Video is consistently rated as one of the most effective types of digital marketing by consumers and businesses alike. It’s a highly effective medium whether you want to raise product awareness, highlight employee stories or create a brand identity — video content can be utilized for just about any marketing goal.
Using Video To Boost Hotel Marketing Efforts
The hotel industry, in particular, can leverage video marketing to a high degree. When a potential guest searches for a hotel, they most likely want more than just a simple room description. Even the best-written and most engaging content won’t be able to display a hotel the way a video can.
Want to show off a stunning new hotel? Video can take would-be guests on a virtual reality tour of the grounds and services. Want to create a brand aesthetic of luxury and comfort? Video is perfect for conveying such qualities. Want to engage a specific target audience? Video captured by users can be shared on your social platforms to spotlight the customer experience.
Video is a versatile content form, and it has a fundamental place in the media marketing mix of any company in the travel and hospitality sector.
Don’t know where to start with a video strategy for your hotel? Or are you unsure of what new forms of video content to add and where to distribute them?
Worry not, as we’ve got the answers you need to harness the power of video in content marketing.
Video Basics for Hospitality Marketing
Before we get to the examples of top-performing visual content, let’s discuss the nitty gritty of establishing a video marketing strategy for your hospitality business.
It’s crucial to plan ahead of time because a lot goes into the video production process. While your marketing creative team might be able to ideate, write and publish a quality blog fairly quickly, video takes script writing, location scouting, equipment, lots of hands and extensive editing. That’s not to say blog writing is easy, but to demonstrate the time and effort required to produce a high-quality video.
Let’s explore some of the things you need to keep in mind when creating your hotel video marketing strategy:
- Always have a concrete strategy or underlying goal behind the video or series of videos. Such content can accomplish many different things, but be sure to focus your campaign on a small set of objectives and target audiences. Every conceptual aspect of your video marketing strategy will have an impact on the actual video production. If your motive is to raise brand awareness, messaging and set aesthetic will matter more; if you’re looking to educate consumers, an explainer video with functional instructions or tours is more suitable. To help you stay on the right path and aim toward the correct goals, it’s helpful to create a strategic marketing process — a framework that can help you identify your competitors, targets and messaging.
- Maintain a video calendar like you would an editorial calendar. This ensures you can keep track of every video project and in which phase of production it’s in (e.g., script writing, live filming, post-production editing).
- If you don’t have in-house video production talent, that means either hiring the expertise or a service provider. Be sure that your choice matches your long-term video content goals: If you’re a scaling motel chain, hiring the talent now might make sense; whereas small businesses (like a single bed and breakfast resort on a country estate) may want to work with an external video team.
- Be sure to think about distribution well in advance of publishing. Some platforms work better than others, depending on the video type and length. Social media, for instance, is perfect for one- or two-minute videos, or previews of longer videos. If you have an employee interview or full tour, house that on a landing page on your website (as this will matter for search engine optimization). And be sure to upload everything to YouTube or Vimeo for the easiest viewing experience.
Now that we’ve brushed up on the basics of video, let’s examine some of the top video marketing strategies for travel and hospitality companies to try.
6 Types of Video Marketing for Hotels:
- User-generated Content.
- Employee Spotlight.
- Brand Marketing.
- Virtual Reality Tour.
- Event Recap.
- Behind the Scenes.
1. User-generated Content
User-generated content (UGC as it’s sometimes abbreviated) is a highly efficient and effective visual content type. Not only can a hotel business get an excellent video of real-life guests walking into their rooms for the first time or using the pool, but they can do so without requiring additional labor to get the footage. Video marketing creation becomes a whole lot easier when you can outsource that task to users armed with a smartphone of their own.
UGC works so well because it’s essentially word-of-mouth marketing in video format. And if there’s one source of recommendations that consumers always trust, it’s family and friends. User content often resonates with audiences because it presents a trusted peer voice so that your viewers might feel like it’s really them gazing from the balcony of the room or enjoying the spa amenities of a resort.
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Or in the case of this example from Four Seasons Maui, your audience might imagine themselves up close with a whale while canoeing. This gem of user-generated content demonstrates the magic of sharing the real experiences of your customers. Encourage them to use a hashtag while enjoying their stay, and always remember to ask for consent if you want to use their content.
2. Employee Spotlight
Not all video marketing is about the product; it’s important to have collateral that conveys your cultural identity as a business. This humanization is key to a social media presence, and there’s no better source of stories, personas and brand ambassadors than your workforce. You’ve hired those people for a reason — now it’s time to hear more about why they choose to work for your hotel specifically.
