John started his travel career with OAG Travel Magazines in 1989, working in marketing and sales with their highly successful TravelAge Trade Shows. He phased into also selling TV sponsorships and advertising for The World of Travel, which aired at major travel conferences worldwide.
John co-founded the trade show division at Travel Agent magazine, as well as writing a bi-monthly column called Trade Show Insider. After which he pioneered “Video Streaming” for that travel industry with MediaOnDemand.com. His next stop, was developing the travel vertical with a newly created position for Corporate Trading at ICON International, a division of Omnicom.
Returning to travel publishing as Vice President/Executive Publisher of Travel Trade Publications, he expanded its trade show operations.
Travel Research Online (TRO): Hi, John. We hope you’re staying healthy and well. How are you holding up during these interesting times?
John Graham (JG): Have a bit of cabin fever. This containment is especially tough on people who work in the travel industry. Trying not to watch the news all day. Taking lots of walks. Keeping in touch with family and colleagues over the phone and social media.
TRO: You started your career within the travel industry in 1989. That’s over 30 years of experience in this ever-evolving industry. How do you see the travel industry moving through the COVID-19 crisis?
JG: There have been a few major incidents that curtailed travel. Some that come to mind were the Gulf War, 9/11, Swine Flu, and the 2008 recession. But nothing that completely shut down travel, until this COVID-19 virus. I feel we will come out of this sooner than later and the travel industry will, in time, be stronger than ever.
TRO: You are currently the President of Travel World VR, which offers marketing tools in the form of virtual reality & 360 videos. Was this a natural transition from other mediums?
JG: I approached Steve Perillo, who is CEO of Perillo Tours, in January 2018. You may remember his dad Mario with his “Mr. Italy” nationally broadcasted TV commercials. He pioneered TV advertising as a promotional marketing tool for travel. We are now doing the same with Virtual Reality videos as a state of the art marketing tool for travel. Its becoming more mainstream as each day passes.
TRO: Marketing in the travel industry has expanded into many mediums through the years, such as social media and online videos. And, now, Virtual Reality video seems to be on the rise. What benefits can travel suppliers see from using this technology?
JG: The one word is “Immersive.” VR video gives you the experience of being there. As a good will gesture, especially now as we are combating this virus and staying at home, we are placing travel suppliers VR videos on our Travel World VR app for free. It enables them to continue to engage with our audience of travel advisors and meeting and incentive planners.
TRO: Travel World VR has announced, as a gesture of good will, that suppliers can feature their videos on your service for free. How would travel suppliers get in on this?
JG: With what is going with travel being restricted. Placement of travel suppliers VR video will be free on our Travel World VR app for the foreseeable future. No strings attached.
TRO: What is your personal philosophy on marketing and, perhaps, how it can be a win/win scenario for all parties?
JG: Travel World VR is an all inclusive media company. Owned by two travel professionals with many years of marketing/sales expertise. We not only know what the travel industry needs but also wants. We provide state of the art production capabilities and a distribution platform unmatched in our industry with our Travel World VR app.
TRO: For Travel Advisors, Travel World VR is also offering up a free VR headset to advisors/agents who download your app. How can they take advantage of this offer?
JG: Just download our app on your phone. Go to your app store and type in Travel World VR. Then click on the three bar menu icon in the upper left hand corner to request your free headset.
TRO: Those that work in the travel industry can sometimes get desensitized to the magic of traveling. What destinations are your renewal space, a place for you to recharge and take in that magic?
JG: The two that come to mind are Italy and Jamaica. Take a look what we produced with our production partners Infinite MR for Perillo Tours and the first ever VR video for the country of Jamaica on our Travel World VR app. They are truly inspiring!
TRO: Products and services that are run by those that know the ins-and-outs of the industry are highly sought-after. How does Travel World VR fit into this search?
JG: We are changing how travel is viewed now and in the future!
TRO: John, thank you for your time today. We wish you good health and good will.
JG: Thanks Joey. Same to you and your family.
For more information about Travel World VR, please visit https://www.travelworldvr.com/