By Jessica Kaiser

If you’re looking at your phone or computer, it’s increasingly likely that you’re watching video. Facebook executives, including Mark Zuckerberg, have repeatedly stated over the last few years that by the end of the decade, video will make up the vast majority of what we see in the News Feed. As large a slice of our time that video takes up today – whether it reaches us through paid spots, email, websites, or social – that number will only tick up, across all demographics.

Simply put, hotels that aren’t investing (or considering investing) in video content risk having their messaging slowly drowned out over the next few years by hotels that include video in their content mix. That doesn’t mean you have to go and reallocate your entire ad spend toward video – only that you need to consider how you can work video into your marketing mix, even if it means just dipping your toes in the water to start.

First, Take a Quick Look at the Numbers

● 56% of videos published over the last year are less than 2 minutes long: You don’t have to make a feature-length film here; it can be short – in fact, short is good. Short videos are easier to digest and share on platforms that have a time limit (currently one minute on Instagram).

● 85% of Facebook video is watched without sound: Consider this if voiceover is an important component of your video. The obvious fix is to add easy-to-read captions throughout your video, so those scrolling through social media at the office, in school, or during their commute can easily follow along with your video without turning on their phone’s sound.

● 4x as many customers would prefer to watch a video about a product rather than read about it: If your product is your hotel or destination, start by looking at the content you’re already producing in written form on your website and in your collateral. Maybe it can jump-start the script or outline for your video.

Four Examples Showing the Power of Video in Hotel Marketing

Autograph Collection Hotels – “A Day in the Life”

Autograph knew what it was doing when it commissioned a series of consistent, property-specific videos for select hotels within its collection. Their strategy included bringing material from each of those videos together in this one universal brand video. The quick cuts, overlays showing which property is on screen, and energetic background music give it the feel of a single, globe-trotting adventure. It’s a creative way to tie Autograph’s properties together in a single, two-minute package.

The Takeaway: When you’re in the brainstorming process with your video production partner, you should be thinking about ways you can stretch your investment as much as possible. And that “step back” strategy applies to single hotels as well. Determine what you want from the outset. For example, a 10-second video specifically to loop on your website, a couple of other videos – maybe 30 and 60 seconds – for social (whether paid or organic), and a full-length (two- or three-minute) video for email campaigns, your website, and Vimeo and YouTube.

Hilton – “Stop Clicking Around”

Hilton’s “Stop Clicking Around” campaign, created specifically as a television ad, was created for one reason: to wage war against OTAs. The video begins by showing the actual booking process, customers tapping away on screens, and continues to the hotel itself, showing guests enjoying themselves – with The Rolling Stones’ “Satisfaction” playing throughout the video. Hilton’s objective was to have people book directly on their website, rather than through an OTA, and based on recent headlines, it looks like they were successful.

The Takeaway: A video doesn’t have to be a broad look at your property. It can address a specific pain point or marketing opportunity in a fun, invigorating way. What specific challenges does your hotel face? What sets you apart? Maybe you’d like to book more events, shine a spotlight on your newly renovated restaurant, or get more signups for your loyalty program.

The Cosmopolitan – “Misfit Right In”

There’s no getting around it: this video from The Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas is a little out there. It’s a bold, risqué 30-second spot . . . but it also has more than three million views on YouTube. It projects a very strong sense of brand rather than showing the hotel itself – actually, it doesn’t show the hotel at all. It strings together words and phrases between imagery to convey to the viewer what kind of guests stay at the Cosmopolitan and what sort of stay they can expect to have.

The Takeaway: Sometimes the elements that hotels show off in videos – drone shots, sandy beaches, sunsets, candlelit dinners – are borderline indiscernible from one another. A video that brings your hotel’s personality to life for viewers may do a better job communicating its unique value to travelers.

Le Saint-Sulpice Hôtel Montréal – “La Valise” (The Suitcase)

Le Saint-Sulpice Hôtel Montréal zigged where the other hotels in this piece zagged: Rather than create an overt marketing video, they used 30 percent of their annual marketing budget to make a short film. The film, as you might imagine, is set entirely in the hotel (a gorgeous backdrop that’s an ad in itself), and over 15 minutes tells a story of adventure and romance that could inspire viewers to come and chase that same feeling in person at Le Saint-Sulpice Hôtel.

The Takeaway: With video marketing becoming such a focus, the question to ask is “what’s going to make yours unique?” We’re not suggesting you produce a 15-minute short film, but what could you do to use the medium differently in today’s media landscape? One idea: a story that’s a little more lighthearted and produced entirely in an Instagram Story, which could then be downloaded and shared to your other channels. Whatever you do, invest the small bit of front-end brainstorming time to see if you can come up with a concept that’s truly different and a great content marketing piece, rather than just doing a video for video’s sake.

A Final Thought: Don’t Forget about the Super Inexpensive Live Video Option

There’s no getting around the fact that professional video is a major investment. But it’s worth thinking about the opportunities you have to make video yourself. Facebook and Instagram offer live video capabilities that anyone with a phone can take advantage of. While you’ll want to do a bit of preparation, live video can and should be raw. It’s an easy way to show off different parts of your hotel, whether it’s your stellar staff, events space, a quick cooking lesson with your chef, or the scenery of your accommodations. Live video can be a regular part of your hotel digital marketing mix and the medium affords a unique way to interact with guests.