THE E-MAGAZINE THAT FOCUSES ON THE REALITY OF SELLING TRAVEL
GET IN THE SHOT TO PROVE YOU WERE THERE – THEN YOU CAN SELL IT!
TABLE OF CONTENTS – ST APRIL 2013
3 4 7 8 10 11 12 13 14 16 17 18
Editorial The Credibility Sale What Now? Have You Actually Been There? Putting You In The Picture The Single Seller Image Adding Text To Images
19 22 25 27 28 29
The Third Eye The Graphic Novel Webinar: Turning Content into Customers Consumer Content The Social Show & Sell
Publisher: SMP Training Co. www.smptraining.com Contributors Steve Crowhurst Steve Gillick Cory Andrichuk Copy Editor Lisa McDougall
Selling It Like It Is
Painting a Picture in the Mind of your Client – Steve Gillick New Tools CTIE – Certified Travel Industry Executive Program Reading Material Connect and Contact
Selling Travel is owned and published by Steve Crowhurst, SMP Training Co. All Rights Reserved. Protected by International Copyright Law. Selling Travel can be shared, forwarded, cut and pasted but not sold, resold or in anyway monetized. Using any images or content from Selling Travel must be sourced as follows: “Copyright SMP Training Co. www.smptraining.com” SMP Training Co. 568 Country Club Drive, Qualicum Beach, BC, Canada V9K 1G1 Note: Steve Crowhurst is not responsible for outcomes based on how you interpret or use the ideas in Selling Travel or on the Selling Travel Website.
EDITORIAL – APRIL 2013
The Been There, Seen It – “Now What?” Issue Our focus for this issue is selling with credibility and for the purposes of selling travel that means proving and promoting that you have actually visited the places you are selling. Today, you can increase your credibility by promoting your photographs and videos with you in the picture. It’s a mind over matter challenge if you don’t like being photographed, or if you think you are not creative. But hey, there are useful tools that can change that for you and the basic ones are discussed in this issue of Selling Travel. ANNOUNCING The idea behind using photographs and videos to increase your sales simply ties in so nicely to everything travel. Travel IS A New Sister Magazine imagery. It’s full of colour, too. Travel could be sold ONLY through the image you use and in many cases that is all the consumer buys into – the picture of where they want to be, stand, sit and stroll – AND they didn’t know that until they looked into that image and saw themselves there. If a picture is worth that thousand words every one says it is, then that video is worth a million more isn’t it? You know as I do that the consumer and they would be you, me, we… yes ‘we’ are getting lazy in our sourcing of information. No longer do we have time to sit and read pages and pages of text with one or two fuzzy photographs to support the text. We want full multi media action and we want it now. Your preferred suppliers are savvy to what drives consumers to book with their brands and that’s why we as an industry produce and publish such glorious brochures that woo the reader to sail on that ship, to walk that trail, to touch that You can find it HERE. ancient place. It really is all about that image AND the few words of text that accompany the image that help the consumer make up their mind and book. All you need do now is read through this issue of ST, study the methods and ideas and put them into practice. Want to write for Selling Travel? Share your Here’s to a very successful April. successes with your fellow travel agents and submit an article based on an idea that has All the BEST! made you money. Spell out the idea and the steps you followed. Submit to me here: Steve Crowhurst, CTC, CTM email@example.com Publisher and New Business Generator
LOCAL PHOTOGRAPHER TRIPS OVER HUGE ALIEN LOOKING FISH STRANDED ON THE BEACH. SAID THE FISH SPOKE TO HIM AND MADE STRANGE SIGNS IN THE SAND! Fish and chip store owner Spud Haddock was down to the beach soon after he’d heard about the photographer’s encounter with “Rocky” and had his photograph taken which is now proudly on display at Spud’s eatery. “I was there, I saw it… I even spoke to the fish!” Spud commented as he re‐wrote the menu for that evening. Police are now looking for the fish that suddenly vanished later that day.
