Unpredictable social and market situations had brought never-before-seen operational and financial challenges to tourism and related businesses in 2019/20. Samantha Fan, the HKTB’s General Manager of Marketing, recalled how her team materialised the “Hong Kong is ON” campaign, which sought to boost local spending desire and attract visitors with unbeatable offers across the city.
“As soon as the social incidents started in June, my team had worked closely with our colleagues in the Corporate Affairs Division to update DiscoverHongKong.com with the latest information on public transport, traffic, sightseeing spots and ports of entry on a round-the-clock basis, especially at weekends and holidays where social incidents were expected, so that visitors could gather all the necessary information they needed to make plans from a single, reliable channel,” said Fan.
As the impact of the social incidents on tourism emerged, it was the Marketing department’s job to translate the “Hong Kong is ON” campaign concept into a visible and attractive platform that would catch eyeballs and convert consumption desire to business.
“Within mere weeks, we needed to come up with a series of creative tools including an all-in-one website that covered a long list of offers as well as campaign visuals and point-of-sale displays. It really put the team’s wit and agility to test,” the Marketing team head said.
“I am truly grateful for the team’s dedication. It was no mean feat to put together a campaign website with loads of offers in different languages for launch in December, which was barely a month after the initial proposal of the campaign in November.”
When designing promotions aimed at triggering the spending desire of the local population, Fan and her colleagues deployed target marketing strategies to deliver unique “ON” messages such as “Shop ON”, “Dine ON” and “Stay ON” to consumers with interests that matched with the offers in the campaign.
“We noticed that many in Hong Kong, including expatriates, have always responded well to value-for-money offers. Behaviourally, such consumers are tech-savvy and know where to look online to compare deals. That’s why we opted for programmatic media buying on popular consumer portals including hotel booking sites, attraction ticketing sites and online restaurant directories such as OpenRice, to increase awareness of the ‘Hong Kong is ON’ campaign with eye-catching, animated images and drive conversion in the respective sectors,” Fan elaborated.
For overseas markets, timing and market selection were both decisive factors for the promotions to take effect. So the HKTB launched the “Flash Sale ON” promotion packed with offers on flight tickets, tour packages and other travel-related products in Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, South Korea and India in early December to arouse pre-festival travel desire to Hong Kong.
“‘Hong Kong is ON’ is more than a promotional website. It is an initiative to bring back positivity and confidence in Hong Kong, and ultimately, to bring in visitors again,” Fan concluded.