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Hotel marketing in the digital era: The power of video

Video marketing is revolutionizing tourism and hospitality, enhancing brand awareness, fostering emotional connections, and driving travel decisions. Despite challenges, its benefits make it essential for competitive differentiation.

Video marketing has emerged as a pivotal tool for the tourism and hospitality industry to connect with their audience. Online engagement with video was fuelled by the lockdown during COVID and has continued to engage. Within this landscape, the tourism and hospitality industry has harnessed the potential of video marketing to showcase destinations, hotels, experiences, and stories in ways that inspire, captivate, and ultimately drive travel decisions, winning more guests.

The rise of video advertising as a dominant force in digital marketing is evident, with the US investing a staggering $75 billion in 2023. Various industries can reap the rewards of this dynamic medium, but its impact on hotel and tourism operators is particularly noteworthy. This year, it is projected that 87% of businesses will use video as a marketing tool, with 72% of video marketers recognizing it as an essential part of their overall strategy.

However, the adoption of video marketing in the hospitality industry is not without its challenges. Lack of time remains the number one barrier, with a third of hospitality marketers who don’t use video citing time constraints as the primary reason. Additionally, 20% of hotels consider video marketing too expensive, and 38% of hotel marketers create their video content in-house, which can be resource-intensive.

Despite these challenges, the benefits of video advertising in the travel and tourism industry are substantial. By creating captivating videos that showcase destinations, unique hotel experiences and exceptional services, hospitality and tourism operators can significantly improve brand awareness. Hotel videos leave a lasting impression on viewers, fostering a memorable and emotional connection with the hotel brand. Moreover, video ads allow businesses to tell compelling stories, incorporating storytelling elements that drive viewers to action, such as increased bookings and site visits.

The measurable performance and insights provided by platforms like Meta (facebook) and YouTube further enhance the appeal of video marketing. These platforms allow advertisers to track the performance of their video ads, including views, clicks, and conversions. This data is invaluable for optimising ad campaigns, refining targeting and improving messaging over time. Furthermore, the massive user bases of platforms like Meta and YouTube make them ideal for reaching broad and diverse audiences. Hotels can leverage these platforms to target specific demographics, interests, and behaviors, ensuring their ads reach those potential guests most likely to be interested in their offerings.

The current trends in video marketing are also shaping the landscape of travel and tourism promotion. The creator economy has had an extraordinary impact on travel marketing. Influencers, from global A-listers to local micro-influencers, are producing content that promotes destinations, hotels or tourism assets. This trend, combined with the power of generative AI, will continue to inspire more travel and hotel stays. Authentic and relatable content is becoming increasingly important, with a growing desire for genuine travel experiences and guest stays shared by travellers and digital nomads. Content that tells the authentic side of places, often with humour and adventure, resonates well with audiences.

Another emerging trend is the ‘cozy web,’ a term popularized by the writer Venkatesh Rao, describing private, intimate digital spaces on the internet. As content floods social platforms, there is a shift towards creating videos designed for smaller, like-minded audiences. This trend is translating into a powerful platform for marketing, moving beyond bland universal insights crafted by tourism bureaus and hotels, replaced by a hunger for authentic travel experiences created by travellers and digital nomads.

For tourism and hospitality businesses looking to run video ads on Meta or YouTube, there are several key strategies to keep in mind. Videos should be concise, capturing the customer’s attention within the first 10 seconds. If longer content is necessary, it should be broken into shorter videos to maintain engagement. Authentic and relatable stories are also crucial. Real customer testimonials, personal travel experiences, or behind-the-scenes glimpses create relatable and compelling narratives that potential customers can envision themselves being a part of.

Showcasing the beauty and experiences available at a hotel or destination is another essential aspect of video marketing. Claude Sauter, General Manager of The Slate Hotel in Phuket, emphasizes that “Video has an unparalleled ability to evoke emotions. Through captivating visuals, immersive soundscapes and carefully curated narratives, videos can transport viewers to our hotel, allowing them to experience the resort, the tranquility of nature in our landscaped gardens, our dining experiences, and the overall ambiance before arriving. This emotional connection can convert viewers into guests.”

Videos have revolutionized hotel marketing communications. By creating a memorable visual experience, hotels can build a loyal customer base, improve guest satisfaction and foster relationships with event planners and guests. With the right strategy and implementation, videos can elevate hotel marketing to new heights.

The Slate Hotel in Phuket provides a compelling case study. The hotel has produced a series of eight videos titled “Five To Five,” aimed at event planners. These videos provide useful planning information and details of hotel resources, with elements of comedy to engage viewers. The series, launching on Friday 31st May 2024, and published weekly on facebook, Linkedin and YouTube, offers viewers a chance to win a weekend stay for two at The Slate. This initiative aims to engage a niche audience locally in Thailand and globally, with the goal of attracting more MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences, and mini-Expos) to the hotel through inspirational and entertaining content.

In conclusion, video marketing is a powerful tool in the tourism and hospitality industry. It can significantly enhance brand awareness, foster emotional connections, and drive travel decisions. Despite challenges like time constraints and costs, the benefits make video marketing an essential strategy for hotels aiming to stand out in a competitive market. With the right approach, video marketing can create loyal customers, memorable experiences, and increased bookings, taking hotel marketing to the next level.

Managing Director - DBC Asia | + Articles

David Barrett is a MICE Consultant, Marketing Strategist and digital video advocate. Founder of DBC Group, Member of Institute of Place Management (MIMP) his motto is “Everybody has a story to tell. Let me tell yours.”

David is a long-term resident of Bangkok having lived and worked in the Thai capital for more than 32 years. He is recognised in the Thai tourism and hospitality industry for his passion for promoting Thailand, his love of Thai food, and his creative approach to marketing.

64 years young, David is a Brit in Bangkok. Born in St Helier, UK, he returned to the UK and set up home in Cornwall during the COVID pandemic. With business back as usual, David has returned to Thailand. He’s a man on a mission to interview leaders and trend-setters in business, sustainability, the arts and entertainment. You can watch his weekly conversations on Trends YouTube channel.