Just as I was getting ready to reveal the top travel destinations for 2009 for those enterprising photographers planning shoots for the coming year, a new word popped up in a travel story to replace last year's "staycation": naycation (no vacation) may be this year's most over used travel buzz word to describe the dismal forecast for travel in ’09. It isn’t the end of travel advertising or the use of illustrations and photos in tour, airline and other hospitality industry ads and articles but 2009 will bring a significant downturn in those sectors. The good news is that many images associated with famous destinations are somewhat timeless and the great ones will continue to sell long after this period of economic woe is over. (It WILL end eventually. Right?)

© Ostill

Another travel trend that is a result of the worldwide financial mess is that both advertisers, editorial writers and tourists are looking to promote budget and off season trips. Go here for a list of bargain destinations by month. For example, West Palm Beach, Fl rates are estimated to be 47% off regular rates for stays during June. Cheaper airfares and hotel rates are off 59% in Hong Kong in January.

Some destinations that have consistent weather throughout the year will look the same in your photos when shot in the off-season as in the most expensive months. Caribbean spots or Florida in the U.S. are cheaper when the temperature goes up. True, a ski slope isn’t pretty in summer when rooms are heavily discounted but often summer sports are available like white water rafting in Vail, Colorado or horse backing riding in Aspen. The best time for ski resorts that also have summer activities are the ‘shoulder’ seasons of fall and spring. The rooms in these places are never inexpensive but bargains can be found and there will still be photos to be made. (Tip:When taking images of horseback riders, get ahead of the group and shoot back at them. Otherwise you’ll have a photo of a bunch of horse’s you know what’s.)

Sixty-four percent of businesses will either reduce or maintain current levels of company travel spending in 2009. Specials will show up as the travel industries try to build traffic without harming their standard rates. Good news: car rental fees will go down.

Ok enough with the bad news. How will these early trends translate into winning photos?

Tips: Vacation travel photo opportunities new to ‘09

•Shopping has always been a key experience for travelers. In times of economic stress, vacationers place more value on the rejuvenation, relaxing and fun parts of their trips, taking home more memories than trinkets. Downplay the shopping bags and emphasize images of a day by the pool, a model reading in a hammock or sightseeing outside museums or historical sites. You want to go for the experience of the place rather than stimulating their GDP.

•Search for popular destinations closed to home that have been neglected in the collection. For example, Colorado is a top vacation state in the U.S. but our collection needs more shots of this travel destination, especially the ski towns, dude ranches and resorts like those in Colorado Springs. In fact with the exception of Petra in Jordon there are nearly no images of any of the international destinations on the Trip Advisor Survey listed below and little on the U.S. ones in the Dreamstime collections.

•The 2009 Trip Advisor Top Travel Spots for 2009 was done in October while gas prices were high but it appears that they are carrying cheap travel to another extreme: visit a place pretty far off the beaten path some of which I haven’t heard of. Most have historical significance rather than being known for clubbing and shopping. Since my hometown is on the U.S. list at number six, I don’t have to feel cheated if I take a naycation!

TripAdvisor TravelCast Top Ten World Destinations for 2009

1. Budoni, Sardinia

2. Agia Galini, Crete

3. Petra, Jordan

4. Ardmore, Ireland

5. Peschiera del Garda, Italy

6. Protaras, Cyprus

7. Torre del Mar, Spain

8. Hanioti, Greece

9. Wadduwa, Sri Lanka

10. Goslar, Germany

TripAdvisor TravelCast Top Ten U.S. Destinations for 2009

1. St. George, Utah

2. Englewood, Florida

3. Keauhou, Hawaii

4. Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania

5. Haines, Alaska

6. Bainbridge Island, Washington

7. New Buffalo, Michigan

8. Pahoa, Hawaii

9. Gurnee, Illinois

10. Ruskin, Florida

Tips: Business images for ’09 based on travel trends

•More meetings will be taking place via video conferencing. In my consulting business, I often act as an expert witness in photo related cases. This year I was asked to participate in video business meetings and depositions several times in order to save travel costs for my clients. That suggests to me that large law firms as well as many businesses now have video conferencing facilities that you can possibility rent for a half day shoot. You don’t have to use the equipment live as you can later Photoshop an image on to the screen. Only one image on Dreamstime correctly fits the keywords: “video conference”. Go to work!

