The travel and tourism industry is undergoing revolutionary change, driven primarily by the possibility that our increasingly connected lives offer. The modern traveller is constantly seeking out their next authentic experience, hunting for their sense of belonging.  Engaging the senses is key for modern travel providers as consumers are seeking 360-degree experiences.

Standard, run of the mill beach shots no longer offers consumers the inspiration they desire. Brands, tourist boards and travel providers are increasingly offering visually rich advertising campaigns, using the power of the senses to evoke a physiological reaction from the viewer. An honest taste of a potential trip is now easily available, and can be accessed without even leaving the comfort of the sofa.

According to Skyscanner’s travel futures 2024 report, virtual reality will play a key role in the development of the travel platform over the next decade. A new generation of ‘try before you buy’ websites offer ‘show-rooming’ as an opportunity to suggest the experience. Future travellers will have the opportunity to hear the sounds, see the location and even feel the landscapes before they have even booked their ticket.

Advertising budgets are soaring in the travel industry, and will nearly double to an eye-watering figure of $4.7 billion globally by 2016. Traditional channels are now no longer enough to engage travel enthusiasts, and brands are working even harder to offer consumer relevant viral and participatory campaigns.

Dynamic and immersive visuals are paramount to future-facing travel providers. Participation, collectivism and tailored experiences are key to this next generation of advertising campaigns, unlocking a new perspective for holidaymakers. Social engagement in campaigns is becoming increasingly commonplace, as brands seek to gain the attention of the technologically savvy millennial consumer.

“97% of millennial travellers post on social networks to share their experiences with friends whilst travelling, with 75% posting at least once a day” – Chase Card Services report, 2014

Canny marketers are offering all-encompassing, holistic approaches across touch points. Billboards, viral videos, moving homepages, Instagram and Twitter feeds are creating this joined up brand perspective as a standard. In an age where choice is infinite, the modern consumer is looking to cut out some of the noise, seeking out escapist, unique and share-worthy experiences whilst simultaneously, and contradictorily yearning to unplug.

It is essential that visual content connect with consumers on an emotive level, offering rich, immersive and visceral scenes – virtually attacking the senses. The minimum standard of image quality is on the increase too, with the bar being set by inspiring magazines such as Another Escape, Sidetracked, 12 Hours, Boat Mag and Read Cereal, all elevating the standard travel image to cinematic levels.

Additionally, the scope of the ‘holiday’ has changed too. No longer is lounging around, or being just a tourist the ambition, with part of the goal being to meet new people and forge new relationships. Conversely, pilgrimage style trips are gaining further popularity, with yoga and even silent retreats gaining momentum thanks to the modern trend for holistic wellness.

Aim for your visual imagery to engage all of the senses, creating a powerful and meaningful reaction for your potential customers. Brands need to offer excitement through joined up campaigns across static, dynamic and interactive channels.

Create intrigue and mystique, leave the viewer wanting more.

Five campaigns that are redefining the standard for the travel industry by engaging the senses and offering rich, visual inspiration to consumers:

TUI Travel – Holiday Open Day

TUI Travel’s 2014 online campaign ‘The Holiday Open Day’ gives the viewer the opportunity to interactively explore and design their own dream holiday. Through eyes of the first person perspective, the user is taken on an immersive exploration of their potential holiday. The concept of the online “try before you buy” is now allowing the traveller to virtually experience and tailor their experience simultaneously through the use of an interactive menu. Hi-res video footage takes the viewer on the trip of their potential holiday, tapping into sun-drenched pools, to snapshots of calming, relaxing accommodation.

Airbnb ‘Views’

Airbnb is leading the way for the sharing economy, with their first global campaign, ‘Views’. The campaign champions the concept of belonging and features 16 Airbnb’s, giving an authentic, up-close view of what could be your holiday experience. Imagery ranges from an idyllic rural escape to the hustle and bustle of the city. Immersive perspectives and audio is important to the success of the campaign, being the focal point of Airbnb’s brand story.

The campaign has seen great success thanks to its genuine, warm and emotive imagery, alongside offering a feeling of trust, and a sense of belonging amongst a community of intrepid travellers.

This Place Journal

This Place is an online journal created by Portland based creative agency, Instrument. The website hosts a series of interactive vignettes and a cinematic and immersive short film, created with the help of local writers, video & sound artists and photographers. Instrument has created a unique and authentic online storytelling platform, offering up a great example of how a brand can encapsulate a personal, emotional and truly touching portrayal of a locality. Rawness is its greatest success, with natural and realistic sounds annotating the simple, yet breathtaking imagery.

Visit Norway – The Scream

Norway’s ‘Powered by Nature’ is an accelerating scream chain, really taking advantage of the power of sound. Created by the Norwegian tourist board, The Scream’s’ intention is to create the world’s longest virtual scream in celebration of the 150th anniversary of Edvard Munch painting of the same name. People were invited to share their own scream, with successful entries being added to deeply emotive visuals of various Norwegian locations.

The campaign was a huge viral success, which cleverly brought international attention to Norway.

Four Seasons – Serengeti Safari Tours

Four Seasons has created a bespoke approach to the traditional travel website. This standalone website, ‘Into the Heart of Africa’  offers an immersive, first person luxury safari experience. Captivating pieces of video offer up a hint of what a luxury safari experience could entail, giving an almost secretive insider view of the cabin accommodation, a game drive and a bush walk.

The Four Seasons’ campaign taps into the senses, showing how the luxury market can incorporate immersive sounds and first-person perspective effectively into a campaign.

Browse a selection of super sensory travel images