A few nights ago, I was scrolling through Instagram, searching for the latest photos posted by a few friends on vacations in different parts of the world. How awesome is it that we can visually experience the places our friends are exploring – almost in real time – with the swipe of a finger?
Why is it so much more fun to see a photo of historic landmarks like the Colosseum, Grand Canyon, Egyptian pyramids and Stonehenge when “someone” is in the photo? Because we begin to imagine ourselves there.
Travel brands aren’t selling a product. They’re selling an experience. So why aren’t more travel brands strengthening the pulse of those experiences by tapping the actual people who fill their hotel rooms, cities, airplanes and more?
Google recently announced a new tool – Google+ Stories – that automatically turns the hundreds of vacation photos on your phone into an interactive storybook, rather than the traditional online photo gallery. To scroll through an example of Google+ Stories for yourself, click here.
It’s a no-brainer that a tool that can turn your pile of digital vacation photos into a story with the click of a button would be greeted with open arms. But that excitement shouldn’t just be shared among vacationers. It should be causing a light to come on for travel brands. People are living the experiences these brands are selling every day. What’s more authentic than the real life stories and experiences of those consumers? Check out this great example used to promote Croatia … built entirely from footage shot by Croatian tourists.
There will always be a place for those gorgeous, sprawling property photos with the picture-perfect sunset in the background. But what’s more authentic than the stories and experiences of real-life consumers? When the pulse becomes stronger, people imagine themselves there. And when people imagine themselves there, they’re more likely to make it a reality.