Indian Premier League (IPL), India's favorite cricket season is not just about cricket. There's more to it. IPL has made travel brands put their innovation cap on.
The league is into its sixth year now, with nine teams from various parts of India battling in the field. There are international cricketers too in the game.
There are a total of 76 matches played from April 3rd to May 26th (finals). IPL is all about cricket, thrill, and more importantly - money.
In IPL 2013, a total of 37 players were bought for a total of about $12 million.
IPL can be compared with Super Bowl in the U.S in terms of popularity. During this year's Super Bowl, Oreo posted a remarkable tweet that brings out many marketing lessons for travel brands.
So, that's a quick look at the Indian Premier League, the biggest cricket season in India.
But, what are travel brands doing with IPL? We'll tell you in detail.
Travel brands are innovative in leveraging the cricket fever in the country. They have taken all possible steps to reap the most benefit from the 50-day festival.
MakeMyTrip, India's biggest OTA has signed up as the principal sponsor for Sunrises Hyderabad, one of the nine teams in IPL. This contract is for a year with a recurring clause.
The OTA has launched various social media marketing campaigns already and its also aiming a TV commercial featuring few players of Sunrisers Hyderabad.
Deep Kalra, Founder & CEO of MakeMyTrip says,
"We are delighted to partner with Sunrisers Hyderabad and reach out to millions of IPL fans through this association. The IPL demonstrates the synergies of the twin passions of cricket and travel, with fans following their teams to match-venues across different parts of the country."
MakeMyTrip has launched three different campaigns:
a) Aaj Ka Raja
The title that's in Hindi translates to 'Today's King'.
How it works:
- Users have to book either a hotel or a flight+hotel product with the deal code 'AAJKARAJA'.
- Everyday, a winner is chosen at random.
- The winner receives a bunch of goodies: Return flight ticket to Hyderabad, Corporate pass to watch Sunrises Hyderabad match, a luxury hotel stay, airport transfer, and Sunrises team goodies.
Recently, Kalra has announced acquisition plans for MakeMyTrip. In which he says that flights account for 70% of the business and hotel and packages constitute 30%.
"More and more growth will come from hotels and packages. Last eight or nine quarters we have been growing at 50+% on the hotel side.
We are bullish on hotels and packages. Air industry will take some time to come back. By the end of the year, the air industry will be much healthier.
Last year, the growth in the hotel alone was over 100% in transaction terms while overall in hotels and packages it was 60+%."
Kalra also hopes that the ratio of air and hotel will become 50:50 in two years.
So, the 'Aaj Ka Raja' promotion enables selling more hotels and packages, as Kalra expects.
b) Be The Umpire
Everyday, the social media team at MakeMyTrip posts a picture from the match see grab below) and asks its fans to answer 'Tell us what happened next'.
The goal is simple: Engage with audience, get the content shared with friends, boost the Facebook EdgeRank. Win-win-win for MakeMyTrip, IPL, and fans.
C) Predict & Win
Everyday, the social media team posts a link to a question that users have to predict and answer. Example: How much runs would Tendulkar score today?
Clicking on the link in MakeMyTrip's Facebook page takes the user to a dedicated page in MakeMyTrip website where user will see the question and answer it.
Winners will be announced daily, and the winner gets cricket memorabilia, T-shirts, autographed bats and Rs. 1000 hotel vouchers.
This contest drives traffic to the OTA website, enables to sell their hotel inventory that again aligns with the MakeMyTrip vision for the next two years.
You see how each contest has nicely been blended with business goals?
What is commendable is the extra effort MakeMyTrip has taken to create dedicated website pages for each of the contests.
TaxiForSure is India's online car rental aggregator portal.
The company launched a couple of social media based campaigns that includes a quiz competition (in Twitter) and Facebook based campaign (refer the grab below) where users are encouraged to book at least three taxis between two IPL matches.
Everyday a winner is chosen and the winner gets a free ticket for a match.
Goibibo is one of India's leading OTA. The company has launched its own version of game, that it calls - Travel Premier League (TPL).
TPL is aimed at offering discounts of up to 90% on domestic flights based on the result of everyday's match. It's a very unique campaign.
How it works
- Each team in IPL representa a city in India. Among the nine teams (cities), each team is allocated an initial seed money of Rs 200 (USD 4).
- In everyday's match - the winning team gets an increase of Rs 10, the losing team gets a decrease of Rs 10.
- So, day-by-day, a team's money can increase or decrease, depending on the match result.
- Users can book a domestic flight (also return) between the two cities (teams) that are playing on a particular day. On the booking day, team's money score will be the discount offered. The departing city (team) score will be considered for discount.
The concept is simple: Every time your favourite team wins, you score big with discounts on Goibibo. The more your team wins, discounts on your tickets increase.
Today, April 10, there is a match between Punjab and Chennai. So, users can reserve a flight ticket for: Punjab to Chennai or Chennai to Punjab.
As on date, Punjab's money kitty score is 210 and Chennai stands at 190.
So, when a customer books a Punjab to Chennai ticket, a discount of Rs 210 will be applicable. For a Chennai to Punjab ticket, a discount of Rs 190 is applicable.
Sanjay Bhasin, MD of Goibibo says,
"Goibibo Travel Premier League is aimed at engaging intimately with our community members and leveraging social media to the hilt.
We want to live very close to our travellers, deliver disproportionate benefits to them and constantly learn from them: Thereby enabling us to constantly innovate and improve our services.
We will soon extend TPL to Hotels vertical too.”
Travel brands have leveraged time-bound or seasonal marketing for good. Brands are in constant look out of opportunities to earn that extra revenue, acquire new customers and engage existing customers.
No coin is left unturned.