Who Doesn’t Love Video?

Video can now be viewed literally everywhere and is a favorite form of content. Forbes estimates that video traffic will be over 80 percent of all consumer Internet traffic in four years. It wouldn’t be surprising if that estimate were reached even sooner.

The good news for destination marketers is videos about destinations are among the more popular. If you’re a destination marketer, you probably don’t need proof, but here’s some anyway. According to Jenny Thomassian, Google’s Head of Industry, Travel, “travel videos have become some of the most-viewed content on YouTube. And we’ve seen interest in any travel-related video up about 60 percent in the last couple of years.” That should get you going—so where to?

Creating Immersive Experiences

Video brings visitors to your place from the perspective of the recorder. It delivers a sense of what it might like to be there. It could be created any number of ways, from a professional crew to visitors with a smartphone. It could be completely scripted or made up on the spot, or something in between. Each of these has been employed successfully by destinations, but they’re not right for every topic, brand, and audience. For example, a high-end luxury resort is not going to depend on teenagers with mobile devices to convey their primary message. Likewise, an action-based destination aimed at Millennials wouldn’t show big, peaceful and people-less shots to reach that audience. Whatever you decide, be consistent with the audience expectations for your brand.

Here are some examples of the different styles of video teams used in destination marketing.

100 Percent Scripted

Everything associated with Visit California is beautiful and polished—just as you’d expect from the home of the Hollywood where everything glitters and image is king—and the visuals don’t disappoint. By scripting out every second of the video, they can stick to a very tight and concentrated message.



Travel Oregon has built an in-house team to produce 70 percent of their content. This video uses a semi-scripted style to project a natural, conversational approach to visitors. It allows for more of the on-camera personality to come through while still hitting key message points.



Grab a camera (or smartphone) and go is the mantra of many social influencers. Speaking off-the-cuff about what they are experiencing as they record can be an excellent way to bring potential visitors along with them. Videos like this one from YouTuber and influencer Kristen Sarah, score high on authenticity.


Tell a Story

The mission to “tell a story” sounds obvious, and is said continuously, but it’s forgotten too often. “If your video doesn’t lead the visitor through and tell a story, you’ve missed a big opportunity,” says Jason Kimerling, producer at Wilson Advertising. Instead of falling into a trap of deciding “should we record this?” while an event is happening or about to, include video in your annual marketing plan. Then you can decide what you can use that will best show the appeal of your destination. Set a budget and make a calendar of what and when you need to record. And at a minimum, write a creative brief, if not a detailed shot list or script. “Knowing the story you want to tell and the end result is a big step towards a successful project,” says Jason. A good creative brief will help dramatically.

Who’s Got Time for That?!

The second question people ask after “how?” is “how long should it be?” To which the only appropriate answer is “it depends.” Saying that any number, five minutes for example, is ideal is ludicrous. It depends first, on your audience, second, on your story. People will watch hours of video on any number of devices, as Netflix has proved. Marriott has gone toward the longend of the format with episodes of its Two Bellman series clocking in at more than 35 minutes. Las Vegas went the opposite route for a campaign using social influencers and short-form videos of 6 seconds. Somewhere in between those two is probably the sweet spot for most destinations, but it all depends on your story. If it’s engaging and continuously moving the viewer through, they’ll stick with it.

Action Off the Set

Getting started can be daunting, but video isn’t different than any other smart marketing challenge. A good place to start is by researching what others have done, what you feel works and why—with one caveat. Remember, you are not the audience. After you have some background, consider these questions:

• Who is the audience?
• How long is this story?
• Is it seasonal?
• Can we break it into chapters?
• Will it need to integrate with other stories?
• On what device do we expect it to be viewed?
• What if it’s not viewed on an optimal device?
• What do we want the end result or call to action to be?

The only thing left to do is do it. Get out, find and capture your story, and reveal it to your audience.

Check out our eBook, Marketing Trends—Seven Things Marketers Need to Know for more detailed information.

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