June 15, 2020
By Olivia Cal

Relevant and engaging hotel video marketing is a proven way to reach potential guests, and event planners. In fact, Google discovered that 56% of people traveling on business, and 35% of those on pleasure trips, interacted at some point with hospitality-related videos. Read on to discover how videos drive direct bookings, and learn must-know hotel video marketing tips to help you create engaging content that converts.

Video matters, especially in the hotel business where visuals (the view, the amenities, the furnishings) have a powerful impact on the guest experience. Videos are the perfect medium to show, rather than tell, what makes your property spectacular. They also help your hotel:

  • Rank higher in search results. Videos are 50 times more likely to achieve organic page ranks in Google than plain text results, and the same applies to hotel video. Building a cache of videos puts you at the top of the Search Engine Results Page (SERP) and helps people find you.
  • Reach decision-makers. Almost 60% of company decision-makers would rather watch a video than read an article or blog post, according to HubSpot research. This can help you reach MICE sales decision-makers.
  • Build trust and brand awareness. Telling your hotel or venue’s story through video — including things like testimonials and answers to common questions — promotes authenticity, setting the foundation of your mission and letting customers know what they can expect from you.
  • Showcase standout features. With an average shot length of under 3 seconds, videos provide a highlight reel of different rooms and amenities. Video is a particularly effective way to sell hotel meeting space to Millennial event planners — 48% of this generation only watch videos on their mobile device.
  • Influence group booking decisions. Videos can be the differentiator when busy event planners are sourcing venues.
  • Increase open rates, click-throughs in emails, reduce unsubscribes. Including your hotel video in an email can boost click-through rates up to 65% and track audience engagement in a measurable way.
  • Boost conversions, sales, and revenue. Using videos on landing pages can increase conversions by 86% and grow revenue almost 50% faster than other strategies.

Now that you know the power of a hotel video, let’s look at tips for making them! And while we know that some of these tips may not be able to be applied during the COVID-19 pandemic, we hope that you can get the most out of them in the long run. Because, as Cvent CEO & Founder Reggie Aggarwal said, “the only way through is together. We prepare now for the better times ahead.”

Discover 11 must-know hotel video marketing tips:

1. Keep it short and get straight to the point

Your hotel videos are up against short attention spans, increasing competition for that minimal attention, and audience frustration with videos that don’t clearly explain a product or service. According to HubSpot, two minutes is the best length for marketing videos on YouTube — and that’s considered long-form!

You’ll enjoy the best results and engagement if you keep your hotel videos brief, and the information clear and concise. Here’s how to make it happen:

  • Include an introduction that piques interest and explains what’s in store.
  • Give a comprehensive tour, but speed up transitions between key locations so you don’t waste precious video time in hallways.
  • Use inclusionary language and shots that help the viewer imagine themselves relaxing in the pool or visiting the spa. (Think shots of doors opening, and voiceover narration that directly welcomes the viewer to “Discover unmatched service…” or “Step out of the hustle and bustle in our luxurious spa…”)

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2. Know your audience — and make sure you speak directly to them

Tailor what you’re showcasing in your hotel video to your target consumer. For example, event planners are going to want to see your meeting spaces and business center highlighted, rather than families frolicking in the pool.

Spend time creating a virtual customer persona and getting to know what they want. This is an effective way to conceptualise who you’re talking to in your hotel video. What are your guests and clients looking for? What are their pain points? What’s their style and what matters most to them during a stay or conference? Here are two examples to help you understand how this exercise can guide your hotel video content:

3. Choose shots that showcase your property accurately

Videos are your flagship content. They often make the first impression on your website homepage or pinned to the top of your YouTube channel. They must showcase what you do best — whether that’s a no-muss-no-fuss business travel experience or luxury spa services. Here’s how to pin down your focus so you get those key close-ups and wide shots:

  • Ask your hotel staff about their favorite offerings and architectural elements at your property.

  • Review customer feedback for mentions of common amenities and views.

