As the economy of the United States continues to pick up steam, it’s only natural to see tourism numbers rise as people look to take vacations they may have been putting off for years. With their newfound disposable income or suddenly growing savings account, the hunt for their destination of choice begins in earnest. Some will head into the cities for shopping, fine dining and cultural experiences, some will head out west for the mountains, clear air and seemingly never ending sky and some will head to the beaches where they can kick off their shoes, grab a cold drink and unplug from the world. OK, unplug from the world might be pushing it a little bit but in the end, all of them will be heading somewhere and unless they’re tenting it or staying with the in-laws (God forbid), they’re going to need somewhere to stay. That’s where you, Mr. Resort/Hotel Owner, come in. How do you set your resort apart and grab the attention of the vacation-starved desk jockey looking for their escape from reality? The answer is clear – video.
Go to any of the major travel sites such as Expedia, Trip Advisor, Oyster, etc. and the only thing that matches the ubiquity of the reviews is the images. They’re everywhere. Trip Advisor is filled with them, including user provided photos we really don’t want to see (no one needs a close up of the tiny spot of mold in the corner of the shower). Expedia features them at the top of each hotel’s page and taking pictures is seemingly all they do at Oyster. Guess what? It’s worked well for them so there’s really no need to change their formula. So how do you help yourself rise above the crowd? By giving that stressed out nine to fiver a show he or she won’t soon forget – a virtual experience that only video can provide.
Video gives the consumer an immersive experience images can’t provide no matter how pretty the pictures are. Sure, it’s nice to see a bunch of images of the interior of a room and its magnificent view. Give the customer a virtual walkthrough via video, though, and all of a sudden those images come to life. Instead of a still image of the view from their balcony, let the anticipation of that selling point slowly build as the camera pans from the interior rooms towards the balcony and the cacophony of colors from outside slowly fill the screen. It’s the money shot and it’s an opportunity you’re missing out on if you aren’t utilizing video.
Imagine what you can do with the rest of your resort. That pool and the manicured grounds you’re so proud of? Instead of displaying the customary images everyone else is using, use video to show people enjoying the pool, splashing around and having a good time with their newest friends. Or take potential customers on a virtual walk around your property, showing off all the hard work you’ve put into making your resort what it is. Immerse themselves in your property and let the viewer feel like they’ve already visited your resort and can’t wait to go back.
In an article posted at peppergang.com (link to http://www.peppergang.com/how-hotels-and-resorts-use-video-marketing-to-reach-the-gen-c-consumer/), they state that “89% of leisure travelers and 93% of business travelers watch online travel videos.” The article goes on to say that YouTube gets over 1 billion unique visitors a month and has 100 hours of video uploaded to its site each minute. A surprising point noted in the article – YouTube reaches more US persons in the 18-34 demographic than any cable channel. Is that really a population you want to miss out on?
You can keep doing what you’re doing and hope you’re fancy stylized images are enough to make an impression on the rapidly scanning eyes of your potential consumer or you can share a video with them and not only make them take notice but keep their attention for a few minutes instead of a couple seconds. There’s a reason Instagram added video sharing capabilities and why Vine and Snapchat are the next big things in social media. If society was happy with still images, they wouldn’t have made moving ones.