3Sixty – where travel brands go digital

In 1979 my parents sent me to Istanbul to stay with some ‘family friends’. They drove me to Heathrow reminiscing about the many cultural influences: iconic Byzantine features, Roman era artefacts and soaring 6th century architecture. I’d just watched Midnight Express and was more worried about getting framed for smuggling hash! The Yugoslav Airlines flight went via Zagreb, where we swapped aircraft and had a collective disagreement with a twitchy baggage handler. Since he was carrying a Kalashnikov AK-47 assault rifle, we chose to agree with the heavily armed luggage transport executive.

Rattled but safely onboard a vintage McDonald Douglas DC-9 for the final leg into Istanbul; the captain triumphantly announced 700 Turkish Lira for any passenger happy to have someone on their lap. The flight was over subscribed, and being the late 1970’s, health and safety hadn’t been invented yet. It sounded like a lot of money — until the stewardess introduced me to my travelling partner — a ‘plus sized’ individual that would have squished me like an over ripe banana. Thankfully they had other plans. Strapped into the jump seat of the cockpit, I watched the pilots with cigarettes in mouth and coffee cups on the window sill, take off into the early evening sky. We arrived into Turkish airspace at night, flying low over the Bosphorus Strait and into the warm multicoloured glow of Istanbul. It remains one of the most enduring images of my youth and was the start of my love affair with travel. Which brings us neatly to the main reason for this post. Why has 3Sixty chosen to specialise in travel and tourism? Broadly speaking, it breaks down into the rational and emotional. The compelling commercial rationale is that travel and tourism is set to grow over the next few years, and frankly, it can’t hurt to ride that wave. We also have a good track record in the sector with clients such as Royal Caribbean Cruises, Forest Holidays and various UK airports, so it’s not a massive leap. Further, as we gain more expertise, knowledge and insight, we reinforce our offer and become increasingly attractive to potential clients. More so than our generalist counterparts. Not that there’s anything wrong with being a generalist, after all — we were for 17 years and the diversity of clients kept things interesting. Another benefit of specialising is that our marketing efforts can focus entirely on the travel and tourism sector, making it easier to define and execute. Again, helping us to resonate more clearly with potential new clients. So that’s the logical reasons dealt with, what about the emotional? Over the last 17 years 3Sixty has spent a great deal of time helping businesses and brands promote and sell a diverse range of things from Formula 1 to mango’s. And reflecting on this period, we enjoyed nearly all the projects we were lucky enough to be involved with. But it was those that promoted and sold experiences that gave us the greatest joy and sense of achievement. So from November 2017, our purpose has become to help travel and tourism brands go digital. Because in the end it’s our shared experiences in life that matter most.