be shareable, interactive and its ability to help react to campaign buzz as it took off. This meant it became a largely digital campaign where it focused activities around three moments across three core markets (France, UK and Germany).

1. Pre Tournament buzz to drive competition entries - Partnership with Buzzfeed and Sharethrough to create a sense of it being a hot topic across the three countries.

2. Travelling to the tournament - OOH in German Airports and digital display across Last Minute.com travel site in all markets.

3. In and around the tournament - Interstitials across devices targeting nationals from the three countries who are in Paris during Euro 2016. This included RATP app (Paris Public Transport) and other mobile partners. Alongside that it had digital banners in and around Euro 2016 coverage in tradition media brands such as Le Parisien to underline HomeAway’s official involvement in the tournament. To truly build interest among those navigating their way around the city for the tournament the agency used traditional media in the form of OOH in and around Paris Metro.

Results

The campaign smashed all targets.

Nearly 14,000 incremental listings were attributable, representing +58%YoY over the campaign period vs 2015. Retention of existing listings also improved by 6%, which, together with new net-listings, represented a projected 6.7 million revenue return on the Euro2016 investment within two years. With massive PR and social buzz around the activation (valued at over $7million) total ROI amounted to a factor of 3.1 versus brand investment. It even broke Buzzfeed’s own records (118 times their normal CTR benchmarks).

Branded site traffic to HomeAway sites across the three countries at the last week of the campaign was 6,331,320 compared to 4,841,849 at the same point the previous year (+30% YoY) or 4,411,091 the week before the campaign started (+43%).

Significantly, brand consideration across the three markets all grew from May to June, while Airbnb’s consideration decreased. In France, brand consideration for HomeAway grew from 11% to 19%, overtaking Airbnb who dropped from 22% to 16%.

With nearly 925 million people who were positively involved in the campaign, 22.7 million Facebook views and 300 million tweets, this campaign certainly inspired a step-change in how people considered HomeAway and over delivered on the brand promise of ‘getting HomeAway from it all’.

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Brand:
HomeAway
Brand Owner:
Expedia
Category:
Travel/Airlines
Region:
France
Germany
United Kingdom
date:
April - July 2016
Agency:
Blue449
Media Channel:
Digital,Events,Out-of-Home,PR
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