Travel and video are perfect companions. Two out of three US consumers watch online travel videos for inspiration when they're thinking about taking a trip according to a 2015 Google study. In fact, video could well be where your customers start the serious business of researching their next trip.
There are two main sources of travel video content, brand-led and consumer generated. Video offers travel brands a huge opportunity to engage consumers because it communicates experiences so effectively. One brand, Jumeirah, has already embraced the medium for this very reason. In 2015, the Jumeirah Group launched Jumeirah™ Inside – a virtual platform comprising 360° video and photography that enables users to make hotel bookings, access never-before-seen footage, discover hidden treasures and share them with the world. In collaboration with Google, the luxury brand brings its hotels to life using images, sound and interaction.
But video isn’t just for high-end travel brands. Mainstream travel players should be considering how to incorporate video into their websites and advertising to help would-be travelers on any budget visualize themselves on holiday. Our research into purchase journeys for flights and holidays suggests that connected consumers start researching their options and comparing prices approximately two months before they travel. At any one time, almost half of the population is researching some form of travel. Video offers one way to reduce the planning time and encourage consumers to make purchase decisions quickly. In a crowded marketplace, it can help one brand to compete effectively and win competitive advantage over another.
Much of this video consumption is done on a smartphone, particularly among Millennials and pre-teens. Our US data suggests that 25% of 13-64 year olds have streamed TV or films on their phones. Increasingly, this audience is engaging with video advertising on their smartphones too, and brands are maximizing the opportunity to use this platform to engage with them in this highly personal and targeted way.
With so much video content being consumed, it is becoming more important to understand audience behavior: what people consume, where, on what device and what would make their experience better.
Brand marketers will need not only to embrace the new opportunities for better optimization of their advertising and marketing, but will also need to use them to offer the consumer relevant information as well. If they do not use video as a fundamental part of their communications, their competitors will. And with so many players involved, from content producers and publishers to brands, there will be a need for partnership and collaboration. This is particularly pertinent at present, as much of the data currently exists in silos – its power can only be unlocked through a mutual exchange of information.
The vast amount of video consumption online has another benefit for brands too: a digital data trail that presents an opportunity to target marketing and advertising messages more effectively. The key is to enhance the experience through that information, rather than becoming “too personal” with your visitors.
 GfK How People Use Media Report, US
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