  • Before you start shooting, make a shot list. Without one, you’ll likely miss shots only to remember when the video crew has packed up and left.

Once you decide what’s in your shots, you need to clarify the types of shots for each visual. Here your camera person can get creative, but in general:

  • Use a steady 3-second pan, zoom, or other basic camera moves for smaller hotel features, such as the lobby coffee area, guest bathrooms, and standout architectural features.

  • Use longer shots to show the scope of hotel exteriors, landscaping, exhibit halls, and conference rooms.

  • Always get multiple shots from different angles, so you have a lot of footage to work with in editing.

4. Use UX design best practices to embed video on your website

UX stands for the user experience of a website or app. When embedding videos on your website homepage or landing pages, there are a couple of UX fundamentals to keep in mind:

  • Prominently display your hotel video above the fold on your homepage. This is the part of the webpage visible the moment it loads — this way visitors don’t have to scroll to check out the video.

  • People scan websites in an F-pattern. This means they start at the upper left and scan across, then drop down a level and scan from left to right. Priority videos should go in the top left corner of the website.

  • Autoplay videos are unpopular. Make sure your hotel video does not automatically begin playing without someone clicking the play button.

  • Include subtitles.

5. Choose appealing and appropriate on-air talent and background music

When considering people for voiceover narration, an on-camera host, or interview subjects, make sure they’re tailored to your audience. If you do a lot of international business, someone with a distinguishable accent helps instill a feeling of familiarity. When drawing domestic attendees regionally, try to use talent with similar accents, whether that’s southern or northern.

If your average event planner is female, then having a woman’s voice improves comfort levels and builds trust. And if your video goal is drawing attention from high-powered corporate planners, your on-air and voiceover talent should convey professionalism and expertise — nothing too informal.

Additionally, background music helps accentuate the mood you’re trying to convey in your hotel video. Think fun, upbeat music for family vacations; techno beats for business trade shows; and sweeping, classical music for elegant properties and hotels with stunning views.

6. Educate your business travel audience with animation (but use sparingly)

Animation is a valuable way to explain complex subject matter. You can use animated visuals to demonstrate how your facility’s WiFi system reaches an outdoor pavilion, or to showcase the versatility of your A/V offerings.

Explore the free or low-cost online animation makers available, including AnimakerBiteable, and Moovly.

Finally, keep in mind that people relate to live-action video with friendly human faces and real places more than animation. Keep animation to a small percentage of your overall video content creation.

7. Be honest: Avoid over-generalisations or grandiose claims

The only thing worse than underwhelming guests with your properties and service? Setting high expectations and underdelivering in reality. Throughout your production, ask yourself: Does this paint an accurate picture of our hotel(s)? Of course, you should put your best foot forward, but don’t show a continental breakfast spread if that’s not included with every stay.

In the highly-competitive hospitality industry, reputation is everything; negative experiences result in up to four times as many bad reviews on TripAdvisor. Creating a hotel video with misleading claims or inaccurate information will damage your hotel brand — and fast.

For busy event planners, this is a huge faux pas they won’t forget anytime soon. Planners value clear and accurate communication from a prospective venue partner.

8. Include a clear and prominent call to action in your hotel video

Viewers who enjoyed your hotel video enough to stay to the end appreciate clear next-steps. For videos, that means a call to action (CTA) in on-screen text, as well as from the on-air host or voiceover narrator.

  • Create ad overlays for your hotel videos: To create these free ad overlays you simply need a YouTube channel and Google Ads account linked to the channel. The ad should be straightforward, including a link to your website and a line of copy that lets the viewer know what’s in it for them. For example, videos targeted to event planners may include a link to a downloadable guide to the hotel’s various venues. For videos directed to solo business travelers, the link may take them to a booking page.
  • Create clickable annotations: Incorporate simple annotations into your YouTube video encouraging people to “Explore More” by visiting your hotel website. For a video targeting corporate planners, this annotation would link to your event venue landing page.
  • Use natural and upbeat language: This gets the best results, whether it’s in on-screen text, voiceover or an on-air host. “Visit www.ourhotel.com is a lackluster CTA, for example. But “Discover our weekend getaway packages” may inspire a clickthrough.

