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Transforming your-hotels-online-presence-with-video

  1. 1. TH VIDEO / 1
  2. 2. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 2 seeing is 06 believing ///////////////////////////////////////////// Chapter One: Leverage Your Visual Storytelling Strategy 21 22 Distribution Amplifying 23 Chapter Five: Chapter Two: Ready, Set, Go! Five Steps To Transforming Your Hotel’s Online Presence With Video 09 ///////////////////////////////////////////// 13 Chapter Three: 15 16 17 Professionally Produced Video Video Produced By You In-House Video Created By Guests 26 27 What Types of Video Are Right For My Property? What Is Our Message? Which Video Platforms and Channels Best Suits My Property’s Needs? How Much of my Marketing Budget Should I Dedicate to Video Production? It’s Time For Lights, Camera, Action! 19 Chapter Four: 28 About Leonardo Share this eBook 20 20 Sourcing Publishing Table of Contents ///////////////////////////////////////////// Tune In To Online Video Make Video Work For You Learn Best Practices 24 24 25
  3. 3. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 3 Thanks for downloading! A good video evokes emotion, it can make you laugh or cry and feel any variety of sentiments. Which is precisely why a welltold story through video can also inspire travel shoppers to book a stay at your property. You aren’t selling four walls and a bed, you’re offering guests an experience, and what better way is there to communicate that experience than through a dynamic, engaging online video. Here you’ll learn why video has become one of the most useful tools for hotel marketers, and how you can begin telling your story through this ever-popular medium. Read on to explore how you can leverage your visual storytelling strategy, what types of video to produce and best practices for showing consumers a story they can’t forget. Darlene Rondeau Vice President Best Practices, Online Merchandising Leonardo Colin Osing is the VP of Marketing at SoMedia Networks, where he's responsible for product design and development, as well as the advertising and branding of SoMedia's scalable and automated video production platforms and solutions. When he's not admiring the beautiful Vancouver skyline from SoMedia's rooftop deck, you'll find him skiing up at Whistler or on the golf course.
  4. 4. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 4 “No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down...” - Ingmar Bergman
  5. 5. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 5 Introduction Although renowned movie director Ingmar Bergman was discussing movies when he said that, it’s true that there’s no better art form for effectively engaging an audience than motion pictures. More than any other medium, film and video offer the closest possible experience to “being there.” It’s no surprise then that marketers have been using film and video to engage with customers for decades. Although video has traditionally fallen under the umbrella of pricey television ads, in the 21st century that paradigm has shifted, thanks to the internet. As download speeds and bandwidth have increased – and the internet in general has shifted from text-heavy websites to interactive visual experiences – so too has the use of video increased. Once considered too data-heavy to download or stream, video is now common online, and is used for a multitude of professional and personal purposes. In terms of cost, video has never been more affordable and accessible. With smartphones capable of viewing – not to mention recording, editing, and uploading – online video’s popularity is at an all-time high. The accessibility of video recording and production tools make it easier than ever for marketers to take advantage of the medium; you no longer need a massive marketing budget to produce quality video capable of entertaining, educating and engaging viewers. Furthermore, as the internet continues its trend towards visually-rich websites, visitors have started to expect and demand video from their favorite sites. As hotel marketers it’s up to us to figure out the best way to use video to help promote our hotels, to drive engagement and increase booking opportunities. In “Seeing is Believing,” we’ve broken that journey into five steps. We’ll start by looking at your broader marketing strategy – specifically, visual storytelling, and how video fits in to that strategy. Did You Know? Webpages containing video are 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google. Then we’ll drill down into just what makes video an effective storytelling tool, the different types of video available and the best practices you can use to ensure your videos tell your story. Finally we’ll step back and take a look at some key questions you should ask yourself before launching a video strategy.
