Roaming Gnome helps travelers choose where to spend a long weekend with #MemorialDayRoam - McKinney

Roaming Gnome helps travelers choose where to spend a long weekend with #MemorialDayRoam

May 20, 2014

Our friends at Twitter tell us that McKinney’s just-launched #MemorialDayRoam program for Travelocity uses the platform in a way they believe has never been done before!

It began on Monday, May 19, with a tweet from @RoamingGnome that used the hashtag #MemorialDayRoam. Fans who click the link in this tweet and others that followed are guided through a Twitter decision tree in a choose-your-own-adventure format and are ultimately presented with their ideal Memorial Day trip destination.

“We created eight dummy Twitter accounts for the Gnome to reply to in each tweet,” explained Associate Creative Director Stevie Archer. “This keeps the 51 tweets that make up the experience from being sent to the Gnome’s followers and clogging up their timelines.”

For example, the first question is a tweet from the Gnome to @ThisIsStep1:

You’ve got a 3day weekend to go anywhere, ready?
→rgno.me/RoamWest
→rgno.me/RoamEast
→rgno.me/StayHome

If you chose /RoamEast, you are directed to a second question, which the Gnome tweeted at @NowStep2:

The east coast is quite exhilarating. Now do you want to:
→rgno.me/StuffUrFace ?
→rgno.me/GoOutLate ?

Chose /StuffUrFace, and you are shown a tweet to @NowStep3:

When you’re scarfing down delish food do you also like to wear a speedo?
→rgno.me/DearMeNo
→rgno.me/YesSpeedoMe

Fans who make it to their final destination reveal can share their trip or start over to get a different recommendation. Best of all, some will get a reply directly from @Travelocity with a link to save 40% on their trip purchase.

“To create this question-and-answer experience, we wrote 51 individual tweets,” said Stevie. “This allowed us to have 16 potential destination outcomes, 10 of which are Travelocity’s top 10 booking destinations.” She said that the most difficult part was making sure that the questions logically guided users to specific destinations. “If one tweet didn’t connect logically, then the entire sequence of questions leading to it had to be reworked.” And, of course, this had to be done using no more than 140 characters.

The most exciting thing about creating a social experience like this is that it lets the Roaming Gnome start a conversation and share his worldly knowledge in a totally new and engaging way. “He’s not just talking at his fellow travelers — he’s conversing with them, entertaining them and even helping them, all with just a simple twist on native Twitter functionality,” said Stevie, who writes regularly for the Gnome.

Though the Gnome is often on the road and in the air, he is quite at home on Twitter. This spring he gave away (and went along on) a free vacation to Machu Picchu with @Josh_Ames through #iWannaGo, the brand’s largest and most engaging social program ever. In just eight weeks, #iWannaGo increased the Gnome’s Twitter followers by 34,517. Clearly, Travelocity’s adventurous spirit means that they are willing to risk leaving social media’s beaten path to create brand-new experiences. And that means we all get to have some fun.