Moving Picture Magic (3 of 3)

Head of Research and Insights
Published 8/8/18
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8 Key Themes of Top Performing Videos from DMOs

This blog is part of the three blog series, "Moving Picture Magic - Top 10 Performing Online Videos from Destination Marketing Organizations Around the Globe".
Blog 1: Introduction to Video Analysis & First 5 of the Top 10 Online Videos from DMOs
Blog 2: 
Top Performing Online Videos from DMOs, Videos #6-10

In the first 2 blogs of this series, we highlighted 10 video examples from destinations as diverse as Florida and California in the United States, New Zealand, Australia, Iceland and Norway. Each illustrated different storytelling devices and elements of successful online video styles in travel. This blog summarizes 8 themes that emerged from the video analysis. Consider these features and characteristics in planning your own online video.

1. Integration of Video with Web Content/Campaigns

Most successful online videos from DMOs are conceived and executed as one part of an overall content strategy with supporting and complementary content. See Visit Finland

2. Education vs. Marketing

Top online videos from DMOs often inform and educate in a fun, engaging style. For example, Promote Iceland focused their video efforts on educating and informing visitors with rich online content and a quirky sense of humor. See Iceland Academy

3. Image-based Storytelling

Great visuals combined with subtitles, visual cues and sound can tell a story in a simple and powerful manner with universal appeal. These top videos have exceptional imagery and with a focus on visuals, it works well with international visitors and avoids language barriers. See Northern Lights, Dog’s View of St Augustine & Swimming with Manatees 

4. 360 Videos

Another opportunity with visual storytelling, 360 videos have the additional benefit of interactivity and engagement. This is more relevant than ever with the opportunities available from the new Google Street View open publishing platform, including 4K high quality, low cost 360 cameras (also available through a loan program). See examples from Tourism Australia & Visit Dubai

      • More: Watch a short overview of the new Street View Open Publishing Platform and new cameras from Miles’ CA Clark in this short webinar.

5. Contests & Campaigns

Strong destination campaigns almost always use online video as a single part of all the media assets being leveraged. Online videos can help support and expand on a campaign’s message through rich storytelling and by highlighting other opportunities for engagement and integration including social media programs and competitions. See Visit London’s Autumn Campaign

6. Family of Videos

The best online videos from DMOs are often part of a series.  These highly effective video series have complementary content and typically vary in length from short 15 second “mini” stories or ads to long format, storytelling videos of at least 2 minutes.  See Visit Norway

7. Power of the Spokesperson

A recognizable spokesperson can generate reach but having an authentic spokesperson is far more important. While James Cameron in the Tourism New Zealand example is recognizable, the most powerful part of a spokesperson must be their authenticity- speaking with passion, conviction and knowledge on a destination. 

8. Popular Culture

Linking the story of a destination’s online video to popular culture can also be a smart storytelling device (see Visit California’s Comic-Con Video).  As in movies, storytelling in online videos that connects to themes, events or even humor from popular culture can make the content both fun, accessible and shareable. 


Finally, we can also highlight the opportunity for DMOs to increase their performance in online video.  The expanded reach of social influencers with online travel channels on YouTube (travel “vloggers”) illustrate this opportunity. We identified 10 of the top travel vloggers on YouTube and compared them to the reach of DMOs. These 10 travel vloggers alone have more total video views and 5x the subscribers on YouTube than 92 of the largest North American DMOs, all 50 state tourism organizations and the 42 largest city CVBs combined (as of April 2018). This suggests that the personal, first-person stories of vloggers and their more authentic, “edgy” storytelling styles have real appeal.  There are important lessons here for DMOs and in a future blog, we will look at these influencers and vloggers in more detail.