  6. 6. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 6 Chapter One Leverage your visual storytelling strategy
  7. 7. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 7 Visual storytelling emerged as a breakout marketing term in 2013 While the concept itself dates back millennia, from hieroglyphs on cave walls, and has continued well into the modern age with photographs and motion pictures, visual storytelling on the Internet is still evolving. In the late 90s and early 00s, bandwidth speeds and screen resolution limited the effectiveness of big, bold photos and high-quality videos. 200 pixel photos and grainy 15-second videos certainly weren’t effective storytelling tools! But in the last few years, advances in technology, higher speeds, broadband cellular networks, and high-resolution screens have made high-powered visuals far more practical – and demand for them has soared. Today, roughly a third of all internet “real estate” is images: those websites with huge blocks of text and one or two tiny images have been replaced by graphically- and visually-driven web interfaces.
  8. 8. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 8 Leverage Your Visual Storytelling Strategy The travel industry has definitely followed the trend. Hotels, airlines, tour companies and more are enhancing their online presence with exciting, engaging visuals that show travelers what it’s like to use their service or visit them in person. When it comes to your property, visual storytelling with engaging imagery is the perfect way to share your hotel’s atmosphere and your guests’ experiences. Combine those rich images with vivid descriptions enabling a potential guest to imagine what their stay with you will be like. Supercharge the experience by using video! Your hotel doesn’t just have one story, you have many niche and focused stories. Video is an ideal medium for sharing snackable content with your audience. Just look at the success of video sharing apps like Vine and Instagram. Audiences crave bite-sized videos that they can quickly consume. No need to pressure yourself to pack every detail of your property into one 3-5 minute video, instead, share several shorter pieces focusing in on what makes you different, whether that’s the weekly managers reception, or your mouth-watering scrambled egg platter at breakfast. Video By The Numbers: Five Key Statistics About Online Video More than two-thirds of all Internet users say they watch video online (Reuters). Nine tweets per second contain a Vine link. That’s equivalent to 777,600 Vine videos shared a day (Unruly). Instagram videos are creating two-times more engagement than Instagram photos (Simply Measured). 52 percent of consumers say that watching product videos makes them more confident in online purchase decisions (Invodo). Two-thirds of the world’s mobile data traffic will be video by 2017 (Neomobile), and 55 percent of all global internet traffic by 2016 (Cisco).
  10. 10. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 1 0 Tune In To Online Video Now that we’ve established visual storytelling as a great way to engage potential visitors, it’s time to decide what media we want to use to drive that behavior. Photographs, panoramas, 360-degree room tours and interactive images can and should be a part of your strategy, but videos in particular are a great way to tell your hotel’s stories and differentiate yourself from the competition. When it comes to storytelling, video is simply one of the best mediums available. Rather than just telling a prospect about your property through text – or just showing them through photos – you can show and tell with your video. In fact, Forrester Research suggests one minute of video can be the equivalent of reading 1.8 million words (Reuters)! The best way to use video is by integrating it in with your other media online. Text descriptions, still images and virtual tours are vital parts of your online story, and combined with video, can capture the full essence of your story. Illustrating your story with all available mediums allows you to reach all different types of travel shoppers online, but a common misunderstanding is that virtual tours take the place of video. While virtual tours are attractive and engaging, there are some key differences, making it important to incorporate both media in your storytelling efforts (Reel Marketer).
  11. 11. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 11 Tune In To Online Video Even though the effort required to create, edit and publish videos is often greater than text and photos – and we’ll talk more about that in the next section – the popularity of online video makes the efforts worthwhile. Did you know that more than a billion unique users visit YouTube each month? The world’s leading video site says more than 6 billion hours of video are watched monthly on its site. That’s almost an hour for every person on earth! And lest you think all that traffic is simply cute cat videos or coverage of the latest celebrity meltdown, statistics show online video is an increasingly important part of marketing strategies worldwide. The global top 100 brands published close to 10,000 YouTube videos per month in 2013, a number that’s quintupled since 2009 (Pixability). And little wonder, too: In studies authored by DoubleClick, Google and AOL, audio/ visual content was found to drive an engagement rate 4 to 7 times higher than static image and text (Reuters). Not only that, but video is a search optimization goldmine. Webpages with video are 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google search results (Reuters). On the consumer side, videos are becoming an important part of the decision making process – particularly when it comes to travel shopping. A Google/Ipsos Media study reports that almost half of leisure travelers and more than two-thirds of business travelers were prompted to book as a result of watching online travel videos during their trip planning, and that overall, a whopping 93% of travelers watch online video (Google).
