As a founder of a platform that since 2010 has helped tens of millions of travel consumers discover new experiences and has pioneered the conversion of social WOM benefit into trackable, qualified leads for hundreds of tours, activities and attractions, I'm absolutely thrilled that Douglas Quinby of Arival believes this message is now important to share with the tour, activity and attraction industry.

With over a decade of hands-on experience on this niche topic I'm also well positioned to disagree with Douglas’ prediction in the article THE FUTURE OF DISCOVERY IN TRAVEL – AND THE END OF THE 38 WEBSITES RULE for how influencers will "reshape the marketing funnel for tours, activities, and experiences".

There are two significant drawbacks with this prediction:

  1. It excludes most operators and their customers.  There is a better, cheaper, faster, more scalable model that is inclusive and accessible for every operator.

  2. Travel influencer marketing isn't reshaping the future of discovery, it has already completely reshaped the discovery of experiences for years.

While the platforms linked in the article provide an exciting new revenue stream for influencers who already have suasion and influence through the large networks they've amassed via Instagram, TikTok, etc.  The discovery of experiences through influencers is already commonplace and the prediction presented in this article isn't going to reshape the discovery of experiences on a macro scale or be equitable for tours, activities and attractions.

This prediction can surely benefit influencers with large networks and attractions with large capacity or high ticket prices, and not to mention big marketing budgets.  It is definitely a part of the future of discovery in travel.  But how will the majority of travel consumers, who lack a large social following, or don’t want to sell their personal captured life experiences benefit from influencer marketing?  And how does this prediction help the majority of tour and activity operators get discovered, who based on their capacity and/or price point, can't provide any meaningful financial reward to these influencers?

For quite some time there's been a place for travel influencer marketing and these platforms provide new, exciting incentive based financial opportunities for influencers and for operators who have the capacity to compensate them for referrals.  However influencer marketing and this future prediction excludes any direct discovery and booking benefit for the overwhelming majority of operators and travel consumers.

This prediction is missing the most important influencers for all tours, activities and attractions.  Influencers who reach better audiences... with better messaging... to broader audiences... through every social network where niche target audiences are active... gain better qualified leads..... and will influence the purchasing behavior of target audiences with no financial reward or incentive... for the rest of their life...  The Customer Influencer.

What will "reshape the discovery of new experiences" isn't influencer marketing through new, incentive based platforms that aren't designed to compete with TikTok.   What will "reshape the discovery of new experiences" for our entire industry is when every business that provides an experience worth remembering realizes that the media they capture of and for the customer performs far better than any other marketing media they create or pay to have advertised. 

The vision that’s inclusive to all operators, is based on years of dedicated focus on this specific topic, and I believe will reshape the discovery of experiences can be summarized: *Every business that provides an experience worth remembering is actively capturing and gifting memories to their customers.

Every operator who reads this doesn't have to be active in every new social flavor of the year, or compensate influencers directly, or give up a percentage of their ticket price.... Who really wants to be on every social network and has time to be on every social network as they continue to become more segmented and niche?...  Instead every operator simply needs to provide meaningful content (photos or short form video) to their customers who'll reach their target market far better than they can through any and all social networks.

Not only will this vision reach far greater audiences of travel consumers who will discover experiences through someone they trust and relate to, but it also adds service to the experience which raises the perception of the experience any tour, activity or attraction provides, leading to more and better online reviews.

While Fotaflo is the best platform I've ever witnessed to gain benefit from this vision, this isn't exclusive to Fotaflo.

Our industry, over any other industry, has the best opportunity to leverage the memorable experiences we create, as our customers are personally invested in helping others discover our brands.  Human nature motivates customers to share and help others discover experiences with no financial incentive. Customer influencers can on a daily basis share their experiences and introduce thousands of leads who discover new experiences for no incentive or reward:

 
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If you want to take the next step from understanding how to turn socially shared experiences, that help target audiences discover your brand and turn that into tangible referral and repeat bookings, feel free to schedule a live demo or join my Arival buzz session on Wednesday Oct. 12 at 10:30am featuring special guests Susan Judd and Amanda Dooney of Ride the Bine who have achieved 70% of their total bookings as direct word of mouth and referrals.  After all, if it's your future, it's time to come look in your crystal ball.

*This is Fotaflo’s internal vision.  We believe that this vision isn’t exclusive to Fotaflo.  It is global and ambitious, adds service to experiences, helps customers remember meaningful life moments and helps more people discover experiences as customers share experiences, reaching new like-audiences with the most powerful marketing media; memories captured in photos and videos.

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Topics: Tours & Activities

Ryan O'Grady

Written by Ryan O'Grady

Ryan specializes in assessing the photo and video solution needs of clients and has worked with hundreds of businesses around the world to maximize their marketing impact through photos and videos. As a pioneer in the adventure photo and video industry, Ryan loves to share his knowledge and is a presenter at many adventure conferences throughout the year.

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