Why Travel Brands Must Adopt Live Video & VR in 2017

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Video is a powerful marketing tool used by travel and tourism brands in order to present the experiences they offer as well taking their audiences to the destinations (virtually). If you’re a travel brand and you’ve not yet invested in these new technologies, do so, now, because nobody will remember the brand that isn’t first.

In 2016 over 8-million VR headsets (figured combined from sales of Samsung VR Gear and Oculus Rift) were purchased, so the demand is out there for VR and 360-degree content. So, if you offer golfing holidays, why aren’t you creating a 360-video of the first hole of the Hacienda del Alamo Golf Resort in Spain? Or if you offer safari tours, why aren’t you capturing the plains and serengeti?

The decision to purchase a holiday or a tour is often an emotional decision, as well as being based on research. Video marketing helps inform users on both those fronts. In a static photo or well shot video, it’s easy for brands to only show users what you want them to see, but in a 360-degree environment or in VR, it’s a lot harder to sweep things under the carpet.

2016 saw a big shift in how internet users are consuming content, with the rise of virtual reality and 360-degree media, and on the flip side, the demise of Vine and Meerkat.

Since 2012 travel content views have increased 118% and travel videos are being watched daily as consumers are contemplating their next trip.

Despite the growing advantages of video marketing, not many hoteliers and tour operators are confident in their abilities to utilise this tool to effectively market their brands and services.

Video Marketing & The Mobile User

As a lot of digital marketing experts have predicted, 2017 will be a big year for the internet enabled smartphone. In other blog posts I’ve spoken about how important mobile will be for SEO in 2017, but in reality, it’s going to be big for everyone with an online presence.

It has been estimated that around 30% of travel bookings online will be made on mobile devices by 2017.

It has been estimated that around 30% of travel bookings online will be made on mobile devices by 2017.

Not only this, there has been a 50% increase in mobile use across travellers with a surprisingly high 30% relying on their mobile devices to make last minute bookings.

Therefore, in this new omniscreening environment, it is important to ensure that you have created brand stories for viewers that can be viewed across various devices, in a variety of contexts and at different stages of the decision making process.

Creating content that is useful for your audience will help raise awareness of your brand – avoid being too sales orientated at this point but utilise a call for action.

The use of a video celebrating reasons why to visit a destination could inspire your audience to view more specific content later in the buying cycle.

Social Media & Live Video

In 2016, we saw a number of brands adopt Facebook Live very quickly, definitely at a faster rate than they adopted Periscope (Twitter’s live stream offering).

In 2016, we saw two global travel sector brands collaborate around the release of The Jungle Book. Airbnb and Disney came together with the ‘Live There’ event, where they constructed a treehouse and conducted interviews from the red carpet of the film’s premiere.

The campaign was successful as you can see from the embed above, with more than 112,000 views and 1.5k comments.

Obviously not all campaigns and live videos need be as high profile, or require as much spend. Inspiration can be taken from all around you, regardless of the type of travel you offer. If you’re a hotelier you could live stream one of your chefs preparing a guest meal, or if you offer guest rooms or cottage rentals in picturesque locations, show off your surroundings.

Prospective travellers will engage with content that resonates with them, and it will help them build trust with your brand.

Make Sure Your Video Is Always Providing Value

In order for your videos to rank well in Google for your search terms, you need to provide value to the viewer that either provides further information or supports existing content.

When planning out your videos, ask yourself: what questions do my customers ask regularly? How can I convey the experience of the service that we offer?

Use Video to Solve Existing Problems and Provide New Information

Not all video has to be difficult or expensive to produce, if you offer holidays to a tropical, beach destination – include plenty of shots of this in the video.

If you offer Ski Chalet rentals, you can do a guided tour of one of the chalets, it’s also important to include footage of people skiing and snowboarding in this video too as this is the purpose of them renting the chalet.

Make Videos Easy to Browse

A great way to make your video easy to find is to not only include it on the relevant site pages, but to create a ‘media’ page which is home to all of your onsite videos.

When you set up your video gallery it’s important to include categories and tags, making it easy for users to search and navigate between videos with ease.

Make Your Videos Interactive

Every time that a user watches a video, there is an opportunity to further engage the user using a call to action. Include in-video links as well as verbal calls to action to encourage the viewer to view further pages on site or complete an enquiry form.

For example, if you talk about visiting Etosha National Park in your video, include a link at that point that opens your Etosha page in a new tab. This way the user can quickly jump to that page once the video has finished.

Transcribe Your Videos

Including a full text transcript of your video (on the same page) is important from an SEO point of view. If the page only contains an embedded video, Google will not have much visible content to judge what the page is about and may not rank it as highly as it should do.

Transcripts are also useful in creating additional content for your website. You could use the transcript as a base for a blog post that links back to the page containing the video. You can do this in house and have someone transcribe the video, or you can employ the services of a transcription service, such as TranscribeMe, Speechpad or hire a freelancer.

Make Sure You Have a Video Sitemap

A video sitemap is essential in giving Google more information about the video content that can be found on your website. Entries on a video sitemap include a link to the page that hosts your video, as well as some other required information.

Once you have created your Sitemap, you can submit it to Google using Webmaster Tools and give it the best chance of gaining good visibility in the search results.

Dan Taylor

Dan is a Technical SEO Consultant & Account Manager @ SALT.agency in Leeds. He enjoys all things digital, Hull City and gin.