  12. 12. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 1 2 Make Your Video Findable with These 3 Tips Video now appears in almost 70% of search results according to Marketing Week and Forrester Research says that webpages containing video are 53 times more likely to appear on the first page of Google. Here are three tips to make sure your video gets found: Carefully choose your title, description and tags to match the video’s theme and more importantly, to match the keywords travellers will be searching for. Create and submit a video sitemap to Google. Adding an XML video sitemap to your site helps Google direct visitors to your website as opposed to YouTube or other video sites. It tells Google where the page is, where the video is and what it’s about. Create compelling Thumbnails. The video thumbnail is the first thing people see. Make sure it is eye-catching and compelling, clear and worthy of a ‘click’, and of course, accurately reflects your video’s content!
  13. 13. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 1 3 Chapter Three make video work for you
  14. 14. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 1 4 Make Video Work For You Types of videos you can use Now that we’ve established video as an effective storytelling tool and we know that audiences crave this medium, it’s time to start thinking about the best ways to produce videos to engage with your guests. What types of production will create rich, memorable experiences for your online visitors? When it comes to hotel marketing, there are three types of video that you can use: u Professionally Created u In-House Production u Guest Generated Let’s look at some of the pros and cons of each. Did You Know? Video is one of the most shared media types; 700 YouTube links are shared on Twitter every minute.
  15. 15. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 1 5 Make Video Work For You Professionally produced video When you think about video for your property, professional produced pieces are probably the first thing that comes to mind. Video created by professionals will give you the polished look you crave, but there are a lot of options for additional consideration. Instead of creating one stiff overview video, let your imagination take the lead. Video is one of the most flexible mediums available to you, so consider the creative ways you can showcase your property, including reviews and testimonials, hosted profiles with employees, video tours, behind the scenes at events and more! Ideal for: Professional, reliable video featuring almost any element of your property. Professional, no-risk video content for your website, campaigns, and social media Things to Consider: u Higher production cost u Setup and filming can cause small disruptions The Best Western Victoria Park has a professionally-produced video detailing why guests stay with them, featuring a voiceover from a marketing manager, cameos from staff, local attractions and more. Benefits: u Low risk, high quality u Videos will look slick and polished u Production will be completed with the latest production equipment including lights, editing, music and voiceovers u Experienced producers and videographers ensure your story is told, on camera, the best way possible u Filming and production work is outsourced, leaving you free to focus on your dayto-day activities
  16. 16. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 1 6 Make Video Work For You Video produced by you in-house Equipped with an iPhone and imagination, you can create an engaging video on your own. Keeping it short and snackable, keep your phone or recording device handy at events to catch candid moments or guest comments. The Delta London Armouries has a video that, while not showing the bells and whistles and high production value of the Best Western Victoria Park, offers a very well-produced look at the property’s history, and includes still pictures and voiceover and musical accompaniment. Ideal for: Capturing an authentic feel; capturing “in the moment” events that can’t be scheduled in advance; timely, short videos that can be shared via social networks Things to Consider: u Might not have the polished look and feel of more expensive productions Benefits: u Visitors will appreciate the authenticity u Low cost to create and produce u With practice and/or savvy marketing staff, even amateur videos can look slick and professional u Work is done on your schedule
  17. 17. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 1 7 Make Video Work For You Video created by guests Seeing your property through the eyes of your guests can give you an entirely fresh perspective and identify new facets of your story. Encourage guests to tag you in videos they take at your property, or ask them to share video reviews. Tapping into what guests are saying about your hotel will give you insight in to the story they are experiencing, and give you the opportunity to amplify it. The Hilton Springfield has a page featuring user-created Vine videos, with visitors enjoying their stay at the property. Ideal for: Showing actual visitors enjoying their stay; even more authenticity Things to Consider: u Relinquishing control over content Benefits: u Creates trust among prospective visitors that what they’re seeing is real, not a marketing-produced video u The relevance of real people trumps production value u Free!
