Why Hospitality Brands Should Use Short-Form Video for Social Media Marketing

person holding a camera and taking video of a pink-ish sunset on a beach


ou’ve likely heard over and over that one of the best ways to showcase your property is through high-quality video on your social media accounts. This is absolutely true, but creating successful video campaigns goes far deeper than just producing and publishing quick-hit videos.

On almost every social media platform, short-form videos have emerged as a potent tool for capturing attention and driving engagement. In fact, 82% of people say they’ve been convinced to buy a product or service based on a brand video they saw on a social channel.

But between the idea for a video and the final analytics, there’s a mountain to climb: developing smart, effective strategies for not only creating the right stories for video, but producing and promoting them well. That’s what we’re going to take a look at today: How to be pioneers of a tactic that will make you stand apart from the crowd.

What Short-Form Video Can Do for Social Media Marketing

Slow the Scroll
The ideal length of a short-form video varies by social channel, but video should always captivate the attention of its viewers within seconds regardless of where it plays. (And with an ever-dwindling attention span for online viewers, that’s an essential skill.) The most effective scroll-stopping videos have a creative, engaging, and relatable hook that causes perpetual scrollers to stop, take notice, and share.

Increase Engagement
Social media was designed for sharing, and videos are a reliable way to generate more likes, comments, and shares compared to static images or simple text-based content — especially now that Facebook and Instagram Reels have grown in popularity, along with YouTube shorts. Social media algorithms also favor video content, giving it higher visibility in users’ feeds. And perhaps most importantly for conversion, short-form videos that speak to timely issues, such as special offers or holiday events, foster a sense of immediacy and prompt viewers to take action.

Enhance Brand Storytelling
If a picture is worth a thousand words, a video is worth a thousand pictures. Hotels and resorts can use short-form videos to tell compelling stories about their properties by showcasing the unique experiences, amenities, and ambiance they offer much more than any single photograph. Whether it’s a breathtaking sunset view from a luxury suite or a behind-the-scenes glimpse of the hotel’s award-winning restaurant kitchen, videos evoke emotions, create lasting impressions, and help guests picture themselves at the property.

Provide Mobile-Friendly Content
It’s been interesting to watch vertical video go from an unacceptable format in a horizontal-only world to not only acceptable, but preferable with the advent of social media and users accessing videos on their mobile devices. Mobile-friendly content ensures seamless viewing experiences, allowing hotels and resorts to reach their target audience wherever they are, whether it’s during their daily commute or leisure time. And filming vertically means the shot is framed correctly from the beginning, without the need for cropping.

How to Make Your Video Stand Out

While any hotel or resort can make videos, it’s more difficult than you might think to tell strategic, smart, and creative stories that communicate a vibe or an idea effectively, without relying on a templated approach or formula. To elevate your short-term videos into a class of their own, here are some tips and tricks:

Know Your Audience
We can’t emphasize enough the importance of creating buyer personas and journeys to serve as the foundation for all of your marketing strategies. A thorough understanding of your target audience’s preferences, interests, and pain points is essential for creating compelling video content. Tailor your videos to resonate with your audience’s desires, such as family-friendly activities, highlighting luxury amenities, or promoting wellness retreats.

Keep it Concise
Short-form videos thrive on brevity and clarity. Keep your storytelling concise, focusing on the most captivating aspects of your property or offerings early and up front — in other words, don’t bury the lede. Instead, aim to convey your message within the first few seconds to grab viewers’ attention and encourage them to watch until the end.

Keep It Real
Gone are the days of hard-sell, straightforward advertising. If you want to engage with your audience on social media, your content must be authentic. In fact, 56% of consumers say a brand should be more relatable on social media, and 34% say that too much self-promotion is a straight turn-off. Instead, they want to be entertained, made to feel at ease, and swept away from everyday stress.