That’s one heck of a fishing story isn’t it. All true! I was there. I saw it. I took the picture. It was HUGE! Okay so you know the truth. I was inserted into the image and that’s the truth. Or is it? Hmm? Credibility and photographs. Thanks to all those creative jokesters in the past, photographs have in fact lost some cred’ and the term “That’s been photoshopped!” lives for a reason. Let’s get your credibility factor raised. So I did get an email re how large this fish was – and at one‐foot in length, it was huge! A Rock Fish I believe. There will be a time when a photoshopped image will serve you well however for now we will stick to your street‐cred’ and make sure it’s high. Taking photographs to record where you have been and what you have seen is one element of being credible. You should also be able to talk about your trip, the destination, the history, the current state of affairs, banking hours, best places to eat and off the beaten track walks. When you commit to learning about a destination versus just “snapping” it with a camera five hundred times, then you are truly going to raise your credibility factor – online and off line. The culmination of commitment will be that moment you walk on stage to present your travelogue. Here you show your best photographs, and yes there you are, standing right there. You are talking about a particular spot that you like and visit often and at the end of your one‐hour been there, seen it, now what presentation, your audience is engaged. They want to know more. The questions start to flow – and now you are in sales mode. The audience has bought into your credibility. Now you
want them to buy into your tour or product offer. Historically I’ve found there is always someone who has done more, travelled farther than me. Then there’s me leading the pack from time to time. Your credibility might be fleeting when you make a claim, however within the time frame you have – go for it. Make the claim. Sell your credibility. Being in the travel industry for 20, 30 years does not actually amount to too much. What does matter is what you have done; accomplished, in those 20, 30 years. If you do have a destination niche focus then the fact that you have been there five times is not credible. Twenty times. Now the cred’ factor is rising. Twenty times and escorted 40 groups to that same destination – the credibility factor is up again. Photographs of you and each group taken as a last‐day‐of‐the‐tour photograph increases the cred’ bar once again. From here on you must be thinking about how to market your credibility. One way to do this is to create a poster and use it as a marketing tool in your agency window. If no window – then have it playing on your website’s home page. Push it out socially to your Facebook page and Tweet about it, too.
Click to play If you happened to video your last trip / adventure, then be sure to add a video link play arrow on the digital version of your poster. When your client sees and hears you screaming at the top of your lungs when you hit that white water – they’ll want in. Just don’t be caught screaming “Mummy!” or cursing. That would decrease your credibility to the factor of zilch! Star Power Let’s make you the credible cruiser. I know some people in the trade have cruised 150 times. Now, if that was the same route time after time, the credibility factor is falling. However, if there were one or two odd ball cruises, exciting destinations and even video footage of a rogue wave – well now you have something to shout about. Your star power goes up based on the level of difficulty performed! Also, you can gain star power by being photographed with the ship’s captain for instance. Press Power No time for being shy. If you truly want to raise your credibility factor then you must be contacting the local press to tell your story.
Press Release Power Similarly to getting your name in the local press, only this time you are in the driver’s seat. You write your own press / media release and you send it out through any of the press release services such as PRWeb. Radio Still Works Consumers are still driving to work, a captured audience for the duration of their drive time. Get yourself invited to talk about yourself, your tours and why those listeners should book with you. Consumers are also travelling by bus and train and plugged into their headsets that are playing personal tunes or radio. Just one more outlet for your promotion. The Wall Map A world map on your agency wall or a world map on your website, both work. Pin where you have been. Best for the entire agency team to pin their visits too. Before you start make sure you know the map will be covered with pins. If there are just a dozen pins in only five cities then it’s not going to look too good, is it? Credibility not looking too good. Enough said. You go there, you see it and the what now is all about promotion. You must bring home the goods however, and that means photographs and video and anything else that proves you were there. There will be an element of overkill if every image you show has you in it! Sometimes the image with your signature preceded by the copyright symbol is enough to say, you were there. When adding your signature choose a font that is easily read. Keep it a reasonable size and use a colour that allows it to blend with the image but can also be seen and read. This is ALL about you, but not to the point where your clients will miss seeing the destination or product offer. Now WHAT?
Thought you’d never ask!