Employee interviews and spotlights make for terrific video content. Viewers get to know the company through employees who personify corporate mission and ideals, while workers also appreciate the recognition and the opportunity. These videos can take different forms, whether you want a one-on-one interview that digs into a personal anecdote or a more broad approach that spotlights multiple employees, perhaps by asking them all the same question.
This YouTube video from Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants is an example of doing the employee spotlight right. Each employee has a personality quirk or interest that viewers can relate to, and also displays the diversity of employee backgrounds and identities. Questions like “What’s your superpower?” and “How does work allow you to be you?” can really bring out powerful, evocative stories that build your brand awareness and customer trust.
3. Brand Marketing
Hotels are just as much a destination as they are a lodging provider. Amenities are typically a big part of the package, and any visual content you create should really play up those themes. Brand-forward videos that tie the hotel into the identity and attractions of its location are a sure bet to convey your messaging.
In the hotel industry, it’s important to make the company’s brand name synonymous with travel, comfort, leisure, excitement and delight. This applies whether they’re located in a capital city, major metro area, island chain or country/wilderness estate. Success in doing so depends on a video that can bring the sights, sounds and stories of the destination to life.
This “Dare to Discover” video ad from The W in Amman, Jordan notches all those marks. The artistic effort plays on the cultural tradition and history of the country, while also showing the potential guest what nightlife and fun can be had.
4. Virtual Reality Tour
Just about every traveler has a horror story of a room that was too good to be true. Whether duped by pictures or a description, cautious customers will want to be sure the room is everything you say it to be.
Videos can help you tackle that concern by filming tours of the grounds and rooms. A short video can document the styles of suites, the pool, the gym, the dining hall, the reception area and all other elements of the facility that guests should know about.
Best Western took this video approach a step further when it launched 360, virtual reality-assisted YouTube videos for nearly 2,000 properties. Working with Google to capture 1.7 million photos of its locations, Best Western allows customers to tour the exact hotel that they are considering. Controls in the YouTube video allow viewers to pan up, down and around to get the full picture before making a choice.
5. Event Recap
Hotels often play guest to charity events, networking meets, business conventions, trade conferences and other organizational/social functions. Neglecting to show that side of operations in content can lead to a serious gap in video marketing strategy.
Excite guests and professionals looking for their next venue by showcasing your hotel’s hosting capabilities with top-notch event coverage. Approach this type of video with a message to say and a goal to shoot for. Did your space host a beautiful wedding ceremony and reception, with catered entrees and a full dance floor to boot? Then your event video should not only highlight the best parts of the night but hit on the fact that the viewer could have their wedding at your hotel, too.
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Keeping your Sunday extra fabulous with some stunning highlights one from incredible event, @prideluxofficial. @brideluxofficial @splentoapp #pridelux #prideluxxshangrilalondon #sundaygood #keepitfabulous #shangrilalondon #shangrilalondontheshard #weekendmood #sunnylondon #viewsfordays #wedding #weddinginspo
Now, sometimes these events just aren’t all that sexy. An annual gathering of regional optometrists doesn’t exactly scream quality content, so you’ll need to pick and choose your moments to capture. That means planning in advance to have the filming talent on-hand, as well as an editing crew to turn around on a tight schedule: You don’t want to lose relevance, and thus social shares or impressions.
This Instagram video from Shangri-La Hotel, London is a perfect encapsulation of an effective event recap. The professional visuals immerse the viewer in the theme, while the soundtrack and an event sound bite also support the video.
6. Behind the Scenes
Video is great for giving a potential guest a glimpse behind the curtain. It can help build a brand identity of thought leadership, innovation, transparency or excellence.
Sheraton Hotels pulls this off with a series of social videos that quickly explore how the business is designing spaces for business productivity and personal comfort. The visuals show the spaces in action being utilized in different ways, while also containing some explanation from multidisciplinary experts in the business. Explaining how designers found the optimal height for a community table can really illustrate a datapoint in an educative and engaging way.
Remember the Basics of Video Production
There’s a lot of room to get creative with hotel video marketing. However, no strategy can succeed without following the best practices of video production. Talent hiring, resourcing and messaging — as well as distribution — should all factor into the decision-making. Tell your hotel’s story with beautiful video content, but always back up your process with a hotel marketing strategy and a purpose. All engaging content is created with intentionality and a goal in mind, so don’t miss those important steps when getting started.