Visual Storytelling in Adventure Travel: How the ATTA Leverages Digital Asset Management

19 January 2016

By Kristin Twiford of Libris by PhotoShelter, a visual asset management software that helps organizations store, organize and share their visual assets.

Demand for visual content is on the rise. People want you to show, not tell, whether they’re booking a trip, buying a new jacket or learning about a friend’s engagement. This trend is especially true in the adventure travel industry, where images are key to giving travelers a preview of destinations and tours.

“Visual storytelling in adventure tourism is crucial,” explains the ATTA’s Marketing Manager, Murray Bartholomew. “It’s one of the most important pieces in trying to get people interested in a region.


According to the ATTA’s 2015 Industry Snapshot, 18.7% of adventure companies’ marketing budgets are allocated toward content creation and social media outreach. Other significant portions include public relations and advertising, which also require the use of imagery.

The shifting focus to visual storytelling in adventure travel mirrors a broader trend. In a recent visual asset management survey by the CMO Council, in partnership with Libris by PhotoShelter, top marketing executives from a range of industries said video, infographics, illustrations and photography will play an increasingly important role in the coming year.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 11.25.44 AM

If visual assets are vital to your marketing and a large portion of your budget is allocated toward communicating visually, it’s important to make sure you are getting the most out of those assets. That’s why the ATTA and Libris by PhotoShelter are working together to launch a new survey of adventure travel companies. We want to know how you are using visual storytelling and how you are sourcing, organizing and sharing your visual assets.

Our goal is to uncover your challenges and find out what’s working for you, so we can empower you to be more efficient and effective with your visual communications.

Take the Survey

The ATTA was the perfect guinea pig to help us kick off this project. Let’s go behind-the-scenes with the organization’s marketing and communications team to take a look at their challenges and strategies for communicating visually.

The Challenge

Casey Hanisko learned the value of digital asset management (DAM) when she worked for a tour operator that had a large searchable image bank. When she joined the ATTA team as the VP of Marketing & Communications, she faced a big challenge: the ATTA did not have a centralized system for storing, organizing and sharing its visual assets.

The organization had several systems that made up for each other’s shortcomings. Picasa allowed ATTA to store high resolution images, but it wasn’t searchable. Flickr was searchable, but didn’t host the high res versions. The ATTA needed one robust system that could do all of the above and enable the team to find the best possible images for a given project.

“We need to be able to look at everything all at once,” says Hanisko. “We want to be able to have a couple of options and to say, ‘is this the right kind of photo?’”

The Solution

The ATTA selected Libris by PhotoShelter as its digital asset management system because it provides a cloud-based, easily searchable library for all of the ATTA’s visual assets (including videos). It’s a one-stop shop for anyone looking for visual content, and it allows the ATTA to set specific permissions for viewing and downloading the organization’s images.

Now, when the ATTA marketing team is telling a story, they can search the archive for a relevant keyword and cull through the results to find exactly what they had in mind. They can even refine their search results if they want to see only horizontal photos or only vertical photos.

The national tourism board Visit Greenland also uses Libris for its visual media library. Check out the results we get when we search the library for the term “dog sledding.”

A sneak peak inside of a Libris library - Visit Greenland
A sneak peak inside of a Libris library - Visit Greenland

The system is making a difference to the whole ATTA team because it makes the organization’s visual assets widely available.

“Before Libris, I think I got a decent amount of flack from our team,” Bartholomew laughs, “because our images were stored on hard drives and not easily accessible.”

Now, the ATTA team can all collaborate on one tool, which is invaluable since the ATTA is a virtual organization with team members around the world.

Not only has the system streamlined the marketing team’s internal processes, it has also changed the way they share visual assets with external partners. Before Libris, they shared images by sending partners a dropbox link or mailing them a hard drive. Now, they can easily set visibility and download permissions and share images through the ATTA branded Libris portal.

“It has enabled us to be much more professional in our delivery,” says Hanisko.

The solution streamlines the ATTA’s workflow, and makes it easier for stakeholders like tourism boards to access and share the ATTA’s visual assets.

The Impact

AdventureNext Balkans - Hassen - 01The ATTA’s annual Summit highlighted the impact of Libris.

“At our Adventure Travel World Summit in Chile, we had a team of photographers and videographers who documented some incredible stories,” says Bartholomew.

After the event, Bartholomew and his team added those photos and videos to Libris, using the system’s Lightroom plugin to tag everything with metadata. Then, they sent the gallery link out to all 700 of the delegates who attended the summit. They invited everyone to engage with the photos, search the tags that were relevant to them and share their favorites on social media.

Screen Shot 2016-01-19 at 11.30.34 AMBartholomew used Google Analytics to track the Summit gallery’s popularity. The gallery has garnered 12,443 pageviews since October.

“People are eager to see what photos they’re in or relive some of the memories,” says Bartholomew.

Access to these images has a positive impact on both the delegates and their businesses.

“We’re equipping the people who go on those trips with photos and videos to be able to market that destination,” says Bartholomew. “If we’re hosting a tour, they need resources to promote it.”

The Potential

Do these challenges sound familiar? Are you focusing on visual storytelling and leveraging the power of DAM?

The Visual Asset Management Survey will take about 10 minutes to complete. Will you take the survey to give us a clearer picture of your challenges and what’s working for you? Once we have your answers, we’ll build a report and send the results back to you!

Take the Survey