David Barrett, managing director of Pic PR, a creative communications agency specialising in the hospitality sector, highlights the importance of video and why for hotels, it should never be just a one off.
What do we talk about when we talk about video marketing?
Well, video marketing means lots of different things to lots of different businesses, but for hotels it means selling your premises (and your personality) in a way that a static image simply can’t.
They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and if that’s true, then what’s a video worth?
In a digital age, where everyone and everything is online, video isn’t an optional extra it’s a necessity.
It’s a powerful tool being seriously underestimated and completely underutilised by many a hotel.
The majority of hoteliers don’t think beyond an introductory video. A collection of connected stills showcasing the basics: the reception, the rooms, the restaurant, the bar etc. They commission a one-off video, and think no more on the matter.
This short-sightedness can often work against the hotel’s best interests. At its core, video is an exciting way to connect with potential customers.
In what is a very crowded marketplace, hoteliers are constantly looking for ways to increase traffic and drive user engagement on their websites and social media channels. And If you’re looking for consistent results rather than random spikes, then video needs to be a part of your long-term communications and marketing strategy.
Market research has shown that video has the highest user engagement compared to images or text (20 percent of people will read text, while 80 percent will watch a video with the same content). It’s a much more efficient and effective way to communicate the hotel’s offering. Also, it serves as a key component of a vertical SEO search strategy.
It’s a simple truth: if you want to engage potential customers, then you have to create engaging content. And video is the most sought-after form of content on the internet.
A single video can be used in many different ways. It can be edited and broken down into bitesize pieces of content that can be shared both on your website and through your hotel’s social media channels.
The idea is to capture and highlight the details and amenities that makes the hotel unique. And there are numerous ways in which this can be achieved.
In my article last month – in which I talked about the importance of a hotel’s personality – I touched briefly on the significance of video when discussing one of our clients, the Feversham Arms Hotel & Spa.
We have been working with the team at the Feversham on a variety of unique profile-building activities. The hospitality business is a people business, and we wanted to make it about the people. Because this is a principle that can sometimes get lost. The aim is to create a sense of identity, of personality, of familiarity with the staff.
We put together a video of the Feversham’s F&B manager making one of the hotel’s signature cocktails. A simple piece of content created to entertain and engage.
Within 48 hours of it being uploaded to the hotel’s official Facebook page, the video received more than 14,000 views and 200 plus interactions, reaching an audience just shy of 50,000 people.
The lesson here is to be creative, to stand out and think differently. Too many hotels are commissioning the same “carbon-copy, one-size-fits-all” video. We’ve all seen it. A bland overview. A lifeless tour through receptions and bars and restaurants and bedrooms empty of people. And it’s boring. These videos don’t tell a story. And story is what you should be selling.
A hotel needs to appear “lived in”. And your video should sell scenarios e.g. couples in hot tubs, a crowded restaurant, a bustling bar. People buy into scenarios. They want to see people enjoying the hotel and its amenities. They want to picture themselves doing and enjoying those very same things. What they don’t want is a ghostly tour through an empty space.
Your videos should not be longwinded. In fact, the shorter the sweeter. A three-minute video is unlikely to hold the attention in the same way as one that lasts 30 seconds. The focus should be on being short, sharp and snappy. There is no point in reaching your intended audience if your content doesn’t engage or the user loses interest.
To touch upon the Feversham Arms again, Charles Merchie, the hotel’s GM, is a trained sommelier, with an extraordinary knowledge of wines. Through short videos called ‘Charles’ Choice’, we showcased his expertise allowing those outside of the hotel an insight of what to expect should they choose to stay.
Hotels should also be thinking seasonally when it comes to video. The same way they do with decorations, menus, discounts and other offerings. A hotel in the summer is a very different place from one in the winter. If you invest in an extravagant Christmas tree replete with gorgeous decorations, it would be a shame to limit its audience to those who visit the hotel. After all, they’re already there and have bought into your offering.