Great Eastern gets Singaporeans travelling with latest virtual platform

Great Eastern has unveiled a new virtual travel and booking platform named "UPGREAT Virtual Vacay" to promote its UPGREAT mobile app. Launched in collaboration with lifestyle and travel website The Travel Intern and shopping platform RebateMango, the insurance company looks to increase its brand relevance and bring value to consumers with its new offering.

In a statement to Marketing, Ryan Cheong, managing director of digital for business, Great Eastern, said the new initiative is aimed to keep its consumers engaged. It is also to consistently grow the number of downloads of the UPGREAT app and increase the company's connection and resonance with consumers of today.

Cheong added that digital advertising and social media platforms are used to promote the platform. "We took a mobile-first approach to the build of the UPGREAT Virtual Vacay website, and this thinking has likewise translated into how we developed and deployed digital assets for this campaign," he said. Additionally, Great Eastern has developed mobile-optimised digital assets such as digital ads and videos to promote the UPGREAT Virtual Vacay through its Facebook and Instagram channels. Foxtrot Charlie and Digitas are the creative and media agencies behind the initiative respectively. The company also collaborated with The Travel Intern to design virtual travel journeys, and RebateMango to bring travel-related promotions and rewards to its consumers.

The UPGREAT Virtual Vacay platform aims to offer the comfort and safety of travelling from Singaporeans' own homes with both virtual overseas trips and customised local staycation itineraries. Singaporeans can "travel" to five overseas destinations - Japan, New Zealand, Korea, Taiwan and Vietnam - through a series of curated virtual tours with virtual guide Sam. They can also customise their travel experience and decide where to go, what to do, and what to eat on the virtual tours. The virtual tours for Japan, New Zealand and Taiwan are now available, with Korea and Vietnam tours coming soon.

With each registration done on the virtual platform, Great Eastern will be providing a complimentary one-year GREAT Value Protect plan, which provides a daily hospital cash benefit if one is hospitalised due to COVID-19, dengue fever, food poisoning, accidents, yellow fever or Zika, as well as death benefits due to accidents or COVID-19. The company is also offering its travel insurance “Travel E@sy” through UPGREAT, which allows consumers to reserve their travel insurance plan for any future travel from 2021 at a discounted price. Marketing has reached out to Great Eastern for additional information.

Some of the activities that have been launched virtually include go-karting through Shibuya, Japan, exploring the Hobbiton movie set in New Zealand, and visiting Taiwan's night markets. The platform also offers customised staycation itineraries designed to help users uncover new sights and sounds in Singapore. The itineraries include exploring places such as Chinatown, Kampong Glam and Downtown Core. Additionally, Great Eastern has tied up with travel partners such as Booking.com, Hotels Combined and Agoda to offer promotions, rewards, and travel bundles. Users can book their trips through UPGREAT, Great Eastern’s lifestyle and rewards app, without worrying about cancellation fees.

Cheong said: “The love for travel is such a big part of our Singaporean DNA. With UPGREAT Virtual Vacay, we aim to bring customised experiences and travel benefits to our hundreds of thousands of UPGREAT members and all who can’t wait to get out and about."

"As the Life company, we aim to delight our followers on our digital channels in the areas most exciting to them, and UPGREAT Virtual Vacay is a great way to do this. Like most Singaporeans, we believe in planning ahead for later,” he added.  

Hendric Tay, co-founder of The Travel Intern, added: "Collaborating with Great Eastern to design virtual travel journeys was immensely fun for the team. We hope this can bring delight to anyone who has had to cancel their travel adventures this year, regardless of their travel styles.”

Great Eastern is not the first brand to tap into the idea of virtual interactive experiences. Earlier in May, travel booking platform Klook launched a home-based experiences initiative titled "Klook Home", which allowed the public to participate in virtual tours overseas. The virtual interactive experiences brought users across continents for exclusive interactive tours of famous landmarks such as Casa Batllo in Barcelona and even popular filming locations like the Old Royal Naval College in Greenwich, London. All sessions are hosted live and participants will also have a chance to speak directly with expert guides or animal handlers from attractions all around the world. 

Separately, Wildlife Reserves Singapore also launched virtual experiences such as its "Hello from the Wild Side" initiative during the circuit break period, which allows the public to purchase virtual meet-and-greets with WRS' animals and have their questions answered. According to Lin, these virtual experiences will allow WRS to reach out and engage with guests who are not able to visit the attraction yet. She added that it enables WRS to transcend boundaries and continue to bring meaningful wildlife experiences to people’s homes. 

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