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Attract Guests to Your Hotel by Producing Video Content Related to Travel

O’Rourke Interview with Tubemogul Co-Founder Brett Wilson

December 2009 - Hotels and other brands can reach their target audience by providing them with helpful information or interesting content they are looking for, whether it be through videos or articles. The content you create doesn’t always have to be directly about your hotel, but could also be about anything relevant to travel or the city you are located in. For example, if you have a hotel in Chicago you could consider creating short video clips of great restaurants in the city. Someone planning on traveling to Chicago may very well conduct a search in Google on ‘restaurants in Chicago,’ and find your video.
Even though you are not directly promoting your hotel in the video, your brand will still be associated with the content, and you could have a link back to your hotel website. Once you discover and create the content your target audience is searching for, you must also take steps to promote your video online, and optimize it with keywords so it will appear in the search engine results pages.
Why should brands create online videos?
Video plays a significant part in internet marketing, and brands can use video to increase their online presence, engage viewers, and direct more traffic to their websites. Internet users enjoy watching videos, which is proven by the statistics that YouTube receives over a billion views a day, and that 20 hours of videos are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
Corporations are starting to see the importance of using online videos and the great opportunities it provides them. Online video is considered ‘lean forward’ content because it is something the viewer has searched for, and elected to watch. The traditional T.V. ad is more ‘lean back’ content because the viewer didn’t choose to watch it, and often considers it to be an interruption of their television program.
It is also less expensive to create internet videos than T.V. spots. There are many sites where a corporation could place their video, and many of them are free. There is also a chance that a video could go ‘viral’ which means other sites may pick it up, and people may forward it to each other.
How are brands using video?
Brands should create content specifically for the internet, and not just re-purpose television ads. Online videos are different than T.V. ads, and they should contain more authentic content with real people and real situations. One brand that works well with online video is Victoria’s Secret. Yes, perhaps this is no surprise, and they may have an upper hand here. However, they have created a fantastic Facebook page for Victoria’s Secret PINK line and have posted 16 videos. They have more than 1 million fans.
Sears was not as successful, and simply re-purposed their television ads and placed them on their facebook page. It is obvious to the viewer that they are watching an ad, and most people instinctively loose interest when they feel they are being sold to.  
Brands shouldn’t rely on just one video, but should create a whole portfolio of videos. Red Bull has a video section on their website with videos that were produced years ago but are still getting views.
The Home Depot publishes educational how-to videos which indirectly promote their products without pitching them. The content of the video is focused on providing the viewer with information on how to make small repairs. Therefore, if someone is searching on ‘how to fix a toilet,’ a Home Depot video may come up. If the viewer watches that video they will see some of the Home Depot tools that they may then want to purchase.
InterContinental Hotels produced over 700 online videos about the cities where their hotels are located and posted them on their In The Know website. These videos are narrated by the concierge of the hotel who takes the viewer on a tour of the city and points out the monuments, restaurants, and points of interest. The videos were produced for relatively the same amount of money it would have cost to produce one T.V. ad. The videos were also picked up by numerous sites and were shown on an in-flight program. InterContinental Hotels thought about what the consumer would want to know and created content around it. To read more about the InterContinental videos see our blog.
How will your video be found?
Once you have discovered what travelers may be searching for, and have created video content around that, it is time to ‘seed’ your videos so they will be found by your target audience. Do some keyword research to find out what terms your target audience may be searching on. For example if you created a video about restaurants in Chicago brainstorm the various ways a person may search for that term such as; restaurants in Chicago, places to eat in Chicago, or Best Restaurants Chicago.
You should strive to have your video appear on the first few pages of Google for your selected keywords. Videos can appear organically in the search engine results pages and they can also appear in the videos tab on the navigation bar at the top left of a results page.
There is no cut and dry formula to ensure your video will appear in organic search, but there are some steps you can take that will increase its position in the search engine results pages. When you upload your video to a site such as YouTube, make sure to put your main keywords in the title of the video. You must also place your keywords in the ‘tag’ box and include them in the description of your video. Your video ranking is also affected by the number of views and votes your video has received.
Google has also just announced two YouTube features this month that could help your videos appear in organic search. The first is a preliminary roll-out of automatic captioning or auto-caps. YouTube will be able to create captions for videos using the current automatic speech recognition (ASR) technology. Auto-caps was developed mostly to allow videos to be accessible to the hearing-impaired, and to enable people around the world to access the content in 51 languages. However, the captions will also help your video appear in the search engine results pages for relevant keyword searches. Auto-caps is a work in progress, and sometimes the captions are correct, and other times they are not so good, but as Google says, it is better than nothing.
The second feature Google is launching is called automatic caption timing, or auto-timing, which will make it easier for people uploading video to create captions manually. In the past it was a bit difficult and time-consuming to add captions so most people avoided it. With auto-timing you just need to create a text file of your transcript and Google will use ASR technology to match up the captions to your video. For more information, see the Google blog post on Automatic captions.
Other video hosting services are looking for ways to incorporate Search Engine Optimization tactics as a feature of their site. One such company is which just released SearchSuccess this month, which is a set of tools and applications for video search engine optimization. One of their clients, Design World Online, has submitted 1,000 videos and 700 of them are already on the first page of the search engine results.
Apart from having your video appear in the search engine results pages, you should also promote your video on other sites. Place your video on your website and facebook account. Send tweets on Twitter that link to your video. Find similar videos on the same topic and post a video response with your video. Join discussion groups and post your video with your thoughts. You can also tag your video on social bookmarking sites such as delicious and StumbleUpon. Submit articles to travel-related magazines and embed your video.
Upload your video to video-sharing sites. There are hundreds of video sites available but some of the most popular ones are YouTube, Yahoo video, Vimeo, DailyMotion, MetaCafe, Veoh, and
A good free tool to help you upload your videos is called Tubemogul. All you have to do is upload your video once, and Tubemogul can distribute it to over 20 different sites. You have to spend some initial time setting up accounts in the various video-sharing sites, but after that it can save you a lot of time. You will also be able to see the analytics of your video and learn what keywords viewers used to find your video.
We recently met up with Brett Wilson, CEO and co-founder of TubeMogul, at Ad Tech New York and conducted a brief interview. Tom O’Rourke CEO/Founder of O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing asked Brett what his advice would be to hotels in terms of creating content and then optimizing the content to appear in the search engine results pages.
Brett responded that hotels need to be thinking about what their target audience is searching for, and create content around that. He believes that video is the best medium to engage guests with your hotel. Although Brett stated he wasn’t an SEO expert, he stressed that Google looks for relevancy so your keywords must be relevant to the content. He also suggested that hotels post a video and then observe what happens. Look at the keyword reports to see which terms viewers used to find your video and then go back and iterate the keywords that are most effective.

