• sarahhabsburg

How TV Can Influence Travel, and Our Expectation of Experience



I spent the last week holed up with Covid. This was no fun as many of you know. In-between nursing my disappointment that I am clearly not superhuman having avoided the virus for the last 29 months, I watched a LOT of Netflix.


The sparkling turquoise seas of Greece in Mamma Mia, the opulence of Marrakech’s La Mamounia hotel in Inventing Anna, and the soft, rolling English hills in Bridgerton, all generated a desire to experience them for myself.


These scenes trigger subconscious desires in each of us and can become the very first step on our buying journey to Book Now. They plant a seed that we continue to research and think about until we reach the moment of actually deciding on that holiday that gets us to see them for ourselves.


TV influencing travel is of course not a new phenomenon. The fame brought to New Zealand after the Lord of the Rings trilogy aired is well known, as are visits to the castles featured in Harry Potter.


There is even "Jetflix"! Created by the luggage delivery company MyBaggage, Jetflix is a landing page offering an interactive quiz that provides you with travel inspiration based on your viewing sentiment or latest streaming binge!


And then there is the Bridgerton influence. Thousands of searches for “the Bridgerton Experience” have been registered on TripAdvisor and Google since the series began. From camping companies who offer pitches in farms and fields offering those rolling Regency era views, to local restaurants and National Trust properties cashing in on the offer of traditional English Afternoon Teas.


It is a worthwhile exercise to research what will be filmed, and even what has ever been filmed, in your area or region. A quick Google search can help you with this and once you have that information, a quick way to capture interest is to create marketing content around the series or film so you begin to show up in relevant keyword searches.

Taking inspiration from TV shows does not just end at destination choice though. It is also influences the expectation of experience.


If the space around La Mamounia’s exclusive swimming pool is filled with water-pistol wielding children on arrival, the expectation drawn from the tranquil scenes in Inventing Anna will not be fulfilled.


Now of course, most rational people realise that movie sets are just that but be mindful of the ways in which you can create experiences that come as close as possible to the expectation.


A restaurant offering Regency-style afternoon teas with a view over the rolling English hills sets an expectation of finesse and elegance just by association. If the waiter is overrun with work or the tea service is too modern, the experience will be inextricably peppered with disappointment.


The hospitality industry is most definitely in the experience economy. To truly become an experience organisation, you have to align what you charge with what your customers value.


Anyone can stay home and cook a meal to satisfy their primary need of eating for sustenance. People go to a restaurant and pay to save their “time” and relieve themselves of the daily monotony. As Joseph Pine talks about in his book, The Experiene Economy, what people actually buy from you is “time well spent”.


How you give them the notion of having paid for “time well spent” is by being intentional about everything you do. How you do what you do, driven by the values you bring to the table, is what makes you different and satisfies that customer need to experience something above and beyond the norm.


A great example from which to draw parallels are onboard airplane safety announcements. The majority are identical, bland, and uninspiring. Reeled off from a script and just enough to do the job of ensuring the safety instructions have been shared.


And then there are those that make it onto YouTube. The ones that bring humour in without compromising on the importance of the job. The ones that are unique, have identity, and a personalised stamp.


To be a successful brand you need to spend time understanding what makes you different and how to make your customers pay for that. It is a skill, a technique that can be learned with the right insights.


So, next time you watch a Netflix series or movie, get curious about what inspires you, what emotions are triggered, and how could you apply those to your own customers. Even if nothing is being filmed in your area, you can always offer a theme meal/day/weekend/experience that aligns with what you enjoy watching and that connects with your target audiences.


As ever, thinking outside the box and getting bold and comfortable with who you are and what you believe in so you can do things differently are key to attracting the right guests who will LOVE your vibe and will leave the best reviews that generate more sales and more income.


I am cheering you on as ever!



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