Leading Reservation Service Reaches New Audiences with Innovative Approach to Listicles: A Content Distribution Case Study
OpenTable is the world's leading provider of online restaurant reservations, seating more than 19 million diners per month via online bookings across more than 37,000 restaurants -- helping more than 1 billion diners since its inception.
Hooking a New Audience with Compelling Content
OpenTable’s position as the leader in the reservation space gives it access to unparalleled trend data that it leverages to create fantastic content. A seasonal campaign featuring a series of “listicles” was a highly effective example.
OpenTable developed a summer-themed campaign that would stand out for a specific, different type of audience: travellers. Their campaign strategy focused on three primary goals:
Demonstrate the benefits of OpenTable for travellers in planning their trips
Showcase the available local knowledge on OpenTable’s insider network for the best restaurants across America
Create a “road trip restaurant guide” that is unique, useful and easily digestible for mobile app consumption
As similar campaigns had been launched within their market segment, OpenTable knew they had to focus on a creative angle to drive engagement. They decided to make visual assets the focal point of their campaign.
“We wanted this campaign to be useful to travellers and highlight the insider knowledge of our local team from across the country about the restaurants in their market. We also wanted to feature markets that are not typically included on national lists, so people feel like they received unique recommendations from locals,” said Lisa Singh, Senior Manager, Public Relations, OpenTable, Inc. “Finally, we decided to support this campaign with something more visual and different than our other list campaigns.”
Compelling Visual Assets Promoted and Syndicated in All Key Audience Channels
With a clear vision of their goals and the hurdles they would need to overcome, the #SavorTheRoad OpenTable Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide campaign was born. The execution strategy focused one subset of content: compelling visual assets.
“We originally wanted to create one map, but restaurants were getting lost and there was no good way to present it online, especially for mobile. We came up with the idea to segment it by region, making it more mobile-friendly, shareable and easier to search. This differentiates it from other road trip maps, as viewers don’t have to try to navigate one massive map and zoom in on specific destinations,” said Singh.
OpenTable created six visual assets to promote in the channels their target audience was engaged in: website, blog post, social media and online presence via news release distribution. They used an integrated, coordinated approach to maximize the reach of the campaign. Key components included:
Great restaurant recommendations to build a high quality list
A social component,#SavorTheRoad, to make the campaign easily shareable
Strategic timing to ensure maximum pick-up of the story
Great content distributed via owned and paid channels
By sending their news release and its six listicle infographics via CNW sister company PR Newswire’s comprehensive, multichannel distribution network, OpenTable maximized the reach of its campaign, amplifying its digital exposure, improving its visibility in search and reaching premium targeted publications and journalists.
To feature their multimedia, OpenTable took advantage of PRNewswire.com’s optimized gallery template option. By displaying all their multimedia assets front and center, OpenTable’s news release stood out from similar plain text releases and acted as a digital media hub where journalists, bloggers and influencers could easily access all the visual assets in one space.
“Visual assets were crucial to telling the story and bringing it to life,” said Singh. “This campaign would have been an impossible task without the visuals and PR Newswire’s new, improved and beautiful template for photos and imagery.”
Reached new, existing and unexpected audiences and increased engagement
“The campaign was a win. We received great news coverage and social engagement – it was really exciting to see,” said Singh. “Additionally, aside from standard pickup – we saw some interesting coverage around the campaign itself, on a marketing blog. We got some great PR about doing great PR!”
Organic media pick up from publications such as FTNnews.com, Los Angeles Times and Omaha.com
More than 9,500 image views, outperforming their other listicle news releases by more than 200%
In the 98th percentile for engagement, outperforming releases on similar topics within the industry
High social engagement with notable tweets from @latimestravel, @nevinmartell (a food writer) and @HSChophouse
Creating more similar integrated campaigns with a global component
“OpenTable is a global company with PR partners all around the world looking to build unified campaigns across all regions. ‘Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide’ is a great campaign that can apply locally, regionally and internationally,” said Fox.
“In addition to more global campaigns, integrated campaigns are the most successful because we can really tap into talent and resources within our organization that transcends communication and PR. We see great results when campaigns are global and more integrated,” concluded Fox.
With the success of the campaign, OpenTable plans on reviving some of their annual lists to integrate the same winning elements as the “Summer Road Trip Restaurant Guide” campaign.