Why live video is right for your hotel brand

February 2, 2017 | Hotels Magazine | by Guest Contributor

In 2006, 65,000 videos were uploaded to YouTube by users daily. That number has grown to more than 300 hours of video uploaded per minute. Where posted pics, text and banner ads, and podcasts tend to fall short, video has a multi-sensory stickiness unlike other publishing media formats.

The model that made YouTube such an addictive video engagement tool has become remixed and repeated on social platforms such as Snapchat and Instagram with user-generated live videos named “Stories.”

Why the move? For consumers and marketers alike, the magic lies in moving pictures and sounds. Even when technology facilitates new forms of content delivery, storytelling – like that available on live video – remains the backbone of every effective marketing strategy. User-generated content and well-produced brand stories can drive engagement on almost all digital social media platforms.

In this new age of video, hotel brands should understand how to leverage these new platforms, while staying true to quality storytelling.

What it’s about

Snapchat and Instagram appeal heavily to a younger audience. Both platforms attract 18-to-29-year-olds as their majority user base, followed by 30-to-49-year-olds; both age groups primarily consist of women.

Stories on Snapchat and Instagram are ephemeral and have a life cycle of only 24 hours; then, they automatically delete. Snapchat first implemented “self-destructing” messages and content posts, while Instagram followed suit. The length of each story video posted on both platforms cannot exceed 10 seconds, giving users the ability to share daily moments with their friends and followers.

Collectively, Snapchat and Instagram boast more than 800 million active monthly users. And engagement and user growth numbers only continue to increase. User behavior and technological innovation drive these platforms – helping brands, including hotel – achieve a deeper audience reach.

As both platforms continue to compete for consumers’ time, marketers should expect new features that will enable both users and brands to share their stories creatively and effortlessly.

So how should your brand take full advantage of this access to engagement on such a large scale? Hotel brands need to find creative ways to drive engagement with the hyperconnected audiences of both platforms. Understanding the culture of both Snapchat and Instagram, as well as the power of video storytelling, will help marketers excel in crafting relevant messaging in context of their audience.

Brands that already use both organic and paid video advertising tend to see higher engagement levels, which leads to better conversions on digital content. If your hotel brand does not create video content to leverage audience engagement, start now. Traditional methods of producing videos can be cost prohibitive, especially when the goal is constant and consistent publishing. However, smartphones and Internet connected devices have lowered these costs and opened up greater possibilities for different styles of audience engagement.

Leveraging video organically

Knowing your followers on social media is a great way to lay the groundwork before developing and publishing your platform specific video content. Get to know them statistically, you can glean this information from the dashboard of your analytics program (most platforms also provide analytics). Learn how your content resonates with your followers and make adjustments for better engagement.

Hotel brands should showcase the exclusiveness of their properties and custom experiences offered by spotlighting unique cuisines, locations, services and more. Create a daily chronicle in a fun and exciting way that is clearly aligned with your brand’s persona.

Snapchat’s and Instagram’s audiences share a similar culture, which emphasizes fun and focuses on playtime, silliness, entertainment and shared experiences. Your brand should understand how to produce story videos while keeping those platform attributes in mind. Avoid overproducing your videos so that you can remain creatively authentic. Create how users create – by using filters and other features provided by the platforms for your artistic touches.

Paid video advertising

While YouTube remains a giant and a pioneer for video advertising, now you can reach audiences with video ads on Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat. Each platform has a varying degree of immersion and ad specifications, but the end goal remains the same: audience engagement, call to action, and measuring effectiveness of each campaign.

On Snapchat, video ads run for 10 seconds and can be targeted based on the platform’s Discover channels, a set of media partners curated by Snapchat. Here, an advertiser can create a video ad and target users based on the vertical media niche of Snapchat’s Discover media partners, such as ESPN, Vice, Fusion, and more.

Video ads on Instagram work differently. Because Facebook owns Instagram, Instagram has integrated the process with Facebook’s ad management system. Consequently, you need a Facebook Business Profile in order to place Instagram video ads. Instagram video ads run longer than Snapchat Ads, spanning up to 60 seconds with motion and sound in both the landscape and square format. Here, hotel brands can showcase their creativity with a series of 1-minute short films, weaving in narratives based romance, travel, music, relaxation, and more.

Hotel brands are already in a market category that people crave: a place to escape, have fun and relax. Instead of a hard sell, hotel marketers should create thoughtful and visually appealing video ads that speak to the heart and emotions of their target audience.

Video remains the most effective method of engagement, both offline and online. Social platforms have enabled hotel brands to reach their target audiences worldwide through short form storytelling.

With these social platforms, brands can measure an ad campaign’s effectiveness and quickly change strategies in real-time. Several brands have already begun maximizing their usage of each social platform. The important tenets are to produce quality story videos – both organically and for paid advertising – and then distribute to your audience in the context of the platform. You can also repurpose content for other platforms, as well as for your integrated marketing efforts across blogs, newsletters, and more.

Video breathes life and emotion into any subject matter. If you are a hotel marketer, you need to take advantage of the media format and the social platforms to create multisensory content for a generation that is ultra-connected and constantly engaged with their friends, followers, and favorite brands.

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