Visual opinions – Understanding video reviews in the travel industry

NB: This is a viewpoint by Ali Naqi Shaheen, CEO of AppATrip.

Last year, one of YouTube‘s executives told a conference that around 90% of all web traffic will soon be video.

Robert Kyncl, head of global partnerships at the Google-owned YouTube, said the video hosting service alone logged a trillion hits in 2011.

This means that for any online content marketing, online video has become one of the most important channels.

Whether it’s for generating traffic (search engine optimization), engaging customers or generating trust (with reviews) – online videos are gaining more and more importance and are turning into a powerful tool.

A powerful tool that also the hospitality industry can easily deploy and greatly benefit from.

Video as a powerful marketing tool

Online videos have great potential to go viral and therefore can be a powerful marketing tool. However, so far the power of videos has been underrated and the full potential has not been taken advantage of yet.

Primarily, this can be explained with the production costs of videos that seemed too high for some businesses and therefore not worth the investment.

But with the decreasing costs for videos and their viral potential, videos are becoming more attractive for businesses and their marketing strategy.

A popular example for the extent of virality a single video can reach is Psy’s Gangnam Style music video that was the first video to cross one billions views on YouTube.

Video as a useful SEO tool

As well all know, Google has integrated YouTube searches within the regular search engine results pages (SERPS). This means when a user searches on Google and there are matching videos, they will also appear in the search results.

Think about that again: videos in search results. Alongside all those other results – but clearly more visual.

This not only boosts traffic but if the videos are managed well, it also drives trust and conversions. With online videos, hotels can generate traffic that can save them affiliate commission.

Video as an effective reviews tool

Video reviews or video testimonials are nothing new. However, compared to the regular text reviews they have not yet gained the same popularity.

This has been partially due to the lack of technology capabilities (e.g. users had to record their videos and then upload on the reviews sites) and partially due to the privacy concerns as it is easier to post anonymous text reviews than anonymous video reviews.

However, the trend is changing. In a travel report from 2012 provided by Google, the findings show that “travelers watch a mix of user generated videos and professionally made videos at all stages of travel planning”.

Overall, 89% of leisure travelers said to watch online videos and 21% explicitly use online videos as a resource for planning their travel.

For the travel and hospitality industry, video reviews can quite effectively be integrated and used for their advantage. Hotels can (and already do) collect their own high quality reviews far more easily than standard eCommerce sites. The methods for taking reviews can be:

  • Via emails
  • Via a hotel’s mobile application
  • Via special purpose tablets placed in the lobbies or rooms

This allows the the hotel to collect genuine reviews by their guests and increase trustworthiness of the reviews. The videos can then be aggregated and posted to YouTube and the hotel website amongst other online portals.

The travel report by Google further found out that travelers watch a mix of user-generated content and professionally-made videos. Even more interesting is that 45% of leisure travelers and 72% of business travelers said they were prompted to book as a result from watching videos online while travel planning.

This shows that online videos are becoming more and more significant and effective because they are increasingly influencing travel planning decisions.

With video reviews a new dimension is added, as they allow for a more authentic and direct communication. AppATrip has recognized this trend and has integrated the review feature EasyReview which connects both text and video review.

The integration of video and text ratings make EasyReview by AppATrip a unique offering on the market.

With this hosted video review solution, the hospitality industry can not only collect but also manage and distribute the video reviews easily.

NB: This is a viewpoint by Ali Naqi Shaheen, CEO of AppATrip.

NB2: Video swimming image via Shutterstock.

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Viewpoints

About the Writer :: Viewpoints

A founding principle of tnooz was a diversity of viewpoints from across the spectrum. Viewpoints are articles by guest contributors from around the travel and hospitality industries. The views expressed are those of the author. and do not necessarily reflect those of the author's employer, or tnooz and its partners.

 

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