© Ersler

•Business travelers spend about 9% of their budget on meals combining them with meetings in many cases. Show business styled models having breakfast meetings. (No need to shoot in an actual restaurant…remember last week’s suggestion that you can create the illusion of a large table with close in shots and you can always fake the background if necessary). Breakfast is the best meal to shoot, as it is the least expensive to prop/style. There isn’t even one full page of images for “breakfast meeting” with people on Dreamstime.

•All indications point to a lot of “drive-to” meetings in the coming year. Images of business people traveling together in a car also works for the keyword: “commuting’.

Keywording mistakes among those discovered while doing picture research for this blog:

•An image of a man using a cell phone to photograph something should not be keyworded as video conferencing. Video conferencing should be limited to technologies that enable meetings of several people using visual technology

•“Breakfast meeting” should not be used to identify a glass of orange juice. If I want an image of a meeting, I want people in the image!

•“Vail” is a mountain community in the state of Colorado, U.S.A. The gossamer cloth that cover’s a woman’s face is spelled ‘veil’.

Photo credits: Christian Wheatley, Dmitry Ersler, Geotrac, Holger Mette, Johannes Kaestner, Michael Svoboda, Monkey Business Images, Camhi Franck, Stockfoundry, Valeria Cantone.

Your post must be written in English

December 28, 2008


Mesha, Delicate Arch is in Arches National Park, which is near Moab. If you do go there, explore some of the other canyons, including the spectacular road from Moab to Potash. Spring is the best time to visit. When you speak of St, George, I think you mean Zion National Park, which is also amazing in a completely different way. Other parks in the area include Capitol Reef, Bryce, and Cedar Breaks.

December 22, 2008


Make sure if you make it to St. George, Utah to stop by Moab national park for some shots of Delicate Arch you are going to love that place.
Great article!

December 15, 2008


Darolyn. Remember also though that even though a key word or phrase may describe an image, it may not be one that is commonly used to FIND the image. So sometimes you can over think these things! I know I do. Thanks for your comment.

December 14, 2008


In reference to your Nov. 18 blog: Keywording Mistakes....Bradcalkins (Nov. 20) cites the challenge of using 'compound phrases' by use of brackets for keywords when ultimately all keywords are listed in alphabeically order making a compound phrase irrelevant and useless. I - personally - at times use phrases from a "Universally Useful Keywords List" but like Bradcalkins question their usefulness. Some examples: [selective focus] [isolated on white] [copy space] [black background] [full frame] [vibrant color] [two people] [interior view] etc. Thanks for clarifying for Bradcalkins and myself the challenge.

December 12, 2008


Well I must say that Petra is deservedly on the list :) If anyone is going through that way, it sould be a shame not to go further into Jordan and visit Amman and the runis at Jerash. Jordan is a great country with lots to see!

December 11, 2008


Hooray for the Irish!
Ardmore - Ireland is up there :)
County Waterford, a few hours drive from my house.
Hmm... now if I could only stop this rain :)
No matter, note taken, destination added, and once again, thank you Ellen for the invaluable info that you're constantly giving us!

December 11, 2008


Unlike other resources Tripadvisor's list is created by its community members. This has pros and cons, for example I know Hanioti very well and I wouldn't include it in a worldwide top list. Of course, that's just me, it seems lots of other people like it. Back on topic, considering the amount of voters involved, you have very good chances to see downloads in the future for these locations. More chances than for the boutique hotel found in a niche design magazine.

December 11, 2008


Nata_rass: I can't promise that DT buyers will come looking for your images of Peschera del Garda. But I have noticed over the years that these lists, especially the tripadvisor one, gets picked up by many magazines and is repeated with pictures in many venues. But one thing is for certain; you will have a niche not occupied by others!

December 10, 2008


Great, I live near Peschera del Garda! Hope DT buyers will look for it...

December 10, 2008


I have access to the St. George location - will have to look at my archives and maybe shoot some more as well!

December 10, 2008


Yay! I live in Colorado Springs, so I can take lots of vacation pictures and stay at home!

December 10, 2008


Learn a lot! I will come back everyday to read these great articles carefully.
Thank you so much, Ellen.

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