In December we had the opportunity to attend a preview of Skift’s 14 Global Trends That Will Define Travel In 2014. The program covered design, user experience, data, curation, local travel, and much more. But one trend that struck us in particular was the emphasis on visuals within marketing.
Simply put, visuals convey emotions in ways that words cannot. With new web technologies spawning visually driven websites, apps and social media, the way we can use visuals on the web has evolved greatly. And this is especially key in travel, where photos and video truly sell a destination.
Think about the hotel booking process, something we know well here at Travel Tripper. What role does photography play? Sure, a hotel can mention the oceanfront view, the private whirlpool, and the complimentary bathrobes in the room description, but that doesn’t have the same impact as showing it. Guests should be able to envision themselves within the space, and beautiful clear images can really seal the deal for a reservation. Using visuals that are small and lacking strong features, such as actual people, is simply not good enough in a visually driven society.
In addition to direct marketing channels, visuals are playing a huge role in social media marketing as well. New platforms such as Instagram and Pinterest give hotels a whole new opportunity to create branded visual content. Take the Four Seasons branded Pinterest board, for example, or the Mondrian Hotel’s Instagram account.
One benefit of visual social media is that hotels can also collect images and video directly from the guests. The Mondrian Hotel maintains a hashtag for guests to submit photos called #MondrianMuse, which it then streams onto a microsite called “Back of House,” highlighting fashion and fashionable guests within their hotels. Starwood Hotels and Resorts recently announced that it would also stream guest photos from Instagram directly onto the main hotel site.
Whether you as the hotel are creating the story, or the guest is creating it for you, it’s clear that photos and videos are important elements. Visuals are definitely the new marketing language of travel, and we think being multilingual is never a bad thing!
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