If you want to continue driving traffic to your property website and boosting online reservations in 2018, you have to be willing to invest in new ways to reach and connect with your target audience.

This year, more property managers will invest in video marketing than ever before. Here are a few reasons why:

  • More than 500 million hours of videos are watched on YouTube each day (WordStream).
  • Social video generates 1200% more shares than text and images combined  (WordStream).
  • Video on a landing page can increase conversions by 80% or more (WordStream).
  • 92% of video consumers share videos with others (Forbes).
  • Video posts on Facebook have 135% greater organic reach than photo posts (Forbes).
  • After watching a video, 64% of users are more likely to buy a product online (HubSpot).
  • 60% of travelers who view social video use it to narrow down their activity, brand or destination choices (Think With Google).
  • 62% of leisure travelers say that they want to see a video before making a final travel booking decision (MarkGrowth).

As a property manager, it’s your job to investigate opportunities that allow you to sustain and grow your business. Video marketing is one of those opportunities worth digging into this year.

If you’ve never tried creating videos for your property before, follow this 7-step guide to get started:

Step 1. Know Your Reason

Before jumping head first into creating videos for your property, it’s important to understand why you’re choosing to invest in video marketing in the first place. For that, you need to ask yourself one simple question:

“What specifically do I want to achieve with my videos?”

In other words, you need to have a reason for incorporating video as a tactic in your overall marketing strategy. You need to be able to justify allocating more of your budget or assigning more of your team to toward video marketing. To be successful with video marketing, you need to know your why—otherwise you risk wasting your time and your money.

Here are a few common reasons why a property manager like you may want to start creating and sharing more videos:

  • Reason #1: You want more people to know about your property.
  • Reason #2: You want to drive more traffic to your website.
  • Reason #3: You want to differentiate from your local competitors.
  • Reason #4: You want to get people talking more on your Facebook page.
  • Reason #5: You want to feature more stories about your guests, employees, and property.
  • Reason #6: You want to capture more leads.
  • Reason #7: You want to drive more online reservations.

It’s important to understand that this list is not exhaustive. You may have another reason for wanting to produce videos that you’re not seeing reflected in the list above, and that’s OK. The key is to simply spend time thinking about it. Knowing your reason upfront in this way can help you decide what kind of video to produce and share with your audience. It can also help when it comes time to track progress, measure success, and decide if video marketing is a tactic worth scaling for your business.

Step 2. Think About Your Audience

Once you know your why, the next thing you need to do is start thinking more about who it is that you’re actually going to be trying to reach with your videos. Thinking about your audience before coming up with any concrete video ideas will help ensure that you’re approaching your entire video strategy with the right frame of mind, from the right perspective, and with the right people in mind: your guests.

To ensure that you’re creating the right videos for the right people, work through the following list of questions:

  • Who are your guests? What are the main demographics you’re targeting?
  • What do they care most about relating to your property and their experience staying with you?
  • What do they care most about in life? What are their interests and hobbies? What pain points do they have?
  • What questions are your guests or leads constantly asking you?
  • What stories can you share on video that your audience could relate to?
  • What type of content or update does your audience typically respond to best on Facebook or other social media sites?
  • Why do your guests choose you over your competitors? What do they think makes you, your team, and your property special?
  • What challenges or objections do your guests need to overcome in order to book a reservation with you? What information do they need?

Knowing and thinking about the answers to these types of questions will make it easier for you to make informed decisions about which types of videos you should be creating and testing first for your audience.

Step 3. Assemble Your Team

The last step you need to take before thinking more about video types and the actual ideas that you want to move forward with is to assemble a team of people who can help you create, produce, and promote your videos. The size of your team and level of experience required will depend on the types of videos you want to produce.

If you’re looking to produce high-quality videos for your property, you will likely need people who can help you:

  • Develop video ideas
  • Create storyboards
  • Write video scripts
  • Record video
  • Act in or narrate over video
  • Manage video production equipment (such as cameras, lighting, and microphones)
  • Edit and package video
  • Manage the project budget, task, timelines, and progress
  • Promote video

If you intend to kick things off by creating videos that are more informal (and less expensive to produce), you may only need 1-2 tech savvy employees who know how to record with a smartphone and are able to leverage user-friendly editing tools like iMovie or Adobe Spark.

Additionally, you could choose to hire a professional videography team to produce your videos for you. Again, this just comes down to your budget and what type of video you’re trying to create and share with travelers.

Step 4. Choose 2-3 Video Types

As soon as you understand your why, you feel good about your audience, and you have the right team in place, you’re ready to start thinking more about the type of videos you want to create for your audience.

There’s no right or wrong answer when it comes to deciding what type (or format) of video to produce and share for your property. Again, it all comes down to your business, your audience, your goals, and your capabilities.

