Internova calls for a more human approach to travel booking

Who: Internova Travel Group, with Broken Heart Love Affair for strategy and creative, Wavemaker for media, and website by Lifelong Crush (sister agency to BHLA).

What: “Go Human. Book Human,” a new branding campaign for the travel company, which employs 62,000 actual human travel agents. This is a U.S. only campaign by a Canadian agency and a Canadian client—long-time Canadian agency executive Brent Rivard. He joined Internova late last year from Mass Minority, and spent much of his early career at Canadian agencies.

When & Where: The campaign just launched and will run for three months, with long-form video, OOH in New York and L.A., along with paid and organic social, digital, and public relations.

Why: Travel is one of the industries turned upside down by data and automation, with trips now easily booked through travel websites. But Internova is all about actual human travel advisors, and with interest in travel and tourism likely to increase with the worst of the pandemic over, it is reminding consumers that the joy of travel is an inherently human experience, and online booking sites that make recommendations based on data analysis and digital profiles lack that human touch. “Bots are simply programmed to sell, not care. It’s time for humans to take back what’s rightfully theirs,” said Rivard in a release.

Internova also says a lot of people who had travel plans interrupted at the start of the pandemic were left stranded and frustrated over refunds if they had booked online. “Many realized that getting travel wrong—personal or business—can have very real, very strenuous consequences. That’s when travel advisors were called in to save the day,” said Internova CEO J.D. O’Hara.

How: The campaign’s centrepiece is a one-minute video ad featuring a (very creepy) robot travel advisor that explains to the viewer—in a flat, lifeless voice— how data analysis is used to find a special vacation destination for customers. “We have thought of everything, because we watch everything,” it says.

The message in one six-second social ad is “A.I. learns your routines. Don’t expect it to know about escaping them.” In another it’s “If machines can’t dream, how will they plan your dream vacation.” The call-to-action across the creative urges consumers to “book human” for their next trip.

The digital experience: It’s not like Internova doesn’t believe in websites, but the new BookHuman.Travel site is meant to connect would-be travellers with human travel advisors. Visitors search for advisors based on criteria like proximity, destination and travel interest, and can be connected with agents who can chat online.

And we quote: “People today have access to a plethora of online booking algorithms to plan their vacations, but artificial intelligence won’t give you a unique, personalized experience, and it doesn’t particularly care if anything goes wrong.” —Brent Rivard, chief marketing officer at Internova Travel Group

David Brown