If you would like to learn more about creating videos for your hotel please see our blog post Create Videos for Your Hotel.
Feel free to call us if you are interested in how internet marketing and video can help generate business for your hotel. We can be reached at 978-465-5955 or by e-mail at


O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing
44 Merrimac Street
MA 01950

Also See: Prepare Your Hotel for Google Sidewiki Comments! Tips on What your Hotel Should Do, and How to Monitor Reviews with RSS Feed / November 2009

Innovative Hotel Website Ideas for 2010; O’Rourke Interview with Chris Brogan / November 2009

InterContinental Hotels Online Videos Prove More Effective / November 2009

How can Social Search Impact my Hotel? / November 2009

Sir Martin Sorrell’s Forecast for 2010, Is Your Hotel Looking Ahead? / November 2009

Chris Brogan Interview - Hotels that Listen to Social Media Generate Business / October 2009

Create Videos about Your Hotel - Your Guests Already Are! / October 2009

Thought, Reason, and Emotion Affect Consumer Decision / October 2009

Southwest Airlines is Riding the Blogosphere Like a Wild Horse! / October 2009

Don’t be Invisible Online - Learn which Websites Travelers Use to find Hotels and be Seen! / September 2009

What can a Blog do for my Hotel? The General Manager from Hawthorne Hotel Shares Insight! / September 2009

How to Edit, Export, & Upload Your Hotel Videos – Easy Technical Tips / September 2009

How Hotels Can Build Links by Leveraging their USP, PR, and Organic Growth; an O’Rourke Video Interview / September 2009

Will Google Caffeine Affect my Hotel SEO? / August 2009

Don’t Hide From Trip Advisor Reviews! / August 2009

5 Ways Hotels can Improve and Track Return on Investment from Twitter – Oh wait, there is no investment! / August 2009

Leverage Blended Search and Boost your Hotel’s Search Ranking Position / August 2009

How to Optimize Your Hotel Website for Natural Search / August 2009

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