Here are a few examples of video types that you could be focusing on for your property:

  • Video Type #1: The Story – these are videos that tell stories about your guests, your employees, your local area, or your property.
  • Video Type #2: The Tour – these are videos that help potential guests understand what your property looks like and what they should expect to see and experience were they to stay with you.
  • Video Type #3: The Travel Tip – these are videos that offer quick tips to travelers who are preparing for or thinking about planning an upcoming trip.
  • Video Type #4: The Customer Testimonial – these are videos that feature kind words from past guests who loved their experience they had while staying at your property.
  • Video Type #5: The Live Q&A – these are live streaming videos (usually hosted on Facebook) that allow you to answer questions from prospective guests in real-time.
  • Video Type #6: The Behind-the-Scenes Update – these are videos that provide followers, past guests, and interested travelers with updates about your property (renovations, new additions, menu changes, team additions, etc.).
  • Video Type #7: The Polished Commercial – this is a traditional advertising-driven video that presents the best features and selling points of your property.

As mentioned, the video type you choose is going to greatly depend on your own unique situation. If you’re not sure where to start, spend more time reviewing the work you completed during steps 1-3 for guidance. The best thing you can do here is to simply pick a video type and move forward with testing it with your audience. You have to be willing to try, fail, and try again until you find something that resonates with your audience and drives them to take the action you ultimately want them to take.

Step 5. Develop Specific Ideas

As soon as you have selected your initial video types, your next task is to develop 1-2 specific ideas for each that you can move forward with as initial test campaigns for your audience.

For example, let’s imagine you selected The Story as one of your video types. You might do some brainstorming and decide that you want to create 2-minute long videos that tell the following stories:

  • Video Story Idea #1: The Origin of Our Property
  • Video Story Idea #2: The History of the Surrounding Area

Or let’s imagine you selected The Customer Testimonial as one of your video types. You might do some brainstorming and decide that you want to create 4-minute videos that feature the following:

  • Video Customer Testimonial Idea #1: The ‘Just Married’ Honeymoon Couple
  • Video Customer Testimonial Idea #2: The 10th Anniversary Vows Renewal Couple

The key here is to try to come up with ideas for videos that you think your audience will respond positively to. It’s also important to think about the capacity and availability of the people who are helping you create the video AND the people that you’d like to feature in your video.

For example, if tracking down and recording testimonials from happy guests isn’t feasible for one reason or another, consider starting with an easier video idea instead (like giving a personal tour of the grounds). You can always revisit more challenging or resource-intensive video ideas in the future once you can say with confidence that video marketing is worth the investment for your business.

Step 6. Create & Promote Your First Video

As soon as you have your idea nailed down, you can finally begin work on creating, editing, and producing your video. As you work through the process, keep the following best practices in mind:

  • Create an outline or storyboard first. An outline will help you focus all your creative ideas into one single, structured deliverable that can be referenced by everyone throughout the entire process. A storyboard will help whoever is filming better understand the story you’re trying to create and the visuals you want to capture.
  • Put someone in charge of the project. If you aren’t managing the project directly yourself, make sure whoever is has a firm understanding of your goals, the responsibilities of everyone involved, the budget, and the timeline.
  • Get more footage than you think you need. Try to get double the amount of footage you need for your video. It’s always better to have too much and be able to repurpose  the excess footage in other ways than to not have enough to achieve what you set out to do.
  • Remember the why. Throughout the entire process, try to remember why you’re doing video in the first place. Think about what goal you’re trying to achieve or work toward, and use it as motivation when challenges arise or things don’t go as planned.
  • Go with your gut. When you’re in situations that require you to be highly creative, trusting your gut is important. If something feels like it’s going in the wrong direction, not hitting the mark, or not what you expected, don’t be afraid to change up a script, an actor, a prop, or a scene on the fly.

When your video has been recorded, edited, and exported, spend time promoting it to your audience. If possible, consider promoting it in social media updates, email signatures, email marketing campaigns, landing pages, blog posts, at the end of live chat conversations, and on any other channel you’re using to regularly engage with your audience.

Step 7. Evaluate Success & Keep Testing

As more people become aware of your video, evaluate progress and success along the way. Leverage social and website analytics to determine how people are engaging with your video, and what actions they are taking as a result of watching it.

After you wrap up the promotion phase of your video campaign, go back to the brainstorming session and pick a new content type to test out with your audience. Or if you saw amazing results from your first attempt, double-down on the same content type and see if you can replicate your success a second time.

Remember: don’t be afraid to fail. If your video doesn’t achieve the goal you were hoping it would, try to pull insights as to why, and use those insights to improve and optimize future video marketing campaigns.

Over to You

What kind of videos have you been sharing and creating at your property? What’s been working and what hasn’t? Tell me in the comments below.