Barrhead pokes fun at OTAs in provocative new-style campaign

By Linsey McNeill
Home » Barrhead pokes fun at OTAs in provocative new-style campaign

Barrhead Travel has launched a provocative ‘Book Human, Book Barrhead Travel’ campaign to capitalise on consumer criticism of some online travel agents during the height of the pandemic.

The campaign was first trailed by parent company Internova Travel Group in the US last year.

It is currently running across social media and online platforms, with TV due to launch this month.

The video-led creative features an alternate reality where an AI-powered robot plans ‘dream’ holidays.

“We grew up in a world where technology was supposed to make life better for us but that was not the case when the pandemic hit,” said Brent Rivard, Chief Marketing Officer for Internova Travel Group.

“Individuals and families were left stranded with cancellations and no way to secure refunds. That was the tension and the insight for the Book Human campaign, and from there, the strategy became quite simple, which is to deposition technology in favour of a human travel advisor.” 

Barrhead Travel say the provocative creative is designed ‘to make consumers sit up and rethink how they book their travel plans’.

They hope the juxtaposition of the content will encourage prospective holidaymakers to turn to their local travel agent.  

Jacqueline Dobson, President of Barrhead Travel, said: “We must make 2022 the year of the travel expert and that means using our marketing resources to cut through the noise and convince as many customers as possible to choose to book with a reputable travel agent. 

“Our Book Human campaign illustrates the impersonal experience you could expect booking with a faceless online booking tool.

“As our campaign highlights, an online algorithm simply cannot match the first-hand knowledge or reassurances that our trained advisers can. AI can facilitate your booking, but it doesn’t care about the customer, nor can it provide exceptional service, advice or support.

“Online technologies can enhance our services, but it will never be a replacement for the expertise that a knowledgeable travel adviser can offer.

“During the pandemic, consumers have become more aware of the importance of issues such as financial protection and reputable advice. The travel landscape has changed and those who previously relied on online booking tools alone are now transitioning back to a people-first service.

“I am optimistic that there is significant opportunity for agents this year, particularly now that testing rules have relaxed and confidence to travel is growing. People like people – and there is no better industry placed to promote human interaction than travel where recommendations, personal travel tales and assurances are intrinsic to the booking experience.”

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