You put my experience to work for YOU! Contact me and let’s chat about boosting your Credibility Selling Power! firstname.lastname@example.org
If so, then you should be shown in the picture about here and here too Okay, perhaps not the volcano but for sure on the pathway and looking towards the Taj Mahal. That image would then give you the been there credibility you need and want. This is the essence of travel photography when it comes to selling the destinations you have visited and plan to visit. You can tell people you were there, but were you really there? You can write about a place as if you had just returned from strolling along it’s local streets, but were you really there? Not only is your credibility at stake here, so is your believability. When the consumer has a choice between you and your competition they will choose the agent that can demonstrate they have been, seen and have the t‐shirt, postcard and picture to prove it. Once you build a bank of ‘you in the shot’ images, you start to write a list of slogans that you can use with each image. One image can sell many types of travel. The image of the Taj Mahal obviously sells India. It could sell only Delhi, or it could sell a tour of monuments such as the Taj Mahal or it could sell a world cruise excursion or a tour around India, Asia and Australia. It all depends on the slogan you attach to the image featuring YOU!
Joking about the volanco, but not really. Call it a mountain. If it was a mountain then for sure you’d want a picture of you on the summit like this one of me in the Rockies.
Of course I am only 4 feet off the ground as the camera was angled up! If you were selling adventure tours and promoting the Rockies then this image would work nicely. It would also work for corporate meetings. Now we can explore a few tips and tools that will help you prove you’ve been there. Number one action item is GET IN THE PICTURE. You can’t always fly back ‘there’ to re‐shoot, so take hundreds of pictures with you in the frame.
Let’s set a ratio here. For every ten pictures you shoot, one of them must have you in the shot and looking good! Good meaning you can use this image to help sell travel. That means no devil hand signs, no MMA tongues or anything else hanging out. What we want is to see YOU doing what you are telling and selling others to do. If you sell cruises – you’d better have a few snaps of you leaning on that railing. Selling adventure? That’s you hiking the trail. To make sure this can happen even when alone, you need some gadgets. Planning to record yourself in the shot As you can see here, I was always in the means having the tripod to support your shot and it’s worked out well for me. I can camera and a wireless truly show and tell remote control. that I did what I did. I’ve seen what I’ve Only a few cameras seen. So that’s me come with a remote posing at the control. You may “kitchen” as I whip up have to buy the some hot water on approved device for one of the original your camera. Your Primus stoves that used gasoline as the local camera store will advise you. fuel source! Lake District, Cumbria, UK At Joby.com you will If you travel with find a selection of Gorilla tripods as shown someone else then you have a built in below. These are very stable and also wrap photographer to snap you whenever you around posts, branches and poles. want to be factored into the image. If you step out alone from time to time you will need a remote control ‘clicker’ and a tripod or stand or stick, rock, shoe… When photographing yourself remotely, http://joby.com/gorillapod check what is behind you. No poles zooming out of the top of your head for instance. iPHONE users can search for the Belkin LiveAction Camera Remote App – you’ll As the owner‐manager ask each member of download the LiveAction App from iTunes. I your agency team to also take photographs have this device and it works well for both that feature them in the image. Build a file stills and video. So there you go. You are in of ‘been there seen that’ images and you’ll the know and in the picture from here on. be very thankful you followed through. No excuses for not being in the shot. Also pick up an Don’t forget to record where and when the XSHOT shown image was taken. If you purchase a new here. You can point‐and‐shoot camera today many of walk and talk them have GPS location software built in and shoot. that will tag the image for you.
What you are looking for here is that one image that does the job in terms of causing a consumer to stop, look, look some more, think WOW! and then look for your contact information so they can obtain more information. That’s what a single seller image should do. It is actually a ‘must do’ – every one of your images should stir the emotion to travel. When you locate an image that, by itself, sells the destination or the type of travel you are selling, your niche market or your new tour, hopefully the image is yours to use. By that I mean there is no copyright infringement or legal suit coming your way if you choose to use it. This is important and one of the most dangerous outcomes of using images found on‐line. Start a collection of your own images, ask your clients for their images and tap into all the existing resources that your preferred suppliers offer travel agents. You want to procure images that are free of charge whenever possible. From time to time you may want to purchase an image from a stock photo website and a one time use is not expensive. A matter of dollars unless you want to purchase the rights to the image – then you will be investing hundreds of dollars.
“YES PLEASE! I want to be there, watching that sun go down!” your client is saying inside their head when they look at this image on your website, your Facebook page and hanging in your agency window and that is the response you are hoping to generate. So, start collecting as many single seller images as you can. Download them from your resources and store them in a folder for later use. The next step in using an image like this is to add text to the image itself and you do this to help the person looking at the image take the next step: making the call to YOU.
