Prize Winner travel nightmares
Keiran Beasley is a former senior promotions and marketing executive with Austereo and DMG Radio, who now runs Pitch Group, and represents iMAR Entertainment in Australia.
Australia’s continuing love affair with travel means that overseas holidays and experiences abroad will continue to be an aspirational prize that will engage listeners across most target markets. While promotions with overseas holidays can deliver results and sound brilliant on air, behind the scenes they can quickly turn into nightmares.
Through my years in radio promotions, and now with iMAR Entertainment (a specialist agency delivering money can’t buy experiences for media, agencies and brands), I’ve dealt with more than my fair share of winner travel nightmares.
Here are my five tips to help you avoid some of the common traps associated with overseas holiday promotions.
1. Allow room for the unexpected.
Flight delays and cancellations happen. They happen more than you’d probably imagine. If you’re winner is heading overseas for a specific event, allow some room for a delayed flight or missed connection. Murphy’s law says it will be your winners on that cancelled flight!
2. Tips for Travel to the US.
Given the favourable exchange rate, the USA remains a very popular destination. There are 2 key things to be aware of when sending winners to the USA.
Firstly, all visitors must now apply for a short-term entry permit. These are applied for online and are normally issued instantly, but can sometimes take up to 72 hours, so factor in time for this.
Secondly, as the legal drinking age in the U.S. is 21, most hotels now require at least one person to be 21 or older in order to check into a hotel room. This is because of access to alcohol in mini bars etc. Obviously if the prize involves access to a party or licensed venue, both guests will need to be 21 or miss out on that element of the prize.
3. Spell it out.
Some winners are notoriously good at finding a loophole and exploiting it. Spelling out everything in writing via solid terms and conditions is critical to protect you and ensure transparency.
– if you are providing spending money, state the currency it will be in
– state the class of the flight and minimum quality level of the hotel
– advise which transfers locally and overseas are included
– be clear which meals (if any) are included
– state if travel insurance is included or if this is the winners responsibility
– ensure winners are aware that the mini bar is not automatically included as part of their accommodation (sadly, I’m being serious!)
4. Don’t assume.
It seems almost every week we have winners who have never travelled outside of the country before… While some things just seem like common sense to you and I, to many the prospect of travelling overseas can be equally as daunting as it is exciting.
Cover off the basics, such as:
– having a credit card to check in to the hotel for incidentals
– travelling with liquids on board international flights
– basic safety and security precautions at smarttraveller.gov.au
5. Don’t leave them stranded.
Always ensure that your winners have an emergency contact number/s for you or someone at the station so they can get in touch if anything goes wrong. Not only should this be a basic element of delivering a great customer experience, but it gives you and your winners peace of mind.
While you can never guarantee things won’t go wrong, following these tips will at least help ensure your next overseas prize winner experience is as stress free as possible for you and your winners.
Keiran Beasley is a former senior promotions and marketing executive with Austereo and DMG, who now runs his own business 'Pitch Group', and represents iMAR Entertainment in Australia.