Video Marketing Best Practices For The Tourism Industry (and lots of others) – Updated March 2022

Tourism Industry

Video content rules. Not only does video drive stronger engagement on social media than link or image posts, video also enables brands to better build an emotional connection with their viewer. For our tourism and city planning & development clients (shout out to Arlington, TX!), we’ve seen firsthand how this connection translates directly into more dollars spent on location.

With so much opportunity to showcase a destination to a would-be vacationer, we often get asked by our tourism-centric clients about what best practices we would recommend for video marketing and here’s what we tell them.

Update from the Author: Oh boy, if we thought video was huge in 2018, it has become a necessity in 2022 – especially for the travel and tourism industry coming off of the heels of the pandemic. 

To help your brand improve bookings, drive revenue, and increase destination recognition, we’ve updated this post with even more travel and tourism video marketing best practices. 


Now Is The Era Of Video

Back in 2018, it was predicted that video would account for almost 80% of all internet traffic by 2020. Back in 2018, online video already accounted for 74% of internet traffic.

Here are a few more 2018 stats:

  • 85% of Americans with internet watch videos online
  • 52% of marketing professionals cite video content as having the best ROI
  • Marketers who use video grow revenue 49% faster than those that don’t

In 2022, it’s been found that 86% of companies used video as part of their marketing. Of those companies that use video, 93% consider it a critical part of their marketing strategy with the majority stating that video has increased their website traffic.

ROI, fast growth, Americans, sounds like an ideal opportunity for the tourism industry, right?

Keep in mind, the human brain is an amazing feat of evolution, able to process visual content 60,000x faster than text-based content. Not only do we process video faster than say an article or a blog post, visual content also holds our attention more. Most video viewers on average watch 75% of a video (vs. a much lower engagement percentage with blog posts or other text-based content).

Bottom line, people watch videos. A lot of videos.

Video Gives Us the Feels

Travel is a subjective experience. Not every person is going to experience the same vacation in the same way. Whether it’s unique food, comfort and relaxation, or adventure, we all value different aspects of a tourist destination. For tourist-focused businesses or organizations, video plays an all-important part in communicating those experiences to the would-be vacationer.

In fact, among those who watched or commented on travel-related videos:

  • 66% viewed videos when thinking about taking a trip
  • 65% viewed videos when choosing a destination
  • 54% viewed videos when choosing accommodations
  • 63% viewed videos when looking for activities to do at a destination
  • 42% of travelers are inspired by YouTube content

At this point, you’re probably saying, “Alright, we get it, video is important! What should I do next?”

Glad you asked.

Tourism Video Marketing Tips

1) Devise A Distribution Plan

You can have the snazziest tourism video on the planet, complete with amazing testimonials, celebrity appearances, and tantalizing eats n’ drinks. If no one sees it though, it might as well be a blank VHS tape sitting on the dusty shelves of an abandoned Blockbuster Video.

Before you even touch a camera, you need to figure out how you’re going to get people to see your video. Posting to your social channels is an option, but dwindling organic reach makes that a less effective means of distribution than in previous years. Likewise, with the rising cost of paid advertising, paying to get views becomes a growing, but typically necessary, expense to any marketing budget.

2) Activate Your Biggest Fans To Share Your Video

Instead of (or in addition to) paid advertising, we recommend that our tourist-centric clients tap into the power of their fan base and activate their Superfans to share their videos through an advocacy marketing program. In an advocacy marketing program your top fans voluntarily join your branded program. Once a member, they’ll be able to seamlessly publish your content (including your amazing videos), to their personal social channels. When doing so they can earn points, rewards, or unique opportunities selected by your organization.

They benefit from sharing their passion. Your organization benefits from the huge lift in visibility (we find that just 1 advocate is connected to 600+ people on average). You also benefit from the 3rd party validation that comes with an advocate sharing your message. 84% of vacationers say that they trust recommendations made from friends and family over paid advertisements.

