Travel tech firm Sabre used innovative brand ambassador idea to hire interns: Internal Comms learnings 2020

Most onboarding programs are routine affairs – you have leaders speaking, policies are discussed, you are told about your role and how to go about your work. 

However, Sabre tried something different in January 2020 and is set to repeat the exercise this year in a an online avatar.

Aniisu Verghese, director - corporate communications, Sabre Global Capability Center said, "At Sabre, we strongly believe in involving our employees as advocates of our brand. Intern Boot Camp 2020, was a unique company initiative to welcome and engage our prospective employees from campus. The 360-degree communication approach invited interns to learn about our brand, get inspired and be active ambassadors right from the start. As we prep for yet another Intern Boot Camp – completely online this time, we look forward to applying our learning from earlier to offer exciting and memorable experiences."

The idea : Flashback 2020

 With the goal of enhancing brand awareness and connect with the business, the communication campaign invited millennials to become the organization’s newest and most responsive brand ambassadors - to leverage their advanced digital presence and skills.

In January 2020, Sabre Bengaluru GCC organized an ‘Intern Boot Camp’ - a flagship University recruits assimilation program to groom interns from premier technology institutes into Sabre engineers. 

The communication plan 

Zeroing on clear deliverables and creating a distinctive 360-degree communications around the Intern Boot Camp concept became the priority. The brand name ‘Intern Boot Camp’ was chosen for its simplicity and directness, and its implicit message: a place where deep learning would take place at a rapid pace under expert mentoring. The logo was designed to convey the purposefulness of the event while keeping it friendly, youthful and relevant to the travel and technology industry. The tagline ‘I change the way the world travels’, which echoes Sabre’s mission, was integrated into the logo.

 The ‘boxing’ metaphor represented skill, speed and technique. A boxing glove-shaped message quoting India’s world flyweight champion, Mary Kom, welcomed the participants. 

All 59 interns were systematically divided in diverse groups of 4-5 people for a hackathon. The 40-hour hackathon  allowed interns to combine their innovative ideas with all the learning they had gone through in previous days. Some examples of winning ideas include: a way to automate hotel management contactless check- in, an app to improve the expense monitoring experience on cruise lines and more.

As a result of the exercise, all 59 interns who were offered internship chose to continue with Sabre as full-time employees six months later. 

Reputation Impact 

The exercise also helped strengthen the positive image of Sabre India and the Boot Camp, in the industry and amongst prospective hires, through the large number of social media posts by participants. 

The high level of satisfaction recorded in post-event surveys with an NPS of 72% participants being satisfied with the event helped Sabre close the loop on making Intern Boot camp 2020 a class leading initiative in the industry. 

Of the 59 interns onboarded, 91% expressed readiness to recommend Sabre to a friend!

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