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How Video Marketing is Changing Travel

This post was originally written for Hawthorn Creative, and was adapted into this post. 

As the body of research on video marketing grows, it’s increasingly difficult to deny the power and appeal of the format, especially in hotel and resort marketing. According to a Cisco study, 82 percent of all Internet traffic will come from video by 2020. Not only are web users watching more video, they’re also taking action based on those videos - after watching a video, consumers are 85% more likely to make a purchase. What’s more, marketers using video grow revenue a staggering 49% faster than those who don’t. And thanks to algorithm changes that favor video, social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined. 

Even despite last week’s revelation that Facebook has been grossly distorting reports on the performance of video on its platform (now dubbed “Facebook’s Video Inflate-gate”), video remains a powerful vehicle for hospitality marketing.

The Emotional Appeal of Video Marketing
Why, though, is video so darn effective? Video is experiential, creating a personal, emotional connection between the viewer and the brand, in a way that no other medium can. How often has a well-crafted commercial brought tears to your eyes? Now consider that against how often a branded blog post has evoked the same level of emotion. Video has the power to put a view in the right mindset and convey brand voice - through imagery, music, voiceover, font choices (important when uploading a video to Facebook, where sound may be muted) and storyline - so that the brand message is as effective as possible.

Why Video is So Effective in Hotel Marketing
Never before has the hospitality industry had a tool that so completely immerses a potential guest in their property. Think about it from your prospective guest’s perspective - while researching your next vacation destination, would you rather look at static photos and read text descriptions - or see the entire property in moving high definition, exactly as you’d experience it on property? Increasingly, travelers expect (and demand) the ability to research a resort or destination through video - especially Millennials, 80% of whom consider video content when researching a purchase decision. With the introduction of 360 degree video (not to mention virtual reality) the opportunity to create an immersive preview of a destination is easier than ever - just look at Tourism Australia's 360 degree video campaign, which is enough to make almost anyone run to book a flight down under.  

Where Hotels Should Utilize Video Marketing
Video has the capability to be effective across all stages of the buyer’s journey - awareness, engagement, conversion, retention, advocacy - so properly distributing and repurposing a well-executed video will maximize your ROI many times over.

  • A sizzle reel for social, when shared in conjunction with a social media campaign, puts your brand in front of an engaged audience we know uses social media to make travel decisions - 48% of Instagram users rely on the platform to inform their next vacation plans.
  • Embedding video into email campaigns can increase your click-through rates by up to 55%, translating to more bookings for your resort.
  • Even once travelers have booked their stay, you have a chance to capture their loyalty via a branded video. 67% of travelers use smartphones to research activities and restaurants while on vacation. An insider’s guide showing the secret must-see spots near your hotel allows guests to have the best possible experience, making for powerful ambassadors for your brand.

How to Create Your Hotel’s Video Marketing Strategy
Now that we agree that video is a critical tool in the destination marketing kit, let’s talk about how to do it well. A successful video requires strategy, comprehensive planning, careful execution, and brilliant distribution to maximize impact on the targeted viewer.

  • Keep it short, sweet, and to the point to hold short attention spans. As consumers grow more accustomed to video as a mechanism with which to consume information, the average attention span has dwindled to a mere eight seconds. BUT - the good news is that if you capture a viewer in those critical first eight seconds, viewers tend to stick with a video for the duration.
  • Think outside the box. If Virgin America can take a snooze-worthy safety video and transform it into an epic piece of entertainment that garners nearly twelve million views, you can find a way to definite tell a compelling story about your hotel. Forget that “safe” video you have in mind that’s mainly beauty shots of your resort. Tell a better story.
  • Know which channels of distribution you’ll be using, and edit your video accordingly. A longer video with a documentary-style storyline won’t fly on Facebook or Instagram, but may garner you millions of views on YouTube. A branded teaser video on social will increase awareness and engagement, and drive click-through rates.
  • Seed your video to ensure it lands in front of all of the right people at the exact right moment - a viral video is never about luck. Amplify your reach through paid, earned, and owned media, as well as outreach to bloggers and influencers.

Video is too valuable to hospitality marketing to stay on the back burner any longer. 

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