How To Get "Hot" Results From A "Cool" Medium

Nancy Harkrider, a regular blogger on Travel Agent Central, realized recently she could use what she knows about learning styles to increase online marketing effectiveness for her company.  She shares her ideas and welcomes comments.

I’ve been dialoguing with the owner of an Indian travel company through a highly interactive travel/tourism discussion group on LinkedIn.

His questions have stimulated some pondering about a huge question in the travel industry.   How do we get maximum ROI from a “cool” medium like the Internet?

The Internet has opened new possibilities but created new complexities. How do we use the Internet to provide the same high-touch feeling of story sharing face-to-face? As my LinkedIn contact Sutanu puts it: “how do we share less about the place and more about the experience?”

For example, the podcasts I have produced for Travel Agent Central are geared to travel professionals so they are heavy on information and tips and not on personal stories. For marketing travel, I’m thinking we need much more personal, emotionally-based story telling.

It helps me to remind myself that all of us fall into one of three predominant operational styles.  We are motivated most by either visual, auditory or kinesthetic message implants. 

The visual person is easy enough to cater to because dramatic visual images and compelling content usually motivates a positive response. Every quality travel website has already built in these attributes. 

The auditory is more challenging but doable. We can add music (selectively of course so it doesn’t irritate the non-auditory types) and we can use podcasts to tell compelling travel stories.

So far, so good. Now how about those kinesthetics who have to be physically involved in order to get their motivation? This group is harder but not impossible. Kinesthetics like to ask questions. Encourage them to communicate with other travelers in their group or with someone you can recommend who has been to the targeted destination. In stories you tell on your website, use descriptions that make it clear how their travel experiences will make them feel. (feelings are essential to kinesthetics!) My guess is that there’s a high percentage of kinesthetics who are adventure travelers. 

It’s clear that to reach everyone, we need the images, the compelling copy, the music, the stories as podcasts and any opportunities we can create for interactivity!

No problem, we should all be able to accomplish that before the end of the week, don’t you think?