Site59 Game Looks to Pack in the Traffic

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Site59.com LLC, a Travelocity-owned seller of last-minute getaway packages, is running an online game called "How Fast Can You Pack?" to remind consumers about the fun of getting away spontaneously.


The promotion aims to drive traffic, brand comprehension and sales for Site59 by testing a user's ability to pack an online suitcase quickly. The effort, which began Aug. 3, is the first time the 4-year-old New York-based firm has run an online game.


"The strategy is to highlight the theme of getting away quickly by testing users' skills in fast packing," said Siobhan Foley, vice president of merchandising and communications at Site59. "We want to educate users about the last-minute product, how last-minute Site59 truly is. No other last-minute packaging site has as short a booking window as we do: three hours."


Game participants try to pack a virtual suitcase in 59 seconds or less. Fast packers can win $100, $75, $50 or $25 off a Site59 last-minute getaway by packing the bag as quickly as they can.


Participants can play as many times as they want to improve their score and earn a better prize. Also, players who use their MasterCard on purchases get an extra $25 in their overall prize.


The game is played at www.site59.com/fastpack. Users can land there through the site's home page banner, affiliate sites, pop-under ads, bulletin boards or the company's Top Picks e-mail newsletter sent to subscribers. There also are banner ads on other travel and lifestyle sites.


Page 1 of the game contains basic details. Page 2 has instructions with a "Play Now" button to time the game. On page 3 the timer starts and players click, drag and rotate the items into the relevant spot in the suitcase.


Once those steps are completed, players land on a prize value page to learn whether they won anything. They can move ahead or play again. Those who win are taken to a promotion code redemption page for details, and then can search the site for deals to which they can apply their discount.


"This is primarily a traffic-driving, viral initiative, though we really want to attract new users who will be more inclined to try our product for the first time because of the offer they earn," Foley said.


Site59 competes with sites like lastminute.com, Hotwire and TravelZoo in its niche. But larger sites -- including airlines or online travel agencies like Orbitz, InterActive Corp.'s Expedia, Cendant's CheapTickets.com and Sabre Holdings' Travelocity -- also compete in the space.


Using a patent-pending system, Site59 automates and assembles inventory in real time from more than 3,300 industry suppliers. They include airlines, hotel chains, car rental firms and specialty providers.


Visitors to Site59 can buy packages combining flight and hotel, flight and car and more. They can choose packages based on destinations known for sun and beach, food and wine, outdoors and Las Vegas/casino as well as top sellers and those under $250. Purchases can be made 14 days to three hours before departure.


To draw attention to its service, Site59 typically runs content-based promotions such as "Muck It," a celebration of all destinations related to mud: Seattle for coffee, Vermont for mud season and so on. It also has incremental holiday promotions like Leap Day. (The Saturday of Leap Weekend this year was the 59th day of the year.)


Site59 also depends on banners, e-mails and affiliates for marketing support. The approach is more retail-based, depending on the packages available.


Though Travelocity is its parent, Site59 did not have a large budget for the game. But the effort is paying dividends.


"Upon the launch of the game, site visits increased by 42 percent week over week, bringing in almost 100,000 new visitors," Foley said. "This trend is not reflected in our other sites and can be attributed to the game."


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