arketers across the hospitality industry have always had a strong feeling that video is a highly effective way to help travelers choose their destination. As it turns out, that gut feeling is correct. A recent study revealed that two in three American travelers use travel videos to inspire and plan their trip – a percentage that has risen quickly in just a few years.
And it’s not just video that’s trending, it’s where travelers are going to find them. Social media is leading the way for video research, with as many as 36 percent of travelers heading to channels like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, and Snapchat to consume travel-related content.
An additional 32 percent of travelers report accessing travel-related content via video services like YouTube and Vimeo, and 24 percent turn to streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, Apple, and Disney+. On the other hand, only one in five rely on traditional channels like cable TV shows.
What this all means is that video content can make or break someone’s decision to visit your destination. It’s essential to not only know how to create experiential, attractive content, but how to promote it effectively on the social channels where your potential visitors are.
Types of Video Content
If you’re keeping abreast of video trends, you’ve no doubt noticed that the sky’s the limit when it comes to the type of videos that have the potential to go viral. When travelers head online to make some decisions, they’re looking for content that covers both where they’ll stay, like hotel room walk-throughs, video reviews, and property virtual tours, and what they’ll do outside of the hotel, destination guides and influencer content.
These types of content don’t exist in a vacuum. Rather, a savvy traveler finds a number of different perspectives and paints them all together into a story about their potential destination. This means that your video marketing content plan should be robust and bolstered with smart sponsored and organic promotional strategies (including hashtags!)
More on that below.
How to Create a Smart Video Content Strategy for Your Destination
If you’re new to video content, then this step-by-step guide can help you get started on the right path. And if you’ve been around the video block a few times, it’s important to remember that trends aren’t constant, and audiences change. It’s beneficial to review and reassess your strategy from time to time to make sure you’re getting the most for your money.
Here’s how you go about creating a strong video content strategy for your hotel or destination:
- Understand your audience. This is true for all marketing campaigns, whether they include video or not. Are you targeting families, luxury travelers or remote workers? What are their needs and preferences? What do they consider a perfect trip? The types of video content you make for each of those segments will look very different.
- Set clear goals. Determine the objectives you want to achieve with your video content. Do you want to increase brand awareness, highlight your property’s unique features, promote special offers or new amenities, or promote the surrounding area? Having goals and referring back to them throughout the process will help keep you on track (versus going down the “Hey, what about this?” path that veers completely away from your strategy.)
- Tell compelling stories. Audiences crave emotional engagement, and one of the ways you can achieve that is through authentic storytelling. Craft narratives that highlight your property’s unique selling points – its history, architecture, location, amenities, for example – in a way that not only answers the what, but the why. Guest testimonials or success stories can also work to create a sense of authenticity and trust.
- Focus on the experience. Experiential marketing is at the top of the trending list right now, and video is the perfect way to show guests what they can expect when they stay at your property, from the ambiance and atmosphere to the unique features that set your business apart. Always show off what makes you stand out, from breathtaking views, to unique on-site experiences, to world-class dining options and everything in between.
- Highlight local attractions. A vacation might start with the perfect lodging, but the memories will encompass the entire experience. Craft videos that show guests what the area surrounding your property is like, including natural beauty, cultural events, outdoor adventures, shopping, or dining options. Let guests know that your property is the gateway to an engaging, enriching travel experience.
- Encourage user-generated content. UGC is a great way to say “Don’t take our word for it!” and let your happy guests do the talking, so encourage them to share their experience online via branded hashtags or running contests. Much like peer reviews on travel megasites, video reviews can help build social proof, trust, and inspire potential visitors who vibe with what other guests have experienced.
- Create virtual tours. Virtual tours are the perfect way for potential guests to explore your property from anywhere on the planet. Immersive tours can showcase every area of your property, including rooms, common areas, outdoor spaces, conference rooms, event spaces and more. To take it up a level, create 360-degree videos or virtual reality for a completely immersive experience.
- Create educational content. Informative videos do especially well on YouTube, especially when they offer valuable tips and insights related to your property, the local culture, or other practical travel information. A full destination guide can showcase local cuisine, customs, or language basics, tell visitors the best ways to get around, how to sign up for excursions, and more. Positioning your business as the expert source of information will help build trust and loyalty.
- Collaborate with influencers. There’s a smart strategy for choosing the right influencer for your property, but once you do they can be a perfect conduit between their target audience and yours. Collaborative videos can go a long way to increase brand exposure and reach a wider audience, as well as creating loyalty based on recommendations that their followers trust.
- Optimize for social media and SEO. Yes, SEO applies to video content, too. Be sure to use relevant keywords, hashtags, and descriptions to improve your visibility and reach. In addition, be sure to tailor your videos’ tone and format to suit different platforms (long-form horizontal for YouTube, and quick-hit vertical videos for TikTok, for example)
The final and most important step in any marketing strategy is to keep a constant eye on results. Always be measuring success and failure through metrics like views, engagement, conversion rates, and bookings generated from your videos. Keep an eye on which days and times your videos get the most views and look for patterns. Notice which types of videos get the most comments and shares. Near real-time metrics is one of the greatest tools at your disposal to course-correct without making a huge impact on your entire campaign.
A Word About Quality
All of the strategy, planning, and analysis in the world won’t help you if your video production quality is lacking. That doesn’t mean you need to invest in highly expensive camera equipment, but it’s important to take videos that are crisp and clear, with visually appealing footage that’s in focus, in frame and has clear audio. The newest smartphones all come with tremendous video capabilities that can do the trick.
If video is on your list but feels overwhelming, we have an expert staff of creatives who can help you plan, storyboard, execute and market your videos to the right audiences.