Lonely Planet: Escape Express arrives on digital platform

By Satrajit Sen , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | August 14, 2013
The campaign aims to drive engagement for Lonely Planet's recently launched Short Escapes from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru series.

Lonely Planet India, the Indian arm of the global travel guide book publisher, has launched 'Escape Express', a digital campaign with an objective to drive engagement for its India website and also to generate awareness around its travel guides, more specifically the recently launched Short Escapes from Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru. The series 'Short Escapes' is aimed at the metro dwellers looking for a quick break (http://escapeexpress.lonelyplanet.in/).

Creatives for Escape Express campaign

Creatives for Escape Express campaign

Creatives for Escape Express campaign

Escape Express, conceptualised by digital agency Iffort, was launched on August 1 and is divided into two phases. In Phase I, the campaign asks the website visitors to board a virtual train that moves from Delhi to Mumbai and Bengaluru, divided into three legs. During the journey through each leg, the visitor is asked several questions based on locations covered in Lonely Planet's Short Escapes series. A number of questions must be answered in order to progress to the next leg. Once all three legs are completed, participants progress to Phase II.

Phase II is called 'Share Your Escape Diary', where the participant shares his or her travel experience via an article, photographs or a video which will be hosted on Lonelyplanet.in. Those who complete this stage are eligible to win the prizes. Winners will be selected based on public votes and the judges' decision.

Participants can also win prizes under various other categories that include '50 Early Bird Prizes', 'Most Creative Tweet' and others. There will be another category called Surprise Questions which will feature nine surprise questions; three winners will be selected for each of these questions on the basis of creativity and quality of answers.

Phase II of the contest and voting began on August 13 and is underway. The contest ends on August 31 and the announcement of Grand Prize winners will be made on September 5.

The success of the Escape Express campaign is in the tight integration with Facebook and Twitter. The tweets with the hashtag #escapeexpress have seen 1,400 tweets from 950 unique users with a reach of 1,50,000+ accounts generating over 13,00,000 impressions within two weeks of launch.

In addition, many bloggers/travel bloggers have spread the word about the Escape Express campaign through their blog-posts. As of now, the campaign claims to have attracted 2100 passengers on board the Escape Express, before the half-way stage in the journey.

Sesh Seshadri

Speaking about the campaign, Sesh Seshadri, director, Lonely Planet India, says, "Escape Express, Lonely Planet's innovative digital campaign, presents the opportunity for consumers to engage with the Lonely Planet brand via various interactive online media and win hosts of exciting prizes. Like our guides enable travellers to get to the heart of the destination, Escape Express enables the customers to escape to their choicest destinations around Delhi, Mumbai and Bengaluru virtually. They get to participate, answer simple questions and share their travel experience via online media."

Started in 1973, Lonely Planet enables curious travellers to experience the world and get to the heart of a place via travel guidebooks to every destination on the planet. The company's 4th wholly owned office was established in Gurgaon in 2011 and has come to India with a new range of Lonely Planet travel guides for the Indian travellers.

In 2012, Lonely Planet appointed Noida-based agency Iffort as its digital partner. As a specialist agency, Iffort's role was to extend to the full digital spectrum, including rolling out strategic community engagement and search engine optimisation programmes to position the guidebooks among the target audience in India.

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