HOW EXPEDIA’S VACATION TRAVEL GUIDES USES VIDEO Puerto Vallarta, Riviera Nayarit, Punta Mita, Sayulita, Nuevo Vallarta, San Pancho
How our videos defy conventional wisdom and work all the better for it.
THE AIM OF EXPEDIA’S VACATION TRAVEL GUIDES
by Matt Cassidy, Matt Cassidy
When Tourism Media first began creating videos for Expedia’s Vacation Travel Guides, our aim was simple:
To create the best travel videos on the internet.
At the time, conventional wisdom in Search Engine and content circles was that YouTube videos should be 2 minutes max, should be boppy, fast-moving and grab your attention within 8 seconds or risk losing the audience.
Instead, our instinct was to put ourselves in the shoes of a traveller and show the things that we would like to see in a video. Importantly, we wanted to tease out the true character of the destinations we were producing and not churn out cookie cutter videos where running times were strict and there was a formula to stick to (even though this would have been far simpler and cheaper).
Our videos are each unique and sympathetic to the destinations that they cover. It is art as much as science and a lot of effort goes into each one as an individual piece telling a story all of its own…. more on that later!
3 years later and the results speak for themselves.
3 video cards
Many of our Vacation Guides have been watched by more than 1 million people and our New York Vacation Travel Guide has recently passed 3 million views.
Over its lifetime, New York has generated:
13,130 likes 2672 comments 9,882 shares
The Expedia Youtube channel has grown from around 10,000 subscribers to 128,811 subscribers since the introduction of the Expedia Travel Guide serie
In total to this date the Expedia YouTube channel has now had 38,574,184 video views.
How did we achieve these results?
In order to get these results, we committed to the highest possible quality in every step of production, while maintaining a careful eye on efficiency and bang for dollar for our client.
Every single person who is involved in the production of our videos, from the Production Managers to the scriptwriters and the editors, is given very simple instructions:
“Put yourself in the shoes of someone planning a trip to this place.”
As Tourism Media Director, Nick Joy explains it, “if you are taking a trip to New York City, you are more than happy to take 8 minutes to watch a video that summarises information that may take you 4 hours to cobble together on your own.”
“You are planning a trip of a lifetime and you don’t just want facts, figures and directions. You want to feel the magic of the destination….. to capture that feeling of excitement. Our videos are crafted to hit the right balance of practicality and poetry.”
1. Careful research.
Before we even step foot in a city we carefully look at each city and research it. We liaise with the local tourism body and figure out what we would like to film, what makes the place special and all the many and varied logistical issues. This encompasses not just researching the attractions and places that are important but also looking at what makes each city tick and doing our best to capture the essence of often intangible qualities.
2. Logistics and planning
Permissions, transport, local language, weather, safety, copyright restrictions – these are just some of the issues that need to be overcome to get a good photographer on the ground. Anything can and does happen when out there shooting, having a good logistics team and skilled photographers and videographers who can think on their feet are critical for successful shooting.
3. Media management
After the photographers are onto the next location, hundreds, even thousands of gigabytes of data need to be catalogued, stored and backed up. These are made available to the scriptwriting teams and prepared for editing.
We have three skilled and qualified scriptwriters in house. They take the footage, the research and their own creative ideas to craft a unique script for each destination. The script is not simply a story. It takes an often complex collection of ideas, footage, places and individual shots to craft these into a cohesive vision. The end result is a story which does justice to the destination but which takes into account challenges with footage, holding the viewers attention and the balance between keeping the information practical and actionable with the right amount of magic thrown in. After the writer is done the whole production team sits down and goes through the script from beginning to end, an often bruising process but one which invariably results in a better end product.
Our world-class photographers spend much of their time traveling the world and capturing amazing footage for us. Sometimes, it is easy and the shoots go smoothly and other times, the adventuring is much harder.
It is often the case that the music is half of the story, each of our videos is scored with original music. The music needs to complement the vision and the script, impart the emotion of a destination and connect with the audience. We go to great lengths to use authentic instruments and a local voice artist to give the videos credibility and appeal to a global audience.
7. Post Production
This is where it all comes together, our in-house editors craft the many disparate pieces of the video into the whole. It’s both a technical and creative challenge, the editor brings together the creations of the whole team into a finished piece of art and then delivers it technically as well. The final mastered version is a pristine digital file which we then deliver for the best possible final product which is seen in YouTube.
8. Digital Content Management
Tourism Media now has over 200 Destination Guides, each requiring YouTube management of all metadata and custom description content. Each video is published across Expedia’s multiple points of sale and our Content Management toolset helps enable us to easily upload, publish and manage our videos across the world.
Four years is a long time in the fast-changing online environment.
Different technologies have come and gone as well as dozens of theories as to how to best leverage the travel video market. Amidst all the changes, our Vacation Travel Guides continue to grow in popularity and reach, proof that honest quality and a deep understanding of our customer is an unbeatable combination.
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