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Best job? Or just a good marketing ploy?

HAVE A CASE OF WANDERLUST? Then you might want to check out local start-up PandaBed's offer of an all-expenses-paid trip to 10 cities in Asia, a method to get an intern to join its team. All you have to do is to write about and share your travel experience on a blog and social media.


    Jul 24, 2014

    Best job? Or just a good marketing ploy?

    AFTER the wildly successful campaign launched by Tourism Queensland for the "Best Job in the World", local start-up PandaBed is also offering a "dream job".

    The firm, which helps travellers to book holiday homes in Asia, has offered an all-expenses-paid trip to 10 cities in the region to get an intern to join its team.

    It's a new ploy that is becoming increasingly popular in the travel industry: offer a dream job, get people talking about it and rake in the publicity. But experts warn that the gimmick could lose its power if it gets overused.

    In PandaBed's case, all that the intern has to do is write about and share his travel experience on a blog and social media. The intern will go on a road trip covering key tourist destinations in Malaysia, Thailand and Vietnam.

    "We thought it would be a brilliant idea to send an intern on a trip to highlight his experiences staying in one of PandaBed's 5,000 homes while meeting local hosts," said the firm's co-founder, Lester Kang.

    "We hope to also share the benefits of being hosted in local homes, which are affordable and provide the traveller with an authentic travel experience."

    Within three days of posting the advertisement on its Facebook page and Twitter account, the firm received over 3,000 unique page views on its job posting and 30 applications from the world, including one from Germany.

    PandaBed is not the first firm to woo potential job seekers by using their thirst for adventure as a hook.

    In 2009, Tourism Queensland attracted global headlines and over 35,000 applicants from all over the world by offering a job that paid A$150,000 for one to look after an island in the iconic Great Barrier Reef for six months.

    Last year, travel website Jauntaroo launched a similar campaign, in which it paid the successful applicant US$100,000 (S$124,000) to travel around the world for a year. He merely had to post his experiences on social media.

    PandaBed's ad is a "very well-designed effort to go viral", said Seshan Ramaswami, associate professor of marketing education at the Singapore Management University.

    Robert Gaxiola, co-founder of ad agency Mangham Gaxiola, said that the approach is in line with PandaBed's brand and target audience.

    "The alternative is just to run a classified ad and get the normal applicants. This company is obviously looking for something more, or, in this case, someone more," he said.

    But Prof Ramaswami warned of the possibility of overkill if more firms start attempting such stunts, saying consumers might tire and feel "used".