Online hotel videos are continuing to grow in popularity. New research from Software Advice (A Gartner company, the world’s leading IT research and advisory company) indicates that 51% of leisure travellers, 69% of business travellers and 55% of affluent travellers watch online travel videos. These are all increases from previous years with the rising trend expected to continue.
The average attention span for a viewer watching video is estimated to be between 30 and 60 seconds. Creating hotel videos may seem daunting, but when produced to a high standard the return on investment makes them very cost effective. With increasing numbers watching hotel videos, if the content positively engages the viewer, they are bound to drive more bookings.
So, what does the research say about what consumers are looking for from hotel videos? Software Advice surveyed 2,345 travellers with some interesting results.
50% of guests prefer to view videos on the hotel’s website
An ongoing challenge for hotels is making their website relevant to potential guests who are exploring options for an upcoming trip. This research shows that guests would prefer to watch a video on the hotel website rather than YouTube or Facebook.
The reason for this is likely to be that the video feels more authentic and current on the hotel website. From the hotel’s point of view, they can control the user experience/journey leading to more bookings via the site rather than third-party agents.
The hotel should still publish their videos to YouTube and other well-established video platforms in order to reach the largest possible audience.
More than half prefer videos featuring rooms and suites
When watching hotel videos 57% of guests want to see the bedrooms, suites and public areas such as the reception. At 20% the spa, pool or gym ranked second. Other options such as natural scenery, on-site restaurants/bars and the hotel’s staff and management ranked further behind, at 9%, 8% and 6%, respectively.
Every viewer has different needs, so this indicates that one overview video may not be the answer. Alternatively, shorter ‘focus videos’ looking at different aspects of the hotel will allow the user to go on their own journey, viewing content that is more relevant to their needs. For example, business travellers will be more interested in the details of the hotel’s conference facilities over and above the spa. The other benefit of ‘focus videos’ is that they allow the hotel to show more of each aspect rather than quick glimpses in a longer overview film.
Often in the pursuit of a nice story, humour or even high production values it’s easy to miss the point, which is the communication of information that will lead to a booking.
The average attention span for a viewer watching video is estimated to be between 30 and 60 seconds. This means longer overview videos lasting 2-3 minutes will not be watched in their entirety. So, important aspects within the video could be completely missed. This further highlights the importance of shorter ‘focus videos’ featuring specific parts of the hotel.
Informational videos are the most preferred type
Hotel videos can have various purposes — to make you laugh, to endear you or to tell a story about the company and its customers. Often though, videos are purely informative, and for 57% of respondents, that’s all they really want: an informational video that provides important details about the hotel, such as its rooms and location.
Often in the pursuit of a nice story, humour or even high production values, it’s easy to miss the point, which is the communication of information that will lead to a booking. It’s important to differentiate and entertain, so this is about getting the balance right and making sure the hotel video content is suitably engaging whilst providing the details that the guest wants in order to make an informed decision.
Most want hotel guests (or no one at all) to narrate the video
Finally, travellers were asked who they would most prefer to see as the ‘virtual host’ or narrator of a hotel video. Of the available options, most respondents (37%) would prefer an actual hotel guest, but 31% would rather a video not have a narrator at all, instead relying on just images and music.
Another 20% would like an independent travel guide to host, while only 11% would want the hotel’s general manager to serve as narrator.
Probably the preferred option for most hotels would be to have no narrator and to let the images do the talking. Interestingly, hotels are often tempted to put their General Manager into the video, but it seems from the research that this is what travellers least want to see. The idea of having a guest narrate could be a good one, but the challenge will be how well they come across on camera. Of course, if done correctly this could be a really powerful and authentic way to present a hotel video.
In summary, it would appear that hotel websites could create more traction and bookings independently of third-party agents if they have great video content. For this content to be really effective hotels should try and bear in mind the 60-second rule, which says viewers will switch off after that point.
The ‘focus video’ looking at specific aspects makes much more sense than one long overview. Additionally, if customers can somehow be included in the video to share their experience, the hotel video content could really come alive.