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Behind the scenes of Eurovision 2021

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Earlier this year, Booking.com announced a new partnership with the European Broadcasting Union to become the Official Travel Partner of Eurovision 2021. Hot on the heels of the event, we reflect on the sponsorship’s role in creating opportunities for our partners

The Eurovision Song Contest took place last month, inviting a host of performers from across Europe to the vibrant Dutch city of Rotterdam. Although this year looked starkly different from previous shows, which typically see thousands of traveling fans, millions of people from all corners of the globe tuned in from home to watch their favorite singers battle it out. 

Representing and celebrating unity and togetherness, Eurovision perfectly aligns with our own brand values and optimistic outlook as an event for everyone – allowing us to reach wider communities of travelers who are the right fit for your property. By sponsoring this iconic event, we reminded the global audience we’re ready to make it easier for everyone to experience the world once again.

“When we looked at Eurovision as a sponsorship opportunity, there were a couple of elements that stood out to me,” says Amon Versteeg, Senior Director of Marketing at Booking.com. “Firstly, its connectedness to travel. Secondly, after a year without live events and experiences, this year’s theme of “Open Up” was just so timely and appropriate. Eurovision is grounded in crossing borders, coming together, sharing national pride, and showing how we’re friends above rivals, particularly at this time. It’s the perfect combination.” 

The world’s biggest live music event

Eurovision is one of the largest broadcast events in the world, with over 180 million people tuning in this year. For the grand final alone, this included 7.8 million viewers from Germany, 7.4 million from the UK, 5.5 million from France, and 5.4 million from the Netherlands. 

The event has grown to reach the always valuable younger audiences, with 52.8% of 15–24-year-olds who were watching TV at the time tuning in to the grand final – four times higher than the broadcast channels’ average (14.5%). On top of that, online engagement soared, with the contest’s official social media accounts—Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok—generating 14 million engagement actions on posts.

In addition to the significant number of viewers the event attracts, Eurovision has shown the ability to maintain a sustained digital presence, with over 50 million unique viewers across 234 countries watching the Content’s official YouTube channel during the week of the event, up 28% from 2019. 

Stimulating demand for your property

As the Official Travel Partner of this year’s contest Booking.com was prominent across a range of traditional and digital media touch points before, during, and after the five-day event. This ensured high visibility in some of our largest booker markets in Europe, allowing us to tap into a huge number of potential guests. Additionally, we had the opportunity to create unique content such as travel guides with past contestants and editorials for the Eurovision platform, further connecting with their audience and extending the exposure opportunities for your property. 

Simultaneously, we worked to engage customers through a multitude of our own channels as part of a tightly integrated campaign to further increase awareness and reach. “We had multiple concurrent activations running during the event across all of our different marketing channels – sponsored, owned, earned, and paid,” says Brendan Cartledge, Senior Program Manager at Booking.com. “We really tried to blend the on-the-ground experience with the digital world to further amplify brand exposure and engagement.” 

Taking place just ahead of summer, this high visibility is important when you consider the opportunities it creates to stimulate demand during this pivotal time. “We are incredibly lucky that there are some easing of restrictions in Europe as a result of vaccine rollouts,” says Versteeg. “Creating additional reach in the region right now means that we’re even more visible to travelers when that pent-up demand starts turning into bookings. However, it’s not all luck. We looked at the booking windows when we were looking at all types of sponsorships and used that data to make informed decisions. We know this is traditionally one of the times that then goes into a big push before the summer season, and the Eurovision timings aligned perfectly.” 

“Our booker base is heavily European, and travelers in all corners of Europe are itching to get back out there,” he continues. “This sponsorship enables us to tap into some of those key booking markets, reconnecting with our customers, and getting them excited about the prospect of traveling once again."

 

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Takeaway
  • Eurovision is one of the largest broadcast events in the world, with over 180 million people tuning in this year
  • As the Official Travel Partner of this year’s contest Booking.com received high visibility across a range of touch points, allowing us to tap into a huge number of potential guests
  • Simultaneously, we further engaged customers through a multitude of our own channels as part of a tightly integrated campaign