Boost your content user engagement by using your own images and save hefty stock fines

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Tanjong Jara

Tanjong Jara Resort taken with iPhone 6, August 2015

Most travel companies will at some point or other have been whacked for using an image they should not have. Getty is particularly hot and apparently use ‘Waybackmachine‘ to find occasions when you might have made that mistake. That may have cost you £300 – £1500 per photo, ouch! Stock photos are also pretty boring and you can boost your content user engagement by using your own images and save hefty stock fines.

As your users are consuming more imagery than every before while browsing and reading less it is becoming more and more important to use images that your users will find interesting – AKA, not seen before. Let’s face it, we are all pretty tired of stock photos & hey, we are in travel so here is my advice on using images in your content.

  1. Use your own. You go on educationals and holidays so take your phone ( I use an iPhone which is how I took the photos on these pages – with just one click, I’m not photographer!). Personalising your content will boost user engagement and help them further down the sales funnel
  2. Sign up to a Google Photos account. This is Free for ALL your photos and enables indexing so you can always find the photo you are looking for easily. The clever smart phone app ensures that your images are backed up and so if you lose your phone then you will always have a back up of your photos. This App also lets you apply different ‘effects’ ( as per Instagram) and so you can take an ordinary photo and then apply effects such as the image here on the left of palm trees at Tanjong Jara.
  3. Use a computer programme like ‘Snagit‘ or your iPhone App to add text to personalise the photo
  4. Ask Operators that you work with to use their images. While they will probably ask you to attribute them, this can actually work in your favour as you can add a line such as “Image kindly provided by [Name of Operator], one of the many operators we have preferred terms with meaning you are guaranteed to not pay any more while using our services”
  5. Google ‘Free Images’ – there are plenty of sites out there that allow you to use images for free. Some of our favourites are
    1. https://pixabay.com
    2. https://unsplash.com/collections/460289/travel
    3. https://stocksnap.io

 

Above all, for most smaller travel businesses, just don’t be afraid of using a more personal approach to images. Consumers are looking for real connections and using non stock images will not only cost you nothing, but will probably boost engagement with your post.

Why your video content must reflect your travel brand image to maximise impact

In today’s socially connected world with everyone posting videos of themselves it’s easy to think that video is something that you should do to personalise your website and brand image.  It’s true, people connect with people and using video well is a very powerful way of helping convert users to clients. The fact that so much video is consumed now and that people are reading less online and watching more, makes it vital that your brand story is reflected in any video content you add to your site. But make sure that the content reflects your brand.

There are countless examples of bad video content out there – and fairly numbing that content is. For specialist travel businesses, with ‘recommended’ as one their most vital new sales channels, getting your brand image right is paramount. One of your clients recommending your services to a friend or colleague will absolutely mean that the referred potential client looks at your website. In many respects it is easy to produce a good looking website and logo and still work out of a trading estate unit or back bedroom without your clients finding out. But when you add a video to the site it turns the site into a success or failure – because the recommended user will almost certainly watch the video to find out whether you are the business for them.

Deciding on your ‘persona’ is the most important element and crafting the video is a skill. Typically using an agency to create a 3 minute video for you might costs £3,000 ++ ( and if you don’t have that money then WISTIA , our favourite Video hosting company, have tons of self help videos that mean you can turn out pretty professional videos. Help sheets like ‘Brand Voice‘ and how to put together a lighting kit for $100 mean that you can produce your own videos inexpensively and still get great results.

You’ll know your brand, your ID, your voice – make sure that your video reflects it or it won’t be worth having. In the meantime, let me share one of the best niched travel agent video intros from Cazenove & Lloyd. they aren’t a huge company, they provide extraordinary bespoke trips. There will be lots of travel operators out there that would claim the same but watch their video and see how effective they are at showcasing their expertise. It’s clear this is going to be an expensive holiday ( & I guess this suits the sales funnel for Cazenove and Lloyd by ensuring that those ‘timewasters’ don’t bother getting in touch), but if you have the budget, there is no doubt that you are in the right place. For an agent or operator out there selling high end bespoke travel – this is what you are up against. It is time to take video seriously.