Screen Gems: How to Weave Video Into Your Travel Content Strategy

May 1, 2019

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While video marketing is integral to nearly every content vertical, few can benefit from it the way the travel industry can. Videos inspire potential travelers to pick a destination. They immerse armchair travelers in an engaging and inspiring way. And, they can help clients prepare for upcoming trips, creating an experience so seamless they’re primed to book again.

With a thorough and diverse video marketing strategy, travel brands have the opportunity to connect with potential clients like never before — but you can’t just post an iPhone film and call it a day. You need a data-backed, brand-authentic approach to engage the right kind of clients with videos they want. As you navigate the travel video world in 2019, here are a few pointers to help you get started.

Test content on social media

While it’s easy to get carried away when planning your travel video strategy, you must deliver films that your target client base actually wants to watch. So where do you find this gold mine of data? Simple: social media.

Videos published on social media will reach your target audience (your current followers) where you can get a data-backed sense of what works and what doesn’t for your brand. If your followers respond positively to a vlog-style film, then you know that this type of video content will resonate in the future. If your audience hardly gets through the first minute of a documentary-style film with interviews, then you’ll need to reassess your strategy. The more targeted you can be when strategizing your production, the more successful your videos will be.

But how can you source this vlog, documentary or other style of content?

Here are four options:

1. Work with influencers. Travel vlogs are popular across YouTube, so it only makes sense to work with those paving the way to amplify your videos. With this approach, you’ll deliver top-notch content to your followers while reaching the travel vlogger’s engaged audience, too.

So how do you work with travel vloggers to find content for your brand? You can hire influencer companies such as IZEA or Cooperatize to run your vlog programs or you can contact vloggers on your own, knowing that you’ll need to pay them as freelancers.

Like all influencers, the larger the reach, the higher the payment. So if your travel video budget is small, then you may want to target up-and-coming micro-influencers with 10,000-20,000 YouTube subscribers.

2. Invite clients to submit content. User-generated videos are a great way to show your clients some love while sourcing valuable content. If you’re, say, a safari brand, then you can give clients a future tour discount if they’re willing to share their films for your use on social media. Or, if you’re a tourism board, then you can put out a call for visitors to submit their video content for the chance to win a free trip.

Of course, with any sort of user-submitted content, you’ll need a legal expert to guarantee that you’re following protocol, but this is a great way to offer future guests a true firsthand client experience.

3. Work with freelancers. If you’d prefer to create more traditional travel marketing videos, then a freelance videographer is likely your best bet. You can find freelance videographers with interviewing experience or those who have worked on videos with small businesses via websites like Upwork or through your local chamber of commerce.

Make sure that you view their work first and have a thorough understanding of their prices, deliverables and agreed-upon deadlines before moving forward. You’ll also want to be extremely clear in your creative brief to avoid costly reshoots.

4. Put your team on camera. In many cases, the best video subjects may be your staffers themselves. Clients want to know the people they’ll be traveling with or know about the culture of a particular destination, so it only makes sense to put the people who know in the spotlight!

You can either create a professional team film with employee interviews — for this, you’ll need a freelance or on-staff videographer — or, you can incentivize, say, your company’s tour guides to take their own vlog-style content while on the road. Either way, putting your team on camera will show clients the heart behind your brand, giving travelers a deeper way to connect with the experience before they even arrive.

Stephanie Vermillion

Stephanie Vermillion is a content marketer and journalist in the New York City area. She’s the founder of Stephanie Vermillion Studio, and you can follow her work at @StephanieVermillionStudio on Instagram.

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