3) Make It A Video Worth Sharing

Distribution plan in place, it’s time to roll up the proverbial sleeves, uncap that lens, and get to work. If you want to make the best possible videos to promote your tourist-centric business or organization be sure to:

Focus on the Story You’re Telling

Closeups of tasty noms or breaking waves are great, but if you want to strike an emotional chord with the viewer, you need to have a compelling story behind the video. If you’re showcasing food, talk about the restaurant’s history, the chef that started the business, or major achievement or awards the restaurant has won. Want to drive traffic to your main street? Show how the town has progressed. Own any hardships and communicate the continued reinvention of your city. Never underestimate the power of a phoenix story.

B-roll is cool (and necessary), but the better the story your video tells, the more engaging it becomes, the more likely it is to produce a tangible impact.

Timing is Crucial

When editing the video always remember you only have 10 seconds to grab the user’s attention if you want them to stick around. You should also consider keeping the video on the shorter side. If you have a longer video, cut it into several smaller videos to make the whole experience more consumable. There is a significant attention drop off between two and three minutes of viewing time, so every second after the 2-minute mark counts.

If you can’t shorten the video to 2 minutes, the next sweet spot is 6-12 minutes. Focus on creating great content and telling a compelling story to keep the viewer engaged through the 12-minute mark, but after minute 12 expect another significant drop off. Remember, you’re not creating a television series; the shorter the video, the easier it is to hold the viewer’s attention and keep them emotionally engaged.

Mobile-friendly Videos

Research shows that 92% of mobile viewers share videos and mobile makes up almost 40% of global watch time on YouTube. Simply put, people watch a ton of video on their mobile phone. Make sure the orientation, aspect ratio, and any captioning on your finished video is mobile optimized.

Produce New Content Regularly

If you want to see success from video marketing, you need to be sure you’re producing more than just a handful of videos published at random times. Each story you tell is going to resonate with a different audience. The more stories you share, the more people you make aware of what you have to offer them for travel. Also, you start building a following of people that actively engage (and look forward to) your content.

If you share your content through an advocacy marketing program, you have even more incentive to produce regular content. Once an advocate has signed up to join your program, they can start sharing your content as often as you ask them too (up to 2 or 3 times a week!). The more they share your content, the more impressions your content earns, the greater your ROI and earned media value.

2022 Best Practices

Personalize Your Content

Don’t get us wrong, generalized video content has its place in your marketing strategy, but to truly connect with your audience, aim to produce more personalized content. For example, if your hotel caters to families, consider creating content that focuses on the family-friendly aspects of your property (on-site child care, family pools, etc.). Likewise, if you’re a destination brewery, you should focus your video marketing on content that would appeal to your target audience. 

As with our other notes, these videos don’t have to be full-length films. Even just a few minutes of b-roll footage should be more than enough to showcase personalized aspects of your brand. 

Bust Out the UGC

Do you want a relatively easy way to dramatically increase the volume of videos you publish? Lean on your users! 

Keep tabs on your branded hashtags and note when your guests are creating posts for the Instagram Stories and TikToks. Then, reshare their posts onto your branded channels. Be sure to tag the original creator in the posts. 

Not only does this tactic allow you to publish more content with having to increase your production costs, it also allows your brand to leverage the creativity of your fans! From boomerangs to inspirational quotes and beautiful sunsets, turn your guests into your dedicated creative department. 

Embrace Virtual Reality 

Ready or not, the metaverse is coming! And with it, mass adoption of virtual reality equipment. The global Virtual Reality (VR) market size is projected to reach USD $26,860 million by 2027.

2027 may be a few years ff, but there is plenty your brand can do now to capitalize on this growing trend to drive revenue this year. Here are a few of our favorite ideas:

  • Create virtual property tours. 
  • Select a couple of key experiences and film them from the customer’s perspective. 
  • Publish immersive content that guests can access from the comfort of their homes. 
  • Livestream and host virtual events to encourage guest interactions. 

SocialToaster Increases Video Content Value

Video marketing is important for every industry, but for tourism-centric businesses and organizations, video is the perfect way to build excitement and anticipation for an upcoming vacation. Ready to turn your brand advocates into video-sharing machines? Learn how SocialToaster can help you with your advocacy marketing efforts. Call us at 855.62.TOAST, send us an email, or request a free demo.

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