When Reality TV Inspires Your Clients to Travel

It’s time to talk about a subject we don’t like to talk about. But it’s something that some of your clients (and some of you) are doing - watching reality TV.

Television can be credited for opening the world of travel to the masses. The Travel Channel makes it seem easy to get on a plane to venture to far-off places, and today’s consumer has been influenced by that attitude. For many, there is no hesitation to experience the exotic. If there’s a flight that goes to an interesting destination and a hotel at the other end, it’s a travel option for today’s jet-setters.
But a new breed of TV is influencing travel, and it’s some of the silliest stuff on the air.

If you’re watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills this season, you, or your clients, would have gotten quite a dose of the Four Seasons Resorts Lanai, which served as a backdrop for a cast member’s birthday. These particular episodes reaffirmed the concept of celebration travel, i.e., taking your 10 closest friends to a resort to relax, dine and drink together because you’re turning a certain age. Hawaii was the star here, with beautiful videography that showed exotic seascapes and beaches. The luxury hotel showed off its wares well, too, with beautiful lobbies and suites with balconies; there was even a scene with a beach butler spritzing the housewives as they lay in the sun.

One-dimensional stuff, but I have no doubt that some of your clients have now put this vacation on their bucket list.
The Real Housewives of Atlanta series is also using travel as a theme this season. If you’re watching, you’ll see this team is in South Africa. Last night (and I watched this solely to research this column), cast members sailed on a yacht with breathtaking Cape Town as a backdrop. These episodes are so much about “regular” people exploring their roots and discovering this destination, it’s a virtual travelogue that may inspire your clients to do the same.

I hate to go on, but your clients may also be watching The Bachelor, which uses beautiful destinations as its backdrop. A recent episode featured the W Retreat & Spa–Vieques Island in Puerto Rico; the resort is already promoting a package based on the show.

It’s a gift, isn’t it? These inspiring travel experiences are being served up to your clients as they sit on their couches in their homes. Be sure you’re knowledgeable about these opportunities if they ask you about them, better yet, contact them if you know they’re a fan of these shows and ask them if they want to travel like their favorite reality TV stars.

There’s another program that’s inspiring travel and that’s not a reality show but a good, old-fashioned BBC period drama. Downton Abbey, airing on PBS, is spurring a desire to travel to England to visit the kinds of estates and gardens that relate to the 1910s. For the lowdown on how to create an itinerary based on the show, and to learn about The Bachelor packages above, visit travelagentcentral.com.

Marriott International last month declared this to be a “Golden Age of Travel.” In making that statement, CEO Arne Sorenson was referring to the fact that international travel is on the rise, opening up “a powerful form of soft diplomacy in the world today.” One could argue TV is doing the same thing, on its own unintentional level. Why not make some money from the opportunity?

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