Hints and tips for entering holiday competitions
During the loooong and often bleak lockdown days, travel and holiday competitions have become a precious bit of escapism for many people looking forward to a future when it's safe to venture out again. They give travel lovers the chance to see and dream about different destinations - and offer that little bit of hope that you might just win a free holiday. And it can get addictive!
At Travelscoop we collate and feature all the best travel comps that we find online and feature them on our website and in our weekly holiday competition email. A couple of years ago we also created a Facebook travel competitions group where group members post any travel comps they find. The group has grown to become the biggest UK Facebook group purely for travel competitions - and to date we've seen over 250 wins. Since the lockdowns began we've witnessed a huge increase in people joining the Facebook group with many saying it's become their new hobby for whiling away the days.
The Travelscoop team have become comping experts over time and we thought we'd share a few helpful hints and tips that we've picked up along the way.
Do people actually ever wins these things?
We hear this a lot, but they really do. How do we know? Well, every single week genuine members of our community contact us to report wins. It's happening all the time.
Of course, there are a few scam competitions from time to time, but the number of genuine ones far outweighs them. There's a handy post in our Facebook competition group which helps with spotting the obvious signs of a fake comp.
Competitions often get many thousands of entries and if there's only one main prize it can mean there are a lot of disappointed people. So even though someone's got to win, and it could be you, I'd still recommend maintaining a sense of reality - be hopeful but not expectant.
Why do businesses run competitions?
There are a whole host of reasons - but primarily to promote something or grow. For travel comps that could be a hotel, company/brand/image, social media channel, product, or a particular destination if it's a tourist board. By giving away something for free, most companies would hope to see a growth in their users / subscribers / recognition.
What makes a comper?
There's not one particular thing that denotes someone who enters travel comps. Some "compers" can be obsessive and enter everything they see, while others are more discerning and only enter ones they really want to win. Other people love to sit with a coffee and leisurely enter comps at the weekend, while some go through stages of manic daily entering and then suffer burnout and give up.
The competition community is generally a positive one where people seem to be genuinely pleased to see others win something if it's not them. Lots of our group members also belong to other non-travel competition groups and win all sorts of weird and wonderful things.
Types of entry
There's a huge variation in the ways companies run their competitions:
- Online entry form - quick and simple, you just need to type in your details. Sometimes there'll be a question as well - usually quite easy and related to something on the company's page or website. Because of the simplicity of entering this type of competition there'll be a lot of entrants, reducing your odds of winning. Someone's got to win though, and we've seen loads of group members winning this type of competition.
- Tagging friends / sharing / commenting / following - usually on social media, these types of comp are often run by smaller businesses, hotels or B&Bs to try and grow their presence and following. They'll involve you doing one or a combination of these things in order to enter. It does go against many social media company regulations to incite people to tag or share a competition to enter - but that doesn't stop companies from doing it, and it doesn't mean social media platforms will do anything about it. It's more difficult to understand how winners are chosen and is open to abuse by social media scammers, but we have seen lots of genuine winners chosen in this way.
- Effort involved - this can be anything from "tell us in 100 characters why you deserve to win", to writing a story, creating a video, uploading a photo, and anything in between. The more effort that's involved in entering a competition the less likely people are to enter it or see it through - so the chances of winning are increased. Usually the prizes are worth the input and we've witnessed some fantastic prize-winning efforts in the group over time, with people getting really creative. There are often quite a few effort competitions aimed at children too (like designing a character or creating something artistic).
- Get nominations / voting - tied in with the above, these comps usually involve some initial effort, and then getting people to vote for you or your efforts over the duration of the competition. They tend to become a bit of a popularity contest because it's often about how many friends you can get to vote for you or how well you can promote yourself online. We've seen a few of these wins in the group, including a huge Jet2 comp where 100 people won a 'place on the plane' for a holiday in Spain, as well as a group member whose creative video got the second most votes and won £2,500 towards a holiday to Australia.
- Buying a product - often run by supermarkets or beauty companies, they'll want you to enter a code/barcode from a specific product into their website.
Set limits and find a few strategies
The tendency is to go for quantity over quality and enter everything you see because it's the best way of winning something. But would you really want to win an overnight stay in Newquay if you're based in Scotland and weren't already thinking of a trip to Cornwall?
Would your non-comping friends get bored of you tagging them in competitions? (Other compers are often happy to become friends on social media mainly for the purpose of tagging.)
Defining what you want to win and the types of competition you like to enter is a good way of maintaining control over it. And if it's not a simple entry form comp, being really creative is a good way to get your entries noticed.
Should you sign up to emails?
This is a tricky one and a bit of a grey area legally - it generally depends on how the competition is set up. GDPR rules are open to interpretation, and while they can state that email subscription cannot be bundled with a competition entry, "member only" competitions are permitted and therefore it depends what a company considers "membership" to entail. I've always viewed it from the understanding that a competition prize/business wouldn't exist without an income, and in a competition sense the "income" is subscribers or followers. Of course, you should always have the option to unsubscribe at any time if you're not enjoying the content. Some competitions will still expect entrants to be subscribed at the time the winner is drawn.
Often, compers will recommend setting up a separate email address for entering competitions. This seems sensible, but with one caveat. We often hear from companies - and have experienced it ourselves - that winners just don't respond when informed of a win. Most competition terms will state that the winner must claim the prize within a set timeframe before another winner is selected. If you set up a comping email address - remember to check it weekly!
Check the terms & conditions
The small details can be boring and sometimes confusing - as well as remarkably similar from one online competition to the next. But the T&Cs should always have the competition closing date, details about the prize and the method of entry, as well as all the other legalities of the competition. Most companies running competitions want it to be fun and to abide by the law, but it's usually worth having a quick look through. At Travelscoop, we vet the T&Cs for all competitions posted on our website.
How do you know if you've won?
You should always hear directly from the competition provider if you're the winner - usually by email, or sometimes by phone if you've given your number. They'll usually give you a limited amount of time to respond before re-drawing the prize if they don't hear from you. Again - remember to check your comping email account if you have one!
For social media competitions, the winner will often be announced in the comments section of the original competition post, asking the winner to get in touch. It pays to check your social media accounts for new activity every few days.
Keep an eye on the company or hotel's website and social media pages for winner announcements - due to the overwhelming expanse of the internet, competition results are not necessarily going to fall into your lap. You may have to search for the results. And don't forget to check your spam email folder from time to time, just in case.
Other online resources
There are some other brilliant online resources to find out more and inspire you. One of our favourites is Di Coke's Competition Blog, SuperLucky, which covers everything you can think of competition-wise, including travel comps. Having won over £300,000 worth of prizes over time, Di is the authority when it comes to entering comps. Her blog is really informative and engaging, and she's helped to create a thriving comping community on her website and through her Lucky Learners group on Facebook.
This is probably the most important thing of all. The competitions are out there, and however much or little you want to do, it's entirely in your hands. View it as a hobby and if you happen to win something through it, even better! Best of luck!