Traveloka has been deftly adapting its content marketing strategy to manage the COVID-19 situation. Like any other travel platform, it too was thrown into a whirlwind when the crisis hit.
While in the past the hotel and flight booking platform had been featuring promotions and various travel destinations worldwide, when the pandemic showed no signs of backing down, the company quickly evolved its content marketing to become relevant to its audience. It showcased pointers on how consumers can pass time by engaging in different indoor activities and exercises and also published content on Facebook with social distancing tips, comic strips, as well as Instagram templates that consumers can play with and share with friends.
In response to the pandemic, the company also tweaked its tagline “Traveloka first, ___ follows” to “#MaintainHealth first, Traveloka follows”. This was done in an effort to raise awareness among consumers to put their health as the utmost priority amidst the pandemic. To date, social media has played an important role in assisting Traveloka in its external communications. The company has been using Instagram as one of the main contact points for its customer care team, and created a Q&A in the form of a flow chart on Instagram for issues concerning refunds or rescheduling of flights and hotels. This was done after company saw a spike in requests from users since February 2020, especially those pertaining to refunds or rescheduling.
According to Veriyanta Kusuma (pictured), Traveloka’s head of community and social marketing, the number of requests were nearly 10 times compared to the status quo. Additionally, it also provided comprehensive information on the latest policies of its partners, such as airlines, regarding the pandemic to aid users in obtaining information on their bookings.
Kusuma told Marketing Interactive in an interview that during a crisis period, content marketing plays an huge role in maintaining the connection between the brand and its customers, whilst also managing the company’s reputation.
It is important to keep a pulse on what’s happening and communicate with the customers through relevant content during a crisis.
“We believe that brands need to keep their thought leadership among their customers and maintain a positive image amidst the situation, therefore when the crisis subsides, they will remain at the top of mind and preference,” Kusuma added. For instance, during the COVID-19 pandemic where Traveloka faced a surge of assistance requests from users up to 10 times higher than the normal situation, the brand attentively customised its social media content in order to address users’ requests. Thus it was able to provide the content with clear information on the refund or reschedule process to ease users in obtaining information that helps them with their travel booking.
As a digital platform itself, the company certainly places emphasis on using digital channels to communicate with consumers. Kusuma added that digital is one of the key mediums to directly connect with the audience, whether it is owned, earned or paid.
“Most consumers spend a lot of their time on digital and we also observe that many people also know about our products through digital channels,” he explained. As such, Traveloka utilises digital touchpoints such as social media to reach current and potential consumers.
Involve your community
Social media, in particular, has allowed individuals to become content creators and Traveloka believes in embracing community-based content marketing opportunities. Kusuma, who is also a speaker at Marketing Interactive's upcoming Content 360 virtual conference, said when embracing community-based content marketing, brands should define their objectives, success metrics and find the appropriate key content creators from the community.
“What do you want to achieve by embracing community-based content? It can be as simple as an alternative way of obtaining content to be a bigger objective in build brand advocacy through community content collaboration,” Kusuma explained.
He added that when it comes to success metrics, one example is to define it through the number of quality content. However in some cases, success metrics might vary depending on the brand. Also, selecting the appropriate contributors is important as they will serve to galvanise and engage the community. “Depending on the business needs, criteria [for selecting the key content creators] can be different,” Kusuma explained.
While getting involved in community-based content marketing can help make brands more relatable, Kusuma said quality control should be maintained for the submissions. Brands should have proper content asset management to ensure workflow, rights management, and usage are tracked and within the appropriate legal scope. Additionally, it is important to define the brand’s community playbook with thorough guidelines and clear terms and conditions. Even after checking all these boxes, brands should not rest on their laurels and ensure that community engagement is not a one-off instance.
“To enable a steady stream of community-based content, you need to maintain communications, build a sense of community within the contributor group, and define recognition or rewards mechanisms,” he explained.
Tackling the fragmented Southeast Asia market
The Southeast Asian country has six offices in the region – Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Ho Chi Minh, and Manila. For brands, a fragmented region such as Southeast Asia can be challenging but Traveloka is taking it in its stride.
“We orchestrate the content marketing strategy centrally [from our headquarters in Jakarta], but we also ensure there is plenty of room for our local markets to tailor the communication with messages that resonate better with their audiences,” Kusuma said.
He added that the one obvious difference in Southeast Asia is that there is no single common language. Therefore, content needs to be localised into different languages. “We also have to adapt to local customs, for example, by using the various local slangs to better connect with audiences in each market,” Kusuma explained.
He also cited different consumer preferences as another aspect that Traveloka has to take note when doing content marketing. In Indonesia, for example, Kusuma said that most consumers tend to engage with content concerning actionable experiences while those in Thailand prefer content that involves nature.