Katrine Mosfjeld has been the Manager of the Tourist Information Division at VisitOSLO for 8 years. She manages online and offline information delivery to consumers ranging from Tourism Information Centres, to digital strategies, visitOSLO’s Twitter account and a booking system. She works closely with industry in Oslo and even delivers an eLearning program.
I met Katrine in Amsterdam at the ENTER conference last year where I was really impressed with the tremendous success of their Advergaming strategy. When I started to play the game I immediately understood the success. It’s super addictive! She just released a second version and I thought I’d catch up with her.
You’ve been executing an advergaming strategy with the Holmenkollen Ski Jump. What gave your team the idea to use an advergaming strategy?
I wish I could say it was my idea, but it wasn’t. The supplier, an Oslo based little firm called Agens, got the idea and first contacted our colleagues at VisitNorway to see if they were interested. They were, and the Manager, Hans Petter Aalmo, invited us at VisitOSLO to discuss the idea and potential. This was back in the summer of 2006. As you can imagine, this was pretty new 3,5 years ago and the project group was not sure if it was going to work. But we liked the idea and we had a good feeling about it. So we decided to try something brand new… The stakes were high, but then the gain is good as well if you succeed right?
When did it first launch and what were the objectives?
We launched it December 21, 2006. You can still play it online. We decided to measure our success in numbers of games played (profiling the ski jump, Oslo and Norway each time) and visitors to the sponsor websites. But we never even dreamt about the results we got. Or all the other stuff that happened…
What were the results and what was all the other stuff that happened?
The numbers we got were incredible! And they are still growing every single day. At the moment, 138,800,000 games have been played, which means 277,600,000 jumps because every game has 2 jumps :). It has also generated more than 3,000,000 visits to our websites. How great is this??! Neither VisitOSLO or VisitNorway has ever done anything more efficient when it comes to marketing and results. And the other things that happened, but never thought of while planning…
You just launched a new version. What’s new and how are things going so far?
It’s a pretty tough act to follow because the first game was so successful! But we’re building a new skijump in Oslo, the new fantastic Holmenkollen Ski Jump, designed by JDS Arcitechts and wanted the game to reflect the new ski jump and brand. We launched it December 16th 2009 and you can play it here. It has been played 9,6 million times on the website already, with great viral effects in Facebook-posts, tweets, etc!
We also launched a Facebook app where you can play against your Facebook friends to see who’s the better jumper ;-). It has been played approximately 1 million times on Facebook since we launched December 21st. An advanced version of an iPhone app has been sold over 2000 times since December 24th.
The game has been tweeted a gazillion times, received TV coverage on the news, sports, papers, blogs, Facebook and YouTube… It has generated 66,500 visitors to the sponsor websites.
The results look very good so far, especially considering it was launched only a few weeks ago. We expect it to deliver results for many years; the old game is more than 3 years old, and still delivers. Yesterday there were 342,000 games played in the OLD game Pretty efficient, eh?
What advise would you give to destination marketers who’re thinking about advergaming?
We’ve experienced that it is extremely efficient – but it has to be a good idea, and done professionally. We also think that our success partly comes because it is fairly addictive :). It is a bit difficult to play, but not too difficult. You quickly understand some of the things that makes you better, so you want to try again. And it doesn’t feel to commercial – even if its marketing, you feel that it’s a game, and it is a game. Only it has some messages attached, and provides some links when the interest is created
Thank you very much for sharing your insights Katrine and congratulations with the success of the game.
In travel technology, I’m keeping an eye on these trends. These trends are at the front of massive change in the way we conduct our business.
66% of the global internet population is using social networks. For many around the globe, Facebook is the primary way of staying in touch. It has over 350 million users. Tripadvisor reported over 25 million visitors in November and WAYN has built a network over 15 million members. Building your network of friends or followers, leveraging your brand advocates, encouraging word-of-mouth recommendations and listening and interacting with your customers through social media channels is going to be a must. Instead of marketing to encourage people to visit your channel, bringing your content and services to where the people already are is going to be more effective.
And social networks can add value to your own channels as well. OpenID, Facebook Connect, Google Friend Connect, Sign in with Twitter are all tools that allow third parties to use a user profile as part of their website or application. This makes it easier for users to sign-up and provides opportunities for website operators to leverage a user’s profile and social graph while integrating content and services into social networks.
In 2010 mobile will explode. Apple will release it’s tablet, Google’s Android is gaining momentum and others like Nokia and RIM are still strong contenders. Competition drives innovation and therefore devices and operating systems will get better and better. Travel is already the third most popular mobile app category but we’re really only scratching the surface.And connected to the first trend, more and more people use their mobile to access social networks, Facebook already reports 15 million active mobile users.
Somebody at home, in transit, or in a travel destination has different needs and this is where the real opportunity is. Mobile devices know your location, and even what direction you face. This allows for targeted information and services. Augmented reality might be novelty today, but it demonstrates the potential. Enhancing the tourism experience, providing customers service, upselling and cross-selling based on location and time will soon become expectations rather than novelty.
If you combine the previous 3 trends, you end up with real time information and services. Twitter is the new news ticker. Somebody will break news seconds after it happens on Twitter and the network distributes faster than any traditional news media can. This will enhance the tourism experience as well. How long are lineups for an attraction? Where is a cool band playing? Where are my friends doing or recommending right now?