Leo Tolstoy once said, “All great literature is one of two stories; a man goes on a journey or a stranger comes to town.” Anytime a traveler embarks on an adventure, they return home not only with memories of where they went, but with stories of being changed by their experiences. In no other vertical is the possibility for rich and engaging storytelling more prevalent than in travel.
Stunning locations, thrilling encounters, and provocative anecdotes provide more than enough content fodder for travel brands to appeal to those thirsty for adventure. And if Google’s report on travel video content is any indicator, brands who are including elements of storytelling in their marketing strategies are leaving their competitors in the dust.
We already know that travelers begin fantasizing about future destinations far before they begin the process of booking. With the rise of mobile, modern daydreaming looks much less like staring out of a window, and more like staring at a screen. Rather than letting their minds wander to far off places, many consumers instead elect to get lost in video, social media, or photos. As a matter of fact, Google is reporting that travel related content views are up 118% YoY and 67% of those views are on branded or professionally done videos.
These trends mark the beginning of a sea change likely to gather enough strength to become a travel content tsunami that will float successful storytellers to success while drowning others. With more than one billion people watching over six billion hours of video per month, travelers are clearly craving visual content that explores destinations, hotels, food, and activities: a change likely driven by device addicted, tech savvy Millennials.
Brands who are proactive in staying on top of their content strategies will reap the rewards of consumer engagement, traffic, and ultimately an elevated awareness and reputation. Those who are willing to go a step further by reaching out to and partnering with influencers with travel vlogs, can also expect to find themselves receiving 4x more social engagement than other types of travel video content on YouTube.
However, that is not to say that travel and hospitality brands aren’t capable of generating buzz themselves. The last few years have given us plenty examples of branded videos going viral, WestJet’s Christmas campaign and Virgin Atlantic’s safety video to name a view. With views of branded videos up 394% YoY, hospitality brands with unique selling points, interesting visuals, and unusual offerings must find a way to capture it all on film. The W Maldives even takes the travel video content marketing a step further by producing an artistic film following the lives of two women visiting the hotel.
Travelers want to be transported, and that same feeling holds true even before they pack their bags. Brands who can figure out how to honestly and authentically tell their own stories in a way that makes it less about the brand and more about the traveler are set to see their engagement rates and revenue soar.