The Image is a Destination Marketer’s Friend – How to Tap into the Photo Sharing Consumer
By Tony Gerstner
Tourism marketing today is a lot like food advertising – using images to trigger the crave. With travel as with food, that “want to have it, want to be there” feeling relies heavily on imagery. A single image can communicate what a destination, attraction or business offers in a literal snapshot.
There are endless benefits and infinite value from photography and videography in tourism marketing. For those receiving the message - the tourists - imagery can offer inspiration and feelings about what they see that the written word many times cannot. Moreover, an image can make an impact in an instant, something that’s veryimportant in today’s age.
Images have become travel marketer’s weapon of choice to enhance social visibility as well as to improve the performance of a marketing campaign or tactic.
New reports continue to support this strategy:
- According to eMarketer, photos are the most engaging type of content on Facebook, with a whopping 87% interaction rate due to images being liked or shared
- A post on social media accompanied by an image is 10 times more likely to be liked or shared, according to Adobe Digital Index Social Intelligence Report.
In tourism marketing though, it is not only the professional quality imagery a destination promotes that is important. Even more valuable is theimagery that comes from your visitors. Infotrends Worldwide Image Capture Forecast, predicts that over 1.2 trillion images will be taken in 2017, with nearly 80% of those taken by cell phone. The far majority of those are coming from consumers, including tourists and visitors to tourist destinations and attractions.
So how can a destination make its environment and product more conducive to great images that visitors and other consumers will love and want to share? Here are three simple strategies that can amplify your offering and helpconsumers become advocates for your brand:
Establish the means for sharing:
· Provide free wifi to your visitors. If Disney can do it across its vast enterprise, so can you. Ensuring visitors have access to wifi will make it easy for them to connect with their social channels and easily share their experiences.
· Train your staff to help. If they see a group taking a picture with one out of the image, make sure your staff is ready and willing to step in and be the photographer
Develop Photo-Worthy Opportunities:
Every destination, hotel, attraction or restaurant can curate environments that will make visitors want to take an image and share. Through a marketer’s lens, destinations canthink creatively, and identify fun moments that visitors will deem shareable. Examples of this may be staged selfies with a destination icon or character, a fun saying spray painted on a sidewalk, large scale wings painted on the side of a wall or building, or even the tried and silly caricatures with cutout faces. The challenge is to not overlook anything.
Remind Your Visitors to Share
You have to ask. No asking will lead to less sharing! Do this by leaving notes in rooms, written on mirrors, via email after a trip, posting messages with hashtags on signs around town, on lamppost for example, or even including a reminder to do so on the destination map or visitor guides. Consider business cards with a link to Trip Advisor’s page of your property.
Gone are the days when looking at photos of someone else’s vacation is boring and dull. Consumers more than ever have new platforms to celebrate and remember great moments. As marketers in the travel industry those family photos are more valuable than ever before.