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Student Advertising Case Studies

Student Travel Writer 2015 Competition created a new competition to directly engage travel brands with student travel experiences.


The youth demographic are now global citizens travelling more frequently and further afield than ever before. This means they have become an increasingly important target market for the travel industry.

The National Student is a student news and lifestyle publication that has been running since 2002, and has a body of over 600 student journalists who provide the majority of the publication’s content.

Many of these writers are frequent and vocal travellers with active blogs and social media accounts.

Following discussions with travel operators at World Travel Market in November 2014, it was decided that a campaign was needed to connect these brands with the engaged student writers – ultimately creating a high impact digital campaign and increasing awareness of travel opportunities.


In December 2014, the first ever Student Travel Writer competition was launched providing value to both clients and aspiring travel journalists through The National Student’s website and digital marketing platforms.

From a commercial point-of-view the competition gave travel brands the opportunity to interact directly with travel experiences of students, creating a positive brand message.

A year-long campaign was devised with a view of maximising:

  • The number of entries submitted
  • The amount of unique users and page impressions generated by the activity
  • The social media conversation around the competition and the sponsors
  • The positive marketing output for the sponsors across all channels

In order to achieve the above, incentivising the student entrants was paramount. This came in two stages – providing a series of quality travel experiences as prizes and creating competition criteria that included providing content and promoting it.

STA Travel and ESL Language Travel were brought onboard as headline sponsors who provided unique travel experiences for the competition winners. A bespoke marketing package pushed their involvement and brand across all The National Student’s marketing collateral.

Their marketing package included:

  • Brand logo on all competition banners hosted on The National Student website
  • Branded competition banners included on all competition entries
  • Digital display advertising
  • Exposure on competition banner included on weekly subscriber newsletter
  • Inclusion on all competition publicity
  • Guarantee of a minimum of three articles from the finalist or runner-up specifically on the brand

The competition was run in three stages:

  1. Open submissions – with original entries submitted to The National Student website, and five finalists selected by a panel of travel industry judges
  2. Final – 5 winners embarked on a European trip in conjunction with Eurolines, submitting articles based on these travels. A winner and runner-up was chosen based on these entries by the same panel of judges
    Finalist and runner-up – during their winning trips, the winner (a trip to New Zealand with STA Travel) and the runner-up (a trip to Japan and South Korea with ESL Language Travel) are to provide a series of articles and social media posts promoting the trip and the sponsor


Stage 1 - Open submissions 

Entries - 29

Page impressions - 662,521

Stage 2 - Final 

Entries - 22

Page impressions - 588,314


Entries - 51

Page impressions - 1,250, 835