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SCMP campaign promotes post-lockdown domestic tourism in Hong Kong

By Fairoza Mansor

Morning Studio, South China Morning Post

Hong Kong, SAR, China

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What’s the best way to inspire a population of more than 7 million to rediscover what their home city has to offer when their travel plans have been thwarted by the COVID-19 pandemic?

Morning Studio’s partnership with Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB) in 2020 encouraged Hongkongers to become “tourists” in the city after the easing of social-distancing restrictions. The campaign involved a multi-pronged approach across various media formats — written and video content for print, digital, and social media. This culminated in a campaign affectionately titled Holiday at Home.

The Holiday at Home Travel Guide gave Hongkongers information on how to enjoy the city as stay-at-home restrictions were eased.
The Holiday at Home Travel Guide gave Hongkongers information on how to enjoy the city as stay-at-home restrictions were eased.

From the beginning, our lean and dynamic team knew we wanted to uncover and tell deeply personal stories from the point of view of local or longtime Hong Kong residents. This was going to be a campaign for Hongkongers, by Hongkongers.

But first, we had to find individuals with stories that not only resonate but also offer unique and intriguing perspectives. They had to be able to show us the alternative side of Hong Kong that most residents are unfamiliar with. While this may seem like a tall order, the rigorous research led us to a group of fascinating personalities — feng shui interior designer Thierry Chow, food blogger Agnes Chee, forest therapy guide Jasmine Nunns, junk boat captain Kwok Wah-hei, gin distiller Dimple Yuen, and Cyril Aubin, managing director of Hong Kong Tramways.

Together, these engaging individuals were able to offer insights into Hong Kong’s seemingly endless shopping options, diverse food scene, stunning natural scenery, iconic harbour, vibrant nightlife, and dynamic culture. The hope was that by looking at Hong Kong through their eyes, our audience’s curiosity and connection with their home city would be reignited post-quarantine, encouraging them to go out and rediscover some of its lesser-known delights.

Holiday at Home emphasised the many features that attract tourists to the city.
Holiday at Home emphasised the many features that attract tourists to the city.

Finding happiness at home

The results of the campaign were encouraging, with the stories resonating with Hongkongers just the way we had envisioned. The six video-led stories garnered more than 416,000 pageviews, with an average of 2:41 spent on each page. 

Each episode, published and hosted on SCMP.com, was promoted on SCMP’s on- and off-platform media channels. On social media, the story posts reached more than 558,000 people, achieved more than 786,000 impressions, and resulted in over 76,000 engagements. 

Our team also provided extensively researched content for HKTB’s own e-book and Web site, including recommending hidden treasures and less-widely-known themed walking routes across the city. 

Objectively, Holiday at Home proved to be a timely and relevant project as Hongkongers — along with the rest of the world — were forced to put their wanderlust on pause as travel halted amid the pandemic.

Holiday at Home helped Hongkongers satisfy their wanderlust by discovering their own city.
Holiday at Home helped Hongkongers satisfy their wanderlust by discovering their own city.

Educating the editorial team

Beyond just creating an informative travel guidebook or aspirational and anecdotal snapshots for the SCMP audience, our team also gathered amazing insights into aspects of the city we didn’t know about before the campaign. As Nick Jones, our in-house senior video producer aptly says: “I discovered and learned so much about Hong Kong’s history and heritage I wouldn’t have known otherwise.”

For me, that is the beauty of content marketing. Attracting eyeballs and pageviews aside, good content should provide value to the audience — be it pure entertainment, education, or inspiration. Holiday at Home happened to tick all the boxes and, as a content practitioner, I could not be more proud to have been part of the team responsible for making the series come to life. 

About Fairoza Mansor

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