This can be an easy thing to do wrong. Be careful with the type style, font size and text colour you choose. If you lack a creative eye, ask someone else to spec your creation. Ask three or four people to round out the response. You want input. You do not want people to be nice as that can be the route to no sales. Ask for an honest review. Most photographic software offers an ‘insert text’ application. You click on that app and then spread a text box over an area of the image and then type in your slogan or call to action. Remove the line around the text box, click ‘save’ and you are done.
“I can’t come to the phone right now…”
If you do not want to be reached, we can help. If your photographic software doesn’t offer this type of app then here’s a simple way to set up the text‐on‐image concept and then use your photographic software to crop the image. Cropping is part of all photo software. Here’s a low‐tech method I use when I am producing images, so it should work for you. Open MS Word or MS PowerPoint and click New. Both allow you to import an image and both have text options. Click Insert, browse to the image you want. Highlight it and click Insert. Next: locate the corner handles where you will be able to enlarge the image by clicking on the corner handle and dragging the image to the size you want. Next: Now you select a Text Box and drag that out to the size and best location on your image. Save it. Imagine… Next: Print Screen (Ctrl.Alt.PrtScn) or use a screen capture program. Save to desktop or clipboard and your image with text is ready.
Most artists and photographers understand balance and placement when it comes to composing their images. Using “thirds” means splitting the image up into thirds as shown on the image below. Rather than have your subject dead center in the image, those that know tell us to have the subject slightly off center. When you look through your lens try to envision the grid you see below.
When you control the layout of your image this way you can also control what you want your clients to focus on. The photo of me with my camera might cause people to think “I wonder what he’s photographing?” and then in the next image you could reveal the scene. Then there will be times when you go against the third eye advice and put your subject slap bang in the center for more impact. You might also want to zoom in on one part of a scene to make sure your clients see the main reason for visiting this location.
Also, when you follow the third eye rules, you’ll be giving yourself that much needed space to add text.
Take a look at your images and apply the third eye. Any improvement?
Are you a story teller? You must be – you’re a travel agent. When you return from your next FAM trip try to write your report in a story‐book format and then work with a graphic artist or use one of the graphic novel software programs to generate a new promotional tool that will help you SHOW IT AND SELL IT. When you work with a graphic novel layout The Flip Book software will allow you to you’ll be using the type of layout you see save and publish your graphic novel online. I use ISSUU.COM and the basic account is below. You can add your own images, cartoons, sketches and speech bubbles to free. Create your graphic novel, upload it and then tell the world where to find it and tell your story. read it. Your graphic novel now becomes your selling brochure. You can even have a poster printed featuring the cover of the novel. Think larger than you are here – do what the big guys do when promoting a movie. Posters work. Social media announcements work. Buzz works. A graphic novel is a genre that will attract a new and younger traveller. As some university text books are now in the graphic novel format, your new publication / travel brochure will strike the right chord with this generation all the way up to Gen X. Back to story telling. The content of your graphic novel should be on the right side of Once you have created your graphic novel decency. Hold the nudes, the curse words what then? Well – you can publish it online and the blood and the gore! That’s a you can post it on your social media different kind of graphic novel. The one channels and you can even make a movie we’re talking about here is family oriented. out of it to upload to your YouTube It’s a travel brochure in a graphic novel, channel. cartoonish, manga‐rish format. For content you would use your own A current topic you images taken during the FAM and also the may want to think images your suppliers can give you. You about is cruising. It’s might also ask your clients if they would like been in the news so to appear in your graphic novel. If they much that you could agree, have them sign a release form and ride the wave that’s then get busy. Use your own face as a still rolling out cartoon character and if your clients are up there. for it, ‘toon’ their faces, too.
If you go with the cruising theme you could write about your most recent cruise, you could write about all your cruises to date. The recent cruise mishaps all point to travel safety and here’s a cover that might inspire you to put your cruise safety novel together and then pitch it to your clients.
This cover speaks to kids that cruise, which in turn means parents, too. The number of pages can be just a few – 5 to 10 max. You are not really writing and publishing a full blown novel. This is meant to be a small and relatively easy promotional tool to showcase where you’ve travelled and help sell that destination. You might even be able to attract supplier funding to create your graphic novel or at least make use of their graphics department. Ask the question. Here’s a series of captain mug shots I created by shooting myself (!) and then cartooning them in Elements.
