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Friday, March 13, 2015

Social Media - the New Black - #escapers15 Famil Produces Astounding Results

Singapore and Queensland were the stunning backdrop for 17 prominent bloggers from nine Asia Pacific countries, who participated in the #escapers15 travel challenge which began in Singapore and spread across Brisbane, Sunshine Coast and Gold Coast Australia, producing astounding social media coverage along the way.

A night on the town in Brisbane
The buzz surrounding the use of the hashtag #escapers15 undeniably puts bloggers on the radar as modern day influencers, with their Twitter activity reaching a staggering 57 million impressions and over 1.5 million accounts. Instagram peaked at more than 29 million impressions over half a million accounts while Facebook engagement peaked at 107,000 likes, with a reach of nearly 500,000, and over 38,000 page engagements. All in 5 days.

Days after the event has finished, the amplification is still reverberating around the social world as the 17 excited bloggers go on to their next assignments, keeping in contact with each other and planning #escapers16, mooted to be in Taiwan and Korea.

Flying Scoot (#flyscoot) to Singapore, meeting their team-mates, some for the first time, and overcoming language barriers, each team of two hit the road to uncover a range of clues and challenges as they posted up a storm on social media.

In Singapore, with the assistance of Singapore Tourism Board (@your_singapore) they raced around the Lion City collecting photos, sipping cocktails, catching trains, ferries and buses - all to earn valuable team points. Prizes of air ticket vouchers, hotel vouchers at 5 star hotels, Billabong clothing vouchers (totalling approx AU$14,000), and the prestige of their country winning were up for grabs.

The team from China was triumphant in Singapore, followed by Malaysia then Australia.

The teams all then jumped aboard an overnight Scoot flight to Gold Coast (#goldcoastairport), where they hit the (very hot) road running in 36 degree Queensland (#thisisqueensland) heat.

Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ), in partnership with Scoot and Accor Hotels, hosted a four-day tour of Brisbane, the Sunshine Coast and the Gold Coast, tasking them with 31 challenges and 18 activities to win the#escapers15 series. Along the way the teams took part in a surf lesson, visited theme parks, hugged a koala, tested stand up paddle boarding, climber the tallest building at Skypoint and the Storey Bridge in Brisbane. They ate magnificent Queensland fresh produce with the sand between their toes, and enjoyed perfect Queensland weather.

Minister for Tourism and Major Events, QLD Kate Jones, said the bloggers have extraordinary profiles with more than one million followers collectively. They will inspire their audiences and promote Queensland via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and blogs during the tour. #escapers15 challenged the digital influencers to earn reward points while promoting their visit.

Australia won the 2nd leg, with one vote more than Indonesia, followed by Malaysia

The Scoot challenges resulted in four perfect scores, so a draw of names from a hat went to India.

#escapers15 was an Amazing Race-style activity which challenged bloggers to earn points while promoting their visit to Singapore and Queensland, and it involved participants from across Asia including Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, India, Korea, Japan, China and Australia.

Sponsors included Accor Hotels, Scoot, Tourism Events Queensland, Hootsuite, and Singapore Tourism Board.

These digital influencers have extraordinary profiles, and their adventures have now been widely documented via Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and their blogs.

“Social media is the perfect tool to share fun, uplifting and inspiring images, real time, and in a world that is used to immediacy, global reach can be obtained in a matter of minutes,” said Karri Nicholas, founder of sendmesocial.com

“Using a specific hashtag such as #escapers15 enables tangible tracking, and for all images and posts (with engagement) to be stored together, in a handy location, chronologically organised, and readily recalled for stakeholders to use in legitimate reporting.

“Scoot has been proud to be the airline sponsor of the event, carrying the team members first to Singapore where they commenced their challenges and then on to the Gold Coast,” said Dennis Basham, GM for Scoot in Australia. “We are excited to help spread the word about how great Queensland is across our network, and to our loyal followers on Facebook (over a million fans) and other social media platforms.”

Gaynor Reid, Director of Communications for Accor Asia Pacific said the #escapers15 event was a great way to showcase the attractions of Singapore and Queensland while encouraging a strong social media presence for the destination and for Accor's hotels.

“Accor is delighted to take part in this social media campaign, bringing bloggers from across Asia Pacific to enjoy the best of Queensland and our beautiful hotels,” she said. “The competitive spirit and nature of the event means that all the bloggers involved were encouraged to share the experience with their followers and we were amazed at the enormous reach these bloggers brought to our hotels and to the destinations.

This was the second #escapers event that has been organised in Asia Pacific, with the previous event taking place in Hong Kong. So successful has it been that Accor and Scoot are already working on the next one for 2016.

Follow the bloggers' exploits at the hashtag #escapers15 on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.
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