By Kelly Monaghan
Here’s a fun way to research travel destinations. Copy this link and paste it in to your favorite browser.
Now, replace the XXXX with your favorite travel destination. The result? a spiffy slide show courtesy of Flickr.
To get you started, here are three of my favorites: pienza, wengen, and monemvasia.
I can see a number of applications for home-based travel agents: Get a feel for a destination you’re not familiar with. Refresh your memory about places you haven’t visited in a while. Check out hotels that a client has told you about. Search for pictures to show clients who are considering a trip; you might even send them the link (after you’ve checked it out, of course). Goofing off. (Careful! That last one can get addictive.)
Some tips and observations:
- You can type in more than one word in the URL and enclose two or more words in quote marks. Try hotel des grandes ecoles and skellig michael. Or “hotel des grandes ecoles” or “skellig michael.” (By the way, the Hotel des Grandes Ecoles does not work with travel agents, so if you want to get paid for guiding your clients to this charming Left Bank hideaway, you’ll have to charge a booking fee.)
- Try the local name as well as the English name. For example, venezia and venice, firenze and florence, munchen and munich.
- Be aware that, depending on what you’re searching for, you might get mixed results. Plugging in “Latin Quarter,” for instance, turns up photos from the Paris neighborhood and a night club in Portugal with that name. Likewise, a search for Athens might return photos from Athens, Georgia, as well as Athens, Greece.
- It doesn’t work very well for virtual ship tours. Plug in “disney dream,” for example, and you’ll get a lot of shots of the ship at anchor and relatively few photos of the interior.
Play around with it. I’m sure you’ll find applications and learn some tricks I haven’t thought of. I think you’ll agree it’s a great research tool for travel agents.
By the way, I learned about this via Twitter, which illustrates for me the value of this social media tool.