At the end of last year, Madeira's public transport operator engaged in a targeted marketing campaign in order to attract new users to its services.
Between September and December 2016, Horários do Funchal (HF), Madeira's public transport operator, held its “Bring a Friend” campaign. HF users who convinced somebody else to sign up for a monthly pass were then eligible to receive a free one themselves.
The campaign contained both digital and physical elements. HF staff distributed flyers inside buses and around the town, whilst the company's Facebook account and website were also used as channels to promote the campaign.
Despite its relatively small budget, the initiative provided effective. A total of 55 HF season ticket holders were able to persuade 55 non-ticket holders to purchase a monthly travel pass.
After assessing what had been achieved in terms of attracting new users, it was time to evaluate the extent to which they carried on using public transport. This indicator could provide an idea of the attractiveness and quality of HF's customer offer.
Four months after the campaign's conclusion, more than half of the 55 new users continue to travel on HF's services. The economic benefits were also clear: the revenue brought in clearly exceeded the costs involved.
What the campaign revealed was that the inclusion of an emotive element in a campaign (such as friends or relatives) can help to make it and its associated messages more appealing. In this way, it is easier to bring about changes in attitude and behaviour.
As a follow-up, the "Bring a Friend" format may be slightly modified to target Airbnb hosts, who would instead apply for a “Bring a Tourist” discount.
As one of the six touristic locations involved in the CIVITAS DESTINATIONS project, Madeira is developing intelligent sustainable transport solutions for tourists and residents alike. Visit Madeira's own
Author: André Freitas