Travel Trends from YouTube: What Hotel Marketers Need to Know About Video

The recent #ALSIceBucketChallenge has shown us that video compels people in ways that photo and text alone can’t – moving media is expressive, makes a connection and is memorable.

How else to best illustrate the emotional and physical shock of pouring ice water on yourself or allowing others to dunk you?


In the “now” economy, consumers want snackable chunks of visual content, particularly with video offering consumers an opportunity to visit your property virtually and make a booking when the time is right. In fact, in 2013, 81% of online travel bookers consulted videos before making a purchase. This statistic is significant, but perhaps not surprising – considering 65% of consumers are visual learners.

One of the easiest ways for marketers to get started is to use a video-sharing platform like YouTube to broadcast your story to the world. And today’s online travel shoppers turn to YouTube to do just that: to find out what makes your hotel unique, to get a better glimpse of the experience they’ll have at your hotel, and to provide confidence that this is the right choice for them.

For insights into what travel content people are watching online, Google recently published the first-ever YouTube Travel Whitepaper which revealed some significant video trends.

Key Trends

  • According to the data, travelers are increasingly using mobile devices to consume travel-related videos anytime and anywhere; in 2013, mobile devices accounted for roughly 30% of all travel video views, with mobile viewing up 97% on smartphones and 205% on tablets, year over year
  • 88% of YouTube travel searches focus on destinations, attractions/points of interest or general travel ideas


  • Compared with the average YouTube user, travelers are 18x more likely to watch videos about restaurants (which is in line with our stats on the most popular hotel images)
  • While travel watchers on YouTube are interested in user-generated content (UGC), the majority of travel-related views (67%) are for brand or professionally released videos. In fact, views of branded videos are up 394% year over year and we see companies with a strong brand presence, such as Turkish Airlines, Disney Parks & Resorts and Expedia, making the most of this opportunity



What This Means for Hotel Marketers

  • Mobile travel activities are growing faster than expected with 52% of consumers using smartphones to research trips and 25% to book accommodations. This begs the question: considering the time and money spent driving consumers to your property, are your hotel stories mobile-optimized throughout the shopping journey?
  • Travel shoppers want to know what to expect from the destination as a whole, not just what the hotel offers. That’s why showcasing local attractions in your hotel story is smart.
  • An optimized mobile experience makes it super easy for travel shoppers to learn about your property and book when the time is right. Don’t be “swiped” off the consideration list because of a bad or non-existent experience. Good stories aren’t told once, they’re told over and over again, so enable sharing via email, texting and across your most popular social sites

Practical Takeaways

Google’s research revealed that travelers:

  • Use mobile to consume content more than ever before
  • Visit YouTube as a primary source for travel inspiration
  • Watch travel videos across devices
  • Consumers aged 18 to 24 subscribe to content focused on inspiration for future travel (such as video blogs a.k.a. vlogs)
  • Consumers aged 25 to 64 subscribe to content to help them plan current travel (reviews, travel brands and travel networks)
  • Today’s online travel shoppers also watch video content in other categories during travel research (restaurants, spas and beauty services, finance, extreme sports, and cooking and recipes)

5 Tips for Hotel Marketers

1. If your hotel is on a tight digital marketing budget, there are options available for video production without breaking the bank
2. A recent trend in digital hotel marketing is the use of condensed “snackable” videos. Short videos are quick and easy to watch and they convey their messages more effectively than a longer video packed with more and varied information. Consider creating two to three 12 – 45 seconds videos that capture the unique features & amenities of the property
3. You can create a slideshow video out of your hotel’s high quality photography for an easy and cost effective jump start. Slideshow videos can fill the rich media void for travel shoppers and achieve similar goals
4. Create a video of your front desk manager or concierge taking consumers on a quick virtual tour of your hotel that showcases several wonderful property experiences waiting for them
5. Trigger an emotional response by using charming visuals of your hotel’s location, staff, and/or surrounding landscapes. Don’t forget to include brand appropriate background music to round out your story

Best Practice Examples

  • Hotel Galvez has done an excellent job at capturing that winning combination with a video that is entertaining, inspiring, and informative
  • Hilton Puerto Vallarta uses testimonial videos to drive home their message. In fact, 87% of people who see positive reviews online are more likely to visit a destination, so use video to broadcast the positive experience of past guests


  • Delta London Armouries used video to show a sneak peek into the inside world of their property, generating interest and a closer connection with travel shoppers
  • Atlantis The Palm in Dubai unveiled their new waterpark ride with a 60 second fun-filled video showing off the latest aqua adventures, complete with shrieking thrill seekers!


Learn more about creating hotel videos that compel travellers to book in our free eBook, Seeing is Believing: Five Steps to Transforming Your Hotel’s Online Presence with Video.

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