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InterContinental Hotels Online Videos Prove More Effective Than T.V. Spot

November 16, 2009 - At Ad Tech NY this month we caught up with Jared Simon, V.P. of Corporate Development at TurnHere Internet Video, and we asked him to share with us his case study about InterContinental Hotels & Resorts.

Rather than produce one television spot, InterContinental Hotels & Resorts chose to produce online videos which showcase more than 150 cities where their hotels are located. Working with TurnHere, they were able to produce more than 700 stunning videos for the same price it would have cost to produce just one television spot.

These intriguing videos are narrated by the concierge of the hotel who takes the viewer on a tour of the city. The videos have been extremely successful and have been used across the brand’s online marketing initiatives. The videos have also been picked up by numerous editorial sites which is free publicity for InterContinental. Below is a video clip where Jared talks about the concept, process, and result of this innovative video project.

Tom O’Rourke, Founder/CEO of O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing, encourages his clients in the Hotel Industry to use online video because it is a very powerful and inexpensive sales tool that can build a hotel brand and attract new business. Tom wanted to share Jared’s insight on internet videos with the hotel industry and asked him to discuss the InterContinental Hotels & Resorts case study.

Jared explained why InterContinental decided to produce the videos instead of a television spot. He said that InterContinental had a marketing budget, for example a million dollars, that they could have spent creating a really nice television spot that touted their 1000 count bed sheets as opposed to Hilton’s 1000 count bed sheets. They could have spent that money on a great spot and put it out on television where everyone would probably TiVo through it and didn’t want to see it in the first place.

InterContinental decided in a really forward thinking way to take the same money and produce videos that created a sense of their local market knowledge. So rather than tout their bed sheets, or the size of their rooms, or the quality of the hotels, they wanted to tout their market knowledge of every city where they have a hotel. The concierge of each hotel narrates the video and takes the viewer on a tour of the city and showcases the best things to do, the best things to see, and the best places to eat.

Jared then explained the production process and said TurnHere created really interesting video content around these tours, and then chopped them up into the various component pieces. So for example they have a video about a restaurant in London, a video about a nightclub in Hong Kong, and a video about a park in Dubai. They then posted the videos broadly throughout the web and meta-tagged them correctly so the videos would be found for multiple keywords in Search.

The result is that InterContinental now has thousands of pieces of content on the web which will be found by travelers searching the internet. For example, if someone is thinking about traveling to Dubai and they conduct a search on Google for great places to eat in Dubai, several results will show up – one of which may be an InterContinental video showcasing restaurants in Dubai.

Jared explains it this way:

It’s super-relevant for me as a consumer, super-relevant for InterContinental, because while they’re not talking about the hotel itself, their concierge is in there, their brand is on that content, they are associated with content that is super-valuable to their consumers without shoving down a brand message, or without selling to any of these consumers and they’ve received a remarkable bang for the buck in doing all this.

Because it’s content, because it’s not viewed as advertising, it’s been picked up on editorial sites from all across the web, it’s shown on some in-flight entertainment systems now. The content is incredible and they didn’t pay for any of that (publicity), they just paid to create the great content.

What their insight was – here’s my consumer, here’s what my consumer wants to know, and obviously if I’m thinking about traveling I want to know about that market. So I am going to create great content to give that consumer what he or she wants to know, and I’m going to associate my brand to it, rather than selling to those consumers.

As Tom said, “That makes so much sense!”  Tom also wanted Jared to speak to the hotelier at a smaller, independent property who doesn’t have a big budget for video. He asked him what he would recommend to this group as far as producing video themselves or having videos professionally shot.

Jared doesn’t promote producing user-generated videos and says for a video to be engaging and compelling it must be produced by professionals. He stressed that you want to make the content very authentic and real, not a glitzy ad spot, but if you want to make it authentic in a high-quality way that takes a talented professional. He advises hotels to figure out what people want to know, figure out a story they’d be interested in hearing, create content around it, and associate your brand with it. He states that any hotel can do that – big or small. 

Here at O’Rourke, we agree with Jared that if your videos are a central component of your internet marketing plan, such as the Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts videos, then they should be professionally produced. However, we do encourage hotels to create their own videos about special events at their hotel or guest interviews that can be posted on their blog. This can give the hotel a personal touch and generate more traffic to your website.

You can see the videos at the Intercontinental Hotels & Resorts ‘In The Know’ Website, but be warned, you just may be tempted to take a vacation.

If you would like to learn more about Internet Marketing please call us at 978-465-5955 or send an e-mail to


O’Rourke Hospitality Marketing
44 Merrimac Street
MA 01950

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