Showcase Unique Selling Points
What makes your hotel or resort different from all the others? Identify your unique selling points and emphasize them in your videos. Whether it’s panoramic ocean views, personalized concierge services, or eco-friendly initiatives, highlight what sets your property apart from the competition. (Even if you’re a business-focused hotel that’s part of a larger organization, you still have a uniqueness about you. Maybe it’s the people who work on your staff — what are their stories?)

Incorporate Visual Storytelling
Utilize visual storytelling techniques to create engaging narratives that resonate with viewers emotionally. Show real guests enjoying memorable experiences, stunning vistas, or delicious cuisine, allowing potential guests to envision themselves at your property. (Be sure to get media releases for anyone you film who’s not a paid actor.)

iPhone taking video of building in front of a mountain landscape

Short-Form Video Topic Ideas

Here are a few idea starters to get you thinking about ways that you could showcase your property (You’ll find many more in our blog post about using video content to attract guests.) Remember these are just the sparks of ideas — be sure to put your own spin on what makes your property one of a kind. (Pro tip: Watch videos made by your competitors, and break those molds. Find your own bespoke ways to tell your property’s story!)

Showcase Your Tech
Short-form videos provide an excellent platform for hotels and resorts to show guests what it’s like to stay at the property. And because tech is one of the hottest rising trends in hospitality, it’s the perfect way to show off yours. Create short videos demonstrating your in-room tech in action, like automatic blinds, smart-assistant-controlled heating and air, or keyless entry.

Share Guest Experiences
Hotels and resorts can capitalize on the growing trend of authenticity by showcasing real guest experiences and testimonials. This is a little bit different from paid influencer campaigns: Featuring satisfied guests enjoying their stay, participating in activities, or praising the exceptional service can go a long way toward building credibility and trust with potential guests. User-generated content can also be incorporated into videos, showcasing authentic moments captured by guests themselves.

Promote Special Offers and Packages
Have a holiday deal coming up, or offering a special package that includes tickets to an arena concert coming to your area? Short-form videos are an effective way to promote special offers, packages, and deals — especially since the marketing can be targeted to specific audiences. Ideas here can also include ephemeral topics like seasonal promotions or limited-time offers, or tailored packages for special occasions like weddings, honeymoons, or business outings.

Highlight Local Attractions and Activities
Beyond the property itself, hotels and resorts can use short-form videos to highlight nearby attractions, activities, and experiences. From exploring pristine beaches to embarking on adventurous excursions, or discovering cultural landmarks, videos can showcase the destination’s allure and position the property as an ideal base for exploration and relaxation.

Celebrating Milestones and Anniversaries
The fleeting, timely nature of social media is perfect for short-form videos that highlight significant milestones and anniversaries, like your grand opening, a decade of operation, recognition of awards and accolades, or work-iversaries of some of your stellar employees. Create quick, impactful messages that incorporate your brand story, but don’t reflect the moment.

A Word on Video Production Pricing

It’s tempting to use the 4K cameras that many of us carry around in our pockets to film social media videos, and while that may work well for your personal pages, we can’t stress enough the importance of investing in professionally filmed and edited videos for your brand accounts. This is especially true if you’re a luxury brand, because a DIY social media video isn’t likely to either reflect your exclusive brand identity or appeal to high-end customers.

That said, here are some things to consider when budgeting for video shoots:

  • Pre-production: Concept development, scriptwriting, location scouting, and talent sourcing.
  • Production: Filming with professional equipment, crew, and on-site logistics.
  • Post-production: Editing, sound design, color grading, and adding music or voiceovers.
  • Distribution: Optimizing videos for various social media platforms and implementing targeted ad campaigns for maximum reach and engagement.

Ultimately, the cost of video production comes down to the production quality, location, duration, and any additional services required. While it may be a hefty up-front price tag, the returns in terms of increased brand awareness, engagement, and bookings can be worth that initial investment.

As a full-service agency, Hawthorn Creative provides high-end video production services and more. If you’d like to sit down with us to discuss ideas, let’s talk.


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