Explorer Richard Bangs embarks on new storytelling adventure with Steller

“I fold
this into the spirit of exploration”, states Mungo Park founder

Remember Mungo Park, the on line journey web-site established up by Microsoft circa 1996 in the early days of Expedia, and which was intended to stir up the spirit of exploration in travellers? Perfectly, the gentleman who developed it is again with his new journey, Steller.co, a storytelling system dedicated to travel.

Steller, a journey application packed with articles established by influencers as properly as
any individual who wishes to be part of the community, Richard Bangs, whose title is
synonymous with experience and exploration (he was one of the founders of Sobek
Expeditions in 1973), claims he’s returned to his roots.

Richard Bangs in Georgia: “Digitally, I enjoy experimenting with new tech, new platforms and new ways to create stories.”

“I fold this into exploration. Just like with Mungo Park, this is a new frontier and I appreciate going places no a person has absent before on the Net, so it is not just about bodily vacation,” stated Bangs, talking from his Californian home by the seashore.

Having mentioned that, Bangs mentioned he could almost certainly qualify as the most well-travelled person in the course of a pandemic, getting frequented 5 international locations since it started out. “I just returned from Africa number of weeks in the past and I feel we were the only men and women in the countrywide parks. I carry on to investigate the intrepid spaces of this planet.

“Digitally, I love
experimenting with new tech, new platforms and new ways to generate tales.”

Steller was
constructed by previous Microsoft colleague, Richard McAniff, who labored with the
enterprise for 21 yrs and was dependable for software
applications which includes Excel and Accessibility. “Richard constructed it as a passion to incorporate his
love of images, journey and storytelling,” suggests Bangs. “Then he found that
persons ended up actually applying it.”

Bangs and a couple of close friends came into the venture two a long time back, and revamped, reimagined and relaunched it as “the ultimate in vacation-inspired storytelling, exactly where you can find out & share outstanding encounters from the world’s coolest places”.

It designed Irish eyes smile and place Georgia on everyone’s minds

Showcased in Apple’s Application Trend of 2019 underneath “Storytelling Simplified”, Steller has located a model operating with tourism boards. In 2019, before the pandemic, it introduced 27 influencers to Eire and designed a collection identified as “A electronic day in the lifetime of …” Its writers have been dispatched all in excess of Ireland, and developed content material all around that topic. “The marketing campaign was prosperous from Ireland’s standpoint and they saw a bump in readers in 2019, which they attributed in aspect to the marketing campaign,” says Bangs.

It continued to operate with tourism boards by means of the pandemic to keep desire in destinations alive. For Germany, it rolled out “Germany awaits you”. For South Australia, it was “love exactly where you live”, for Louisiana, it went for street outings and in Scotland, it did a partnership with resort look for web site Trivago in which influencers could geo-tag accommodations.

Recently, it wrapped up the first physical “familiarisation” journey of Georgie, below the similar “A Digital Day In the Daily life of …” topic. The marketing campaign, co-funded by USAID and the Georgian National Tourism Administration, introduced 16 international vacation influencers to Ga exactly where they travelled to unique locations in late May possibly and early June. They posted 88 stories on the Steller platform and much more than 200 Instagram tales and posts, as perfectly as 10 Ga Collections.

The campaign achieved
a lot more than four million men and women globally, with approximately 275,000 persons liking,
sharing, and commenting on the material manufactured. Clearly delighted with the
campaign, Ga will operate very similar Electronic Working day strategies in wintertime 2022 with

To guarantee a excellent person encounter, it does not allow “blatant monetisation”, which means no advertising on the platform. It monetises by way of sponsored written content, working with tourism boards and making written content for brands. Material creators can also receive as a result of transactions which Bangs states is an “emerging financial model”.

“If you as
a storyteller has a geotag and displays a lodge all around the area you are crafting
about, and persons e-book the hotel by way of Trivago, then you generate a charge.”

 Self-funded concerning Bangs and his friends, it has a group of 25 men and women scattered throughout the entire world, building its individual information as perfectly.

On the net journey has moved on from transaction to inspiration

Recalling Mungo Park, which lasted about 1 12 months, Bangs states, “We could not make it function. The web site load moments ended up sluggish and there was the feeling then that a person received inspiration offline and then arrived on-line to book, and and they wanted to book fast. On the web travel was all about transactions then. Now absolutely everyone is imagining in different ways, inspiration is just about everywhere.”

He is conscious of rising scepticism all over influencers. “I’ve never been a significant admirer of influencers myself, which is why we commit a great deal of time working with unique influencers who see them selves as storytellers and are not narcissistic or vainness-driven,” he states.

The distinction
between Mungo Park and Steller is the former was pushed by stars, with
names such as Tom Clancy and Martha Stewart, whilst Steller is
influencer-driven. “Influencers have emerged as the new celebrities and they
provide far more attain than famous people.”

Steller will work with a world wide community of influencers and whilst English is the major language, it seems to have identified viewers traction in Indonesia with Bahasa Indonesian content material.

He admits that storytelling in vacation is as previous as time and has of training course advanced around the yrs. In the social media age, the place 15 seconds is the new interest seize, articles has been condensed into pithy soundbites, visuals of men and women posing with cocktails – a planet wherever even sunsets have develop into commoditised.

The evolution of storytelling in vacation: “When we pick out our influencers, we attempt not to promote those who use them selves. We appear for men and women who explain to an inspirational and educational story.”

Said Bangs, “For
numerous, it has turn into an moi-pushed standpoint of somebody’s knowledge. The
ideal travel storytellers go outside of them selves and see the planet from the other
aspect, people today this kind of as Paul Theroux, Jan Morris, Rudyard Kipling – they were
pushed by curiosity.

“Travel writing, at its greatest, can add to a better consciousness of persons and society and it drives people today to be curious. When we pick our influencers, we attempt not to use individuals who promote by themselves. We seem for people today who explain to an inspirational and insightful story.”

While Covid has been
devastating to journey, Bangs says “hopefully there is induce for optimism. It
has compelled everyone to phase back again and evaluate the way we experience the world,
why we do it, how we do it. It is a chance to refresh, re-study and
re-architect the way we knowledge the earth.”

With sites this kind of as Venice and Dubrovnik questioning by themselves as to how they deal with tourism greater, Bangs says, “when they reopen, they will do it in another way with distinct quotas. Even countrywide parks in the US have appreciated a pristine period of time and might think of quota systems”.

The same heightened
consciousness applies to carbon offsets in journey which equals far more respect for
the earth. “This is a excellent matter, assuming Covid ends,” he laughs.


Featured image credit score: Steller in Ga

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