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Visual Storytelling Critical for Social Media Success

Hotel-Liesma-by-Visual-Workshop011-355x474Visual Storytelling Critical for Social Media Success

If it’s true that 1-minute of video is worth 1.8 million words, then hotels and travel destinations may have found the “holy grail” that converts the grazing online process of looking at hotels, to actually booking them.

And there isn’t a hotel or destination in the world that isn’t seeking the business alchemy that converts lookers into actual customers.

Generally, the hotel’s website is held responsible for making this magic happen.
Of course service that exceeds the client’s demands, location, price, all play a role in determining what drives travelers to become clients.

But the website is the portal. New Media Travel has written about how boring hotel web sites typically are,  and VFM Leonardo recently  presented a webinar called, “Why is Visual Storytelling so Critical for Social Media Success Today?”

While most of the webinar contained run-of-the-mill information, there were some real insights.
I think it was Greg Oates, travel editor at 200Rooms, that said guests are not looking for content from hotel websites. They are looking for stories they can relate to. A solid marketing concept.
They want to see the hotel in a context that shows the value of choosing that particular hotel, an emotional decision that takes price into consideration, but goes way beyond price into the realm of value, a “feeling” or connection  about a property.

Oates wasn’t asking hotels to dress up their websites with “pretty photos.” He was asking hotels to post images that tell a story, and illustrated his point with a hotel’s endearing image of a mom and child mirroring each other in a innocent, sweet  stretching pose.

Basically, he was saying that a client doesn’t “book a hotel,” but “books a story.”

We have always questioned why hotels still show empty rooms, pools and lobbies. Or guests that are just too beautiful to be real. Some hoteliers have said they chose these innocuous pics because they want to play it safe, don’t want to offend a potential guest by showing, say, a racially mixed couple or a family, in case a potential client may be childless. Or worse, doesn’t like kids.

But with 46% of adults taking and posting photos, hotels have an exceptional opportunity to tell their stories, to show what the hotel is all about, what matters to it, via a clever mix of professional photographs and crowd- sourced ones.

Pinterest and Instagram, of course, are terrific tools for hotels.  And as Melissa Bruckler, e-commerce consultant,  pointed out,  with the dominance of mobile applications, the smaller screen demands less copy and more images.

There was one glaring omission  with the webinar however: Video was never mentioned, or maybe mentioned once.
Travel Video PostCards, which provides short-form video to the travel and publishing industry, believes, as someone said, all hotel and destination websites should open to and with a video – not text or copy. Or limited text and copy.

What are the “take aways”?  
Show a story, don’t tell.
Use images designed to make sure your guests take part in your hotel’s values and experiences.
Use visuals to get clients involved and sharing


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