Abta is to launch a live Twitter feed aimed at generating early bookings for members as part of week-long marketing campaign.
It is the first time Abta has used social media as part of its marketing.
The Early Bird campaign, running from January 20 to January 27, is part of its Look for the Logo promotional campaign initially launched last year.
The 2014 marketing campaign will use Twitter to market the benefits of booking early as well as traditional radio advertising and PR.
The association is encouraging its travel agent and tour operator members to register on Twitter if they have not already, follow the organisation, @ABTAtravel, and use the hashtag #ABTAearlybird to tweet offers during the week of January 20-27.
Head of communications Victoria Bacon said: “It’s the first time we have done something like this. We absolutely want agents and operators to use this to tweet their deals. We want that feed to be constantly changing and breaking news.
“The more of our members that do that, the more it will be exciting for consumers and they will see the feed as useful information.”
The campaign also involves advertising on Capital FM radio’s network of stations nationwide, with 19 30-second ads during the week, and a competition to win a free holiday with member Travel Club Elite, part of Club Med.
As part of the drive to encourage early bookings, Abta is launching an Early Bird page on January 16 on its website, abta.com/earlybird, which will feature top tips on reasons to book early, a ‘where to go when’ section on the best times to visit destinations, and its live Twitter feed.
Abta agent and tour operator members are being urged to link to the page and promote it to their customers.
Bacon said the association had chosen to launch the Early Bird-themed campaign based on feedback from members that there were still misconceptions that the best deals were available last minute.
“We are keen to get across the importance of booking early; there is still consumer misunderstanding about leaving it late to get the best deal, which is not always the case. This is about saying there are some really compelling reasons to book early; you will get the best choice of deals, the free child places and you can pay a deposit and budget the holiday payments,” she said.
The overall theme of the campaign continues to be to encourage consumers to look for the Abta logo, following last year’s initiative to drive up awareness among the younger, student market.
Bacon said recognition of the logo had increased to more than 80% from 78% last year and said this could be attributed directly to the campaign, which involved the distribution of more than 100,000 leaflets.
“We have increased awareness of Abta among younger people. We have also significantly shifted the understanding of what Abta does, such as improving standards for the travel industry and offering advice.”
Bacon said agent members should ensure they have the most up-to-date Abta logo to use in their shop windows and on their websites, by downloading it from Abta.com. Look for the logo leaflets are available from Abta.