How to easily leverage a tourist’s memorable experience to sell more!

We know that, as humans, we use memories collected in the past to make decisions for the future. Those memories are stored in our brains in the form of stories, but sometimes the stories we store are distorted or influenced by external perceptions and don’t always lead to optimal decisions. Billions is spent on marketing just so that we can influence human behaviour enough to make someone chose us over our competitors based on how well we tie our brand story into the consumers memory based decision process.

When looking at tourism, people travel to collect memories. They want experiences that make them happy so they can remember them and enjoy the memories that holds. They create stories of these pleasurable memories, store them and use those memories to make decisions in the future. If the story of their trip is retained as a happy, memorable one, the travel destination benefits in two main ways:

  1. If the story is well captured, visitors remember the experience more intimately and will be more apt to re-visit the destination and even more importantly;
  2. Recommend the destination to others. Visitors in fact become informal tourism brokers through the relaying of their memorable travel experience.

Ensuring that tourists take home good memories is your job, it is what everyone related to tourism in Kenya should be about; and to a large extent is what we as a destination do well. Turning those memories into a tangible product and using that to promote the destination is what I am advocating.

So tourists come, collect great memories and take these back with them. The modern tourist captures these memories via photos and videos on great cameras and phones. What they do with these images is not always clear. Many will share them on their social profiles, some will print out the significant ones, but most just keep them in their digital form on their devices. Even when images are shared, the shared image only matters when there is a story behind it. Stories is what we make up and then use to make decisions in the future. An image can tell a great story, in fact sometimes a single image can capture the essence of a whole trip, but only in the eyes of the beholder.

For memories captured by tourists to be effective in marketing, the story told needs to be explicit to both the ‘narrator’ (traveller) as well as the ‘narratee’ (their family and friends). Relying on just the traveller and their images to tell the story of the destination risks important context being left out, leaving the friends unhinged on their perception of a destination. For a destination to use memories of a traveller to market its offering, it needs to be the ‘author’ of the story told.

Some destinations are fortunate that a simple image can tell a very effective story. A selfie by the Eiffel tower in Paris is very effective in promoting Paris as a tourist destination when shared on social media. That coupled with many generations of stories of Paris as a ‘romantic, must go to’ destination means it will always be an easy and popular destination to visit. Destinations like Paris or London or Disneyland have done a great job over time in creating a collective perception that is well understood. Combine the collective perception with a personal endorsement (the selfie outside the Eiffel tower or Big Ben etc.) and the destination’s marketing is self perpetuating forever.

For a destination like Kenya, a single selfie by Mt Kenya or in the Mara or at Giraffe Manor doesn’t quite cut it. The single image tells a great story to the traveller, but as the collective perception of Kenya is still not very distinct, to a ‘outsider’, Kenya can be a great many things. Many know us for our wildlife and beaches but perceive the country to be poor, 3rd world with basic amenities that are ‘not for me’. A selfie with a Giraffe at Giraffe manor to the ‘outsider’ can be perceived in many ways depending on what they know about us (in general, it will be less than what they know about Paris!). This selfie to someone could be an inspiration to visit Kenya as it tells the story of adventure and intrigue, while to another it says basic and rudimentary. Tell the same story with images of Giraffe Manor, its grounds and iconic breakfast and suddenly the true perception overtakes the pre-built preconceptions. For some markets, telling a fuller story is more important with respect to promotion than it is for others.

If Kenya is ‘unlucky’ that its collective perception is not as well ingrained as Paris or London (does a terrorist attack there have as great a negative reaction as one here?), it is ‘lucky’ that it can tell a complete tourist experience story better than Paris or London can. How we can do this is all part of the magic we have created here at PerfectPics, suffice for you to know that we do all the hard work with creating these stories.

  1. We use the tourist’s travel itinerary to create a story outline. This is already painstakingly planned by you in advance!
  2. Since we know where the tourists are staying, we can easily start building the story even before they arrive. We can even use some stock images to showcase the best of these locations.
  3. Capturing the guests experiencing their magical story is not too hard either. As most Kenyan Safaris are guided, and since we know what the most magical parts of the trip are, we can do all the work for them, letting them put their feet up and enjoy a G&T by the fire (if captured, that image will make it in the book!).
  4. We have experienced staff, a dedicated App, plus a powerful backend software to help make books quickly without compromising quality in anyway. We’ll ensure the book is well curated and branded with content that showcases the experiences in their best light (branded with your preferred logo of course!).
  5. We can have books ready for the tourist to take back with them on their flight home which could include a picture of them having a bush breakfast just 4 hrs earlier!
  6. A quality book that balances personal content of the guest as well as their most memorable experiences will be wildly shared among the tourists’ inner circle, making them not only the perfect informal on seller for you, but will also be doing so with content you curated.

We know that Kenya is a spectacular destination. Tourists come for a ‘magical’ experience and in most cases I believe we over deliver. Currently, they take back special memories and thousands of images, whether they truly enjoy the memories captured in their photos is open to debate (how often do you relook at holiday images you took? Bet you don’t do it as often as you’d like!). Packaging their magical experience in a photo based book would not only be very appreciated, it would allow them to use it to on-sell their experience to some of those back home that are perhaps a bit more sceptical. Turning sceptics to paying customers is not easy (I can write a whole book on that!), but when opportunities present themselves to make this happen, they should be taken. They should be taken even more so if the cost of that book is borne by the tourist, while the ‘author’ and beneficiary of that book is you and your travel business!