This new format for a travel brochure or fam report is wide open. Be first in your neck of the woods, especially if you are trying to attract a younger generation of traveller.
April 11, 2013 at 10am PST
What is it? Where to find it, how to use it and how to profit from it.
Price USD$39 + Taxes includes 60 minute webinar presented by Steve Crowhurst, handout and recording to view at your leisure.
If you are looking for new sources of content – look no further than your client list. As you know, almost everyone that travels, carries a camera. Hundreds of images and videos are shot every year by your clients when they travel. All you have to do is ask. When you ask your clients to submit their photography and videos to you, consider having an incentive plan in place. Your clients should also know their images will be repurposed in favour of boosting sales. Your incentive plan could be as simple as crediting the image to your client by name, offering a small discount off their next trip, a gift card, or paying a small one‐time fee for use. Whatever you decide, if the image is one‐of‐a‐kind, then this is a win‐win. When you do find that one‐of‐a‐kind image, you’ll want to own it. That might mean you pay a few dollars for it, perhaps $100 or more. Once you own that image you’ll want to use it as a lead image in your promotional activity. Now that you own the image you know that no other travel agent will be able to scoop you. IMAGE BANK: There is another way to attract consumer content and that is to establish an image bank on your website where your clients can upload their best shots. The rules of use are simple: if a client uploads, then you can download. In other words, if a client participates then they agree to you and your agency using their image(s). Make sure you ask your lawyer to write the rules. YOUTUBE CHANNEL: If you have not yet created a YouTube channel for your agency, do it now. When completed you can request your clients to post their best travel videos on your channel for all to watch and for you to use in your various promotions. Once again make sure your lawyer has created the posting video rules. You should
also understand YouTube’s and Vimeo’s rules for when you do post a video on those sites. Adding text to your clients image: You can add text to your clients image just as you did to yours – the only thing that changes is what the copy will say. When using a client’s image it serves you better to have a validation written on behalf of the client ‐ a statement that has the client acknowledging you as the travel agent who arranged their trip. Here’s an example:
“My name is (client) and I took this shot, thanks to my travel agent (your name) who made our trip a wonderful experience.”
Post these client validations to Facebook, Tweet them and upload them to the home page of your website. Put your consumer content to work for your agency.
There are many social outlets where you can post your images and promote travelling to the featured destination. First things first, you’ll need to establish an account with the major social networks. When that’s done, it’s upload time!
Although the focus here is on photographic images featuring YOU, we also know from so many surveys that the consumer actually prefers video and that does make sense, plus the sights and sounds will help sell the featured destination. If you can handle speaking on camera then you may wish to upgrade from being featured in a static image to being the prime actor in your own travelogue. If you are not easy in front of the video camera then perhaps someone on your team could become the spokesperson. Ask your team and see who responds. Here comes the challenge. This is not about “looks” – it’s about on‐camera personality. It’s about presence and voice, timing and the ability to put a message across in such a compelling way that it is believable and attractive. When making the decision to go into movies you do not need expensive equipment. Even your basic point and shoot camera will shoot 720 or 1080 HD. Good enough to start with. You can upgrade to the semi‐pro video cameras later. Next you’ll need to invest in video editing software. No need to splurge yet and your version of Window comes with Windows Movie Maker. That’s all you need for the moment.
You can now import, edit, add titles, transitions and text. Fast forward and you have published your travelogue. What next? Next you upload your video to your website, to your YouTube or Vimeo channel. You share the links with your clients and you post your new video on all your social outlets. You’ll have to decide whether or not your video is to go public or remain only for those you send the link to. When you go public with photographs or videos with a person in them, there is that element of trash talking socializers that like to post terrible comments. If you are tough enough to take whatever anyone writes about you or your video then go for it. Learning to interview other people on camera is one more skill to learn. You’ll want to meet people on the street, both locals and tourists to ask why tourists should visit the destination you are focusing on. Watch the many travel shows on television and you’ll understand some of the techniques travel journalists use. I’d say you are almost good to go. Are you ready for the camera, roll’em, action call? Today travel, tomorrow travel journalist for your local TV station or supplier!
