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Pack 360-degree video in your travel marketing kit

30th November 2016

360-degree video and the travel and hospitality sector are a true marketing match made in heaven. The tech of the moment enables hotels, tourist boards, airlines and hospitality brands to take their customers on a journey and give them control as they immerse themselves in the travel experience.

As travel and hospitality companies face increasing uncertainty, changing business models, as well as the danger of drowning in the content soup, adding 360-degree to the video marketing plan can help travel brands to stand out. Now that the 360 degree video playback is much easier, and the tech is being backed by Facebook and YouTube, the time is right to get in with strong content ahead of your competitors.

Immersed in the heart of the experience

Consumers want to be inspired before they make what could be a significant purchase, and 360-degree video allows you to go further and take your customers on an adventure and immerse themselves in the action. Here is an example from airline, Quantas encouraging customers to hop on a flight to Hamilton Island.

With the power of 360, brands can address their customers one to one and allow them to experience the location and accommodation for themselves. Hotel brand, Hilton, has harnessed this interactivity for its 360 degree ads. The ad begins with a 15s video, followed by an end card where viewers can choose to immerse themselves in six 360 degree scenes from checking out a hotel room to admiring a coral reef.

Such a video experience encourages viewers to get involved by taking on the role of director and controlling the action. This interactivity and novelty value also encourages engagement.  A recent study from Google, asked “Is 360 video was worth it?” showing that the tech encourages viewers to share, subscribe and view other videos.

360 degrees for different stages of the buying cycle

A primary use of 360-degree video will be to raise awareness and inspire people to discover more, but it can also be used by at different stages of the buying cycle, including customer support and sales staff at events or in the travel office to help sell the services.

Tourism Australia created a series of 360 degree videos to share unique experiences and demonstrate what makes their homeland special. The 360 content is embedded in a tailored microsite featuring activities “down under” to inspire by putting tourists in the centre of the action.

John O’Sullivan, Tourism Australia’s MD said of 360-degree video:

“They’re an industry development tool and a sale tool for consumers and trade partners. We’re encouraging travel agents and our other partners to use them as well. We especially saw the potential of having such content available too for frontline travel agents to also share these experiences with people considering Australia.”

A 360 video view builds trust

As 360-degree technology takes the customers to the destination it offers a try-before-you-buy transparency, effectively building trust in your brand and services.

Sharing economy brand, Airbnb, feel that 360-degree video could help their hosts offer reassurance to customers. Mike Curtis, VP of Airbnb engineering said:

“Building trust in our community is one of the most important things and we can do in a lot of ways. Anything we can do to create a closer connection and close that gap between guest and host, before or even during the reservation, is key.”

Be an enabler and a storyteller

As part of a wider marketing strategy, hotels and travel brands can use 360-degree to become an enabler, and offer value-added information and ideas for tourists. For instance, a hotel brand could share 360-degree content of their location and insider tourist tips providing inspiration for customers – and encouraging them to share.

Although, not a travel brand, this video from GoPro is a good example of using storytelling techniques with 360 degrees, focusing on a carnival mask-maker in Venice. This kind of video does not directly sell, but uses a publishing model to encourage viewers to get more involved with the brand over the long-term.

Authenticity

Travel bloggers and influencers, who complement a travel brand, could be used to help tell stories and add authenticity to your content. In the example below, the cruise brand, Royal Caribbean draws on a travel blogger and filmmaker, which also works well to attract the attention of a younger demographic.

360 degree personalisation

FMGC brand, Cadbury’s ran with a 360-degree campaign called “Memory Lane” which encouraged viewers to put their own photos and memories into a quintessentially British street. Travel brands could get inspired by this kind campaign, using personalisation as an engaging way to invite users to share their holiday adventures.

We hope that you’re now full of ideas to take your customers on journey with 360-degree video. If you would like a demo, get in touch.

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