By the end of 2019, Forest Holidays’ ability to engage, acquire, convert and retain customers had suffered due to a lack of customer awareness and understanding of the brand, coupled with the absence of a central marketing data solution and a poorly structured digital platform.
When Covid-19 started to cause things to shut down in March 2020, the newly-formed marketing team saw a crucial opportunity to reposition the brand in an emerging domestic travel market, which they anticipated would see significant growth as a result of the pandemic.
Having identified six key impact areas to drive better results for Forest Holidays in future – brand, user experience, personalisation, marketing effectiveness, trading speed and independence – the marketing team launched ‘Project Rush’ with the aim of delivering a rapid step change in customer experience and commercial performance.
In addition to rebuilding the brand with a new positioning, Forest Holidays built a digital trading platform, refined every aspect of the creative execution online and on location, aligned its guest communications and developed a new brand toolkit. This was delivered to its 800 team members through a sequence of brand inductions and masterclasses designed to harness the passion behind its purpose and customer proposition.
A new data toolkit, meanwhile, has enabled the brand to take a fresh approach to its performance marketing and move away from relying on partners to focus on becoming a 100% direct sell business. Marketing campaigns and database communications are now based on customer persona insights and Forest Holidays relaunched its loyalty programme to encourage repeat bookings.
The business has delivered its best commercial return in its history since the implementation of Project Rush, which also contributed to Forest Holidays winning the award for Marketing Team of the Year at the 2021 Marketing Week Masters.