While a well designed website is hugely desirable, it is important not to overlook the influence of valuable content; video says more about your brand and gains customer trust more than any other online medium. Videographer and MD of Bloom Studios, Jamie Curtis, explains the importance of video in hotel marketing and how you can incorporate it into the mix.
The hotel industry may have been a little slow to catch on, but is now waking up to the fact that video marketing is an essential part of the online and offline marketing strategy.
With studies showing customer trust gained from video is almost as high as face to face and in a totally different league to text and image based content, it really is an incredibly powerful medium to convey information.
A trust building exercise
One essential goal of any marketing strategy is to build trust in your brand. Traditionally, this has been done using beautiful imagery, clever wording and a well chosen colour palette on your website or brochure to make it easy for potential guests to choose you above the rest.
Whether guests are searching for a weekend away, a business trip, or an exciting family holiday, in a perfect world they will click on the first result that comes up in Google and find exactly what they want. In reality, it will take many more clicks to find the hotel that meets their brief.
Window of opportunity
There’s an incredibly small window of opportunity to grab the attention of website visitors – it can literally be measured in seconds, so first impressions are hugely important.
Combined with a fantastic website, a 90 second video will tell potential guests more about what you do than anything else they can view in the same timeframe. Show your guests who you really are by walking them through a beautiful bedroom suite or serve them a main course in your restaurant. Using video, you can blow them away with stunning visuals, get inside their emotions with the power of music and educate them with voiceovers and animations.
Video is extremely versatile. It can be shared across a number of platforms and is an extremely important element of your SEO strategy within Google.
As with any form of marketing, you need to have a goal in mind before creating your content. Whether it’s to increase bookings, promote your newly developed spa or just increase traffic to the website, this will determine the nature of the video.
Decide on a budget and start the planning process early on, so that you have enough time to inject plenty of creativity into the process. Question who your target customers are and what they want to form a creative brief for your video.
Watching online videos (not just hotel videos) will help you decide what style works for you and what won’t. Less is often more and 30 seconds of ‘amazing’ will always trump three minutes of ‘average’, so give yourself time to plan. A clearly planned shoot will provide far better quality footage than leaving it to chance. Do you need actors or voice artists, or can you simply capture the action of a normal day with normal guests? (NB: In most cases you will need permission and signed release forms before filming guests.)
It’s important to remember that a hotel video is all encompassing and requires input and cooperation from all hotel staff as well as, perhaps, some guests. Make everyone aware of the date of the shoot and get them excited about it. For example, you could include an interview with a particularly charismatic member of staff or perhaps get the chef to talk about this season’s recipes.
However, if you try something like this and it doesn’t work, don’t be afraid to ‘can’ it. Nothing harms your video more than a bad voiceover or a bad interview, so if you’re trying something risky, always have a plan B.
Hosting – a multi-prong approach
Once the video has been edited and produced, the next decision is how to host it. There are many different ways to host videos and all have their own benefits for different reasons. For most hotel brand videos, it’s best to have a multi-prong approach of self-hosting (using Wistia, Vidyard, Buto etc.) and social hosting (YouTube, Vimeo, Facebook etc.).
The advantages of embedding the video on your own website are numerous, the most obvious being the fact it will be highly-customisable, giving you far greater control over how the video looks and blends with the rest of your website.
Secondly, the SEO benefits to your site will be greater than by simply using one embedded from YouTube or Vimeo. All links to the video, whether shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or email will contain your own .url, meaning users are more likely to watch the video on your website, rather than somewhere they can be easily distracted by your competitors’ content.
Creating a video presence for your hotel
YouTube is the second biggest search engine after Google so it is recommended you set up your own YouTube channel, but it’s a good idea to published slightly altered versions of your videos from those on your own website.
Enhance your video SEO by creating ‘teaser’ versions of your videos and end with straplines like, “to watch the full version please head to www.mywebsite.co.uk/myvideo”, directing traffic to your website.
With self-hosted videos, users will be watching them on your website, capturing specific data as well as viewers’ email addresses, which can be added to email newsletter campaigns.
Promoting your hotel video
Once the videos are optimised and in place, the next step is promotion. Blog about the video, add it to your newsletter and post it across as many social channels as you can. Not only will this generate awareness of your hotel and website, it will also give you the opportunity to gather useful data to see how the video is performing.
By using a hosting service such as Wistia, you can collate analytics on how guests are viewing your videos in simple engagement graphs, allowing you to measure the success of your videos and determine whether you’ve achieved your goals. You can then repeat or improve the process as necessary.