Sterling Holidays: weekends just got longer

By Sohini Sen , afaqs!, Mumbai | In Advertising | January 05, 2015
The holiday company has come out with a digital campaign to let people know of the 14 long weekends they can plan their travels this year.

Sterling Holidays - Long Weekend Planner

There is nothing quite as exciting as the prospect of holidays as soon as a New Year begins. Knowing Indians, and the way they love to make vacations stretch, it is a good bet to say that some have already started planning the next long - or short - trip. And holiday company Sterling Holidays is lending a helping hand.

A day into 2015, Sterling started circulating a long weekend planner. The planner has been uploaded on Facebook and circulated on Whatsapp. Created with the intention of making the Whatsapp image go viral, the team has chosen three different designs.

The image simply highlights the 14 weekends, which can be clubbed with special holidays to make the weekend last longer. Where there are gaps of a single day or so, the company cheekily advises one to 'skip work' and travel.

Rahul Vengalil

""We will know if it has gone viral or not, when the message comes back to us on our phones," explains Rahul Vengalil, director, Isobar which handles Social Media for Sterling Holidays. "However, these were designed to let people know about the opportunity for these long holidays, therefore it depends on the circulation."

Atalbihari Baddar

The company has designed this not just to attract more members, but also to make people aware of the holidaying opportunities for the year. The idea is that even if non- members or casual holiday goers decide to use other methods of booking their holidays, the industry grows.

"Looking at the 14 long weekends in 2015, we thought of creating a calendar which can be easily shared and consumed on Facebook, twitter and WhatsApp. The calendar is designed in way that people can read and refer it from their mobile devices. At Sterling Holidays, we always try new ways to share travel and holidays related content information," said Atalbihari Baddar, head - web initiatives, Sterling Holidays.

To make the offer sweeter, Sterling Holidays is planning to introduce special rates during the long weekends.

"Sterling Holidays as a holiday company is slightly different from the other sectoral players. Unlike those, which allows only members to book accommodation and packages at their clubhouses, Sterling also invites non- members or guests to book resorts and enjoy the experience once in a while.

A percentage of Sterling's revenue comes from corporate meetings and events organised in its properties. For members, the same planner will be sent as a mailer. Posters will be displayed in the resorts and the customer relation branches throughout the country. However, the present communication - centered on extended weekends are targeted at the non- corporate clients since people tend to use longer weekends for personal and family vacations.

As of now Sterling Holidays is present in 18 destinations with a choice of 21 properties. It claims to have more than 100,000 members. Most of the enquiries come from on- ground activities while there is an increasing percentage of enquiries coming from digital. It is no surprise then that the present campaign is being pushed on the digital medium.

Sterling Holidays is a subsidiary of Thomas Cook India Group, after the latter bought Sterling's equity shares in an off- market transaction in October 2014. Post- merger, Sterling has been valued at Rs 870 crore.

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