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Are you selling yourself short?

From our September 2006 issue: Are you selling yourself short? Catharine Power says that if your brochure or website is dated and less than visually appealing, paying the price to refresh your sales collateral and make it sexier and more vibrant will pay off in the long run.

Travellers are usually people who are out there seeking fun times, experiences and action. Or perhaps they are looking to check out something quite different, unique to them or to learn more about New Zealand culture.

Whatever their purpose, every traveller, before making a buying decision, will spend time researching their destination, even if it is just the day before they come to town. They'll look at brochures, surf the web and compare all the options available.

And this is where having the right collateral comes into play. In selling your business to potential clients, it is not only important to get good placement (search engine optimisation, first cab on the rank, or good pagination) but also to have the very best material you can afford.

You need images that will catch visitors' interest and appeal at a level that means your potential client can actually envisage themselves out on the kayak, driving through the wine trail or experiencing the accommodation and dining you are offering.

By appealing at this level your images should ensure the visitor can really see themselves at ‘your place' and, if they can, there is a good chance the sale will be made, and they will continue to surf your web pages or hold onto your brochure and make an enquiry.

And this all comes down to imagery. Are your images up to standard? The brochure and images portrayed or displayed on the web site must sell - so make it sexy!

Have you considered:

  • Putting people in your pictures/images? But a warning from one industry expert: do get permission first as people can be sensitive to their images appearing without their permission.
  • Making the light and weather work in your favour? Wait for the best weather possible, no matter how long it takes, as the result will be worthwhile.
  • Don't scrimp on the cost of using a professional photographer.Amateur digital pics very often look exactly that and it's hardly the image you'd want to portray of your business. The NZ Institute of Professional Photographers has a list of nearly 300 members on its website http://www.nzipp.org.nz/.
  • Good design is worth investing in - but don't try to be too clever or too busy.
  • Make sure you are either appealing to a wide range of people or, alternatively, the specific demographic that will be attracted to your activity.
  • Pictures speak louder than words and the text should be limited but informative. You don't want a script that will bore the viewer or make them move onto the next website or onto the brochure next to yours on the i-site information rack.

There are a vast number of images of New Zealand available, some are very generic shots of New Zealand and some are over-used and have been around for just too long! New Zealand Tourism's 100% Pure is selling our clean, green image but for individual operators it is worth considering putting a little more zing, excitement and relevance into your photography - sell yourself to the max.

Catharine Power has more than 20 years sales and marketing experience in New Zealand's tourism industry. She represents accommodation and activity providers both in New Zealand and offshore.www.power.c@ihug.co.nz

Posted: Wednesday 24 September 2008