Just as I was getting ready to reveal the top travel destinations for 2009 for those enterprising photographers planning shoots for the coming year, a new word popped up in a travel story to replace last year's "staycation": naycation (no vacation) may be this year's most over used travel buzz word to describe the dismal forecast for travel in ’09. It isn’t the end of travel advertising or the use of illustrations and photos in tour, airline and other hospitality industry ads and articles but 2009 will bring a significant downturn in those sectors. The good news is that many images associated with famous destinations are somewhat timeless and the great ones will continue to sell long after this period of economic woe is over. (It WILL end eventually. Right?)
Another travel trend that is a result of the worldwide financial mess is that both advertisers, editorial writers and tourists are looking to promote budget and off season trips. Go here for a list of bargain destinations by month. For example, West Palm Beach, Fl rates are estimated to be 47% off regular rates for stays during June. Cheaper airfares and hotel rates are off 59% in Hong Kong in January.
Some destinations that have consistent weather throughout the year will look the same in your photos when shot in the off-season as in the most expensive months. Caribbean spots or Florida in the U.S. are cheaper when the temperature goes up. True, a ski slope isn’t pretty in summer when rooms are heavily discounted but often summer sports are available like white water rafting in Vail, Colorado or horse backing riding in Aspen. The best time for ski resorts that also have summer activities are the ‘shoulder’ seasons of fall and spring. The rooms in these places are never inexpensive but bargains can be found and there will still be photos to be made. (Tip:When taking images of horseback riders, get ahead of the group and shoot back at them. Otherwise you’ll have a photo of a bunch of horse’s you know what’s.)
Sixty-four percent of businesses will either reduce or maintain current levels of company travel spending in 2009. Specials will show up as the travel industries try to build traffic without harming their standard rates. Good news: car rental fees will go down.
Ok enough with the bad news. How will these early trends translate into winning photos?
Tips: Vacation travel photo opportunities new to ‘09
•Shopping has always been a key experience for travelers. In times of economic stress, vacationers place more value on the rejuvenation, relaxing and fun parts of their trips, taking home more memories than trinkets. Downplay the shopping bags and emphasize images of a day by the pool, a model reading in a hammock or sightseeing outside museums or historical sites. You want to go for the experience of the place rather than stimulating their GDP.
•Search for popular destinations closed to home that have been neglected in the collection. For example, Colorado is a top vacation state in the U.S. but our collection needs more shots of this travel destination, especially the ski towns, dude ranches and resorts like those in Colorado Springs. In fact with the exception of Petra in Jordon there are nearly no images of any of the international destinations on the Trip Advisor Survey listed below and little on the U.S. ones in the Dreamstime collections.
•The 2009 Trip Advisor Top Travel Spots for 2009 was done in October while gas prices were high but it appears that they are carrying cheap travel to another extreme: visit a place pretty far off the beaten path some of which I haven’t heard of. Most have historical significance rather than being known for clubbing and shopping. Since my hometown is on the U.S. list at number six, I don’t have to feel cheated if I take a naycation!
TripAdvisor TravelCast Top Ten World Destinations for 2009
1. Budoni, Sardinia
2. Agia Galini, Crete
3. Petra, Jordan
4. Ardmore, Ireland
5. Peschiera del Garda, Italy
6. Protaras, Cyprus
7. Torre del Mar, Spain
8. Hanioti, Greece
9. Wadduwa, Sri Lanka
10. Goslar, Germany
TripAdvisor TravelCast Top Ten U.S. Destinations for 2009
1. St. George, Utah
2. Englewood, Florida
3. Keauhou, Hawaii
4. Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania
5. Haines, Alaska
6. Bainbridge Island, Washington
7. New Buffalo, Michigan
8. Pahoa, Hawaii
9. Gurnee, Illinois
10. Ruskin, Florida
Tips: Business images for ’09 based on travel trends
•More meetings will be taking place via video conferencing. In my consulting business, I often act as an expert witness in photo related cases. This year I was asked to participate in video business meetings and depositions several times in order to save travel costs for my clients. That suggests to me that large law firms as well as many businesses now have video conferencing facilities that you can possibility rent for a half day shoot. You don’t have to use the equipment live as you can later Photoshop an image on to the screen. Only one image on Dreamstime correctly fits the keywords: “video conference”. Go to work!
•Business travelers spend about 9% of their budget on meals combining them with meetings in many cases. Show business styled models having breakfast meetings. (No need to shoot in an actual restaurant…remember last week’s suggestion that you can create the illusion of a large table with close in shots and you can always fake the background if necessary). Breakfast is the best meal to shoot, as it is the least expensive to prop/style. There isn’t even one full page of images for “breakfast meeting” with people on Dreamstime.
•All indications point to a lot of “drive-to” meetings in the coming year. Images of business people traveling together in a car also works for the keyword: “commuting’.
Keywording mistakes among those discovered while doing picture research for this blog:
•An image of a man using a cell phone to photograph something should not be keyworded as video conferencing. Video conferencing should be limited to technologies that enable meetings of several people using visual technology
•“Breakfast meeting” should not be used to identify a glass of orange juice. If I want an image of a meeting, I want people in the image!
•“Vail” is a mountain community in the state of Colorado, U.S.A. The gossamer cloth that cover’s a woman’s face is spelled ‘veil’.