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Why hotels should use online video and how to get started

Posted by Tanya Timmers on Oct 6, 2015 3:00:00 PM
Tanya Timmers

Video can be a huge game-changer when it comes to increasing bookings at your hotel. It's a highly effective means of marketing - just have a look at some of these stats.

But only a small number of hotels are actually incorporating video into their marketing strategy. I can see why. Hiring a video production company may seem like a big investment and attempting to shoot your own video can seem rather technical, right?

Well, be assured, it doesn't have to be that way. Here are a few hassle-free ways to get started with video for your hotel. 

Get one good video about your hotel on your website

When you're new to using video, you might find it easier to get started by putting together a single good quality video for your hotel website.

So what should you include in this video? A study conducted in 2014 about what visitors are looking for in a hotel video showed that people most want to see an informational video that shows the rooms and amenities of the hotel.

What's important when you get your video together is that it captures the vibe of the hotel. One example of a hostel that did this really well is United Backpackers in Melbourne and Port Douglas, Australia. One of the best things about their video is this: they certainly didn't have a big budget when they first got started. For their first videos they actually asked a guest - who happened to be a videographer - to make a video for them in exchange for free accommodation. 

This awesome video for United Backpackers in Port Douglas was shot by a hostel guest - who could tell?

"We always planned to use video for the backpackers, as it gives a lot more vibe to our online presence than just pictures," United Backpackers general manager Anna Heaton told me. And it worked - their latest Melbourne video managed to get over 600 views in the first 24 hours!

Get active with some DIY

If you don't have a budget to constantly crank out top quality production videos, there's other ways you can incorporate video in your marketing strategy.

Short DIY video shot on a decent smartphone can still be great for sharing across your social media platforms. Instagram has a limit of only 15 seconds per video, so it's okay if the standard is a little lower. If used creatively, it can still be highly effective.

The Beverly Hills Hotel took a few seconds of footage just from their view which looks so visual, it fits perfectly into an Instagram stream.

The fun part of DIY video is that it can be very simple, and on social media you can put a little personality into your video. Show your staff. Make a short video themed to a specific holiday or event. Have fun with it, share it, and see what happens.

Use the right video format

An important thing to keep an eye on when starting with video is getting the format right.

As mentioned before, the threshold for social media videos can be a little bit lower, but the main videos you share on your website should be high quality. So get a videographer on board if you have to, and make sure you communicate your needs well so the video aligns with your brand.

Next, your video has to be the correct length. Attention spans are low for online video, so in general you want to keep your videos as short as possible, especially on social media. On Facebook, videos of one minute tend to do well, but the shorter the video, the more likely it is viewers will watch it until the end. On YouTube and your website, a 3-minute video is fine, but you probably wouldn't want to go much longer than that.

Find out where to post your video

For hotels that are new to video, I'd recommend creating a YouTube account, uploading your video there and then embedding that video onto your hotel website. YouTube is easy to use and comes with some integrated analytics so you can track the success of your video. The best thing about YouTube is that it has great SEO value.

Did you know that YouTube is the second biggest search engine in the world, and that it gets over 3 billion searches every month? With limited competition from other hotels, you can take advantage of this! Come up with a good title for your video and add a description and some relevant tags to help your video get found. Also include a link at the end of your video and in the description to direct people back to your website 

Then of course, if you have a really good quality video, get it in front of people. Some OTAs and review sites let you include video. You can send your current customer list an email with a link to your video. Share your video on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social platform you might have, send it to influencers, and really market video to get a wide reach. 

Have fun with it

Video should be fun. Like with other marketing content, it should offer something your (potential) guests will value and enjoy. There's a massive opportunity for hoteliers to jump onto video because there aren't many other hotels doing it yet, and the overall results of using video in your marketing are astounding.

So start small with one main video or some DIY clips and see how people respond. Let us know how you go!


Topics: Hospitality marketing, Hotels