Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hotel video: Storytelling matters

Technology has changed traveler behavior. The web 2.0 has a huge impact on hotel business as there's nothing more relevant than the opinion of other customers to book a room, but it's not easy to control what users say specially because in many cases those are comments or punctuations published on third-party webs like tripadvisor or booking.com.

As a consequence, firms can not avoid social media. The solution seems to be the presence of the hotels themselves on social networks. On the playground of this powerful way of engagement, video becomes a relevant tool.

While photos are a good introduction to hotels, videos give the opportunity to dive into them. Hotels from four to five stars invest time on having their own personality. Besides, it's increasing the idea that people finds the experience more valuable than the amenities, and that's something that video can empower very well, as it allows marketers to explain a story through it. When talking about a story I'm not necessary talking about fiction and drama (although they're really good branded shorts out there), but to use the storytelling tools that video provide to tell the customer what he needs to know.

As discussed in the previous post, price is an advantage for video marketing. You don't need to be a huge hotel firm with dozens of hotels spread all over the world to afford something else than a photo slide show aired in the local TV that no tourist watches. Not just the production is largely less expensive nowadays, but also the channels where the content is published worldwide (the most relevant are literally free).

But can video be useless or counterproductive?  For sure! Useless if there's no effort to position it. They're outstanding hotel videos around the web with less than 200 views. There are hotels that have a video in YouTube, with no description or keywords, and it's not displayed anywhere else (neither in their website). There's no excuse when embedding video from YouTube is so easy. Video needs to melt with each marketing strategy.

And what can make video counterproductive? A bad one.

I've stolen this descriptive photo from Patrick Shaver's blog lonelymarketer.com 

Saying that video is much more affordable than before is a reality, but basing the choice of a professional or film company just by the price is a big mistake. The low-cost has its limits and best price should be an option only when the offers to consider ensure the following elements:

- Visuals: No matter how round-about is the story told in a hotel video, one of each objectives (in many cases the single one) is to showcase the hotel and / or its surroundings. If there's no notion of composition, lighting, camera movement or color correction, the cheapest can cost you very expensive.

- Storytelling: The challenge doesn't end when the user clicks play. We want the viewer to watch until the last second of the video and to bring its interest beyond. A sequence of random shots won't fulfill it. Whatever the video explains must be previously defined, and every single element (script, camera, sound, editing...) must lead to that objective.

- Sound design: I'm wondered how sound is underrated sometimes. There's no better complement to image than sound to explain the dimension and feeling of space, and even the choice of the music can give different senses to that. The best sound mix is unperceived by the viewer, but makes the video much better and three dimensional.

In conclusion, video worth as a marketing complement because storytelling matters, but price can't be the only factor to consider if visuals, storytelling and sound design are not guaranteed.

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