Whenever I travel somewhere on holiday, I try not to do too much planning.
I like a measure of spontaneity in my travels. But where I put my head down for the night can make a holiday memorable for the best or the worst reasons. And nothing is more memorable than beauty.
Images maketh up the mind
Pictures or videos are the first sources of information we try to access. I’ve heard people say they will never again make the mistake of trusting pictures of faraway places that just don’t live up to the promise. Sometimes what’s available don’t do justice to a destination; so people choose not to go there. As tourism professionals, we own that responsibility – to show the travelling public the truth in the best possible light. For me the answer lies in one simple question:
If all I had to go on were the pictures in a brochure, would I choose to go there?
I’m a sucker for a good scary story and as a child, the mythical Loch Ness monster inspired delicious chills down my spine. When I got the chance to visit the Loch Ness in Scotland as an adult, I was adamant that the only place to stay would be right on the shore of the lake. Urquhart Castle would’ve been perfect if it weren’t a ruin. We were three girls on a road trip around the UK with limited funds, our choices in accommodation mostly guided by cost. Armed with guide books, brochures and maps, we plotted our route.
The picture in the guide book of the youth hostel we finally picked was hardly appealing but it fit our criteria: We wanted a clean, safe and well-situated place to stay. What we found when we got there exceeded our expectations by a mile.
There wasn’t another building nor artificial light in sight. As the sun set late that summer’s night, a full silver moon came out to play and cast a thousand shimmers on the lake. I took a quick dip – the water was so cold, it burnt my skin; then I got entangled in the lake weeds and attacked by midges. But I asked for it, didn’t I?
The location lent itself to almost total seclusion and we had an entire section inland of the shore to ourselves to hike around. This place was like Nessie’s other best kept secret. We’d struck Scotch gold. A simple selection of captivating pictures could have told that story better.
Beauty is eternity gazing at itself in a mirror.
Selling travel through beauty
The way that beautiful images can haunt, continue to inspire admiration and curiosity is not unique to me. Humans are attracted to beauty. Love it or hate a bad cliché, but the fact that beauty sells works in our favour. Enough research has been done on the links between pretty images and sales figures. The hospitality industry is no different. Buying travel starts with virtual window shopping with the best window display drawing the biggest oohs and aahs…
Don’t you think it’s time to dress up your display better?
Images evoke emotion, set a mood, and create expectation. We can already communicate so much to our clients through the images we use to sell our products – from what they will see, feel and hear up close, to what they can expect to experience.
It’s those first images that grab the attention and arrest the imagination.
Imagine you’re planning a thrilling bush experience with a fabulous lodge stay – the imagery that will best sell the idea must be so vivid as to persuade you to look no further. And it must answer the questions:
- Can you see yourself there, smell the living earth?
- Do you feel the breeze fanning your face from across the veld, rippling on your skin?
- Do you hear the distant (or nearby) snorting and cawing of the wild summoning your attention?
Wouldn’t that just leave you awestruck? Now imagine a gorgeous picture of a hotel corridor. Even if it’s a good-looking corridor, who remembers the hotel they stayed at for its corridor? Unless it was to promote some ‘The Shining’–themed specials over Halloween. That’s no way to choose a hotel, resort, lodge, B&B or guesthouse.
Convey your passion for your property, activity or restaurant with big, bold, beautiful images.
As much as we like our future guests to depend on us for everything, they want to feel empowered in their decision-making. Beautiful imagery has the power to inspire travellers to visit a destination. So, a picture is worth a thousand words – what exactly are you telling your clients?
If all I had to go on were these images in a brochure – click below to see what I mean – I would choose to go there. Wouldn’t you?
*iBrochure courtesy of andBeyond Benguerra Island