Using Video to Engage and Interact with Online Travel Shoppers
By Paolo Boni President & Chief Executive Officer, VFM Leonardo, Inc. | November 06, 2011
As a hotel marketer (whether it's a big or small part of your role), you're always looking for ways to attract more travel shoppers and get them to book. By now you've added video to your online strategy, or are considering it. After all, video marketing is easy, inexpensive, and, in most cases, yields a high ROI.
In fact, 62% of hotel eBusiness professionals believe that video is a very effective online merchandising feature. Interestingly, for 74% of hoteliers, actually developing video content is the number one barrier to adding video to their online marketing strategies or realizing more value from it.
Before you start developing your first or next video, consider this: if you don't know how to use video effectively, you could lose out on bookings. Many hotel marketers spend their time worrying about the details of how to produce and promote video rather than going for it; meanwhile they are looking for solutions to solve challenges like:
- Improving their website performance
- Managing poor reviews and unprofessional user-generated content posted by guests
- Getting travel shoppers to book with them over their competitors
- Increasing conversions from online marketing campaigns
- Increasing interactions with fans and followers on social media sites
- And the list goes on…
What they don't realize is that video could help solve many of these challenges. Video is naturally engaging and gives travel shoppers an opportunity to interact with and experience your hotel. It's also easy and affordable. Believe it or not, a one minute full motion hotel video can be produced for under $1,000. For those who don't know where to start, here's a piece of advice from Ashish Khurana, the CEO of GeoBeats, Inc., an industry-leader in the development of online video content.
"Online video should be an integrated part of your online marketing strategy. Think of it as a series of assets that can be presented in front of different audiences and it is also inexpensive and quick to produce. The possibilities are tremendous. The best place to start is with an overview video which showcases the general experience of your hotel, the facilities and amenities that tell your story – what makes your hotel different. It's the best place to start because it is relevant to most of your guests."
As a general guideline, a powerful video story is:
- Short (2 minutes maximum – the best videos are often 1 minute in length)
- An appropriate style for the hotel (scripted voiceover vs. on-site interviews or tour)
- Focused (2-3 key unique aspects)
- Contextual (includes area attractions, destination information, etc.)
- Educational and informative (not sales-pitchy)