A Successful Destination Marketing Video

A Successful Destination-Marketing Video Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, Punta Mita, Sayulita, Nuevo Vallarta, San Pancho

How To Create A Successful Destination-Marketing Video
Forbes Agency Council www.forbes.com/
Abbi Whitaker CommunityVoice
Forbes Agency Council

Co-founder of The Abbi Agency, a digital engagement firm providing outreach strategies to travel destinations, tech companies and B2B brands

If I were granted a whole bunch of wishes by the good fairy, wish No. 58 would be this: Please don’t allow my friend Adrienne to receive one of those Word of the Day calendars this Christmas.

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Adrienne, you see, isn’t satisfied to simply learn the word of the day. She has to use it in conversation all day long, no matter how inappropriate the context. I still recall with a deep sigh, for instance, the day that she learned “lugubrious.”

I worry that destination marketers and the firms that are advising them are about to fall into the same trap as my friend Adrienne when they clap their hands in excitement about all the new technological tools available to them.

One of those tools, travel-related video, has undoubtedly come of age.

As recently as 2015, Google reported that YouTube views of travel-related videos were up 118% year-over-year and destination-specific searches accounted for more than 70% of the activity. That’s not at all surprising. Most of us have known since our first marketing classes in college that video is a particularly powerful tool for delivering emotional messages, and the business of marketing travel destinations is all about emotion.

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You’d figure then, that the advent of virtual reality video and the increasing use of drone-created video promise nothing but more power, more views and more engagement for destination-related videos.

Although virtual reality and drone-shot video both show tremendous promise, neither have truly fulfilled their potential in the world of destination marketing. One of the best destination-related virtual reality pieces I’ve seen comes from Lockheed Martin and details the experience of traveling to Mars. That’s hardly a traditional destination, and the aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is hardly a traditional destination marketer.

And the fresh looks provided by drone-created video — the graceful swoop around a travel icon, the soaring climb above spectacular scenery — clearly will have a place in destination marketing for many years to come. One of my favorite demonstrations of drone video is particularly noteworthy because it shows the importance of good piloting (the creator of this video had owned his drone for all of one week) and because it shows the power of video taken just a bit above traditional eye level. Video shot from a drone 12 feet above the ground can be just as compelling as high-angle material.

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Cool as the new technology may be, we’re in danger of becoming just like my Word-of-the-Day friend Adrienne if we use virtual reality and drone technology simply because it’s available. The most critical element of any effective destination video, no matter what technology is at our disposal, continues to be a compelling story. From Homer’s tales of brave Ulysses recited by a bard in a Greek banquet hall to the thrills that a Steven King novel delivers to a reader, the story is everything.

Effective stories in destination marketing need not be complicated. A great example of this is found in a video about a vacation in California’s Big Sur developed by San Francisco-based Lost Campers, a van-rental outfit. Here’s the plot summary: Boy, did we have a great time on vacation. A few seconds of video shot from a drone helps support the story, but the story is everything. And every time I watch that video, I want to spend a week camping at Big Sur.

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Because video is a hot medium that carries or even amplifies a lot of emotional punch, quiet stories told with understatement can cut a path into the consciousness of viewers. A great example comes from Airbnb, with its minute-long video that’s little more than soft voiceover attached to a video of a toddler walking toward a door filled with sunshine. Simple and quiet as it may be, the Airbnb piece stirs me to explore the world.

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These are some things that marketers need to keep in mind in order to tell a compelling video-based story:

• Keep it simple. A convoluted premise is likely to confuse viewers and dilute your message. If you can’t simply convey your idea verbally, you might want to consider simplifying before getting too deep.

• Make sure you have a structure. Your video must have a clear beginning, middle and end. Otherwise, your video will feel incomplete.

• Solve a problem. Whether it be saving a damsel in distress or achieving freedom, viewers are most satisfied when a hurdle or struggle is presented, which is then overcome by the protagonist(s).

• Hit them in the feels. Although it doesn’t have to be excessive, a compelling video must elicit an authentic emotion from the audience.

• Develop your characters. In order to resonate with your audience, replace empty or stereotypical characters with authentic ones that viewers will connect with and remember.

In short, compelling stories create the difference between mere demonstrations of fascinating technology and marketing materials that move viewers to action.

As travel video continues its rapid growth, virtual reality and drone-based video will find their place as tools to help tell stories. But destination-marketing videos that replace good story with feats of technological wonder? As Adrienne would say (at least for one day), they’ll be totally lugubrious.

Forbes Agency Council is an invitation-only community for executives in successful public relations, media strategy, creative and advertising agencies. Do I qualify?
Co-founder of The Abbi Agency, a digital engagement firm providing outreach strategies to travel destinations, tech companies and B2B brands.
Forbes Agency Council www.forbes.com/

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