Adventure and escapism are popular buzzwords in the travel industry. Cinemagraphs bring these themes to life. A match made in heaven?
With summer officially on our doorstep, I have been deliberating about where to travel to this season. For some time now I’ve been dreaming of visiting Central America’s Caribbean coastline, particularly Belize, as I keep hearing special things about that part of the world. Naturally, I checked out the Travel Belize website to get a feel for the country. I was immediately engrossed by the gorgeous sky-blue ocean and exotic wildlife. Which got me thinking: how could a website instil such strong emotions in me? Upon reflection, the answer was obvious: captivating visuals and a modern website design!
A Step Into the Digital Age with Cinemagraphs
The growing importance of these two factors can’t be denied. Technology has evolved, and the travel industry is having to adapt. Many of us have traded face-to-face interaction with travel agents, in favour of booking our holidays online. Statistics show that half of all UK travellers booked their holidays online in 2014, and this number is thought to have risen to nearly 80% since! Being tech-savvy and in my twenties, I find myself in this demographic too. Heck, even my 79 year-old Grandma books her holidays online!
Given the growing importance of “online” to the tourism industry, having a state-of-the-art website that stands out has never been so essential. A slick design and nice color scheme can go a long way. Another simple way to leave a lasting impression: powerful motion visuals. Cinemagraphs for instance, are an innovative new medium with the power to captivate audiences. Their mixture of static photo and motion elements can engage people for minutes and have an almost hypnotic effect. Making use of such an innovative medium will also communicate to your visitors that you’re in tune with the digital age.
Cinemagraphs – The Travel Industry’s X-Factor?
Not only are cinemagraphs “cutting-edge”, they can also evoke feelings of surprise, wonder and curiosity. They display infinite moments in motion that effortlessly capture your customers’ attention and imagination. When I go online to book a holiday, I want to be filled with feelings of adventure and escapism. I want to be seduced and persuaded into making a spontaneous decision. Bringing your website to life with cinemagraphs will increase the chances of that spontaneous decision!
Hear me out: just like many people, I often book my holidays on a whim. The angel sits on one shoulder, reminding me I can’t afford it; the devil clings to the other, fueling my mischievous side. In that particular moment, small details can make all the difference and decide whether I book or not. Cinemagraphs can provide that “x-factor”: by bringing the destination to life in front of me and eyes, I am taken one step closer to booking that holiday!
Industry Experts Agree
But you don’t have to take my word for it; industry experts also agree that cinemagraphs can help the tourism-sector drive sales. I recently spoke to Simon Drees, Manager for Online Business Development at TUI Cars, a subsidiary of Europe’s biggest tourist enterprise TUI (known as Thomson in the English speaking world). Gallereplay recently produced a series of cinemagraphs for TUI Cars, to be published on their website in the coming months.
I was curious to find out what benefits Simon saw in using cinemagraphs. He told me: “The ultimate goal of TUI is to put a smile on the customer’s face, and one way to do so is by using surprising visual techniques.” According to Simon, the tourist industry depends on emotional triggers provided by strong visuals. With the influx of photos and video on the web, it’s important to stand out: “Where a photo might be boring and a video too distracting, cinemagraphs can win the visitor’s attention with their ‘living elements.’” Simon and his team are optimistic that their relaunched website – complete with cinemagraphs – can increase conversion rates and session times.
On reflection, I believe cinemagraphs and the travel industry are made for one another. Whether you’re a tourism board focused on promoting a distinctive and proud national identity; or a travel agency hoping to emote feelings of excitement and adventure in your customers; cinemagraphs can provide that x-factor your website has been missing.