The Allure of Online Visual Marketing


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Darlene Rondeau, VP, Best Practices Online Merchandising, presented this at the Eye For Travel Conference in Las Vegas this week exploring the allure of online visual merchandising.

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  • “ From Hilton takes steps to level playfield” Said during presentation at the PhoCusWright Conference in November 2011
  • Another element that we can’t ignore is the fact that the lines between corporate and leisure travel is blurring, particularly for the millenials. Millennial business travelers want to be connected at all times, said Vournakis of Carlson Wagonlit Travel Canada. He cited a study the company did in Australia that found 41% of business travelers would refuse to go to a location where they were not connected. So it’s critical that you’re communicating your capabilities in this area on the corporate sites as well as leisure sites. Although travel needs and the specific information they are seeking online may differ, both travel shopping segments (business and leisure) want immersive, visually-rich presentations. Biz travelers are more discerning BECAUSE they travel a lot and they drag around a lot of devices…. 93% of business travelers watch video online – Travelers Road to Decision, 2011
  • Mobile is transforming because…….as I show you later….consumer context is everything….. Coke and Auntie Anne’s are running a location based pilot in Atlanta that offers a coupon for a Coke and pretzel at the moment the consumer is close to one of the Auntie Anne’s shopping mall locations. They can redeem immediately or save for later use. While the pilot is making headlines, the real news is the data it can deliver e.g. real time campaign performance and individual sales tracking
  • End of Today’s Reality Symbian OS – Nokia Green dude is android When people talk about mobile….its’ about all devices – we’re going to talk about the form factor difference and how smart marketers are taking advantage of all of the attributes by device type and not lumping everything into a smart phone category. This is particularly important aspect of visual merchandising.
  • Humans are Visual and Social Why this important Guides as hotel marketers with our content what are people going to want to share….simple more often
  • People share all types of things……among the most popular are photos, videos, and of course, articles covering a wide variety of subjects. We’re also sharing our opinions………here’s a timely stat from NPR last week. The most popular political speech of the presidential convention drove 28,0000 tweets per minute, following the 22,000 and 18,000. I’ll leave the rest of to you to figure out who matches which stat!
  • Pinterest, Instagram to name a couple - ushered in visual marketing as the breakout trend in 2012. In fact, Facebook forked out $1.5 billion dollars for the Instagram (with only 13 employees) earlier this year. Photos taken with phone and make it a memory for yourself or share with friends. When it comes to products, businesses are learning to show, not tell and these types of sites are fueling our desire for beautiful photos and sensational design. Blogs were one of our earliest forms of social networking where people were writing 1000 words, according to Dr. William Ward, Social Media professor at Syracuse University. When we moved to status updates on Facebook, our posts became shorter. Then “micro-blogs” like Twitter came along, and chopped our updates down to 140 characters. NOW – we’re leaving out words altogether and moving towards more visual communication with sites like Pinterest”
  • For those hoteliers in the audience, if you’ve not been on Pinterest, I urge you to take a spin on it. When you type in the keyword “hotels”, you get an eye full! A wide range of visuals are being pinned. Hotel flatware – interesting? Professional, not professional. It’s about design, location, people and interaction. Think of pinning or “re-pinning” as putting a bumper sticker on your car! It is an expression of what you like, don’t like, interested in, in support of…. Not surprisingly, Travel comes in at #9 in their top 10 as a category. Pictures have become a short form way of communicating lots of information, providing inspiration and validation.
  • Photos are the real currency for social networks because we want to know what she looks like? Who she married? How great her life is….and photos are much more revealing than status updates The time and effort to move months or years worth of photos from one site to another is difficult. And aside from the images themselves, the endless photo postings keep people coming back and clicking, enabling sites to charge more to advertisers and generate revenue.
  • We know empirically that YouTube is hugely popular. It really an online PR engine! You can upload pretty anything that moves you and/or watch pretty much anything that interests you. There doesn’t seem to be a social scenario where a video isn’t a topic of conversation at the dinner table or party room. Interestingly, for every 1 dislike, YouTube receives 10 likes. People like to tell other people about the stuff they love!
  • In addition to watching videos on YouTube, we also watch videos to help us understand our product choices. And we’re going to talk more about that in a minute
  • The Matrix Terminator Ocean’s 11 Titanic
  • Facebook is very influential when it comes to travel. Some people are skeptical about use of Facebook in business 3 good reason why you need one and why it should be good 1) Travelers choices are being influenced by the posts they read Everyone loves a good deal, and facebook users are no different. Smart hotels are developing offers specifically targeted to their facebook followers which is increasing their website visits and encouraging bookings Finally, consumers are going to your brand facebook pages to learn more directly from the source!
  • It’s no accident that Facebook redesigned their business pages to be more visual. They know that imagery is hugely influential and sticky, as we’ve already talked about. Now photos are stationary in the 1 st position with a “billboard like” cover photo splashed front and center on your screen.
  • Share updates, questions, photos, videos and links on your Page regularly Visuals help tell your story….don’t be afraid to use tasteful humor and you know your audience, so use what’s appropriate…..I love this collection of media across several different brands and category of hotel! The girl didn’t get any thumbs down – quel surprise
  • Another web page redesign by TripAdvisor….giving more weight to the visual aspects with 2 categories, the paid (CPC @ .35) professional photos section and the opportunity for consumers to share their personal photos as they help tell the story of their stay. All this to engage and sell more rooms.
  • START STORY TELLING Photos are great….but really how to tell your story….. Just talked about photos, now something even more engaging….video….. Lots and lots shared, watched, driving interaction and engagement
  • A story doesn’t to be long to have impact. As a young newspaperman in the 1920s, Ernest Hemingway bet his colleagues $10 that he could write a complete story in juts six words. But try to keep your stories more upbeat! Tell fragments of stories, teasers and snippets of info that highlight unique value propositions -- location, style, service, experiences, etc. – and leave travelers wanting more: clicking for more info, making a reservation, booking a meeting, coming back to stay again.
  • Change to People and Their Devices
  • Explain optimized vs. compatible
  • Don’t stand on the sidelines like that dude in the background, while everyone around you is cleaning up on winnings.
  • The need for publishers to get to the point quicker than ever came about because humans are more pressed for time and content became more infinite. For businesses, like hoteliers, it’s evolve or risk losing your audience, because the only thing shorter than a tweet or a post, is a picture. (and their attention span) Brands can use visual content on their websites, social media sites and on all the channels they’re represented on to increase engagement, inspire sharing and viral marketing.
  • The Allure of Online Visual Marketing

