Over the years, I’ve found there are certain projects – and certain clients – that I work best with. These projects combine a healthy dose of inspiration with an equal measure of information. Ultimately, the job of interactive agencies working in the travel and tourism industry isn’t to only tell inspiring stories, just as it isn’t to simply provide information. Our job is to blend inspiration and information to enable people to create their own inspiring stories. It’s not enough to tell the stories that matter. We must aspire to more than that. Our job is to tell the stories that matter and drive people to action.
Inspiration+information is best represented through adventure brands: companies that promote, equip and enable adventure. Working extensively in the travel and tourism space with destinations like Travel Oregon, the Oregon Coast and Ride Oregon Ride, I’ve gained a deep understanding of when, how and why people plan trips. Combining this with our experience in working with the hotel and hospitality industry with properties like Pinehurst Resort, I’ve learned how to inspire and inform, moving site visitors from interested, to engaged, to purchase and/or take a trip.
Adventure brands are also those who equip and outfit adventures as well. Partnering with The North Face and Keen Footwear, I’ve worked to understand their content strategy and creation to develop publishing platforms that communicate the unique stories, expeditions and adventures that each brand is involved with. When adventure equipment brands publish inspiring content, it should result in inspiring people to action. A great action for companies that sell products is for people to buy the product in order to go on the adventure.
INSPIRATION + INFORMATION.
Sounds catchy, but what does it mean on a practical level?
It means that when showing inspiration content – stories, photos, videos, itinerary ideas, road trip suggestions – it is always related to actionable information. Where exactly is a photo taken and how to get there. What restaurants are mentioned in a video and what are their addresses. Turn-by-turn directions for going on road trips. What jacket ruled above all others in the snowboarding story. What pair of shoes were worn on an adventure on the river.
Inspiration without action can make people feel excited, but it lacks a next step. We must strive to create and guide the next step.
There’s also the flip side of the equation. When showing informational content – a specific shoe, a restaurant, a hotel, an attraction, a jacket – relate it to inspirational content. What adventures are great to go on with this shoe. What other restaurants would be good to visit. What exploration can be done around the hotel. What other nearby attractions are good to see on a trip. Inspiration in this case isn’t just stories, photos, or videos, but can be additional nearby resources and itineraries that include this resource. Information is great for travel planning but can lack the spark to drive people to action. Related inspirational content is the spark that can set people’s passion on fire.