Online videos are supposed to be the Internet’s long-awaited answer to the marketer’s traditional holy grail – the 30 second tv spot. The popularity of video startups like youtube has alerted media buyers and marketers to the striking impact of this medium. Not to be left behind, travel sites are now dipping into videos in a big way. Not so long ago, reviews became an integral part of online travel, followed by blogs, user-generated travelogues, podcasts and videos. However it’s only recently that videos have got the attention they have. Yahoo travel recently launched Current Traveler in partnership with Current TV, featuring, as you guessed, videos of travel destinations and interactive personal journeys from around the world. InterContinental Hotels and resorts recently introduced mini-web movies of its hotels around the world. RealityAdz.com is another site riding high on travel video content.
The hotel industry is no stranger to online videos – most hotels have online virtual tours or audio-visual representations of their rooms and have always used visuals more impactfully than the average e-commerce site. Which kind-of begs the question….. just how much can you involve and entertain users without losing sight of the business objective? Consumer-engagement is only a means to an end….. that of meeting the website revenue goals. Does the excitement of video have more to do with the big bucks returning to media plans than any real improvement in online business models?