Our Quick Video Tips for Travelers
In a recent post, Why Hotel Content is So Boring we argued, and so did the webinar panel at VFM Leonardo, that hotel content is boring in part because their images are vacuous, and un-engaging.
They have nothing to do with the actual emotional experience of staying at a specific hotel or destination.
Think photos of empty dining rooms and pools.
Think empty guest rooms or an unrealistically gorgeous, blond, blue-eyed family of four playing in the impossibly blue water at the beach.
When asked how to bring the excitement of a travel experience to the potential traveler in the all-important “planning stage” of a travel decision, directors of strategic content clearly said: Video.
Apparently 42% of you, travelers, are more likely to book a trip or hotel if they can connect with the emotional experience first.
And this should be the guiding principle of any video venture. Make content that’s emotionally engaging. Avoid the “boring hotel content” trap.
Concentrate less on the factual information of where you are or what you’re seeing, and more on the experience, the sense, of being in a place.
Asking questions of, or doing an interview with, say, a chef or travel guide can be interesting. But it takes up precious time, is reportorial, and doesn’t tap into the emotions.
Video makes a powerful connection between consumer and destination; between you, your trip and the people you want to share the experience with.
Remember, you’re not sharing a video; you’re sharing your feelings.
The immediate and sustained impact of motion or movement involves the viewer at multiple levels, and that’s what you want from your stuff: Engagement.
Some quick tips for those who opt to use video on their travels:
• Avoid the “show and tell” approach so tempting in video making. It’s more the place, not the geography. It’s the feeling that the destination evokes, not the actual destination.
• One to three minutes is long enough. Most viewers drop out beyond that point. None of our 245 Travel Video PostCards is more than a minute and a half. Most are embedded on anywhere from 100 to 2,000 web sites or pages. The length makes that possible. And makes it possible for us to place them on high value sites like Travel Weekly, Technorati, TripAdvisor, etc, if you’re interested in distributing your content.
• Think “PostCard” affect. In a postcard you’re communicating a sense of place and experience, as in “Really wish you were here.”
No fun postcard really attempts to describe what the visitor has seen.
A good script and narration are as as important, if not more so, than the images. What do you look at first when you get a postcard? Probably the image. But you spend more time reading the message. Right?
It’s the message from a friend or family member that makes you smile. That’s the narration.
* Notice when someone walks into a room when you’re watching TV and starts talking, you say, “Shhh, I’m watching TV.”
Actually you’re listening...while watching. Sounds transport us probably more than images do, so use natural sounds when you can. Simple stuff, like birds singing, bells ringing, rigging on a boat.
• Go niche. A video about the hidden cafes of Berlin , may be better than a video on Berlin.
We also suggest a mix of quality stills and video. The stills, a la Ken Burns, add depth and a timelessness that give the video “staying power.”