If you’ve got a vacation or two that will be sold in your live auction, it helps to geographically show guests where the city / resort / hotel is located.
When I’m serving as auctioneer for a group, I create my own “displays” to help market items. I often don’t know what the client will be doing for a display, and I want to be sure that during the preview time, I’m able to engage bidders with my own information and materials.
For example, here are four images I’ve used in the last month to showcase some of the trips I’ve sold in recent benefit auctions:
Live auction item destination: Greece
The package was for 8 people (4 couples) to stay up to 10 days in a private residence on the Greek island of Lufkas.
The couples would be staying in two guest villas on the property, each with 2 BD / 2 BA. The guest villas were picture-perfect, and the entire property is on a hillside overlooking an ancient fishing village.
In visiting with the donors during the reception, I was told that it it took ten years to build the entire compound.
I used two photos. This is the one that helped guests identify the general location of the area; the other was a closeup of the island.
Live auction item destination: Spain
The offering was for 3 couples to stay 3 nights in a hotel on a vineyard in Riojas, Spain.
After the auction, I received some information about this trip that — had I known the details during the sale — would have likely inspired more aggressive bidding.
Darn it anyway.
Live auction item destination: Turkey
The offering was 3 nights in an Istanbul hotel for 2 people, plus a week at an all-inclusive resort in the south part of Turkey for 4 people.
Boy was this a tough sell.
I hadn’t wanted to put this package in the live auction, arguing instead that selling summer in Beaver Creek, CO, had a more compelling draw. My take was: “I don’t care if the trip is valuable and the hotel and spa are fabulous! Who wants to go to Turkey on vacation when the news is filled with stories about how individuals are traveling through that country to join ISIS training camps?”
I was outvoted. Turkey went into the live auction. As I feared, it was a turkey of an item to sell.
Interest was almost nil. When I finally got some opening bid traction, the package stalled at $1500.
At that point, I revisited the description. I added some more points about the history of Istanbul. I talked Silk Road. When nothing stuck, I simply appealed to the common sense of the crowd: “Folks, this is one STEAL of a deal!”
As I slowly egged on bidders, the final sale price clocked in at 74% ROI. That’s not nearly as high as I’d like, but for this package? <Ahem> I worked a miracle.
Live auction item destination: Turks & Caicos
The offering was one week in an oceanfront condo.
(And after the winter many of us have had, doesn’t that sound nice?)
I think the tricky part with selling Caribbean island vacations is that there are so many islands, it can become confusing as to which island is where. Couples will say, “We went to Jamaica on our honeymoon. Is that place near Jamaica?”
It can be easy to confuse the islands. Providing a visual sets everyone straight.
Why use images like these?
Humans tend to be visually oriented. Maps should be part of your vacation live auction displays because they help guests orient themselves. They “see” where they are going and plant the seed of adventure.