Want to Attract More Online Travel Shoppers? Tell Your Hotel's Story with Video

By Paolo Boni President & Chief Executive Officer, VFM Leonardo, Inc. | February 13, 2011

It's a competitive market online for hotels these days. What can you do to attract online travel shoppers, set your property apart and produce more hotel bookings? The answer, as a growing number of hoteliers have found, is to tell your story in a unique and compelling way -- tell it with video and get that video in front of as many shoppers as possible.

At the outset, it's critical to understand how important the Internet has become to the hospitality industry. According to a 2010 TIA study, nearly 77% of the 122 million online travelers, equating to 93 million U.S. adults, used the Internet to plan their trips in the prior year.

But guess what's increasingly driving Internet traffic growth and engagement? That's right, video.
In the same way the Internet has transformed travel shopping, video is transforming the Internet. In fact, the percentage of Internet users who watch all types of videos online at least monthly is expected to grow to 77% in 2014, up from 64% in 2009, eMarketer forecasts.

And it's not just a U.S. phenomenon. ComScore tracked video viewing behavior in Europe in 2008 and found that 27 million people in the U.K. watched more than 3 billion videos in August that year. Similar results were found in France and Germany. Indeed, the research firm recently stated that nearly 100% of online bookers in the travel industry also are consumers of online video.

Unsurprisingly, hotel marketers are embracing video as a core element in their e-business strategies. My company, VFM Leonardo, recently conducted a study on hotel e-business. We found that 60% of respondents are planning to use videos for merchandising and advertising in the coming year.

Considering that hotel shoppers are clearly demanding video and your competitors are jumping in with both feet, it may be time to begin incorporating video and video syndication into your own marketing and e-business strategies. Such moves can generate impressive returns. As the experiences of our clients attest, you can increase online booking activity by 30% or more

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.