When Celebrities decided to ‘Think Strawberries’ and ‘Say Sharjah’

The emirate of Sharjah is well-known for its rich, cultural heritage – an identity that has been recognized a number of times as shown by the winning of the Cultural Capital of the Arab World 1998 and Islamic Culture Capital 2014 awards. It is a vibrant city with an exciting food and arts scene, a heritage area that is the largest restoration project in the region along with various commercial centres and over 22 museums. However, the Indian traveler hasn’t been made aware of Sharjah’s diverse experiences and offerings.

Due to the limited awareness and imagery in both B2B and Consumer markets in India, our aim was to:

  1. Mobilize the market for Sharjah Tourism (SCTDA) through synergizing initiatives that will generate demand.
  2. Promote tourism to Sharjah as a “Long Weekend Getaway” Internationally and position it as the “Most Affordable International Holiday”.

We started with basic hygiene outreach on Think Strawberries social media channels – Facebook and Instagram; as this ensured Sharjah’s direct outreach to the TS B2B network of Trade and Media.

All content that was published was skewed and aligned to the targeted promotion pillars:

Thrill Seeker
Rich Culture & Heritage
Ideal Family Destination
Great Shopping Zone
Gastronomical Experience

which are all part of the core destination proposition to the India market. These elements also bind the travelers’ interest and activities, while experiencing a “weekend getaway”.

In the rapidly digitally transforming media environment, influencers and celebrities have a significant role in impacting purchase behavior, capability to build interest for Sharjah and organically grow engagements, comments and positive sentiments. Thus, alongwith general tourism promotion content, at regular intervals Influencer and Celebrity collaborations were also conducted to spur our positioning of Sharjah as a “weekend getaway” destination.

Each Celebrity Trip consisted of India’s 5 leading TV stars, celebrities with huge universal fan following, daily reach into millions of homes visit a destination and create a travelogue. This helped position Sharjah in a relevant Indian context with strong endorsements; and special emphasis on how culturally open, women friendly the destination is.

Jordan & Portugal at MILT Congress 2019

The MICE India & Luxury Travel Congress 2019 is an exclusive, by-invitation only event that brings together decision makers from India’s leading corporations involved in finalizing MICE & Luxury Travel activities. This is the only event in India which includes significant Indian Luxury – Corporates, Event Management Companies and Wedding Planners, together under one roof.

India is anticipated to become one of the most important outbound markets for global MICE and luxury tourism. The market is expected to generate over 2 Million outbound MICE tourists by 2020; and India’s Outbound MICE Tourism is estimated to reach US$ 9 Billion by 2025.

At the 2-city edition of MILT Congress 2019, Delhi and Mumbai, we presented 2 of our client destinations – Jordan and Portugal. We successfully consolidated/ opened new relationships with potential Buyers – Corporates, Event Management Companies, Film Makers, and Travel Agents. Think Strawberries provided end-to-end management and continuous support for lead closures.

Portugal Partner Education Sessions in collaboration with Emirates

TS conducted Portugal Destination Trainings in collaboration with Emirates Airlines at their Chennai & Hyderabad Branche offices with a 56 Agents in 2 days. The focus of this activity was to promote Leisure & MICE business to Portugal and to make sure all agents attending the training are fully equipped for the upcoming 2020 Holidays seasons, to promote Portugal.

Chennai and Hyderabad have always been potential markets and mostly all agents based in the cities are promoting and selling packages to popular destinations across Europe. Courtesy our partnership with Emirates showcasing their flight connections into Lisbon and Porto, we see Portugal to be a highly sought for destination this 2020.

Speed Dial Awareness for Portugal with Bollywood

In the month of July, Portugal and Bollywood  entagled with 2 key events.

  1. Imtiaz Ali awarded with Medal of Merit for “Harry Met Sejal” by the Portuguese Government in Lisbon
  2. Release of the upcoming Bollywood movie trailer – War, which highlighted an action film sequence shot in Portugal; featuring Hrithik Roshan and Tiger Shroff.

Think Strawberries popularized these two key events with mass media releases pan India. In a short span of 3 weeks, we managed to get a strong media coverage of 115 Articles valued at US$ 1,714,000.

Portugal: The Preferred Indian Wedding Destination

Portugal is one of the oldest nations in Europe and a country of strong tradition with 15 UNESCO World Heritage Sites (ranking it 8th in Europe and 17th in the world). Portugal is becoming a very popular destination from India.

