How to Run a Successful Travel Sweepstakes: Travel Prizes & Official Rules

travel vacation

Awesome travel prizes are a surefire way to attract entrants to any travel sweepstakes. They can range from a free trip to a local attraction to an exotic vacation in a faraway destination.

What these prizes all have in common is that they’re luxury adventures the average person probably can’t afford or wouldn’t take. For the winners, they are guaranteed to create lasting memories.

However, travel sweepstakes have some unique concerns that you should be aware of. Here are some important tips to consider to help you run a successful travel sweepstakes.

Make It Clear What’s Included in the Prize (and What’s Not)

When it comes to travel prizes there are so many variables involved in how the winner can experience their free trip that you need to be as clear and specific as possible in your official rules as to what’s included in the travel prize.

For example, instead of explaining the prize as simply including air travel and hotel accommodations, be specific. Include details on whether it’s economy class airfare and if hotel accommodations will be restricted to a certain hotel or if it’s a standard double-occupancy room.

Also Read: When to Go Big or Stay Small With Sweepstakes Prizes

You also need to make it clear that anything else not explicitly stated in the official rules will be at the expense of the winners and not your company. For example, the winners might have to cover the costs of transportation to and from the airport, meals, and attractions.

Let Winners Know Their Responsibilities as Travelers in the Official Rules

Although your travel prize is awarding a free trip, the normal rules for traveling still apply. Make sure to mention in your official rules the responsibilities winners have as travelers, namely that they must bring trip documents (passport, etc.) along with them and supply a credit card for any hotel room charges.

Make Sure the Winner’s Guest is of Age (21 Recommended)

While it’s a given that you’ll verify the winner’s age before awarding the prize, you need to make sure the winner’s guest is of age as well. If it’s a family trip, then it’s expected that children will be involved. For a trip for two however, you may want to specify that the guest be over 18 or over 21, especially if participating in an activity for adults or an all-inclusive resort for adults only.

The official rules should also specify that prize conditions apply to the winner’s guest as well.

Follow these tips to ensure a successful travel sweepstakes!

If you’re looking for an easy-to-use text to win platform for your next travel sweepstakes, try Sweeppea! To get started now, see features and pricing.

What to Look for When Pricing a Text Message or SMS Sweepstakes

pricing value

It’s easy to get overwhelmed when looking for a platform to run your SMS sweepstakes. Follow these tips and you won’t forget to ask vendors these important questions regarding pricing and fees.

1. Do I pay for each text message, even auto replies?

While some vendors charge you for each message, Sweeppea’s pricing includes all text messages. If you’re considering a vendor, make sure to ask if there are any additional fees related to sending text messages and auto replies. Many vendors charge a monthly fee with a text message limit.

2. Do I have to pay extra for participants or per campaign?

Other platforms offer plans based on the number of entries or texts allowed per month. This may limit your campaign. Our platform includes unlimited participants and unlimited campaigns. Regardless of the number of entrants you get or the number of campaigns you want to run, we’ve got you covered at no extra charge!

3. Do I need my own short code?

A short code is the “phone number” receiving messages. For example, if you ask readers to “Text WIN to 65047 to enter our sweepstakes,” the number 65047 is the short code. It’s a special, shorter phone number used specifically for bulk text messaging.

Various companies share the “phone number” or short code of 65047, but each company’s promotion has its own unique Sweepkey or keyword. So the word “WIN” in the example above is the Sweepkey and no other company would use the same word to collect entries.

Like others, Sweeppea uses a shared short code, which is ideal for short-term promotions. This helps reduce your costs as well. We do offer the option to buy your own short code, but, it’s much more costly ($15,000 or more). We only recommend this if your business will be running text promotions regularly in the foreseeable future.

4. Do I have to continue paying once my promotion has ended?

Once the promotion is over, you can download your data and close your account. If you want to keep your account active and your data available, however, there is a small monthly fee. You can also cancel at any time with one click.

5. What’s the difference between text message marketing and text sweepstakes?

A text message marketing platform is mostly set up for outbound messaging, to send special offers, deals, or coupons by text, for example. A text sweepstakes platform like Sweeppea, however, offers features specifically for building sweepstakes.

Since our software is built just for sweepstakes, it…

  • Accepts entries by text
  • Auto replies to confirm each entry
  • Allows you to build Official Rules
  • Allows you to build a custom entry form
  • Hosts all forms and data for your campaign
  • Draws winners immediately or at a set time
  • Provides reports on entrants after the sweepstakes

With text message providers, you’ll be paying per month for a certain number of text messages. Our pricing includes everything (all features and unlimited texts) for the length of your campaign.

This is an important distinction because our pricing includes specific features you won’t get with a text message marketing platform.

Make sure you understand what you’re actually paying for before you sign up.

Launch your next SMS sweepstakes without the extra overhead by working with Sweeppea! To get started now, see features and pricing.

Oyster Bay Winery Food Festival Experience Text to Win Sweepstakes

Oyster Bay Winery Text To Win Sweepstakes Case Study

The award winning New Zealand winery Oyster Bay partnered with Sweeppea to launch their text to win sweepstakes promotion for the summer. The campaign entailed an in-store sweepstakes across multiple retailers with the objective of gaining preferential retail space for the product and to promote the Oyster Bay Sauvignon Blanc wine brand.

