blog_, business_, client news_, out and about_, photo_, siren team news_, travel & pr_

Last week 65 travel agents and two journalists from TTG and Travel Biz turned up at Gatwick airport ready to embark on Barbados’ Mega Fam to celebrate the 65 wonderful years that British Airways has safely carried UK travellers to its paradise shores.

In partnership with TTG, Barbados Tourism Marketing Inc. and British Airways ran a competition for travel agents to win a place on the fam trip to explore and experience the island in all its glory. Siren hosted the media along with a group of 20 excited agents, on the trip.

The group was split across three luxury hotels including Turtle Beach, Seabreeze Beach House, and the recently opened The Sands Barbados.

After touching down on the scorching tarmac, the group were straight into their busy itinerary, from the Island Safari, heritage railway tour and cave explorations to site visits of a diverse mix of hotels on island. The trip encompassed all the best bits of Barbados and showcased the plethora of activities available. Barbados is a favourite for winter sun seekers but it has so much more to offer than simply sun, sand, and sea. 

On Friday morning the agents were hosted by Sandals resort where they took part in a mini trade show, this was a great opportunity to meet all the hotel partners, receive all their news and updates and create lasting relationships from which they can move forward and sell the destination in the future.

The Barbados Olympics was one of the highlights of the week, agents and media battled it out in a race of their choice; either taking to the waves for a 100m swim, running a mile on the open road, as well hitting the countryside tracks for a 5k cycle; and for the adrenaline junkies, the obstacle course at the Barbados Ninja Throw Down put them through their paces.

We are happy to say that though our Siren did not win …or even finish the course… she did tackle every obstacle with commitment and enthusiasm… until she fell off the monkey bars and was dunked in the pool #lifeasasiren #goneswimming

The final night saw the agents dancing the night away with rum in hand and soca beats pulsing through the air as they sailed the sea on a catamaran cruise.

By Sunday night no one wanted to leave and our Siren was left knocking on hotel doors and scouring rum shacks for all her wayward sheep.  To the disappointment of the agents, and the relief of our CEO, the trip returned all heads accounted for and not one extra stowed away in a suitcase.

SUCCESS!

Want to know more about Barbados? Visit www.visitbarbados.org

Got a destination that needs representation? Give us a call

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blog_, out and about_, travel & pr_

What is luxury? I am fairly confident that if you asked 100 people, you would get 100 different answers. To some, it would be having the time to appreciate the small things in life. To others, it would be related to space and freedom, whilst others might describe luxury simply as the ability to indulge in the consumption of material goods. If even defining the word luxury is hard enough, imagine trying to find a phrase or description that successfully describes luxury travel – well, I can tell you now, it is almost impossible.

Last week, Siren Comms_ was invited to the first ever TTG Luxury Summit to cover current trends and opportunities in luxury travel, putting a wide range of topics under the spotlight to challenge the sector on what it needs to do to stay relevant in an ever-changing environment.

 

The full day’s itinerary mixed thought-provoking keynote sessions from the likes of Ben Fogle, Elegant Resorts’ Lisa Fitzell, Lydia Forte of Rocco Forte Hotels and Dr Antonia Ward, plus moderated panel debates and interactive audience sessions. For the first time in this format, the event was held in association with Siren’s client Celebrity Cruises as headline sponsor – all part of the build up towards the launch of their first new ship for 10 years, and the maritime embodiment of the concept of ‘modern luxury, Celebrity Edge, just weeks away.




The main findings, trends and updates from the day can be seen below, with the most important point for luxury businesses being the need for adaptation – change is the only thing that is inevitable!

 

Summary: 

  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and robots will take over elements of the travel industry, but the human touch, and insider knowledge, that luxury travel customers demand – and which luxury agents can offer – will be hard to entirely replace.
  • Choose content and storytelling over advertising – it evokes a stronger emotional response in the consumer
  • Luxury travel has nothing to do with age, culture, gender, it is a mind-set
  • Embracing a digital delivery doesn’t have to mean sacrificing the personal touch


Our advice to clients and industry advocates is to remember that while the 21st Century definition of luxury means it isn’t what it used to be, it would seem that people are far more driven by personal events and experiences now than material objects. So an industry like ours that trades in the creation of experience should capitalise on the advantage it has.