While Indian arrivals have been growing in double-digits since 2014, now the opportunity is to develop it as a standalone destination with extended itineraries. Another very key pillar is Indian Destination Weddings.

With trends being defined by Bollywood almost absolutely in India spanning culture, fashion and lifestyle; the recent celebrity weddings of Anushka Sharma – Virat Kohli and Deepika Padukone – Ranveer Singh, have had a huge aspirational impact.

Further, the Ambani engagement has also added glamor and gloss to South Europe destinations for Indian Weddings. Flowing from this trend, Turismo de Portugal hosted 6 key Wedding Planners this March, 2019.

The objective of the FAM trip was to explore Portugal and presenting 3 attractive locations/ regions for international weddings – Porto, Algarve and Lisbon.

As a result, Portugal was promoted on social media, newsletters and itineraries cross Industry, leading to widespread awareness of Portugal’s competitive offerings in this segment. Think Strawberries was able to confirm 1 wedding and generate a strong lead immediately post FAM. This has been a record!

Profiling Jordan By Positioning It’s Cuisine

It is a traveler’s paradise of warm and welcoming people, nature, history, and for foodies an eclectic spread of delectable cuisines at the confluence of traditional Islamic and Mediterranean. In India, with growing affluence fueling a strong surge in outbound travel – the challenge was to take a rightful share of this pie – by developing a strong imagery for Jordan, locally, and with high profile opinion leader segments. This would in turn dial-up aspiration for the destination.

Our Objective was to showcase the richness and mystique of Jordan and position it as a fascinating destination through a high profile Food & Photo Exhibition touching a large number of select audience of ‘movers & shakers’, media and key travel partners.

Think Strawberries built a no-cost alliance with Zerzura Delhi’s top, very premium Middle-Eastern restaurant. Together, a showcase menu was developed for a month long ‘Food Festival’.

There was no cost agreement for the F & B or use of premises of Zerzura. A grand launch event was planned with HE Ambassador of Jordan, former Indian Ambassador to Jordan. Other diplomats, influential persons, socialites were also brought together. Award winning photos presenting a panorama of Jordan were exhibited around the festival. A spa with Dead Sea mud & salt packets as treatments and giveaways, was also set-up to enhance the experience. A belly dancer live performances was included to add to the feel, culture and ambience.

The prominence of this exclusive ‘social event’ kicked off the momentum for month long success. Media coverage was also heavily driven across all genres. An a plus point to add to the glam and excitement of this event, Petra was brought to Delhi – a dramatic wooden façade created in-house by Think Strawberries for the entrance to the Festival. All Themed invitations, EDM’s, Props, Media Wall and Digital Banners were designed aligning a synergy.

Building Conversations for Jordan in India with Twitter

Jordan is an amazing destination, home to a wealth of 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Petra one of the 7 wonders of the world, and also well known as the Biblical Holy land, offering a unique mix of rich history and culture. The country also has high adventures like taking a hot air balloon ride over Wadi Rum or camping like a Martian on its Mars like terrain, to floating in the wellness of the Dead Sea. It is a traveler’s paradise of warm and welcoming people, nature, history, and for foodies an eclectic spread of delectable cuisines.

In India, despite growing affluence fueling a strong surge in outbound travel, Jordan was not finding a place in traveler itineraries – due to low familiarity with the destination.

Hence, to initiate conversations and build familiarity at consistent intervals over a defined timeline of 1 year, with different groups of influencers and end consumers, at no additional cost; Think Strawberries designed a 3 step campaign to showcase Jordan’s diverse offerings & experiences for the social media.

#ByondJordan The first step was to build awareness about the destination by sharing general information like visa procedures, places to see, how to get to Jordan, travel tips, etc. A chat was hosted by India’s top 3 Travel Bloggers who also had the experience of traveling to Jordan before – namely Lakshmi Sharath, Prasad Np and Mridula Dwivedi, on Twitter.

#JordanExplorers This Twitter chat was conducted to continue engagement and leverage all bloggers and journalists who had travelled over the past 3 years on a FAM trip with the Jordan Tourism Board. The chat’s objective was to talk about the country, experiences from each one’s visit and share learnings/travel tips for the potential Jordan travelers, as well as security – which was also coming up as a concern.

#MusafirDilJordan The final step was to bring together 2 key stakeholders for outbound tourism – Airlines & Travel Agents, in combination with the social media influencers. We had Air Arabia, Byond Travel and India’s top 10 influencers spin the conversation. The incoming interest and leads generated were captured in real time and immediately redirected to Byond Travel for closure. This chat too was extremely beneficial and top most trending during the week.

