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Two former Visit Jersey marketers have launched a travel marketing consultancy under lockdown to help travel and tourism brands find their purpose. Although co-founders Adam Caerlewy-Smith and Ben Jordan are only on opposite ends of the island, they haven’t actually met in person in months. The pair embraced the new remote working reality to stay in daily contact and form the strategy to launch their travel startup North from a social distance.Both are no strangers to solving the travel industry’s biggest problems. Adam is the former Head of Marketing at Visit Jersey and was instrumental in reversing 20 years of decline of the tourism sector into four years of consecutive growth.
Adam led the charge in developing the destination brand and tourism strategy for the island. Ben Jordan earned his tourism wings delivering a major rebrand for an international hotel group before working with creative agencies in the UK and Australia. Shortly before leaving his role in June 2018 to work with tourism boards in Australia, USA and Asia, Adam appointed Ben as Campaign Lead to manage the creative advertising campaigns that drive visitors to the island.Launching a travel startup in the current climate is not without its challenges. The industry has been devastated by the current crisis with several thousand jobs inhospitality and tourism at serious risk across the Channel Islands.
Rather than be deterred by the impact to the travel economy, the two entrepreneurs recognised the opportunity to guide travel companies through the current crisis and help them restore consumer confidence when the world is a safe place to travel again.‘We want to help travel brands to navigate these turbulent times and rebuild the industry’, said Adam. ‘But we also need to recognise that things won’t be business as usual for some time. Consumer confidence has been sorely shaken and travellers are apprehensive of exploring the outside world. Consumers will look to travel & tourism brands more than ever to inspire trust, safety and confidence in their next adventure. This means the role of travel marketing is no longer just to inspire, we now need to inspire confidence .’
During the months under lockdown, the pair launched a successful podcast series,Travel Interrupted, to connect with the travel community and share marketing insights. The podcast features a number of industry experts including award-winning travel photographer Matt Porteous.‘We interviewed a number of guest speakers from across the industry, from data scientists to sustainable storytellers, and we found a broad consensus that the Coronavirus pandemic is an opportunity to reimagine the future of travel and rebuild its principles Adam tells us.
As the world begins to emerge out of lockdown and travel restrictions begin to relax, the pair believe creativity will be the deciding factor for success.‘We believe in the power of creativity as a force for good to solve the biggest problems in travel. And COVID-19 is the mother of big problems’ said co-founder BenJordan. ‘Creative thinking is going to be the key differentiator in what is going to be a hyper-competitive market. As the world eases out of lockdown, travel & tourism brands across the world will need to compete fiercely against each other, all at the same time, to win back the fickle favours of a shaken public. As if that wasn’t hard enough, they’re also up against other sectors that pressed pause on their marketing spend during the crisis. Now is the time to be brave, compassionate and carve a distinctive message that cuts through the noise.’Both co-founders are passionate about supporting the local tourism industry which benefits the whole community and fuels the livelihoods of thousands of islanders.
In 2019, it directly contributed £280m to the Jersey economy and supported 6,400 jobs.The entrepreneurs believe they are well placed to make a difference.‘If ever travel and tourism brands needed to find their purpose, it’s now. ’ said Adam. ‘As the only travel specialist marketing agency in the ChannelIslands, we draw upon our industry expertise to save our clients valuable explaining time, and we’re able to focus all our creative energies on developing outstanding solutions to travel’s biggest problems. Our mission is simple – we will guide our clients through this crisis towards a better place for their brand. We believe that working together, we can light the way to a better kind of travel that keeps the world exploring.’