Jenna Osborne

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blog_, client news_

Last week, Siren’s Celebrity Cruises team was busy as we worked with our client to deliver an exclusive ship yard tour of their new ship Celebrity Edge, in Saint-Nazaire, France for a hand-picked group of top-tier trade, consumer and cruise specialist media from the UK and Ireland. Little did they know that, while there, they would also be the first to learn that the next ship from Celebrity Cruises’ Edge Class series, Celebrity Apex, will be launched and be named in the UK in April 2020.

 

Our group included representatives from The Sunday Times, Mail Online, Sleeper Magazine, Travel Weekly, TTG and the Daily Telegraph, and fellow journalists from across Europe and the US. They were hosted on their tour of Celebrity Edge by Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd, and Lisa Lutoff-Perlo, President and CEO of Celebrity Cruises. They were shown Edge’s Stateroom with Infinite Balcony and twin-level Edge Villas, the swimming pool deck, Eden restaurant and The Spa, and the ship’s iconic, world-first Magic Carpet cantilevered dining space which hangs over the side of the ship itself. Throughout the day, they were immersed in to the thinking behind the transformational design of the ship, and Celebrity Cruises’ signature ‘modern luxury’ reimagination of a holiday at sea.

Their tour also included a reveal of the Grand Plaza, the final signature component of the Celebrity Edge experience by Jouin Manku Studio, and the beating heart of the ship’s  design story. This immersive space will embody the heart and soul of Celebrity Edge with the aim to completely transform the way guests connect to the world at sea.

The surprise announcement about Edge’s sister ship, Celebrity Apex, represents a major commitment by the Celebrity Cruises brand to the UK market, and is the first time in a decade that Celebrity Cruises has named and operated a ship from the UK. More importantly, this will be the first time Celebrity Cruises will operate two ships from the UK’s busiest port, Southampton, as Celebrity Silhouette will also return in 2020 for its third consecutive year.

 

Two such significant announcements inevitably created a lot of buzz in our target media. Breaking across social media, the news was picked up by The Daily Telegraph Online, Travel Weekly and TTG in minutes, with local Southampton-area media also running it through the day. Coverage has continued since, meaning interest in Edge (and now Apex) remains high as we get ever closer to the official inauguration later this year.

 

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blog_, siren team news_, travel & pr_

Siren Comms won big at the 2018 TTG Awards last night, scooping the trophy for PR & Representation Company of the Year, and sharing in the glory of victories for Celebrity Cruises and Gold Medal / Travel 2


The award, which is selected by an expert panel, is given to the agency which is judged to have done the most for the UK travel industry. Siren’s entry focused on its ‘Celebrity Love Island’ campaign delivered for Celebrity Cruises during the peak WAVE period earlier this year, which married the twin travel agent obsessions of reality TV and social media to create the perfect sweetspot in which our client could leverage its ‘love’ for this critical sales channel. 

We were tasked with increasing agent engagement, and exceeding a sales target of 21,000 booked passengers. With no additional budget, and by deploying a ‘Facebook-first’ strategy with video at its core, we’d help to drive more than 23,400 passenger bookings (+11% over target and +20% higher than the same period 12 months prior) by the end of the WAVE period. Moreover, revenue was £2.5m over target.

Our Facebook content itself garnered over 16,000 views of the launch video and nearly 30,000 views of the campaign films during the WAVE period itself. That equates to an 855% increase in video views, a 710% increase in post engagement, a 189% increase in page reach and a 59% increase in page likes year on year.


Additionally, more than 75 pieces of trade-facing coverage were secured (+34% YoY), with a combined reach of over 450,000 and total value over £125,000. It was the most talked-about trade campaign of the year.


In the words of Jo Rzymowska, Vice President & Managing Director of Celebrity Cruises UK, Ireland and Asia, “Siren’s work in conceiving of and executing the Celebrity Love Island trade campaign made all the difference to our 2017/2018 WAVE period. We’ve never experienced such high levels of engagement among the trade. In doing so, they helped us to smash the trade sales target and increase the overall share of this vital channel – all within budget! Brilliant!”

It’s been a big 12 months for Siren Comms_, with senior hires, exciting new client wins, a new identity and website – we’ve even moved offices. Last night’s award is a testament to the whole team’s hard work, and is the perfect platform to accelerate our momentum in to 2019! 

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