  18. 18. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 1 8 Make Video Work For You Ultimately, best-in-class hotels will use a mix of all three to provide high-quality productions, authentic videos produced in house and by guests. But for properties on a budget, a good smartphone video camera – and taking the time to encourage guests to shoot and share their own video – is a great place to start.
  19. 19. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 1 9 Chapter Four learn best practices
  20. 20. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 2 0 Learn Best Practices Once you’ve added video creation to your marketing strategy, we recommend following a few best practices for the act of creating and publishing of your videos. Paying attention to the following will help you maximize the return on your video investment: Sourcing u As discussed in the previous section, you’ve essentially got three options for video: Professionally created, created in-house, and created by guests. Now it’s time to determine which you’ll want to use, and how to go about acquiring them. u For professional video, you can turn to marketing agencies or smaller, independent videographers for assistance. Your budget will determine your best course of action in this case. u For in-house video, source the best camera available on your budget – or the best camera you’re already got onhand. Several smartphone cameras from Apple and Samsung record excellent 1080p, HD video. Also consider whether you need to invest in some software for editing, and talk to your staff to see if you have any amateur filmmakers on hand willing to help out! u For guest-created video, encourage your guests to shoot and share. Make your property accessible on social media, promote hashtags, even consider offering a contest for video submissions. Publishing what you have and where it is when it comes time to publish them. u Organizing your videos by type (professional, in-house, user-generated) is a good place to start u Further organize your video by subject (rooms, amenities, testimonials, events) u As you develop more videos, you can create more specific categories and/or sort them by date. u Organize your video based on the story you’re telling to viewers. Is your video focusing on meeting space? Make sure it’s featured where business travelers will see it. u Once you’ve got production underway, the next step is organize and store your videos effectively, ensuring you know
  21. 21. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 2 1 Learn Best Practices Distribution u Your digital marketing strategy should cover all of the key travel channels, including your website, social networks, and online travel agencies – and the good news is, video works on all of them! u YouTube is an obvious place to start. You can create a channel of your own for all of your videos, and your visitors can subscribe to ensure they receive your latest content. Best Practice Tip: Create compelling thumbnails for your YouTube videos, remember it’s the first thing people see! Your thumbnail should reflect your video’s content, and be worthy of a ‘click.’ u Consider how your videos will also be featured on your website and on other travel channels like review, metasearch, destination and corporate travel sites. And don’t forget about creating a memorable appearance on OTAs to differential yourself from the crowds. Now is the time to plan how you’ll publish your video on these platforms. u Authentic user-generated video is ideal for Facebook and other social sites; remember the length of videos on Vine (6 seconds) and Instagram (15 seconds) will require some creative editing!
  22. 22. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 2 2 Learn Best Practices Amplifying u Your video’s life isn’t over when the publishing tasks are completed. – in fact, it’s just beginning. Video is one of the most consistently-shared media types on social networks; 700 YouTube links are shared on Twitter every minute (Social Media Today). u Any video you post online should also be shared, tweeted, and pinned. u Videos can also be shared via e-mail newsletters, on travel review sites and can even be re-purposed in sales material. u Keep your content fresh – don’t just share the same video over and over. Remember, your longer videos can be re-cut into several Vine and Instagram videos! u Visitor engagement is key – encourage your visitors to share and like your videos as well as videos they’ve taken at your property. Some other thoughts to consider: YouTube is the now the 2nd largest search engine with 1 billion unique users a month – upload it on YouTube and take the time to add a proper title, description and tags. Add it to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn – any social network you’re active in. Once your video is ready add your social channels and encourage guests, friends, and employees to share with their personal networks. Add your video to a relevant landing page - The average attention span for web-related activities is 8 seconds. This means marketers have less than 8 seconds to connect with someone. Adding video to a landing page is the single most effective way to keep viewers engaged: • Conveys a lot of information in a short period of time • Increase the length of time people stay on a page giving your message longer to sink in Add it to an email newsletter. If you’re active in email marketing, adding video to an email results in higher open rates and higher click-through rates. Get Response (an email marketing firm) says that from over 800,000 emails sent, emails with video received 5.6% high open rates and 96.3% higher clickthrough rates.
