How Iceland Made Me Believe in the Power of the Selfie Stick

October 21, 2015

By Steven Wright
Director of Marketing at Q4Launch

selfie stick
Photo Credit: Stefano_Carnevali/iStock/Thinkstock

By nature, I am not an early adopter of anything. My tendency is to let a product or technology become more mature before I become a user. Once that happens, though, I can quickly become a product evangelist. Most notably for months I would get furious when SportsCenter would interrupt my news with mention of a “tweet.” Now, I’ll follow any live event via Twitter, and my timeline is where I get most of my daily news.

I saw my first selfie stick last November with my wife in San Francisco. Not surprisingly, I shook my head in mild disgust. The selfie stick, which I initially thought was a joke, was becoming a thing that people actually used!

Fast forward to last week. My wife and I traveled with three friends to Iceland for our first trip to the Land of Fire and Ice. Lo and behold, they had a selfie stick, and I’m now a fan! I mean, how else could five of us squeeze into a glacier “groupie?”

The selfie stick also sparked me to look around and not just take in the beautiful Icelandic scenery, but to also see how people were traveling and how I could leverage that knowledge for our customers at Q4Launch. Below are three key takeaways.

1. Give Visitors a Chance to Engage with You Visually

Frankly, I had never thought about the amount of cameras that exist. When we visited any location that had a high volume of tourists, I don’t think it’s hyperbole to say that cameras outnumbered people 1.5-1.

How can there be more cameras than people? Easy! About half of the vacationers had a nicer, professional-quality camera, while practically everyone had a smart phone that takes high-quality images. David Bjorgen – a friend we traveled with who also operates his own travel and photography blog (Zigzag Around the World) – even commented, “The iPhone has essentially rendered the point-and-shoot camera obsolete,” when speaking about the quality of images his phone produces.

So what do people do with all the photos they take? They post them to Instagram and Facebook, of course! My suggestion would be to have at least one staged place at your property for people to take a group photo or selfie and ask them to use your hashtag or tag your business. Once they do this the first time, per your coaxing, chances are they’ll continue to tag you throughout their trip on their own accord.

2. Build Packages that Highlight Experiences

jokusarlonDavid led our group activities by planning everything before we settled in Reykjavik. We visited the Blue Lagoon, made a trip around the Golden Circle, hiked a glacier, and walked around an ice lagoon. Needless to say, our vacation totally revolved around experiencing the beauty Iceland has to offer, and then we were sure to capture those experiences through photography.

So if David can impressively plan every day of a trip having never been to the country, how much easier (and potentially better) can you – the local expert – provide this same sort of planning on your website? You can even go a step further by creating detailed itineraries on your site, but at minimum, you should create packages that include local experiences along with a stay. As an example, this could have been 15% off Blue Lagoon admission and a voucher to a downtown Reykjavik restaurant.

3. Guests Want WiFi

 After a day of capturing experiences with a selfie stick, vacationers want to share their day with the world. Some might argue that people want to unplug, which is true, but being unplugged more likely means not answering work emails as opposed to not being on social media.

Regardless of your location, I highly encourage you to have FREE WiFi. By doing so, you’re allowing your guests to share their experience day by day, which is a great outlet for them and a fun way for their friends and family (i.e. other potential guests) to track the fun they’re having.

The week before I left for Iceland, our team spent three days at RezFest in Las Vegas. I scored two selfie sticks from the TripAdvisor booth, and when I returned home, I gave one to a coworker and left the other on our conference table in the office. So be on the lookout for a few Q4Launch team groupies, and you better believe the next time I land a selfie stick, it’s coming home with me.