Industry Update
Opinion Article 4 January 2016

Why You Need a Video Marketing Strategy - Now!

By Babs Harrison, Managing director of Phoenix based Babs Harrison and Partners

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The compelling reason is mobile - that is why you need a video component in any 2016 marketing and content creation strategy.

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That is the takeaway from recent research conducted by Ipsos for Google. A foundational argument is that in the mobile age there has been a shift away from "the moment of truth" in selling to what Ipsos calls "micro moments:" "These micro-moments are the new battleground for hearts, minds, and wallets," said Ipsos.

The company elaborated: "Increasingly, we're seeing that these moments happen while people are watching video on their mobile devices. When it comes to digital video viewership, mobile's small but mighty screen is having a profound impact. In fact, 50% of global viewership on YouTube comes from mobile devices."

Tnooz has flamed this fire for hotel marketers in particular with statistics it attributes to Google UK sales director Dr. Bernd Fauser. The numbers jump off the page: 65% of consumers use video when thinking about taking a trip; 63% use it in deciding on an accommodation; and 67% use it in deciding on activities.

Isn't video just for millennials? Nope, although millennials are the most active group in watching. But the 55+ cohort is the second most active, according to Tnooz.

Those numbers add up to this: Ignore video at your own peril.

Is this a play for only the big budget crowd? Fauser said not in the Tnooz piece: "You don't need huge budgets, it's about the content people engage with. Anyone can be an artist, you just need a good idea. You can reach a lot of people in a very emotional way."

Creative imagination - not money - is the winning ingredient. So is emotional authenticity. Be real. Never be manipulative. Video is not your personal soapbox for shouting about your property's superiority in your opinion.

What else not to do: my advice is forget using models who look like models, actors who look like actors, and any script that reeks of the heavy hand of an anxious DoSM. You want video that seems natural, organic, unscripted.

And if guests are posting their own videos of your property, you are in clover. My suggestion: run a promotion where guests are explicitly encouraged to post videos - then hunt for them and link to the best, with a grateful hat tip to the artful guest.

The wonderful thing: hotels and especially resorts usually have much that lends itself to video moments.

Right now, I am working up a video menu for a resort in Arizona that will highlight the property's lovely and unique art collection, the gorgeous patio dining, the location with a picture perfect view of Camelback Mountain, and the spacious, tastefully decorated rooms. Over time the video library will grow - videos of moments in the many classes offered by the resort are an obvious addition - but the immediate objective is just to get started.

These will all be short videos, really just a few minutes apiece. But storyboard the video before shooting. Do this quickly and easily by assembling a sequence of still photos that tell the story - and, oh yes, every video should in fact tell a story. Yes, I said the video should seem unscripted - but definitely script it. It is too easy to make three minutes of nothing that just bores viewers.

When we have the videos in hand, the present plan is to host them at Google's YouTube, with links to same from the resort's website.

The rest of the plan is to do silent films no audio - and that means very probably the iPhone 6 camera will be good enough. An advantage of using a smartphone: it just does not seem too slick, too sales and marketing in character. Its informality ought to work to heighten effectiveness especially for mobile phone watchers.

We'll also closely monitor comments on the videos we post - and use that viewer feedback to better shape ongoing efforts.

Want more inspiration? Start by looking at any videos posted by your competitive set. Add in study of some of the top video travel bloggers.

And have fun. Content created without a spirit of fun just flops. Always.

Babs Harrison

Babs Harrison is managing director of Phoenix based Babs Harrison and Partners, a boutique public relations/marketing consultancy for select luxury resorts, hotels, and spas. Harrison has 25 years of experience in hospitality and has worked with leading brands in the US and internationally .

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