MakeMyTrip: Book - Cancel - Uncancel - Fly

By Saumya Tewari , afaqs!, New Delhi | In Digital | March 19, 2015
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In its latest campaign, promotes its newly launched 'Uncancel' feature, which enables one to re-book a cancelled trip, at a later date, without incurring any additional cost.

Travel always serves a larger purpose in life - from building a career to meeting a loved one to exploring a destination on one's bucket list. Taking a cue from this reality, online travel agent (OTA) has created a digital campaign titled 'Uncancel'.

'Uncancel' is a feature that enables one to re-book a cancelled trip, at a later date, without incurring any additional cost. The idea is to showcase how a travel plan is more than just a transaction.

The film has been created by FCB Ulka and is almost four minutes long. It is about a 23 year-old who meets his estranged father, after booking, then cancelling, and then 'uncancelling' his ticket. His parents got divorced soon after his birth and he has never met his father. This fact makes the trip an emotionally charged one for the young protagonist.

The film ends with a super that reads: 'A first-of-its kind feature that helps you make those trips that you are forced to cancel... Because some trips are more than just trips.'

Saujanya Shrivastava

Sachin Das Burma

Saujanya Shrivastava, chief marketing officer, MakeMyTrip, tells us that customers expressed their disappointment over the way last minute changes in their travel plans, and consequent booking cancellations, always cost them a lot more than the original trip did.

The cost difference is what deters people from undertaking the trip again, we learn. "This sentiment cuts across age groups and locations. The number is substantial enough for us to launch a product aimed at un-doing a cancellation," he says.

A series of films, showcasing real-life situations that might lead to cancellations of the regrettable kind, is being rolled out. The films are targeted at consumers in the 20 to mid-40s age bracket. The films are being released on YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

Sachin Das Burma, group creative director, FCB Ulka, says the idea was to re-position MakeMyTrip - from 'India's biggest travel site' to 'a brand that cares about people's emotions instead of profits'.

He says, "So, we thought - 'What if we could conceptualise a product feature, that could help bring back smiles, without really caring about the bottom line?'" The campaign, thus, helps position MakeMyTrip as a brand that understands the emotions attached to a trip.

A long list of terms and conditions accompanies this new feature: It can be availed March 1 onwards, on air tickets and hotel bookings for travel/stay within India. It applies only to return-trip bookings. The re-booking has to be done within four days. The trip has to be taken within three months from the date of interaction with the 'Uncancel Customer Care Desk', which is followed by a written 'Mailer Confirmation' from the 'Uncancel Team'.

The new travel date needs to be at least 15 days ahead of the initial booking date. The feature is applicable only if it involves the same set of passengers who were scheduled to take the original trip, and if the 'from' and 'to' places/airline/hotel remain the same. The feature is not applicable on 'blackout dates' which include peak travel occasions like Diwali, Holi, long weekends, New Year, etc.

Does it work?

Jayanto Banerjee

Navneet Virk

Jayanto Banerjee, national planning director, Hakuhodo Percept, finds the insight and execution fresh and far removed from the "typical holiday and business codes" that the travel industry has come to specialise in.

"The feature comes through very clearly. They have managed to create a new word, 'Uncancel', and build a nice story around it," he says. Since it's high on the emotional quotient, the ad, he predicts, will work with the urban Indian.

However, Banerjee would have liked the film to end differently. "There is a sense of predictability in the story," he says. He finds the "Thank you, MakeMyTrip..." angle at the end rather "corny."

"The brand plug could have been more subtle," he says.

Navneet Virk, senior partner and executive creative director, RK Swamy BBDO, gives the film a thumbs up, despite finding it a tad "filmi."

"I'm all for storytelling... human beings are wired to remember stories, not facts and features," she appreciates, concluding that it is, therefore, a good idea for brands to try and reach people through stories, as opposed to "vanilla functional ads."

The film, Virk feels, will resonate with "anyone who plans and then cancels a trip, either on an impulse, or due to some unforeseen developments," before adding, "There's just a bit of a hole in the story line - it appears as though the mother and father have been on amicable terms. So it's a little incredible that the boy has never met his father that or the father has never bothered to meet his child."

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