How Bottle Rocket Media Mined Travelzoo’s Expert Staff for the #Tzootips Series

Travel is a competitive and often noisy category. Travelzoo needed an ongoing campaign to break through the chatter with an authentic voice, deepen their relationship with travelers, and further establish themselves as travel experts. So we utilized the ultimate influencer in everything travel—Travelzoo employees.

Each video in the series stars a different employee travel expert as they guide the viewer through sensible and useful travel tips on various topics. By featuring real employees, the series boosts Travelzoo’s authority and adds valuable authenticity to the messages.

#Tzootips Q&A with Brett Singer

What was the vision and inspiration behind the #tzootips video?

Travelzoo is a travel deals site and community that asked us to help them make a series of social shareable videos where their employees share real-world travel tips. Most everyone who works there genuinely loves to travel, so the tips came from real experiences shared by real people. We loved the idea and were thrilled to do it with them.

How did you come up with the idea to feature the unique expertise of staff members from their jobs BEFORE joining Travelzoo, and how does that support the Travelzoo brand?

Our Travelzoo contact, then-Social Media Producer Megan Mitchell, sourced the Tzoo Experts for us. She did all of the legwork on finding the right people. Fortunately for us, the people she selected were all super nice, easy to work with, and great on camera. Plus, they obviously had great tips to share. It did seem like a trend that many of their tips came from previous jobs and experiences before landing at Travelzoo.

What elements contributed to the effectiveness of the storytelling?

The tip videos were a mix of off-the-cuff tips and scripted scenes written in partnership with the featured employees. The first series of videos were more improvised. When we added a more complex graphic component, we need to refine the storytelling to be more concise. Knowing that graphics would play a larger role and do a lot of the legwork for us, tightening up the on-camera content helped ensure all the moving parts would work together cohesively.

How do you think your approach to this video helped capture the brand’s unique elements?

I’m sounding like a broken record on this point, but the people at Travelzoo really do LOVE to travel. When deals come out on their site, THEY’RE the first ones to share them around the office. “Did you see that great deal to Iceland?!” We heard stories like that again and again. It’s such a big company with offices worldwide, so it was a great opportunity to put a face on such a large organization and really feature what makes it special: the travel nerds that work there!

Did any obstacles come up while making this video? If so, how did you work around them?

For the most part, this one was smooth sailing! We filmed in both Chicago and Los Angeles, and we shot even more tips than we got to produce in the end. Sadly those extras won’t see the light of day, but I’ve still got ‘em.

What was your favorite part of the project, and why?

The best part was the employees who took the time to share their tips. Being in front of a camera is REALLY hard. We were blown away at how camera-ready they all seemed to be! They were fun, friendly, and ready to try something weird and different to share tips about something they love…travel. That’s just cool.