Instagram images can be a double‑edged sword, says The Travel Snob, David Walker a homeworker for Not Just Travel based in Nottingham

Those of us who take being a travel agent to the extreme and travel as much as we can (I am no exception to this) post idyllic pictures on various social media platforms to promote the place we are at and drum up future business, don’t we?

I also do it as a future reminder of which restaurants, beaches, towns and the like I’ve been to.

Yet friends of the jealous persuasion will often say: “Oh, I saw you on Facebook, showing off again in first class.”

“You’re not going to FaceTime in a darkened room when the sun is shining in the middle of the afternoon.”

I spent Christmas in the US Virgin Islands. It was nice to have some downtime, and although I made no major bookings, I got £100k in the bag during the first week of peaks – a nice Barbados booking for Sandy Lane and a cracking honeymoon, plus the possibility of a high-end ski trip for 25. I do love my regulars!

Naturally, on Christmas Day you FaceTime or WhatsApp friends and family back home. You’re not going to do it in a darkened room when the sun is shining in the middle of the afternoon and you’re on your sunbed with palm trees and blue skies your backdrop. Your family may look pleased to see you but, for the most part, it’s pure envy.

BVA
Pictured: British Virgin Islands

Not for everyone

Obviously we only post pictures that make wherever we are look amazing. I took some corkers in the Virgin Islands and customers, as usual, got in touch saying they want to go there next.

My work here is done. Or is it?

As much as we’re supporting the destination or supplier, sometimes the pictures we post make places look so perfect that it appears better than the reality, and you end up having to talk them out of booking it.

“Most folk who want the Caribbean dream of white sandy beaches and resort-style accommodation.”

While I love Saint Croix, it’s not for everyone. Dressing for dinner means throwing a vest top over a wet swimsuit, and that’s just the ladies. While we love the local restaurants and the local culture, most folk who want the Caribbean dream of white sandy beaches and resort-style accommodation – as well as that perfect Instagrammable picture. I may have taken some excellent photographs, but people think the ones you post tell the destination’s entire story.

Anguilla
Pictured: Anguilla

Search for perfection

Customers are in search of perfection, at least as far as beach holidays are concerned. I’m still in search of it. Anguilla has it, but it’s so expensive and harder to get to than here (we flew via Miami).

Of course, you tell your friends who go to Tenerife for two weeks every year that your trip was perfect in every way. But although I’d recommend the Virgin Islands to most people, more often than not it’s the minority with the larger spend who can afford a Caribbean dream.

“I may have taken some excellent photographs, but people think the ones you post tell the destination’s entire story.”

Maybe I need to spend more of my own money on real high-end holidays (hubby won’t like that), so my next post may come from St Barts or Grand Cayman. Who knows where 2020 will take us?

But wherever we do go, I promise you it’s going to be posted on social media.


Seabourn-Sojourn
Pictured: Seabourn ship

Cruise converts 

Four years ago, I converted a couple to cruising. If you find out what people who have never cruised before enjoy on land-based trips, they’re sure to have a good time at sea too, providing you book the right trip and ship. This couple now go on a cruise for Christmas with Viking every year – and rebook while on board. It’s so easy for me as the agent: I just add the business-class flights. They were so impressed with their first cruise, they took another couple with them on their second. I’m not sure if they got along, though. They did all book further cruises while on board – but in separate continents.

The second couple are also converts and book each Christmas. One of the couples has booked for next year (Seabourn). It’s nice to get bookings in peaks that you haven’t had to work for. The other couple usually book on the last day of their cruise – I’m just waiting for that message.