Yatra.com's latest campaign, #ReliveHappiness, recreates the fond memories of a young girl's family vacation to Bhopal.
A family vacation holds a special place in our hearts. It is usually the first time children get to see new destinations and truly experience the other world which exists beyond their homes. Mostly, the only way to relive those fond memories is through photographs. Taking this nostalgic route, online travel agent Yatra.com decided to recreate a family vacation for one lucky winner of its #ReliveHappiness contest, conducted on digital media. The result is a heart-warming story of Surmai Bhatt, a young woman from Mumbai, whose family vacation to Bhopal was recreated by Yatra.
The campaign clearly targets the typical Indian family which has been brought up with solid family values. But, with more and more adults moving out of their cities and leading busy lives, is the concept of family vacations increasingly becoming redundant? Dhall disagrees.
"Holidays have mostly been synonymous with family vacations. We have seen that over 37 per cent of our vacation bookings on Yatra are family trips. The core of the campaign came in when we saw that Indians still prefer travelling with families at least once a year and, as a brand, we wanted to show that we understand the roots that we come from," he states.
Despite growth in the family trips segment, Yatra, like other online travel portals, faces stiff competition from unorganised travel players. Dhall says they are trying to overcome this challenge by providing effective customisation to suit travellers' needs.
"For them, family packages are difficult to design as every member in the family has a different requirement. This is why portals like ours customise packages for people depending on requirements and budgets. Family packages are a big chunk and cannot be negated as they are growing year-on-year," he points out.
"Since the video comprised of real people and not professional actors, there were some apprehensions initially. Gradually, our video crew interacted with them and made them feel at ease. They were asked to talk directly to us without worrying about the camera rolling," informs Suva Ghosh, director, India, Brandmovers, Inc.
Yatra.com was founded in 2006. Besides flight and hotel bookings, the portal also gives users the option of making railway reservations. Yatra.com is backed by Norwest Venture Partners (NVP), Reliance Capital, Network 18, Intel Capital, Vertex Venture Holdings and IDG Ventures.
It competes with the likes of MakeMyTrip, ClearTrip, Expedia, Goibibo, Via and Hotels.com, among others.
"It is a nice, slice-of-life campaign and will appeal to families. It beautifully reflected the trials of busy lives we live today," he says.
Gupta finds it refreshing to see online travel companies going beyond sales and features in their advertising, and focussing on what makes people travel.
Spandan Mishra, head - strategic planning, Rediffusion Y&R, finds the campaign a little underwhelming. He feels that, while the effort is admirable, the benchmarks in this category are solid with the likes of MakeMyTrip's 'Uncancel' campaign, Expedia's global work with 'Paris' and even Yatra's previous 'Ehsaan Mat Lo'.
"From sibling rivalry to nostalgia to the dysfunction of nuclear families, there's a lot going on, but does it come together to heighten the magic of the big idea of 'Relive Happiness'? Nostalgia is a brilliantly rich storytelling territory, but this film tends to labour rather than touch," he notes.
However, he lauds Yatra's choice of Bhopal as the 'vacation spot', and the Hindi speaking parents and the general middle-class flavour of the film. While the film will influence brand salience and appeal, Mishra doubts if it will impact numbers in this "very price-conscious" market.