Moving Picture Magic - 2020 Edition - Part 1

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Video Analysis of Top Performing Online Videos from DMOs

This blog is part of a series, "Moving Picture Magic - 2020 Edition" showcasing top performing online videos from DMOs around the world. Read part two here.

For the last five years, Miles has analyzed top performing online videos from destination marketing organizations (DMOs) around the world. 

In late 2019 and early 2020, we reviewed the online video libraries (primarily on YouTube) from 180+ DMOs videos from around the world to bring another set of standout videos.  We have identified a top ten list as well as a wider gallery for more ideas and inspiration.  

Videos are an important part of travel and tourism content and are critical to turning inspiration into action. A recent study from Longwoods International's COVID-19 Travel Sentiment Study showed that online travel videos are used by approximately one-third of U.S. leisure travelers in their trip planning (or trip dreaming during the crisis) - a figure that has been on the rise over the last decade, before the start of coronavirus.

The first five of our top ten list are featured below. This summary and analysis began with work undertaken initially by the University of Waikato in New Zealand. A special shout to Astral Sligo, one of Miles' team members in our New Zealand office, for her contribution to this project.

1. Enjoying Nature in Puerto Rico

Through its United Stories campaign, Visit The USA brings viewers right into the heart and soul of Puerto Rico, via the lens of a local photographer and traveler.  Fernando Samalot, a native Puerto Rican, spent one year exploring the islands and discovering hidden gems he didn’t even know existed.  Samalot’s narration of his experience has a unique way of making viewers feel like they are discovering right alongside him.  His lens travels through lush landscapes, hiking trails, swimming holes, ocean vistas, vibrant streets and more, showing one can enjoy true, profound cultural experiences in their own backyard. This message of how locals can explore and rediscover the detail and beauty of their own home is particularly powerful in a world facing travel restrictions - and with local businesses needing locals' support.

Discover Puerto Rico opened its doors in 2018 as the first public/private DMO in the island’s history and marked its one-year anniversary in 2019 by announcing a record-breaking year in tourism.  The organization is very active in promoting its brand through video, with a robust collection posted on its YouTube channel within the past year.  The award-winning “Have We Met Yet?” campaign launched the DMO’s new brand identity, welcoming viewers to the tropical island paradise through a series of colorful doors and subtly “re-introducing” the island post-Hurricane Maria as the neighbor you want to get to know.

2. Now and Then

As part of the “Only Vegas Moments” campaign, the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority (LVCVA) released “Now and Then”, a video featuring a same-sex couple returning to Las Vegas, where they first met. The character and story development is so gripping, in-depth and real, that viewer comments were begging for this to be made into a movie. Its LGBTQ focus has been called “game-changing” and has received overwhelming positive response and support on social media.

The video was featured in a Forbes article, where CMO of LVCVA, Cathy Tul, was quoted saying, “The Las Vegas brand has always been about adult freedom, without judgment, which empowers visitors to be and do what they may feel they cannot at home. For us, it’s less about a change in marketing to the LGBTQ community and more about creating narratives that reflect relatable life events in which people can envision themselves in a similar experience.”

3. German Summer Cities

Casting the net far and wide, this video promotes the idea of spending time in any one of Germany’s glorious cities during summer.  From romantic Germany and high-profile sightseeing destinations, to urban city highlights, arts/culture and coastal experiences, the German National Tourist Board (GNTB) designed this charming global campaign to appeal to all markets.  The only words in the video are within a cheerful song, and yet the story is powerful, as “told” through members of society from all walks of life, those often forgotten in video creation and targeting. 

The accompanying digital campaign had a landing page and was complemented by “action weeks” and pop-up events, plus comprehensive social media activity in numerous source markets, using the hashtag #GermanSummerStories. On Instagram alone, almost 5,000 posts have been tagged with the campaign’s hashtag.

The main video has been recut and the song remixed to create five 30-second videos, which have attracted between 1.5 and 1.8 million views each.

4. SPC Events: Tampa Bay Rowdies

This shorter, energetic video definitely makes viewers want to get in on the action!  With a beat reminiscent of a high school drumline, viewers are introduced to diehard fans known as “Ralph’s mob," an independent supporter group named after Ralph Rowdie, the fictional character from the original Rowdies logo.  This is just one, in a new social series of 67 videos released in under a year by Visit St. Pete Clearwater in a strategy to engage visitors and buck the idea that Florida is just a beach playground.  The series celebrates St. Pete/Clearwater’s culture, customs and one-of-a-kind events within five defined categories: Savor This, Best Ever SPC, Indulging With, SPC Events and Mobile Kitchen, all of which can be viewed on St. Pete/Clearwater's YouTube channel.

In a recent case study completed by Odyssey, the content studio at Miles Partnership, this social series brought 5M+ video views, 30K+ new social followers and 122%+ increase in minutes viewed over a 10-month timeframe. Click here to review the case study for additional background and detail.   

5. California Dreamer: Esalen is an Analog Oasis in a Digital World

Visit California’s California Dreamer series is an inspiring and entertaining original series that profiles people in California who are chasing their dreams and making them come true. There are 23 videos in this series so far, with more episodes yet to be released. In a world of digital addiction, Esalen Institute is a place to disconnect from technology, allowing distractions to fall away and free thinking to flow.  It is a place to dream and explore human potential. The zen-like music and soft voices of those telling the Esalen story, along with gorgeous campus views along the Big Sur coast, make it easy for viewers to picture themselves there.

Bonus Features: Oldies but Goodies

The following two videos launched back in 2017, but are continuing to generate strong, organic traffic and definitely stand out as viewer favorites.

The Hardest Karaoke Song in the World

With a quirky, authentic style viewers have come to expect, Inspired by Iceland does not disappoint in one of its latest video hits in which viewers are challenged to follow along and sing “the hardest karaoke song in the world.”  The video features the a‑ö of Iceland (the Icelandic equivalent of an A‑Z guide), brought to you by a comedic local host and conveyed through a song that is a definite “ear worm”, sure to stay with viewers long after the video has been ended.  Accompanied by visually engaging content and the unequivocal beauty that is Iceland, this video is hard to forget.

It’s also worth mentioning that the video generated over 22,000 comments.

text about iceland video on a grey background

Inspired by Iceland brings a distinctive and genuine Icelandic feel to all of their video content, starting with their hosts and the use of sometimes slightly edgy humor.

Tennessee Viewfinders for the Colorblind

The phrase, ‘I’m not crying, you’re crying’ was quite possibly coined for this Tennessee Department of Tourism video which utilizes an outside-the-box storytelling angle.  With one in 12 men and one in 200 women affected by color blindness, many people may be missing out on a destination’s key attraction.

This video features colorblind men who are moved to tears when they get to see Tennessee’s famed Fall vistas of red, yellow, orange and green through specially equipped viewfinders.  The cinematography of black/white and color gradients throughout the video allow viewers a sneak peek into the eyes of the colorblind.

The video was watched nearly three million times upon release at the end of 2017 and resurfaced in a Reddit post a year later and picked up a million more views.  Aside from some lovely comments suggesting that the video directly influenced a few vacation bookings, it also earned three Silver Lion Awards at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018.

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