In the beginning of February, Icelandair launched a new campaign called “Stopover Buddy” to promote its long-established stopover service. During the stopover, travellers can choose to go on a one-day tour with a local “buddy”. What’s the fuss about? These “buddies” are none other than the airline’s staff members, ranging from flights crews to the CEO, who take the traveller on a personalized itinerary based on their shared interests. For example, the CEO, Birkir Hólm Guðnason, takes extreme-sport lovers skiing in his hometown of Akureyri, while a project manager for sales management, Halldorsdottir, lets his guests experience authentic Icelandic nature on horseback.
The idea of the campaign is simple yet alluring. It enables people to explore the volcanic country together with a local buddy on a personalized route. Moreover, it encourages people to feel like local without facing language barriers or fear of getting lost. The idea has already gone viral; in just a month the campaign’s promotional video has reached over 2 million views on Facebook.
The “Stopover Buddy” campaign is a part of Icelandair’s well-established stopover strategy which has been available to flyers since the 1960s. Taking advantage of the country’s location, between North America and Europe, Icelandair has been the first airline to entice transatlantic travellers to stopover in Iceland for up to a week at no additional airfare.
Why do stopovers work?
Icelandair’s stopover strategy is a perfect example of what we call secondary dreaming — an emerging stage in the Connected Traveller Lifecycle. The secondary dreaming stage takes place when people have already made the decision to travel to a specific destination and consider expanding their trips to additional destinations. This is due to the increased exposure to destination-related media on the internet and in particular, on social networks.
Stopover-based initiatives successfully exploit the secondary dreaming stage by encouraging travellers to visit another location while on the way to their primary destination. However, airlines have not yet explored the full potential of the Secondary dreaming stage, and the trend is still in its infancy. What if airlines could inspire passengers to travel beyond their main destination? For instance, there is potential for airlines to come up with new incentives or introduce special airfares to make travellers extend their journeys.
So far, Icelandair’s “Stopover Buddy” campaign has been an inspiration for airlines to step into the secondary dreaming stage, and now the challenge for them is to bring innovations on the other end of the route. We look forward to what the future of secondary dreaming may hold.
How do you think airlines can leverage the secondary dreaming phase? Tell us in the comments below or tweet us @simpliflying.