  24. 24. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 2 4 Ready, Set, Go! With your strategy in place and the best practices established, there are just a few questions you should be asking yourself before you launch your video publishing plan: What types of video are right for my property? The beauty of video is that there is no wrong option! Whether you’re a luxury resort or a limited service property, the different types of video can be effective for sharing your story. Remember to consider who your audience is and what the context of your story is. There is no hard and fast rule about what type of video is best, so evaluate your needs and have fun with the options. Did You Know? Shorter videos are more effective than one long video; viewer retention really dwindles after 90 seconds. What is our message? As part of your overall marketing strategy, you’ve probably outlined your hotel’s values, purpose, and goals, and you tailor your marketing messaging around those statements. Your videos should take a similar approach. Ensure your video is aligned with your overall marketing strategy: u Reflect on who your target customer segments are and ensure the tone of your video suits your audience. u For video created by you or an agency you hire, be cautious that your branding is consistent, regardless of the platform or channel you publish your videos on; even different styles of video should be recognizably yours. u Make sure the videos align with your hotel’s values, goals and mission statement. This is especially true for user generated content, when the creator isn’t aware of your marketing strategy.
  25. 25. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 2 5 Ready, Set, Go! Which video platforms and channels best suit my property’s needs? Every hotel is different, and as such, will have different needs when it comes to the videos they produce and the way they showcase them: Did You Know? Emails that included a video had 5.6% higher open rates and 96.3% higher click-through rates. u Consider whether our audience will engage more with a professionally shot short film or a series of user-generated videos. u Think about the guests on social media channels such as Twitter and Facebook, who love liking and retweeting video. u Travel shoppers are researching on OTAs and Linkedin, include a video on these channels to catch their eye.
  26. 26. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 2 6 Ready, Set, Go! – except that video is an effective tool that every property can benefit from. Some things to consider: Did You Know? Over 6 billion hours of video are watched monthly on YouTube. That’s almost an hour per person on earth! u You don’t have to spend a lot to get started. Try out some in-house produced videos and see the response! How much of my marketing budget should I dedicate to video? u Remember that videos can last a long time and can be repurposed for different needs and channels, so money spent today is a long-term investment Every property is different and there’s no clear answer for your specific property
  27. 27. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 2 7 Ready, Set, Go! It’s time for lights, camera, action! Online video is the real deal – the demand is there, the technology is available, and the effectiveness, in terms of storytelling and engagement, is clear. Already best-in-class hotels are taking advantage of online video to drive engagement and improve customer interaction. If you haven’t already, 2014 is definitely the time to include video in your marketing strategy and to dedicate time and resources to producing and publishing video content. If you’re looking for ways to get started, Leonardo can help. Contact our experts today to find out how our solutions can help you integrate exciting, engaging video content into your hotel’s digital strategy to compete on something other than price.
  28. 28. FIVE STEPS TO TRANSFORMING YOUR HOTEL’S ONLINE PRESENCE WITH VIDEO / 2 8 About Leonardo Leonardo is a technology and online media company for the global hospitality industry. We provide e-marketers at hotel brands, management companies and hotel properties with technology, sales conversion tools and a global travel media network that enables them to better visually merchandise their hotels to millions of in-market travel shoppers monthly. Our core products, the VScape® Digital Asset Management System and VBrochure™ Online Merchandising System, leverage the VNetwork™ - the largest media syndication network in the industry. It includes all major search engines, Global Distribution Systems, online travel agencies, travel research and supplier websites, search portals, review, travel editorial, local directories and major social media and video sharing sites. Taking advantage of VBrochure’s mobile and social media platforms, hotels can ensure that their rich visual presentations reach consumers on their mobile devices and through their social graphs. For more information about Leonardo, visit Share this eBook