Wish you were here: Qantas aims to inspire through ‘Out of office’

A photo by Xochi Romero. unsplash.com/photos/oMAz8npl-dc

Though a holiday can sometimes cause you to wonder if having time off was worth it, one of the most satisfying jobs many of us do before leaving is setting an ‘out of office’ message. This final detail is crucial now we live in a world where being ‘always on’ has come to be expected (the irony being that as I type this I sit on a balcony looking out over south beach while on a visit to family who just happen to live in Miami thank you very much for the loan of the apartment AJ & US!). Anyway, in order to tackle the apparent tedium of the out of office message which usually goes along the lines of ‘Hi, I’m away until xxxx, if your query is urgent please contact xxx or I will respond on my return’ (insert info as applicable), Qantas have come up with a social tactic to ‘inspire people’ into booking holidays (presumably preferably through Qantas) through a visual travel journal. You go to www.qantasoutofoffice.com, sync your Instagram & email accounts and add holiday details eg dates, destination & message, then tagged images appear in your out of office.

Qantas Group Executive Brand, Marketing & Corporate Affairs Olivia Wirth said the airline hoped the new out of office travelogue would inspire more colleagues, friends and family to travel the world.

“The traditional out of office message can be both generic and impersonal in nature and from our research, sixty percent of employees say they appreciate receiving something more creative,” she said. “We know that tips from friends and colleagues are the highest driver for people when choosing their next holiday destination, so we saw an opportunity to encourage travel through the millions of out of office emails being sent every day.

“There’s no better real-time platform than Instagram to promote global travel, especially when combined with Qantas’ vast domestic and international network which offers endless opportunities for original and inspirational images.

The tactic caught my attention because:

  1. It’s based on a universal truth, & data – everyone loves a holiday

I don’t know many people who hate taking a break therefore the campaign has a pretty universal appeal, at least to those who work in an office environment for a living. Qantas did some research into the area about how people book holidays & how they perceived the out of office message which gave them insight to build the campaign on.

  1. There is a common behaviour – setting an out of office message

One of the last things many of us do before we go on holiday is set our out of office message, therefore the campaign is recognisable to many.

  1. There is a blending of channels – email & social

Finding a genuine way to blend social with other channels is a nice way to drive awareness – this campaign brings the visual appeal found in Instagram with the direct message of email, increasing the chance of it getting noticed.

  1. It’s relevant & efficient – brand truth blended with customer action

Qantas fly you to beautiful destinations, people use Instagram to share their holiday experiences, and there need be no campaign end date as people book holidays all year round.

  1. It uses emotion to deliver a message – inspire & envy

I’ve not yet been on the receiving end of a Qantas out of office message but if I was I’m pretty sure I would either be envious of the fact that whoever I was trying to contact was away on their hols, or inspired to think about taking one myself.

Some considerations

  1. Would your company approve?

I’ve worked for businesses who potentially would not have seen the funny side of staff arguably gloating about the fact that they are away living it up – so depending on the company this might not be seen as professional. (Note – this is why I have not set this functionality up myself!)

  1. Moderation?

Most people I am sure would remember they had synced their Instagram account with their office email but there will always be cases where the 4am party shots pull through which may not be the best way to portray yourself! You have to tag images you want to be pulled into the out of office so this should help but there is a slight risk.

  1. Results?

I’d be interested in what the KPI’s of the campaign are – depending on whether the KPI’s are social brand awareness metrics or commercial traffic, conversion & sales it would be interesting to see how Qantas measure success.

If you are looking for social media strategy advice please do drop me an email at Rachel.Kerr@rksocialcomms.co.uk. I’ll respond when I’m back from my holiday next week!

Picture credit Xochi Romero via Unsplash.com


Five things I’ve learned…

I can classify the last four months as a roller coaster, and one of the best I have ever been on. Why? Because four months ago I left my job at John Lewis and set my own business up helping with social media, PR & content strategy. Here are a few things I’ve learned in the last few months…

People just want to help – especially those who have been through starting a business. I never fail to be amazed at how people are happy to put time aside to meet me and have a chat through their experiences. Thanks to everyone who has given me advice over the past few months.

You never know what might happen next – you can plan, and of course so you should, but being able to react and change plans quickly to be as flexible as you need is a must. I like the fact that your day can change on a whim but being super organised is key.

There are no boundaries – linked to the point above, because things change so quickly, being prepared for a scope to change or grow during the course of a project is a a huge opportunity.

Be prepared to learn, learn, learn – not a single day has gone by without me learning something new, and resolving a challenge is a great feeling.

And talk, talk, talk – people are happy to help, they are curious to hear your story and you have to set aside a lot of time to build relationships. Luckily I love meeting people and talking so no hardship here!

If you have any social media, PR or content queries please drop me a line Rachel.Kerr@rksocialcomms.co.uk


Picture credit: Cindy del Valle & Unspash.com