Alright. You’ve taken your photographs. You are featured in them. Now it’s time to market those images and sell it like it is. How will you do this? Here we blend off‐line traditional and on‐line, next generation marketing tactics. YOUR WEBSITE. This is the main location to showcase the photographs with you in them. Do not go small. If you have to, create a landing page and stretch that image right across that web page. You want your clients to fall right into the picture when they land on your website. Title the image well so that your client can quickly read where the photograph was taken. Remember you are SELLING IT LIKE IT IS… not telling it like it is. THE AGENCY IMAGE WEBSITE. If you are an avid travel photographer it might be in your best interests to create a stand alone agency photographic website for the purpose of focusing on your images. If your website is a template and comes to you from head office or your host agency then I’m guessing that it is the typical and very busy, confusing layout. Your clients will get lost if you post all your images there. Direct your clients to your strategic travel image website where they can drool without being distracted. Be sure to add call‐to‐action statements, side bars and pop ups but not so many they become annoying. Here’s an example of my own photography website: www.phartography.weebly.com
Join me on my next shoot to
If this was your photo‐site you would design it to sell your niche destinations like Mexico, or Argentina, or Ireland by adding logos and ‘come with me’ text.
POSTERS. Today you can print a quality poster 36” x 24” for cheap. That’s the only word for it, cheap. EGYPT is yours! Choose your best photos then visit your local jumbo print / poster print shop and print them. If you print your posters all at the same time you should be able to obtain a discount. The image is one thing, the call to action is another. Make sure you add your slogan to your image so that the wording appears on the poster. If the poster is a winner in every sense then chances are you Come with me on (date) could sell copies for framing to your clients. FACEBOOK COVER. Changing your Facebook cover image is something you should plan for each month. When you decide to promote a new location, destination or tour departure make sure you insert a ‘been there / seen it’ image featuring you and a well worded slogan. Facebook does not actually allow call to action statements so you’ll need to be clever in how you phrase your slogan. (Refer Egypt image.) LINKED IN BUSINESS PAGE. If you have a LinkedIn account, open a business page and edit it from a sales point of view. You can upload an image there, too. So that’s a poster in the window, the same image uploaded to your Facebook cover image area and the same image uploaded to LinkedIn. PINTEREST. Keep uploading that image. One more stop here if you have an account with Pinterest. FLICKR. Same again although here your imagery is going to get lost. Millions of images here so nothing is specific to you. If you have the time perhaps it’s worth the try. This could be the location for your photography website. SLIDE SHARE. Create a presentation with excellent call to action slogans throughout. The last slide asking for the viewer to make contact with you directly. T‐SHIRTS. A good old standby. If you are active in the community and the weather permits it, wear a t‐shirt emblazoned with your image and slogan.
DOLL TOUR OF JAPAN
PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS. Once you’ve taken the image and you are in the picture, you can edit the image to represent all sorts of places and events. For instance the image below shows me looking out from a ledge and the location could be anywhere. That’s fine for our purpose. In this case I’ve turned the image into a sketch. It is the sketch we are going to SELL and we’ll decide on the location based on the tour which will be, well let’s see‐ how about a: If you learn how to use Photoshop like a pro (I’m still trying!) then you can even cut and paste yourself into photographs of places you’ve visited but are not in the picture. Call it fake or call it digital photography – your call. Just remember we’re SELLING IT LIKE IT IS – you’ve been there and you’ve seen the place. You re‐create the moment with you now in the picture. You might want to ‘fess up’ and tell your client when they book, that you were just outside the frame when the picture was taken, but with the power of Photoshop – you snuck back in. KEYWORDS. Keywords help to market travel especially when artistic images are used. The keyword ‘ART’ for instance, can help sell your niche like this: The ART of Travelling to (destination) or try this heading: The ART of Cruising. The word ‘art’ ties in very nicely with any niche. The ART of Wine Tasting sounds good – notice you are shown in the image here, too.
Sketching Tour of South East England.