9. Create a virtual reality tour

Today, it doesn’t take advanced equipment to create a virtual reality tour of your hotel that provides 360-degree views of guest rooms, the lobby, the pool, and event venues. You can create a detailed tour with a smartphone and Google Tour Creator.

When marketing to event planners, you can intersperse the tours with varied 3D event layouts. This demonstrates to planners that you’ll work with them to create a layout that meets the needs of their meeting or conference.

10. Add videos to your overall content marketing and advertising campaigns.

Make sure the messaging and style of your videos matches the branding of your hotel and your overall marketing strategy. Then add videos to marketing campaigns across channels. Ideas include:

  • A marketing email aimed at event planners. The hotel video can feature a professional video of venue spaces at your nationwide properties.

  • Sharing videos on social media platforms, such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.

  • A blog post including a video of the hotel chef cooking a favorite seasonal recipe.

  • Providing videos to influencers and affiliate marketers as part of your branded content resources.

  • And, of course, sharing videos on your hotel YouTube channel.

11. Optimise your videos so people can find them.

Whether your hotel video is posted on your website or YouTube, you need to use keywords so it shows up when people search those words. Here’s a primer on video search optimisation best practices:

  • Research a target keyword to guide your video title and video file. Use a keyword tool, such as those offered by Moz or Google Ads, and search words related to the subject of the video.
  • Front-load the first 100 characters of your video description with your targeted keyword and a call to action.
  • Tag your hotel video with the keyword, so YouTube understands its content and matches it to real-world searches.
  • Choose an appropriate, high-performing category for your video. This helps YouTube figure out who might be interested in your video. Some of the top categories include: entertainment, food, gaming, sports, and travel.
  • Upload an engaging custom thumbnail closely related to the video title (Make sure it’s 2MB or smaller, which translates to a .jpg, .gif, .png, or .bmp file sized 1280×720 pixels).
  • Transcribe your hotel video and repurpose the content into a blog post.

Inspiring examples of hotel videos:

Looking for inspiration? Check out these hotel videos we found that work to capture audience attention, build buzz, and prompt follow-up actions.

Malak Regency: This video features gorgeous visuals, concise shots, welcoming hotel staff, and text overlays. A short run time and clear call to action at the end make it a winner.

Universal’s Aventura Hotel: This production features two friendly hosts guiding the viewer through the hotel. They provide details that reinforce the visuals, while building engagement by talking directly to the viewer.

JW Marriott Kuwait City: This connects with the viewer by bringing them into the hotel alongside a guest arriving; providing experiential visuals heading down hallways and into rooms; and showing interactions with smiling hotel staff.

Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge: Disney’s brand is practically synonymous with fun. So for this family-focused property, they created a video that features guests enjoying immersive entertainment, dining, and wildlife adventures. Interviews with interesting staff members further conveys the positive, friendly spirit of the lodge.

Tierra Patagonia Hotel & Spa: In this hotel video, shots of stunning natural wonders take center stage and are interspersed with video of adventurous guests and snippets of hotel amenities. With a sweeping musical backdrop, you learn every hotel element showcases the grandeur of the Andes Mountains.

Use these hotel video tips to produce amazing content!

Hotel videos generate visibility for your properties, engage corporate travel buyers and event planners, and win you new customers. In other words, they’re extremely important, and they should be a significant part of your marketing strategy.

Up next, discover how prepare your hotel for hybrid events and win more MICE business once your hotel re-opens.

Profile pic Olivia Cal

Olivia Cal

Olivia started her writing career as a music, film and theatre critic before moving into B2B. She has had 3+ years of experience writing for martech companies, covering digital marketing, retail and hospitality. When she isn't writing, she can be found with a good book or PC gaming.
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