How to Meet Consumer Demands for Online Video

By Paolo Boni President & Chief Executive Officer, VFM Leonardo, Inc. | September 18, 2011

With so much information at consumers' fingertips, the hotel selection process has become an involved journey, often spanning many days and many sites and devices. Online travel shoppers are looking for content that speaks to their needs and wants at every stage of this shopping journey. The stories they encounter for hotels along the way are undeniably powerful and often the last stand between the hotel shopper and the booking.

Consumer demand for a greater variety of content on a greater variety of channels and devices needs to be addressed by hoteliers. Travelers are more engaged with a hotel's listing when photos are present than when they aren't, but engagement increases even further when video is also available. Video is in demand.

In order to meet consumer demands for online video, the two most critical essentials are relevance and availability.

Relevance

Hoteliers that find the most success with video are the ones that tell an experiential story, which involves a number of elements beyond the room type – location, transportation, weather, local attractions, dining, history, staff and so on. They go beyond hotel amenities and show what your hotel experience is really like and how it's different from others in its competitive set.

Before investing in video production, determining the story that will resonate with the target audience is important. The goal of the video should be to make the consumer say "this is the hotel I want to stay at." The best videos are meaningful and engaging to those who view them. Reading your online reviews is good way to learn what story guests are already saying about your hotel… and hence what will resonate with them.
At the brand level, Motel 6 has done a good job of both showing the individual hotel's unique story and wrapping it in the brand personality.

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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.