Painting a Picture in the Mind of your Client Or Meeting Lucy in the Sky Guest Article by Steve Gillick, CTM email@example.com
Something happened 40,800 years ago that impacts the work of travel agents today. In a cave known as El Castillo (the castle) on Spain’s Cantabrian Sea coast, someone painted the outlines of his/her hands on the cave wall, along with a red disk, and images of horses and bison. The oldest cave paintings in the world display, possibly for the first time in history, the art of visual communication to convey an idea. It may have been purely decorative and fun (although we are unsure if Neanderthal’s had a sense of humour), or it could have related to hunting and food supplies. The point is that pictures were used to create a dynamic interaction between seeing something static—a painting on a wall‐‐and thinking or dreaming about the real dynamic object—the bison. Jump ahead to the year 43 when the Romans conquered Britain. They brought with them the institution of ‘pubs’, which provided food, drink and sometimes a place for travellers to sleep. When still in Rome, a cluster of vine leaves was hung over a doorway to indicate that an establishment was a pub. When they arrived in Britain, the Romans hung evergreen plants over doorways, which eventually led to signs depicting the name of the pub (e.g. the holly bush, the Belvedeere, the King’s Arms, the Leaking Boot). For a population with no reading skills, this was a powerful way to communicate visually. Jump ahead again to the year 1228, when construction began on the church of St. Francis of Assisi. When it was completed in 1253, a number of frescoes or wall paintings had already been added. To a society where only the very wealthy or the clergy could read, the paintings took the form of visual
representations of the stories in the Bible. They were used to teach religion, morals and ethics. The horrors of hell or the splendours of heaven were ‘painted’ in the minds of the church‐goers. Jump ahead for the last time to the year 1967. The Beatles released the album Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band that included the song ‘Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds’. The opening lyrics transformed the listener to serene, psychedelic tranquility. For many in my own generation, this was one of our first ‘travel experiences’ Picture yourself in a boat on a river with tangerine trees and marmalade skies... And today we do the same thing that the Cave People in Spain started. We show photos, slides, digital images, home‐made and You Tube videos, and create word pictures to bring travelers to a destination or feature the amenities of a hotel or resort, or take them up close and personal on a safari or elephant trek or ski adventure. The impact of creating a picture, in the mind of the traveller, of a product or service or destination can be powerful. The trend toward the practice of ‘saying it like it is’ had a negative effect when the fruits of technology resulted in shorter communication bites. Even in the days before the 140‐character Tweet and the creation of texting lingo ( e.g. “TMI” (too much information)), travellers began to tune out when they faced the proverbial ‘wall of words’ on websites and brochures. They didn’t want to read through mounds of description and detail. If the technology existed then why not take advantage? Some now refer
to the results of this technology as hyper‐ connectivity, where you can be in touch with someone on the other side of the world in a matter of nanoseconds through email, texting, cell phones, Skype etc, and transfer images and videos in/at the same time. Part of this trend includes websites such as YouTube, which recently announced they had reached one billion users per month, and Pinterest, which recently reached the Number Three spot on social networking sites behind Facebook and Twitter. We know that nowadays, travellers want to get involved in destinations before they even visit them. They are eager to immerse themselves in images that make them feel energized, excited and connected. They want to be able to picture themselves luxuriating on that beach in Cancun or trekking in Nepal, or doing Yoga by that rice terrace in the calm of a Bali sunrise. And in all areas of travel, from luxury to niche to package tours, the word‐rich details have been deliberately ‘dummed down’ in favour of showing clients real time photos or videos of the destination or resort. On a recent Fam trip one of the agents Skyped her client while at one of the resorts and actually showed her, with cell phone images, what the resort was all about. Talk about cloud‐based, just‐in‐time technology! And talk about a strong selling technique that involves the client in the agent’s research of a destination. Think of how this would add confidence to a client looking to be married at a resort, but not 100% certain of the available amenities. The agent can ask the resort staff to walk down to the beach and show the client— real time—the venue or have them ‘participate’ in part of an actual wedding ceremony to confirm the arrangements. Don’t Forget Words! Pictures are extremely important, but to be fair, we can’t dismiss the effectiveness of words. Many of us are familiar with the idea of ‘key words’. These are the words you may list in relation to a company website or a blog that allows users to find your site more easily. For example if you were advertising a trip to Spain and you mentioned the Guggenheim Museum
in Bilbao, you might list as key words “Spain, Guggenheim, Bilbao, Biscay, Basque ”. In the world of travel presentations, the use of key words can help paint the image of the destination in the mind of a client, to either replace images on a temporary basis, or to create anticipation for upcoming images. Let’s think of Thailand.
