Imagery in Tourism and Recreational Advertising

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Best Imagery for Successful Tourism & Recreation Advertising

Although no tangible data could be found regarding the success of advertising images with and without people, current successful tourism sites demonstrate that a combination of images is most useful. Top tourism sites in Canada and around the world utilize images with people that showcase an activity or relatable experience while also showcasing images of scenic views and landscapes. The latest trends in imagery related to tourism also include video content, user generated content, and visual storytelling.

While there is no hard data that addresses whether having people in advertisements is more or less effective, award-winning tourism websites demonstrate that people are most commonly included in photos that promote activity, whereas scenic views are commonly used to promote an emotional connection. The end user must relate to the image; the viewer must be able to visualize themselves in the image, or be able to imagine the picturesque views.

Social media influencers have promoted more of a human element in destination images in recent years, focusing on photos of people in front of the landmark or destination; this is to impress a sense of relatability on the viewer, where they could see themselves in that destination. However, top tourism sites use images both with and without people, such as Au Diable Vert and Destination Canada. Fogo Island Inn, on the other hand, which is another top tourism site, utilizes images mostly of scenic views and landscapes; very few have people.

Advertising imagery utilizing people should specifically speak to the target customer base. Example advertisements from AdParlor, a high-class digital marketing company, utilize Instagram images that showcase people of the target demographic partaking in activities, alongside images of scenic views and accommodations.

Because top tourism sites in Canada use both types of images, it is reasonable to assume that both images with and without people are successful for tourism advertising campaigns.

By 2020, video content will account for almost 20% of internet traffic, and advertisers who market with video content grow their revenues 49% faster than those who don't use video content. People love to watch videos on the internet because it provides emotional connections. Video advertising is therefore an ultra-effective method of communicating all the various experiences a camper would have on their vacation. It is also an effective platform for communicating information about the destination such as activities, fun facts, helpful tips, and answers to frequently-asked-questions while showcasing the beauty of the area.

The abundance of photo-sharing apps and websites is only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the fact that people these days love to take and post their own photos. Users generate their own content about products and services that they love; promoting user-generated content in tourism advertising is a great way to connect with the target audience. Promoting positive reviews and real-life images builds trust with the audience. Not only that, Millennials' traveling decisions are highly influenced by the destination images of their peers. Many tourism sites are already doing this using platforms like Instagram. Destination Canada was named as a top global tourist site and was recognized for its use of Instagram and user-generated images as well. Promoting user-generated photos would also allow you to recognize and applaud that user, potentially turning them into repeat business.

Tapping into the audience's emotions is an easy way to draw them in and connect them to the advertisement's message. Authentic and genuine images that convey a candid experience or evoke nostalgia will build trust with the end user. This suggests that including people in the appropriate advertising images would make them more relatable to the target audience. Candid, nostalgia-evoking camping experiences may include activities such as hiking, swimming, enjoying a campfire, setting up camp, etc. It is also important to showcase what makes you different from other similar destinations. Destination Cananda's use of visual storytelling to showcase the various experiences available, as well as where to experience them (relating again, to the use of images both with and without people, where appropriate), makes it ones of the top tourism sites.

The use of images both with and without people is necessary for successful tourism campaigns. People should be able to visualize themselves in the destination while also seeing what the destination has to offer. Video content, user-generated content, and visual storytelling are also important trends currently influencing tourism advertising.