The campaign was immensely successful, leading to Jordan being on travelers’ minds and featuring on many Top Travel lists. Many expressed an interest to visit Jordan in 2015-2016 whilst others reminisced about their holiday in Jordan. Twitter traffic showed a formidable spike during the hour of the Twitter Chats and built traffic to our website.

Profiling Jordan By Positioning It’s Cuisine

It is a traveler’s paradise of warm and welcoming people, nature, history, and for foodies an eclectic spread of delectable cuisines at the confluence of traditional Islamic and Mediterranean. In India, with growing affluence fueling a strong surge in outbound travel – the challenge was to take a rightful share of this pie – by developing a strong imagery for Jordan, locally, and with high profile opinion leader segments. This would in turn dial-up aspiration for the destination.

Our Objective was to showcase the richness and mystique of Jordan and position it as a fascinating destination through a high profile Food & Photo Exhibition touching a large number of select audience of ‘movers & shakers’, media and key travel partners.

Think Strawberries built a no-cost alliance with Zerzura Delhi’s top, very premium Middle-Eastern restaurant. Together, a showcase menu was developed for a month long ‘Food Festival’.

There was no cost agreement for the F & B or use of premises of Zerzura. A grand launch event was planned with HE Ambassador of Jordan, former Indian Ambassador to Jordan. Other diplomats, influential persons, socialites were also brought together. Award winning photos presenting a panorama of Jordan were exhibited around the festival. A spa with Dead Sea mud & salt packets as treatments and giveaways, was also set-up to enhance the experience. A belly dancer live performances was included to add to the feel, culture and ambience.

The prominence of this exclusive ‘social event’ kicked off the momentum for month long success. Media coverage was also heavily driven across all genres. An a plus point to add to the glam and excitement of this event, Petra was brought to Delhi – a dramatic wooden façade created in-house by Think Strawberries for the entrance to the Festival. All Themed invitations, EDM’s, Props, Media Wall and Digital Banners were designed aligning a synergy.

Building Conversations for Jordan in India with Twitter

Jordan is an amazing destination, home to a wealth of 5 UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Petra one of the 7 wonders of the world, and also well known as the Biblical Holy land, offering a unique mix of rich history and culture. The country also has high adventures like taking a hot air balloon ride over Wadi Rum or camping like a Martian on its Mars like terrain, to floating in the wellness of the Dead Sea. It is a traveler’s paradise of warm and welcoming people, nature, history, and for foodies an eclectic spread of delectable cuisines.

In India, despite growing affluence fueling a strong surge in outbound travel, Jordan was not finding a place in traveler itineraries – due to low familiarity with the destination.

Hence, to initiate conversations and build familiarity at consistent intervals over a defined timeline of 1 year, with different groups of influencers and end consumers, at no additional cost; Think Strawberries designed a 3 step campaign to showcase Jordan’s diverse offerings & experiences for the social media.

  1.  #ByondJordan The first step was to build awareness about the destination by sharing general information like visa procedures, places to see, how to get to Jordan, travel tips, etc. A chat was hosted by India’s top 3 Travel Bloggers who also had the experience of traveling to Jordan before – namely Lakshmi Sharath, Prasad Np and Mridula Dwivedi, on Twitter.
  2. #JordanExplorers This Twitter chat was conducted to continue engagement and leverage all bloggers and journalists who had travelled over the past 3 years on a FAM trip with the Jordan Tourism Board. The chat’s objective was to talk about the country, experiences from each one’s visit and share learnings/travel tips for the potential Jordan travelers, as well as security – which was also coming up as a concern.
  3. #MusafirDilJordan The final step was to bring together 2 key stakeholders for outbound tourism – Airlines & Travel Agents, in combination with the social media influencers. We had Air Arabia, Byond Travel and India’s top 10 influencers spin the conversation. The incoming interest and leads generated were captured in real time and immediately redirected to Byond Travel for closure. This chat too was extremely beneficial and top most trending during the week.

The campaign was immensely successful, leading to Jordan being on travelers’ minds and featuring on many Top Travel lists. Many expressed an interest to visit Jordan in 2015-2016 whilst others reminisced about their holiday in Jordan. Twitter traffic showed a formidable spike during the hour of the Twitter Chats and built traffic to our website.