A catchy jingle, diamond-shaped wipe shots and an overly filtered montage of young people—does that whet your appetite for travel?
It certainly worked for Contiki after it launched in 1962 when Kiwi John Anderson took a group of young Australians and New Zealanders on a six-week minivan camping trip across Europe.
Fast-forward to today and the jingle and retro transitions may have been retired, but the filters remain on Instagram and the montages live on through YouTube on the channels of vloggers acting as influencers for Contiki.
It was one of the first brands to start working with influencers 15 years ago and during that time, they’ve gone from radio personalities doing live crosses from trips in Europe and Asia to social media stars sharing videos and photos on Snapchat, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube.
Last year, Tony Laskey, director of marketing and communications at Contiki’s parent company, The Travel Corporation, told StopPress that influencers are like “word of mouth” on steroids because the only difference between an influencer and regular person sharing their experience from a trip is the size of the audience.
“Contiki started 54 years ago and all the way through history Contiki has built the brand on word of mouth. Now it’s almost instantaneous, people can post a picture and say ‘Hey, I’m in Rome, I’m at the Colosseum, look what I’m doing’.”
And for those who are keen to experience another part of the world but want to try before they buy, the travel company is also playing in the virtual reality space with a series of 360-degree-videos.
Now, Laskey says that despite having come a long way in the last five and a half decades, the one thing that remains the same is that young Kiwis are still passionate about travel and experiencing the world.
In 1962 the average traveller was 20 years old and travelled to England, France, Italy and Switzerland. Now, the average traveller is 26 and jetting off to the Mediterranean and Central Europe, closely followed by Southern USA, Japan, Thailand, Canada and New Zealand.
Travellers are also taking shorter but more frequent trips and food has become a just as important as sightseeing, with 57 percent of travellers surveyed by Contiki in 2016 agreeing that food is one of the most important travel experiences. To meet demand, Contiki has added foodie itineraries throughout the Mediterranean and Southern USA.