Due to the pandemic, many things that once came naturally can suddenly feel foreign and confusing. Contiki, the social travel operators for 18-35s, felt this keener than most. Since getting back on the road in 2021, the youth travel leaders have witnessed many-a-mishap from their out-of-practice travellers. And not just travellers – even a Contiki Trip Manager managed to arrive at the airport without their passport.
Wanting to help travellers who are mentally defaulting to stuffing their suitcases with toilet roll, Contiki teamed up with Colombia, and with a little help from Amazon’s Alexa, has unveiled its Colombia ‘pack my bags’, Alexa skill.
Contiki: Pack My Bags is available to download on Amazon now. Its Content Marketing Director, Lottie Norman says “the skill was designed in response to the rising use of voice-enabled technology, with 45% of millennials using voice assisted technology and 47.4% of the smart home market comprising 18 – 34 year-olds.”
The social travel brand has previously been nominated for 2 webby awards for its Pack My Bags skills for various Continents, including Europe in Winter and Africa in Summer. But Colombia is the first country to take advantage of the skill, and Contiki expects more countries to follow suit.
Based on the itinerary to Contiki’s popular Hola Colombia trip, the Alexa skill takes travellers across Colombia’s distinct and diverse regions, and tells them what they’ll need for each destination, (for example, a camera for Bogota and swimwear for Cartagena). Travellers let Alexa know if the item is already in their bag or not, and the AI starts to build their bespoke packing list.
“When Contiki approached us with this idea we loved it!” said Flavia Santoro, president of ProColombia. “We work with many international tour operators who sell Colombia but we’ve never been pitched such an innovative idea. We are delighted to partner with Contiki, who are experts in marketing to the Gen Z audience and getting them interested in visiting Colombia.”
“Colombia can be tricky to pack for at the best of times,” said Rachel Storey, Contiki’s Head of Brand and Partnerships. “It’s so diverse. From the coffee plantations in the Andes to the Caribbean coastline of Cartagena, and so many surprising delights along the way. But when you add the fact that many young travellers haven’t even left their homes for the best part of two years, we decided they really need a helping hand.”
As well as helping travellers pack the essentials, Contiki’s skill gives them a taste of the local culture (for example, Spanish phrases and Colombian book recommendations), and advice on how to pack more sustainably. This is in line with the brand’s take on sustainability, having just announced all trips will be carbon-neutral from January 2022. “Contiki trips are intelligently designed to be 100% carbon neutral but sacrifice none of the fun or wonderful experiences to achieve this,” says Tasha Hayes, Contiki’s Sustainability Officer.