There used to be an old adage, “Trust, but verify.” Seemed logical enough. In fact, I raised my kids by giving them implicit trust…until they screwed up. And then they needed to earn it back again. If I was starting over with babies today, I am not so sure I’d take that route. It seems that it is becoming more and more difficult to discern truth from lies (it’s okay, I am not going political here), fact from fantasy, and reality from fabrication. Even in travel.
Take the case of Tupi Saravia. Who? No, she is not selling travel, but she is an influencer and is paid by destinations to… well, influence someone to travel. She has (at this moment) 307,000 followers on Instagram. She is a young and attractive woman that jets about the world to fantastic locations. Like most twenty-somethings, she likes to stick out her tongue a lot. The object is to elicit an “OMG, look how cool it is there, I must visit there soon” reaction from her followers. Reasonable enough in this age of social media. Notice anything odd?
Matt Navarra did! Matt is a social media consultant and called out Tupi’s “grams” on Twitter…
And the Internet being the Internet went wild. When contacted by Buzz Feed, Tupi said she did not understand the problem and it was no big deal because she just photoshopped the images when the “sky was burned or overexposed.”
Not so fast Tupi. She is being paid to represent a destination—not to fabricate a destination. And while I suspect she actually visited the locations in question, when I see that she is photoshopping in the beautiful sky, I have to wonder what else is manipulated. The boyfriends? The pristine empty beaches? Who knows, she might be a 73 year old photoshop whiz from Milwaukee for all we know.
Travel is all about honesty. Does anyone recall the website Oyster (link to The Sun, work clicking through the screenshots at the top of the article) that showed real hotel photos side by side with the marketing photos? It’s too bad they morphed into a travel site, because they did a fantastic job.
A wide-angle lens is a marketer’s dream. Ever notice how spacious that inside cabin looks on a cruise ship? And that is generally acceptable. Adjusting the colors a bit? Sure. But when you begin to add or remove elements of the image, it becomes false. Plain and simple!
Clients look to us for honest opinions. And they very well may be influenced by tongue waggers like Tupi when they come to you for advice. But never fall into the trap of painting a different picture to meet your clients’ expectations. It will come back to bite you in the butt—that I can promise you. And to Tupi, you have 300,000 people looking to you, stop taking them (and their intelligence) for granted!