Oyster Bay increased orders from retailers and helped those retailers sell more cases by adding a text to win promotion to be featured in endcaps and special displays. These end caps and displays gain attention and boost sales, while the text to win helps bring excitement to the brand and the retailer’s customers.

Oyster Bay Winery added bottle necker tags to help to inform the participant on how to enter the text to win sweepstakes and help place the product on the consumers hands.

Oyster Bay Text to Win Sweepstakes Bottle Necker Front - Case Study
Bottle necker tag hung form wine bottle with sweeps call-to-action.


  • To create a fun and engaging text to win sweepstakes to promote the brand.
  • To gain preferential end-cap shelf space and product positioning with retailers.
  • Increase orders from retailers


  • Case orders increased

To get started with your own text to win, see our features and pricing.

Case Study: Indianapolis Symphony Text to Win During Live Music Events

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Text to Win Live Events -sweeppea

When the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra wanted to engage patrons, they went beyond great music with a chance to win Kroger gifts cards, tickets to soccer games and upcoming shows. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra partnered with Kroger grocery stores for the Symphony on the Prairie summer concert series to engage fans and build a database of prospective patrons to re-market offers via email and text (SMS) messages.

The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra leveraged Sweeppea’s Text to Win platform to capitalize on the pre-show excitement with call-to-actions like “Text BROADWAY to 65047  within the next 15 minutes for a chance to win.”

The ISO ran unique sweepstakes for each show, changing the call-to-action and prizes. Using Sweeppea’s Text to Win app they could add as many sweepkey words as desired. They could also copy the settings of past sweepstakes with one click, making the management of multiple sweepstakes quick and easy.

Fans watching (or listening) could quickly enter the sweepstakes by sending a text message. This resulted in high participation and engagement rates.

Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra Text to Win Entry Form -sweeppea


  • To build excitement and awareness for the Symphony on the Prairie summer concert series.
  • To reach fans and potential customers of ISO and Kroger Grocery Stores.
  • To gain a database of participants to re-market offers via text message and email.

Promotional Channels:

  • In-venue and pre-show screens
  • Social Media promotion
  • Other digital media (email, etc.)


  • Thousands of participants entered.
  • New emails were collected as well.
  • A database of fans with name, mobile, and email was gained.

Prize per Sweepstakes: Gift Card to Kroger, Tickets to the Indy Eleven soccer match (courtesy of Huntington Bank), Gift Card to Handel’s Homemade Ice Cream, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 In Concert,  and Passes to the new ISO Sunset Lounge from presenting sponsor Huntington Bank.

To get started with your own text-to-win, see our features and pricing.

How to Grow Your Email List with Mobile Sweepstakes

mobile phone email marketing

If you really want to maximize the results of your marketing efforts you need to create and maintain an active list of email subscribers.

Although consumers are generally reluctant to give away their email addresses, there is one instance in which they will: to have a chance to win a prize from a mobile sweepstakes.

To help you grow your email list with a mobile sweepstakes, here are the steps to follow:

1. Run a Sweepstakes With Multiple Winners for More Entries

The formula for maximizing the number of entrants and ultimately the number of new email subscribers you can collect is simple. The more chances to win, the more entries your text sweepstakes will attract.

Instead of running a sweepstakes with a single prize, schedule your sweepstakes to run on an ongoing basis with weekly or monthly prize giveaways. This makes entrants feel like they have a greater chance of winning which makes them more likely to enter.

2. Add an Email Field to Your Web Entry Form

When entrants sign up for your text sweepstakes via web, make sure that you collect their email addresses as well by adding an email field to your web entry form. By doing this, it will make it seem mandatory that they have to enter their email addresses in order to join your giveaway.

In addition, it also creates a path of least resistance in that the entrant is more willing to give their email address at the time of signup rather than during one of your follow ups later on in your campaign.

Also Read: How a Web Entry Form Helps Your Text to Win

3. Ensure Your Text Sweepstakes Attracts Targeted Email Subscribers

Now that you’ve set up your campaign to maximize the number of entrants, you need to know how to attract targeted subscribers. Here are a few tips:

Make Your Text Sweepstakes Highly Shareable

A New York Times study revealed that 94% of people carefully consider the content that they will share on social media.

Many users also see the content that they share on social media as a direct extension of their personalities given that 68% said that they consider what the content says about them before sharing it.

Therefore, you need to design your promotional creatives so that they are something that people will be happy to share with others. Think bold, creative, and exciting to help drive engagement with your text sweepstakes promotions.

Choose the Right Prize

The prizes that you select for your text sweepstakes should appeal to your target market.

While big cash prizes are exciting, they don’t do much to help ensure that you only attract the people who you want on your email list.

Generic prizes such as an iPad or a free trip to a random destination don’t even encourage people to look at your brand.

Also Read: When to Go Big or Stay Small With Sweepstakes Prizes

Instead, prizes that appeal to those that are already interested in your brand, such as free samples of new products from your brand or a year’s worth of your service for free, are much better choices.

Delight your customers with a text to win from Sweeppea! To get started now, see features and pricing.