holiday contest marketing ideas strategy

9 Holiday Contest Ideas for Travel-Related Brands

The travel industry is weathering storms in recent years. According to US Travel Association, the loss in travel spending cost the US $1.1 trillion in economic output. This loss impacted all travel-related businesses, including obvious losses from air carriers and travel-related companies such as retail brands, travel blogs, travel planners, apps, and businesses that rely on travelers. 

However, there is good news. In recent months, travel is on the rise, with TSA recording 1.5 million travelers in April 2021 (versus just 171,000 in April of 2021). The coming holiday season may also increase the number of travelers, providing much-needed relief to travel-related brands. 

Are you looking to make the most of the holiday season? Contests can help you reengage travelers and even reach travel-lovers who aren’t quite ready to take the risk. And, they are one of the most cost-effective marketing strategies out there. 

Rather than paying per click or per view, contests allow your audience to do some of the heavy lifting for you by encouraging them to share content about your brand. 

Looking to increase site traffic for the holidays, drive brand awareness, or build your email list? Travel-related contests are a fun and affordable strategy to engage your customer base. 

Let’s explore a few travel-related contest ideas. 

Holiday Contest Ideas for Travel-Related Brands in 2021

Contests are an effective marketing strategy for a variety of travel-related brands, including big brands like airlines, but also independent travel agents, travel accessory brands (think REI), luggage companies, travel books, apps, and more. 

The key to a successful travel promotion starts with choosing the right type of contest. Sweepstakes, quizzes, photo contests, video contests, and caption contests are all popular ways to help drive a marketing strategy. 

A few ideas to inspire your holiday contest. 

  • Where should you go next quiz: Use a holiday-themed quiz to help travelers decide where to go for their next getaway. You can introduce audience members to new destinations or share your favorites. 
  • Win a local holiday getaway: If international trips aren’t possible, focus on exploring local attractions like local water parks, theme parks, apple picking spots, or even Christmas markets.  
  • My favorite holiday travel memory: One of the best parts about traveling is the memories. Ask your audience to share a snapshot of their favorite holiday travel memory and the story behind it. Asking your audience to vote for the winner can help increase your contest’s reach. 
  • Share your most unique trip: Host a photo contest and ask users to share a photo of their most memorable or exotic location. You could also partner with another brand to increase your reach (and prize budget): 
  • Win a travel-related basket: Why give away one gift when you can give away several? Create a brand-appropriate travel basket. For example, a women’s travel website might giveaway a basket geared towards women, while a parent travel page might give away activities to entertain kids on a plane. 
  • Share your best travel hacks: Everyone loves a good travel hack. Ask your audience to share their favorite travel hacks and choose the winner by vote. This encourages your audience to share your contest with their friends and family.  (Bonus points if you gather the best hacks together to create an Instagram Guide or Story about travel hacks!) 
  • Recreate iconic travel photos: Ask your audience to get creative and recreate iconic travel photos in their own home or yard. The Follow Me To and National Geographic are both great sources for iconic images. 
  • Share your why video contest: Everyone has a different reason why they travel. Ask your audience to share why they travel in a video and choose the winner based on votes. 
  • Travel Sweepstakes: A sweepstake contest is easier to run than photo contests. You can have users spin a wheel or do a virtual scratch-off to win a prize such as a discount code. 
  • Caption this travel or holiday photo: Have your own funny holiday travel photo? Ask users to caption it and choose the winner using an Instagram comment picker. 

Feel free to use these ideas but adjust them to your brand. 

For example, a kid’s travel page might host a travel photo contest about the most family-friendly locations. Relating the contest more directly to your audience may increase participation. 

How to Choose a Prize for Your Holiday Travel Contest 

When it comes to prizes most travel-related businesses focus on giving away trips, but the costs and logistics of these prizes can be overwhelming. 

The good news is, prizes don’t have to be that expensive. Local concert tickets, travel swag like carry-on bags, travel clothing, or water bottles can still get your audience excited about your giveaway. 

Less-costly prizes can be more effective from a business standpoint. In addition to costing your business less, small rewards reduce entries from people who don’t care about your brand but want a free trip. 

When choosing your prize, consider these factors: 

  • The demographics of your target audience: For example, parents might be interested in a travel stroller, while solo travelers might prefer a carry-on backpack as a prize. 
  • Marketing goals: Match your prize value to your marketing goals. If your goal is to increase email subscribers, you can offer a smaller prize than if your goal is gathering highly qualified leads. 
  • Budget: If this is your first contest, consider offering a lower-value prize to test the waters. You can learn what works without spending thousands on a prize. 

Many people are not traveling right now — but they still want to dream about their next trip. Don’t assume you have to go big on the prize. 

For example, you could give away a travel map like this one: 

Here are a few other travel-related prizes to consider: 

  • Travel journals
  • Specialty water bottles (with filters) 
  • Books about travel 
  • Rolling luggage 
  • Kindle (for reading on the plane) 
  • Travel-friendly snack basket 
  • Travel related jewelry 
  • Passport holder
  • Portable battery for charging devices on the go
  • Headphones 
  • Gift cards to AirBNB or other travel brands 
  • Restaurant gift cards 

Start Creating Your Holiday Contest Today 

Is your travel brand ready to make the most of the holiday season? A contest is an ideal way to get people excited about your brand. A compelling contest strategy can drive brand awareness, increase social mentions, and get new leads in your pipelines. Woobox makes it easy to build and manage your holiday contests so you can run a smooth promotion and still have plenty of time to work on your holiday landing page. 

Sign up for a free Woobox account and start building your holiday contest today.