Online Travel Videos – Anchoring the Hospitality sector!

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Online marketing strategies revolve around the ‘attention span’ of audience. Trying to capture the imagination and interests of a potential customer has been the eternal challenge for marketers, and the equation gets even more  complex when you have less than 5 seconds to do that. ‘Magical sales pitch’ and ‘Message from the president’ are now less than passé, and are now being substituted with panoramic snaps and virtual tours of the destination.

It is now statistically proven that professional videos make more than a lasting impression, and that  customer persuasion is maximized when videos are utilized to market a product, resort, hotel or the Tour Packages. Travel industry market dynamics have been metamorphosed by the sophisticated use of Videos at every stage of the marketing cycle. One of the major impacts of video marketing has been on the smaller players in hospitality segment – With zero distribution costs, these operators are now jostling for the market pie with established leaders, and also making their mark with intelligent video marketing.

Online video revolution gathered momentum in the early days of 2004 and by the last quarter of 2005, two significant events changed the online video landscape forever – The summer of 2005 saw Apple launch a video podcasting aggregator in iTunes and by the year-end Tivo started streaming online video content to its boxes. 2006 belonged to YouTube with Multi-format streaming and broadcasting – enabling the online video to get into the mainstream web. The deal which dwarfed everything else on the web was the acquisition of YouTube by Google in October for $1.65 billion. By the end of 2009, YouTube was getting more than a billion streams per day and Hulu (being a late entrant) was almost garnering a billion streams per month.

Travel industry videos – early adopters

According to TIA conducted research – Video attracts more than 30% more viewers; These visitors stay almost 40% longer on your website and the conversion potential is almost 30% greater as compared to a text-based website. A visual experience is always a superior persuasion tool as compared to a text based pitch, and when it comes to the hospitality segment, nothing comes closer to the first-hand visual experience. The urge to explore lies at the core of a traveler’s mindset and very few things motivate a traveler more than a compelling video. Your prospective guests are hooked on to your resort even before they have arrived, and this fact is corroborated by the statistics – almost 60% of customers prefer Web Sites that feature video and customers are up to 70% more likely to book activities, hotels, packages and attractions shown in a video experience.

Some of the pioneers of the travel industry were also the early adopters of travel videos. Thomas Cook, Kuoni and Thomson were convinced of the persuasive powers of the online videos and made this marketing tool an integral part of their customer relationship strategy, and the results have been trailblazing to say the least.

Online video channels – Splashing it on the scene

According to Comscore, almost 15 billion clips were streamed through YouTube alone in the month of May. While 145 million unique visitors arrived on YouTube during this experimentation period, the average consumption volume was around 102 videos during this month (in US alone). This translates into a low figure of 43.1 as YouTube’s (or Google’s) online Video market share.

Available within US, Hulu (streaming movies) is the closest competitor of Google with 3.5% of market share. Microsoft grabbed 1.9% with 642,000 videos viewed in May, followed by Vevo, Viacom, Yahoo, CBS Interactive, Turner, and Fox Interactive, each with around 1%.

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