What’s a Resort Really Like? Watch a Video of the Guests Or Ask a Local!
The Internet is a go-to source of information for travelers looking to book their next trip. Look up any destination and you’re likely to find a written description and photos. However, depending on a particular website’s agenda, this information may or may not be what you were looking for.
After all, travel tourism is a business and companies want you to visit. So instead of reading their embellished descriptions and seeing only the pictures they want you to see, wouldn’t you rather get down to the nitty gritty details?
Have a sensory journey with video-tourism:
Bruce Alexander of ResortInterviews.com, based in Victoria, Australia, had this in mind when he began filming interviews of resort guests at the Octopus Resort in Fiji. Getting feedback from people who have first hand experience of the resort and its surrounding areas gives the prospective traveler a better feel for the destination.
Bruce thanks vacation-booking struggles as the inspiration for his video tourism. “Inspiration for the idea began with frustration. About two years ago I tried to search on the Internet for a resort in Fiji for a family vacation.
There are hundreds, and never having been to Fiji before, I became totally bamboozled with all these resort sites’ marketing hype, trying to gauge what life would really be like at the resort.”
While people such as American travelers Jen and Lauren are being interviewed about their stay, Alexander includes footage of the area as a visual reference a photograph is unable to capture.
These audiovisual interviews provide what traditional online reviews and photos cannot. Viewers get a better emotional connection through the guests’ tone of voice and facial expressions while sharing their memories.
Also, the added background scenery and noise characteristic of the land is another window to help make travel decisions.
Check out Jen and Lauren’s interview at the Octopus Resort.
Bruce’s inspirations were put into gear after he and his wife met another couple enjoying their stay at the Octopus. “It was partly Noel and Annekes’ enthusiasm and persistent complements about the resort which gave me the idea for Resort Interviews. I thought, “Why not capture their comments on video and share them on the Internet so others could learn about what a great resort it is?”
Watch and listen to what Noel and Annekee have to say about their Fiji resort experience:
Got specific questions? Ask a local
A similar approach using first-hand experience and destination advice is found at NileGuide.com, which includes the innovative feature, “Ask Locals.” This allows NileGuide users to ask specific questions about a particular place and have local residents answer them. This way, users are getting honest and reliable information from those who know best. So, just enter the destination of interest and you’ll find the Ask Locals link at the top of the main page.
Type in your question and if all goes well, a local will give you the “real” answer, no gimmicks.
Marketing manager, Amy Widdowson of San Francisco, California, credits sister website, Localyte.com as the catalyst for Ask Locals. NileGuide acquired Localyte of May 2010. Widdowssen explains, “Localyte.com is an independent website gathering a team of locals around the world and we’re integrating that into our site.”
NileGuide relies on local experts to share everything they know to the site and on what they call “localytes,” who are registered on Localyte.com who are answering posted questions on NileGuide’s Ask Locals.
Widdowson says, “Local experts are people who know just about everything there is to know about a destination and the Localytes are the locals who can offer what they know by answering specific questions of our users. It’s a nice coupling of informational sources.”
NileGuide has information on destinations located nationally and internationally, and are always expanding their horizons. “We’re constantly working with partners where we gather information and are constantly updating out destinations. So make sure to keep checking,” Widdowson recommends.
Twenty-nine-year-old sales representative of California Ho Ching Ng used NileGuide to plan his camping trip to Utah’s National Parks. Hearing about the site from a friend, he was quickly impressed by the extensive
information, “It had a list of things I could do and points of interests that were sort of lined up for me within one entry.
The other entry was in the form of an itinerary.” The local experts share these “entries” Ching Ng is talking about.
Although Ching Ng knew about the Ask Locals feature, he didn’t have any questions to be answered, “I didn’t ask any questions because I thought there was plenty of information on the site.” When asked if he would use NileGuide again to plan another trip, Ching Ng replied, “Definitely!”
Where to next?
Want to make planning your next trip easier? Next time you’re fishing through the gimmicks of other travel websites and instead want to hear the “real deal” check out websites like NileGuide and Resort Interviews!
Beth Simmons is an editorial assistant at GoNOMAD and a student at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She writes the Travel Reader Blog.
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