YouTube receives more than one billion unique visitors every month – that’s more than any other channel, apart from Facebook. And as we all know by now, Facebook has video content on auto-play as you scroll through your news feed. By 2017, video will account for 69% of all consumer internet traffic, according to Cisco.
Travel-marketing experts need to plan accordingly, as video is becoming the expected content for almost all generations, specifically the Gen Y/Millennials audience. Destination Analysts recently released their research for The State of the American Traveler for 2015. This research is packed full of proof that, as marketers to globetrotters of all types, we need to set a level of personalization to our audiences by delivering specialized content with a strategic distribution plan to get this message to the right people at the right time via the right device and media. (For more about The State of the American Traveler you can check out Chris Adams’ latest blog, “State of the American Traveler – The Generations Are Positive and Diverse,” or you can download the report here.)
Ooyala has claimed a tenth of all video plays happen on mobiles and tablets, and it’s an increasingly important segment, with mobile phones holding 41% more share of video consumption at the end of June 2013 than at the start of that year. While video may not be the top-of-line content for travel marketing to make this happen, it is surely on the rise for other media outlets and will continue to expand in the travel marketing world.
Travelers want to experience destinations before they get there. Video inspires travelers to get jazzed about planning their whole experience before they arrive, wherever it is they spend their time daydreaming about. Nielsen claims 64% of marketers expect video to dominate their strategies in the near future. It’s not difficult to see why.
But some may ask, with smaller marketing budgets, is video really possible for everyone? Absolutely. Production costs are lower and several technology outfits such as Twitter’s Vine can bring production costs down. We need to remember how easily accessible we can make our videos: Don’t just post it up in one spot like your website; put it on Youtube, Vimeo, Facebook, Twitter, etc. Don’t forget to be social – share it like crazy.
As marketers we have to be smart with our strategies, starting with being creative. The days of Rick Steves as video tour guide are growing old, and now is the time to make your travel videos more experiential. By using different filming techniques such as first person POV with equipment like GoPro cameras and showing epic views of destinations with drone footage, you can really capture an audience’s attention and make them feel like they are already in the destination – if not excite them enough to want to experience the destination for themselves.
Content strategy can be a tricky thing, and this isn’t to say that video should be your only content. But if you’re leaving it out from your mix of print and online content marketing, you could be missing out on opportunities to engage your audience further. Inspirational videos are a natural way to lead users to the planning stage and using your planning tools so they can experience your destination the way it’s meant to be.
I was recently a part of a team that planned and produced highly engaging and experiential videos that promote the Scenic Byways of the State of Maryland. With the use of different filming techniques and point of views, mixed with great music and overlay graphics, we created some of the most engaging videos I’ve ever been a part of. These videos are still in final production, so look forward to seeing them soon on the Maryland website at VisitMaryland.org.