Travelcuts cuts some film

The travel site launches a documentary festival as part of its shift to being a digital-only brand.


Millennial-focused travel website Travelcuts has created a new branded content campaign and contest all around bringing more meaning to its tagline, “See the world your way.”

Partnering with Toronto-based filmmaker Alexander Reid, the brand has created a series of documentaries of trending travel destinations around the world. As it would with clients, Travelcuts helped Reid secure transportation and accommodation but then gave him free reign to travel off the beaten path and capture the experience for a series of videos.

“The tagline is our way of trying to convey that we understand how Canadians want to travel,” says Luisa Pannozzi, marketing director at Merit Travel Group, Travelcuts’ parent company. “We wanted a campaign that would bring that meaning to life.”

As part of the campaign, Travelcuts has also launched a contest asking young travellers to document their own experiences and share their videos for a chance to win a $2,000 gift card to the site. Voting is currently taking place on social media and the Travelcuts website, and voters themselves have a chance to win a $150 prize back of Rough Guide travel book products as an added incentive.

Travelcuts has been using teaser trailers of Reid’s videos online in the lead-up to its film festival event Nov. 26 in Toronto, which will feature both Reid’s films and the top three consumer-generated videos, along with a Q&A with the filmmaker. The winner of the contest will be announced during the event.

Working with Toronto’s Punch Communications, the brand has been leveraging travel bloggers and influencers to help seed the film fest campaign, including with Twitter chats. It has also used email blasts and social media to promote the film fest campaign.

The new influencer-led, digital strategy is part of an overall shift for Travelcuts, which became an online-only brand last year. Prior to that, it did have brick-and-mortar locations on university campuses, which have since been taken over by Merit Travel.

In the year since the move to online only and a brand refresh, Travelcuts has been working to build its email database and has done some digital advertising, but is now looking to create a repeatable annual campaign with the film fest, Pannozzi says.

“What I didn’t want was just to create videos, pay for some ad space and then kind of let it go from that point,” she says. “We really needed a footprint.”