Anne Majumdar

What are you going to do this year that you will remember forever? That’s the question youth travel specialist Contiki is asking with its latest campaign.

Featuring an inspiring line-up of baby-boomers and millennials, the new video clip, part of Contiki’s content-led marketing strategy, pulls together recollections of events that changed people’s lives over the last few decades.

Among those featured are a Rio Carnival dancer, a fashion designer and Australian DJ, Tigerlily, along with other risk takers and adventurers from all over the world.

More than just telling people to go and travel, the campaign’s aim is to inspire its target market to look beyond the moment and see the bigger picture, Contiki managing director Katrina Barry tells KarryOn.

“Millennials absolutely live in the now but they are seeking to add depth and identity – they want to feel connected to something bigger,” she says.

“This aims to show them that what they do now will have an effect on the future and who they will be.”

In just 12 days the video has had 1.2 million views, 11,000 reactions, 3,000 shares, 1,000 comments – and that’s just via its Facebook page.

The accompanying competition, which will see a lucky person win a trip up to the value of $3,000, has already had around 1,000 entries in just six days.

The new campaign resonates strongly with Barry’s own belief that “travel makes us better humans”, an idea that has also been incorporated into Contiki’s own values.

“Travel enhances your understanding, opens your eyes, you come back slightly more worldly, less short-sighted, a more tolerant human – it changes you,” she explains.

“The impact of those travel experiences plus the memories you create will last a lifetime.”

Contiki campaign 2

So the campaign speaks directly to a generation which is very focused on the “now”, asking them what amazing things they are going to do this year that will change their life forever. It’s a big question that encourages a bold response.

“It would be easy to do a campaign saying go travel now but as a brand, we’re less interested in telling people to do that,” Barry says.

“We’re interested in being an inspiration to do amazing things and make bold choices.”

As a result, a number of the memories featured in the new video are not at all travel-related, but still inspirational such as that of Andy Thomas, the first Australian astronaut and the only man to have been into space with a beard.

“When we heard that, we cracked up and knew we had to tell that story,” Barry laughs.

Of course, travel is an important part of making memories and being bold, and so Contiki, as a youth operator, is urging people to travel while still young.

“We’re saying do great things when you’re young and we believe travel is a part of that because it changes you,” Barry says.

“So, in a world where it gets so busy and easy to be absorbed in the now, we’ve drawn on the wisdom of people that have done some amazing things.”

Barry’s own memorable year was 1995 when she visited India – her first trip outside Australia and New Zealand. Now, she has a career that immerses her in travel on a daily basis and this year, she will return to India for the first time since that first trip 22 years ago.

But what does this year hold for Contiki? No major changes, Barry reveals.

“Our goal is still to be the number one youth brand and to continue to deliver amazing experiences – it’s always the same,” she says.

But that doesn’t mean it plans to stick with the same approach. Not at all. Instead the company is continually innovating, and talking to its customers to ensure it is delivering the types of experiences that they want.

“That’s the reason why we’re still number one – we’ve evolved for every generation,” Barry insists.

Millennials Babyboomers Contiki

While the 70’s saw travellers keen to try one day of everything and then have a few beers, now travellers want to be totally immersed. Cooking up chicken in the campsite is no longer what today’s food-obsessed travellers want to do either. Instead they want pasta-making classes – to have food as a major focus of their trip.

As a result, last year saw the company launch three new experiences in its Europe program – foodie tour Munch, photography trip Snap and Boutique Local which takes travellers around some high-end accommodation offerings.

“We’ll always continue to innovate and challenge, led by what our customers want,” Barry says.

“Not everything works but everything is learning and that’s why we continue to evolve.”

What are you going to do this year that you will remember forever?