This means you can use key ‘word‐paints’ when presenting a destination to your clients to assist them in visualizing a destination or a hotel and put themselves in the picture. Some refer to this as a variation of mind‐mapping—where you are causing the mind to make connections between the words and the imagined reality. Pick up any luxury travel brochure or look up luxury tour operators on the internet. They paint word pictures to complement the actual photos used on the page. The results are ‘words of pictures reinforcing pictures’. The client’s 6 senses are in 7th heaven because they can visualize, empathize, day dream and learn about the destination, all at once. An example from a popular luxury website illustrates the words and phrases used to entice the client: ∙pinnacle of luxury ∙romantic dreams ∙refined elegance ∙exquisite beaches ∙azure waters ∙stunning ocean views
∙supreme luxury ∙endless white sand ∙splendid seclusion ∙ magic ∙exotic allure ∙pristine
Another popular technique for painting images in your client’s mind is the use of Word Clouds, which you can find at www.wordle.net. In Figure 1.1 you can see my cloud showing all the places I’ve visited in Japan.
Travel agents can create a Word Cloud for any destination, or gather words from your client and put them into a colourful Word Cloud (for example their reasons why they want to travel, or their thoughts on adventure). It is a bit of a gimmick but having you, the travel agent, print up a cloud for your client helps in the visualization process based on the powerful images that each word conveys. This impacts the mind and transforms the concept of travel, into the imagineering of the client to actually be on site at the destination. A travel agent can use pictures, they can use words of pictures (key words), they can use pictures of words (word clouds), they can use moving pictures (videos) and they can use static pictures (Pinterest).
But probably the most important tools for a travel agent come in the form of first hand knowledge: their experience, their research skills, and their ability to take hold of the client’s imagination and fly them to any destination around the globe in a matter of seconds. There is an old Blues song entitled “Taste and Try, Before you Buy” that is forever applicable to the world of sales. Today we can give our clients a taste of things to come by using pictures to allow them to ‘see’ themselves on site; to imagine what it’s like to stroll down the road or sit in a cafe or on the beach or on a sub‐ orbital flight and literally watch the world go by. The Beatles had it right in 1967...picture yourself...
Steve Gillick’s first article appeared in the Dunera Ship Newsletter in 1967. Since then he has written extensively about travel. He authored the Scam Watch column in Canadian Traveller Magazine for many years, wrote and edited CITC’s industry and consumer newsletters from 1995 to 2012, authors the "Travel Coach” column in www.TravelIndustryToday.com; composes travel blogs at www.talkingtravelblog.ca, contributes articles to www.travelmarketreport.com and www.sellingtravel.net. Many of Steve's blog‐articles have been posted to www.broowaha.com where close to 12,000 consumers have enjoyed his thoughts on destinations and travel trends. Steve is the creator of the live Conference game called “Are you Smarter than the Average Traveller”. Test your knowledge with the sample quiz at http://bit.ly/gillickquiz4u. ‐firstname.lastname@example.org
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The newly redesigned Certified Travel Industry Executive (CTIE) program is a bold collection of courses and online training focused on the critical skills that today’s travel professionals need to succeed. Graduates will learn how to grow their business while earning recognized industry credentials. The CTIE certification is parallel to the Certified Travel Counselor (CTC) certification, thus, representing the pinnacle of travel industry professionalism for seasoned travel professionals who are interested in advancing their career. NEW: It is no longer a prerequisite to earn the CTA designation or test out of CTA prior to enrolling in CTIE. NEW: While studying for your CTIE, you will enjoy Premium Membership benefits such as white papers, expert webinars, podcasts, blog posts and much more. NEW: All courses are completed online in The Travel Institute’s Communiversity. NEW: Interest free 12 month payment plan is now available. The CTIE program is perfect for travel professionals in non‐consumer sales roles such as: Suppliers Host agency executives Consortia leaders Marketers
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The new CTIE curriculum covers these five core competencies: Communication Leadership Management Sales and Marketing Customer Service To earn the CTIE, travel professionals must: Possess at least 5 years of full‐time industry, management, or business experience Complete a 2000‐3000 word White Paper Commit to annual certification maintenance to retain certification After certification, commit to annual Travel Institute membership
That’s right. I’m giving two‐thumbs up for The Travel Institute’s CTIE program and recommend you check it out. At the same time look for my management webinars & workbooks that will indirectly support what you learn by studying the CTIE content. Click on The Travel Institute’s logo below for more information. Read TAM here.
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