Travelocity’s Roaming Gnome is ready to guide consumers out of quarantine. The travel brand is launching a new campaign today to encourage post-COVID travel, marking the Dallas-based company's inaugural project with their new agency-of-record, Doner. Travelocity brought on Doner in May after formerly working with Proof. This change comes as the travel market rebounds after the lengthy disruptions caused by the pandemic.
The new ads remind travelers who may have skipped their vacations last year that their perfect getaway awaits, and Travelocity is happy to help make it happen. One spot shows a family—parents, three kids, and grandma in tow—as they come to realize the hotel room they booked is more honeymoon-suite than family-friendly lodge. Kids climb into the stand-alone bathtub, nibble on the rose petals decorating the bedspread, and mom laments, "It looked bigger online.” Another depicts an ill-fated girls' trip continuously interrupted by work. Suddenly, the roaming gnome—Travelocity's long-time brand mascot, appears to help guide the travelers on their dream vacation.
"In this campaign, the Roaming Gnome helps underscore how travel planning doesn’t have to be an eternal loop of balancing schedules, budgets, everyone’s wants and needs," says Laura Molnar, head of brand marketing at Travelocity. The gnome also appeared in early 2020 ads from Proof.
Doner's ads begin airing today.
As lockdowns are lifting and Americans begin to plan more vacations, David DeMuth, CEO of Doner, predicts a summer surge.
“I think 47 million people are going to travel this Fourth of July," he says. "Apparently, America is ready to travel and we'd like them to travel through Travelocity."
The coronavirus pandemic was immensely disruptive to the travel industry, forcing people to cancel trips they may have been planning for months or years. Now that conditions are safer, the industry is seeing a major boom and brands are responding with fresh marketing. Marriott recently aired its biggest campaign yet, for example, as did Travelocity's sister brand Expedia in April.
“Travel is indeed back in a big way and Americans are aching to get out there," says Molnar, noting an April study that Travelocity conducted found that 70% of people will be taking a vacation this year.