    1. 1. The Allure of Online Visual Merchandising September 13, 2012 Darlene Rondeau VP, Best Practices Online Merchandising VFM Leonardo, Inc. @vfmleonardo
    2. 2.  Today’s reality Humans are visual and social We love a good story People and their devices Get in the game @vfmleonardo
    3. 3. “ Hilton’s question is shifting from ‘Where do guests book?’ to ‘Where are they making their decision?’ Paul Brown, President Global Brands & Commercial Services Hilton WorldwideSource: Hospitality Times, Hilton takes steps to level OTA playing field @vfmleonardo
    4. 4. “ Embrace the leisure experience and put it in a context that’s congruent with managed travel. Nick Vournakis, Senior VP and GM Carlson Wagonlit Travel CanadaSource: Hotel News Now, Next gen blurs lines of corporate, leisure
    5. 5. Source: eMarketer Webinar, Cashing In on Mobile Shopping @vfmleonardo
    6. 6. @vfmleonardo
    7. 7.  Help others Think about, what will  Sound smarter someone get out of sharing this content?  Make people laugh (explains why cat videos are so popular) Surprisingly… email is still  Be first to share something new popular way to share content Study by: Simple stuff gets shared more oftenSource: YouTube, The Skim: Why do people share online content? Based on New York Times Study
    8. 8. Source: SlideShare, Aol & Nielsen content sharing study
    9. 9. Travel is one of Top 10 Categories on PinterestSource: Mashable, What People Are Pinning on Pinterest
    10. 10. Like bank accounts, experts say photos are “sticky.” “ Photos are the real currency for social networks. Matt Wallaert PsychologistSource: Smartmoney, Why Social Networks Want Your Photos @vfmleonardo
    11. 11. Source: YouTube, Press Statistics @vfmleonardo
    12. 12. ½ of US internet users 52% of consumers say that had watched product watching product videos makes videos on the homepage them more confident in their online of a retailer. purchase decisions. Professionally produced video optimized for eCommerce outperforms user-generated video (UGC video) by 30%.Sources:eMarketer, Product Videos Nudge Apparel Shoppers Toward RegisterInvodo, Video Statistics: The Impact of Video
    13. 13. Your video doesn’t have to be a Hollywood production… @vfmleonardo
    14. 14. 32% of travelers chose a different hotel based on the impact social media had on them33 30% of travel 62% of leisureshoppers viewing travelers find special offers on travel brands’ Facebook click to Facebook check rates1 1 pages helpful 2 2Sources:1.2. VFM Leonardo Reporting Atmosphere Research Group Study, 2011 @vfmleonardo3. Rasmussen College, Infographic: Social and Mobile Make Summer Travel a Breeze
    15. 15. Hotels with at least 15 photos sold 3x more room nights than hotels with fewer than 5 - ExpediaProperties with more than 20 photos get 150% more engagement - TripAdvisor20
    16. 16. Source: YouTube, Press Statistics
    17. 17. “ For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn. Ernest Hemingway @vfmleonardo
    18. 18. Source:, 40 Storyquotes that will shake your mind
    19. 19. Zappos reports a 6% to 30% increase in sales for products with video 28Source: ReelSEO, December 2009
    20. 20. @vfmleonardo
    21. 21. Smartphone most common starting place for planning a tripSource: Adapted from Google, The New Multi-screen World: Understanding Cross-platform Consumer Behavior @vfmleonardo
    22. 22. @vfmleonardo
    23. 23. @vfmleonardo
    24. 24. @vfmleonardo
    25. 25. 37 @vfmleonardo
    26. 26. @vfmleonardo