How to turn FAM trips into useful digital content
When Sandra and Anthony McLemore — the duo behind Travel Marketing & Media — discover the world, it may seem like there’s a team of professionals following suit to capture every moment of the adventure.
In reality, the pair, who built a business around providing tools for travel advisors to get a consistent stream of new clients through marketing initiatives, create the majority of their own content.
“One of the things we get asked a lot when we travel is why do you always look like you have professional photographers or paparazzi with you? Now sometimes we have photographers but the majority of the time we’re creating content ourselves,” says Sandra McLemore.
So, what’s their secret? In order to capture the most successful digital marketing content on upcoming FAMs and river cruises, the McLemores teamed up with AmaWaterways to share a few insider tips and advice for agents before they embark on their next international trip. Here’s what they had to share.
Rather than walking around aimlessly taking photos and videos of virtually everything in your travels, Sandra McLemore suggests focusing on what you want your final outcome to be.
“It’s about working backwards,” she says. “What do you want to sell? What would your ideal client want?”
Key to this will be narrowing what you want to sell, whether it’s Christmas markets, wellness trips or romance, and who you want to sell to.
“If Anthony has a business doing wellness travel, he’s really going to focus on creating his content on board to the wellness areas on the ship and the wellness shore excursions,” she says. “If my ideal client is all about food, then I’m going to spend a lot of time photographing and making videos of food in port and onboard so it’s just about figuring out what your niche is and then creating the content that you know your clients will want.”
Content wise, she suggests breaking it down into two key elements: destinations and experiences.
“If you focus on just those two things, you’re going to find it much easier to create content because at the end of the day you’re really only creating content about destinations and experiences,” she says. “Your audience needs to see themselves and imagine themselves visiting those destinations and having those experiences but it has to be in alignment with your sales goals.”
Part of this process also involves narrowing down which locations to focus on and aligning the content with your sales goals.
“By figuring out what your sales goals are — if you know you want to sell $1 million worth of river cruises in a year — you can figure out based on your commission levels how many people you need to get on board,” she adds.
When the McLemores travel, they always focus on what they want to get from it and have a shot list in place before a trip.
“We already know exactly how we’re going to use it that’s going to line up with our sales,” she adds. “It’s like a wedding photographer who knows exactly which family shots they need, the moms and the dads, a photo with the wedding party, they often check it off at a wedding to make sure they don’t miss it. We do the same thing when we’re travelling and we recommend travel advisors do the same.”
Some notable experiences to capture on a river cruise may be dining at the Chef’s Table, going on a hike or unpacking your suitcase in your stateroom.
“Look at the detailed itinerary and make a list of the experiences your ideal client would love to have — a combo of on-and-off board experiences like doing a yoga session on the topdeck or doing a cycling tour,” she says.
McLemore also suggests buddying up with another agent to share content from different day trips and excursions on a particular itinerary.
Needless to say, capturing quality content starts with a good up-to-date smart phone. (Sorry, those with an iPhone 4 should consider an upgrade!)
The McLemores travel with a selfie stick that also serves as a tripod, a remote timer to take photos from further away utilizing bluetooth, a portable phone charger as batteries deplete quickly when shooting lots of content, as well as a cloth to clean the camera lens constantly.
For someone looking to up their game and get more advanced in shooting video, Anthony McLemore recommends a DJI Pocket 2 Creator Combo — 3 Axis Gimbal Stabilizer with 4K Camera.
“If you’re watching a video and wondering how do people get these really, really smooth shots, that just seem to float, this is that tool,” he says. “It goes right onto your cell phone and then the cellphone serves as the screen.”
Calling it brochure casual, Sandra recommends staying away from printed logos, busy prints or graphics and opting for bright bold colours. She also suggests getting a haircut a week or two before a trip otherwise it’s noticeable on camera, as well as getting colour matched.
“Let me tell you that what you wear, how you do your hair and makeup or how you present yourself directly affects your confidence on camera,” she says. “I want to specifically talk to those who are a little nervous or don’t like the way they look on camera, when you dress the right way and look good you feel good so it helps your confidence.”
For those who sweat or have oily skin, she recommends carrying a cloth or blotting paper, especially when you travel in summer.
When it comes to engaging photography, Anthony says it’s all about capturing “ing” moments.
“Skiing, walking, running, watching, looking,” he says. “I think a lot of the best photos are candid. Things are happening in action. And when you are taking those kinds of photos you don’t just take one snap, you want to make sure you keep tapping that button to get as many images as you can.”
Rather than a photo where people are smiling at the camera, Sandra says it’s much more engaging when a waiter is serving or the chef is cooking or action is happening in the shot.
Finally, Janet Bava, Chief Marketing Officer for AmaWaterways, reminds travel advisors not to forget about videos.
“Focus on short videos for Facebook and Instagram and if you want longer format videos where you are touring the ship, you want to show them the grand suite, you can have a longer format video on YouTube,” she says. “Not only do you want to focus on capturing images, video is just as important.”