Online Travel Videos

The Case for Hotel Videos - By Madigan Pratt

Do you know any hoteliers that have been putting off creating professionally produced videos for their small luxury hotel? I’ll bet you do and the reason is most likely that they are just too expensive. Really?

Madigan Pratt Do you know any hoteliers that have been putting off creating professionally produced videos for their small luxury hotel? I’ll bet you do and the reason is most likely that they are just too expensive. Really?

This is perhaps the most common reason a company, including hotels, will use when it doesn’t want to purchase something. Sure, it will cost money, but what are the benefits? How much revenue will videos produce? What will be your return on investment? It’s not about how much something costs, but how ROI a hotel can expect.

The problem is no video production company will guarantee a hotel how much incremental revenue professionally produced and properly promoted videos will generate. Consequently, a general manager or hotel marketing director needs to make their case to management to spend $10,000 to $15,000 or more on videos without having hard numbers on how much revenue they will produce. It’s a risky proposition in an industry that has historically been risk adverse.

Calculating the return on investment (and videos should be looked upon as a long-term investment) can be tricky. But here are three things to look at to help reduce the risk:

  • Trends
  • Research
  • Competition
Let’s look at each one.

Trends

Research from Google in mid-2013 showed that over 55% of affluent individuals watched online travel videos, up 10% from the previous year. This is the perfect target audience for small luxury hotels. Table - Google Video Research

Given the explosion of online travel videos, what do you think affluent traveler viewership is today and will be over the next few years?  If a hotel doesn’t have professionally produced videos now, it’s unlikely they will have them in time to affect business in 2014 or even early 2015.

But wait, there’s more.

Research

What are people saying and doing today? For that we go to a recently published research study by Software Advice (a hotel management research and reviews company) conducted among 2,345 travelers. They asked respondents five questions about their video preferences. Here are responses to three.

  • Where do travelers prefer to watch videos? – Software Advice asked travelers, if they were researching accommodations for an upcoming trip, on which site would they prefer to view a hotel’s videos. Here is what they said:
Graph - Where do travelers prefer to watch videosFifty percent would like to see them on your website. Another 34% would like to see then on YouTube or your YouTube channel. Amazing! Nearly 85% of people want to see videos on two channels that hoteliers control.

So 55% of affluent travelers (in 2013) are watching travel videos and people overwhelmingly want to see them in places a hotel can control. Why not give travelers what they want where they want it to help facilitate a sale? What implications does this have on potential ROI?

  • What content  persuades you to book? – More than two-thirds of people wanted to see videos that showcase a hotel’s amenities and features and slightly less than one-third wanted to see information on nearby activities.
Graph - What content  persuades you to bookProviding the right combination of information about your hotel and nearby attractions will help increase bookings.
  • What to feature at your property – There are no surprises here. Over 75% of respondents were interested in seeing rooms, suites and common areas along with the spa, pool and gym.
Graph - What to feature at your propertyThere are a couple more questions included in the Software Advice research, but the bottom line of this and the Google research is:
  • Videos are more important today to affluent travelers then they have ever been
  • Videos are an important factor in getting people to book a hotel stay
  • Videos will most likely be even more important as time goes on
Competition

Look around at the properties you consider your major competition.

If they are not using professional videos to sell their property you have a real opportunity to gain a significant advantage over them. That advantage could be sustainable for as long as they fail to embrace the need to provide videos to help their online visitors book their property.

If they are using professional videos and you are not, you are at a competitive disadvantage. Think about it.

Summary

There is plenty of additional research available all pointing to the same fact. Professional videos are an important component in promoting hotel travel today. Potential guests are viewing them and hotels that have them stand a better chance of closing the sale.

Sure they cost money. But hoteliers shouldn’t let the bean counters prevent them from making smart marketing and business building decisions.  With the right research behind as support the risk is greatly reduced.

And remember, videos aren’t just for a website or YouTube. To get the greatest return on an investment on videos they need to be part of an integrated marketing program and included in sales presentations, social media, public relations and email marketing.

Videos produced today can work for a small luxury hotel for many years to come. Amortize the cost over several years and today’s investment can produce a significant ROI for years to come, especially if the trend in increased travel video viewership continues.

My Advice

Hotels need to understand the cost for video but need to focus more on the potential ROI. You may not always be right, but with proper research and investigation you’ll be right much more than 50% of the time. And, your property will most likely be leading rather than following the competition.

Madigan Pratt


About Madigan Pratt

Madigan Pratt is President of MP&A Digital & Advertising, an award-winning agency helping luxury hotels attract and retain profitable customers. Principals with over 60 years of collective experience at some of the world's largest advertising and direct marketing companies lead the agency's team of marketing, creative, public relations, Internet and social media professionals. Follow Madigan on Twitter at A_Mad_Man or on his Hospitality Marketing Blog. The agency relocated from New York to Williamsburg, VA in 2006.



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