is Romania's flag carrier. Established in 1954, we own one of the youngest fleets in Europe, consisting of 23 aircraft, and we now fly to more than 50 destinations worldwide.
Ever since Romania joined the EU in 2007 TAROM has played an ever more important role in helping our fast-developing nation enter the European and global market. This role was accelerated when in 2010 we joined SkyTeam
, the second biggest global alliance of airlines. This gave us access to an extensive global network with more destinations, more frequencies and more connections.
The opportunity is there for us to build a globally recognised brand. The challenge for the corporate communications department is to ensure that we seize it. So, when in 2012 we were nominated as the Official Carrier of the Romanian Olympic Team to the Olympic Games in London, we needed to make the most of the opportunity.
I am glad to say that the campaign we developed between 15th April and 31st August 2012 around this sponsorship was highly successful not only overseas but also with Romanian passengers, media and social media.
The airline renamed Business Class as Olympic Class during this period to reflect the fact that our Business class travellers are an elite who we recognise and reward. Prices for Olympic class were reduced by up to 30%, so that all passengers could afford to travel in this class if they wanted.
Beside this, we offered every Olympic class passengers a medal on-board, the headsets were printed to indicate Olympic class, and at the end of the campaign, we organised a raffle in which everyone who had travelled Olympic Class was entered, and two winners – one from Romania and one from the UK – won two free tickets to a TAROM destination of their choice.
It was an exciting campaign and our challenge in corporate communications was to ensure widespread visibility for it, and positive media messaging. At the end of March 2012 we announced the partnership with the Olympic Committee at a press conference and on our Facebook account. From then on we ran several PR projects to draw attention to the airline's association with the Games.
In May the TAROM Olympic Cross was a cross-country race held in a beautiful park in Bucharest. Despite the poor weather we attracted 1,500 participants for the 3.5km run. Winners received prizes including bicycles, roller skates and tennis racquets, and every participant received a TAROM branded T-shirt.
When the Romanian Olympic team left from Bucharest International Airport a TAROM team was there to see them off and wish them luck. As they passed through the gate we made a public announcement wishing them success. When they returned we made onboard announcements that Olympic team members were on the flight and congratulating them on their achievements.
For two weeks over July and August we ran an Olympic marathon contest on our Facebook page. People had to answer seven funny random questions about the history of the Olympic Games. For each correct answer they moved a step forward on a map from Bucharest to London. Those who answered all seven correctly were entered into a raffle to win not only a free TAROM ticket to London but also a day in the company of an Olympic sportsman.
After the Games closed we held an event in London for our business partners. It took place at Romania House, a Georgian townhouse in the upmarket area of Knightsbridge, and more than 100 attendees had the chance to have their pictures taken with Olympic medal winners.
The campaign proved to be very effective. At all those events the media was present, and this was reflected in a wealth of coverage. Furthermore we were successful in generating significant online buzz through social media.
Consequently, the number of travellers in business class was several percentage points higher compared with same period in 2011. Longer term, this will have done much to build Romania as a destination for business travellers, and TAROM as the carrier of choice for those flying to and from our country.