Internova Launches Campaign Promoting Travel Advisors

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Internova Travel Group, the travel advisor network, has launched a marketing campaign aimed at stimulating the use of travel advisors as the industry recovers. The campaign is called “Go Human. Book Human” and directs consumers to a BookHuman.Travel website where they can be connected with Internova advisors.

J.D. O’Hara, CEO, said the company has always done a great job at marketing to existing customers but there is a need to focus on the broader consumer – those who have not used a travel advisor in the past and might not even know they still exist and have been thriving. He said that while online travel agencies may have a role, machines will never replace what humans do, adding that the mandate for the campaign was simple: convince people to book with a travel advisor and that will lift the entire industry.

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The new campaign was introduced by Brent Rivard, chief marketing officer, who said the pandemic brought to life “the horrors of travel disruptions,” as well as fantastic stories of advisors helping people – getting them home, obtaining refunds and credits, etc.

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Saying “we might never have as attentive an audience as we do today” as far as selling the services of advisors, Rivard continued, “we wanted to make people fall in love with the idea of booking travel with people.” Artificial intelligence, he said, “is programmed to sell, not care.”

Initially, the “Go Human. Book Human.” campaign will run for 12 weeks and focus on New York and Los Angeles with digital content, including paid and organic social media, long and short-form video and public relations. It will focus on the top 25 zip codes and consumers aged 25 to 64 with Facebook and Instagram targeting. While the initial emphasis will be on leisure, business travelers will also be targeted, and the campaign will broaden to other segments down the line.

The overall message will be the superiority of humans booking travel with taglines like: “If machines can’t dream, how will they plan your dream vacation?” Another is: “0% of bots understand the importance of making the last flight out.”

When consumers get to the BookHuman.Travel site, they will be directed by filters (geography, specialty, etc.) to an appropriate advisor as quickly and efficiently as possible. While video chat, phone chat and texting will all be options, it is expected, said Rivard, that a majority of the exchanges will be video chat, which people have gotten used to during the pandemic.

At first, members of the Global Travel Collection (GTC) – Internova’s most upscale brands – will be involved. The campaign will launch with 33 advisors, but that is expected to grow rapidly. Angie Licea, president of GTC, said the point of the campaign is to have consumers ask “Why would you not use an advisor? The cost of not doing so is too great.”

She also said the company is investing in the entire industry with this campaign and “a ton” of advisors are already on a waitlist for phase 2. If all GTC advisors are interested, said Licea, they will be welcome because the infrastructure is in place. To be eligible, advisors need to sign onto a chat platform and complete a profile. There is no cost to advisors and no preferential treatment. Advisors were chosen to create a good mix as far as geography, specialties, etc.

The 1300 GTC advisors were shown the campaign this week, said Don Jones, chief marketing officer for GTC, and their enthusiasm and engagement was “overwhelming and gratifying, giving us confidence we were on the right track.” He said these members “might be the best advisors in the business but not necessarily the best marketers.”

O’Hara said this kick-off twelve-week period is only “the tip of the iceberg” as far as advisor participation and the eventual reach of the campaign.



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