This article from Windmill Networking hits the nail directly on the head when said it says:
“In an increasingly visual world, it’s imperative for brands to think outside of the box in order to differentiate themselves from competitors and stay ahead of the curve. Hotels in particular are able to do this in a unique way, since every hotel has some sort of defining quality that sets it apart from others.”
At the risk of sounding cliché, we already know that a picture is worth a thousand words. A picture can tell a story online in a way that is informative as well as engaging, and provide details to travel shoppers that words could never convey. This being said, the key to success will be moving beyond simple photos and pushing the boundaries.
If a single image can give this much context to travel shoppers, consider what a video of your hotel could do. When a website contains video, shoppers spend on average an additional 2 minutes on the page and are 64% more likely to buy compared to non-video sites[i].
By adding videos to your website and all the websites where your hotel is listed, you’re giving online travel shoppers more information about your hotel and influencing their booking decisions. How do we know this? Our customers have seen it first-hand and there are countless studies that prove it. For example, in a study by PhoCusWright 89% of travel shoppers stated that travel related online video influenced their travel purchase decisions[ii]
Story Kirshman, Marketing Manager at The BROADMOOR Hotel, knows first-hand that visuals can impact booking decisions. “With so much shopping, comparing and competition online, we need to ensure that our property stands out and gives travel shoppers as much information as possible and quickly,” she explains. To improve her visual presence on the web, Story began syndicating video to thousands of online touch points. As a result, she immediately saw a 25% increase in online bookings, and a consistent 6%-10% increase of traffic to their website every month.
Now it’s time for you to start thinking outside the “online merchandising box” and develop creative ways to use photos and videos to set your hotel apart from your competition. What are you going to do?
Here are some examples to get you thinking.
Get your guests involved. Joie de Vivre hotels are really taking it to the next level when it comes to online video marketing. They transformed their standard check in process into an American Idol styled singing contest, where visitors competed for room upgrades. These videos were then uploaded to YouTube so people could vote for their favorites to win. It proved to be a far more successful hotel marketing campaign than they had originally thought, even winning them a top Social Media Promotions award from Travel + Leisure.
User-generated videos (like Joie de Vivre’s) are also a great way to drive engagement on your social media pages. Holiday Inn Buena Park Hotel & Conference Center created a video contest for their employees where they were asked to create videos that shared “What Holiday Inn Buena Park means to them.” The videos were posted on YouTube and Facebook where visitors to voted for their favorites.
Tell your story. In addition to curating user- or guest-generated videos on your social media channels, your hotel will benefit from having videos featured on your website. These should be produced professionally and highlight the features that set your hotel apart from your competition while telling a story.
Video can add to your information filled pages and give a richer experience that engages the viewer even more which translates into improved conversions. But always keep in mind that travel shoppers are also seeing your hotel on third-party websites, so your video needs to be syndicated out to them as well – like online travel agencies, review sites, corporate booking tools, and so on.
The BROADMOOR has done an excellent job of integrating videos into their website and across third party websites. With videos that feature each aspect of the hotel – resort overview, meetings, golf, spa, activities, history – they are able to tell their hotel’s story in a way that is more engaging and interactive then simple text and images.
This being said, don’t be intimidated by the thought of producing videos. There are resources out there to help you make it an easy, seamless, and budget-friendly!
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then video is priceless. It helps you differentiate yourself from the rest and stay ahead of the curve. Think about what aspect of your hotel sets you apart from the others and feature it in video. Other hotels are doing it; it’s time you do the same.