Video is becoming an increasingly powerful marketing tool, not just in travel but in all sectors of ecommerce. Madison Wisse spoke to the founder of Shoot It Yourself which is offering travel firms the opportunity to take footage captured by their customers and turn it into valuable digital content
Travel companies today are constantly marketing their services over social media and other platforms, curating content in an ever-growing variety of formats.
Although not new to the industry, video marketing is fast becoming a must-try technique to inspire prospective customers.
As of December 2018, nearly 90% of businesses use video as a marketing tool and 91% reported that they consider video an important part of their marketing strategy, according to a study by Hubspot.
Facebook-owned video sharing site YouTube is now the second largest search engine behind Google.
Many travel companies that have embraced video branding focus on creating professionally filmed, lush destination videos to get customers hooked into their brand.
User-generated editing service Shoot It Yourself, however, is out to demonstrate that pristine video is not a pre-requisite for a successful video marketing campaign.
In 2010, Andrea McDowell and Becs Baldwin founded the company to provide video editing services to customers who wanted to compile videos filmed by family and friends at events like weddings, sports tours, charities, and stag and hen parties.
They provided the cameras to film the event, then take the clips to make a professionally edited and designed video package for the family and friends to purchase.
Their app, Shoot It Yourself, was also developed for users to upload videos via their iPhones or other mobile devices to be incorporated in the final product.
The company has since expanded into the corporate sector and provides companies user generated videos for team building events, training and demonstrations, conferences and more.
It now has a team of 10 based in the Cotswolds providing editing services to clients throughout the UK.
McDowell explained people are generally more comfortable being filmed by family and friends and their customers have more of a connection compared to being professionally filmed by a stranger.
“You forgo the quality of having professional filming, but you get more authentic, real content,” she says.
McDowell adds, due to their experience of Adobe software, the final product looks better than it would appear from an automated app or from someone who does not have the technology.
“We, as video editors, do a better job and have time to piece it together with titles and music and find the right moment for each clip,” she says.
“What we can offer is the ability to go through every single clip and focus on every point that makes it a real story.”
Shoot it Yourself have started making strides in the travel industry by selling the benefits of user generated content to various tour operators.
The company aims to make the ‘Shoot It Yourself’ app available to travel companies so customers can make and upload video from honeymooners, family groups, solo travellers and others on special holidays and trips.
The firm will compile the clips from holidaymakers who used the travel company’s service into a branded video for the operators to use on their website and social media channels.
Before users upload their videos, they will be asked to fill out a consent agreement, giving their permission to the brands to use the content for marketing.
“We’re working on a subscription model in the app where companies can sign for ‘x’ number of videos per year at a certain price to consistently update their website, social media and YouTube channels,” says McDowell.
These videos will combine clips of customers’ own experiences while on holiday, shifting away from using more scripted and planned video content.
“Seeing a panoramic scene or a model jumping into a pool is all fine but if I’m looking for a holiday, I don’t relate to that,” says McDowell. “User generated creates a more motivated and inspired audience.”
Shoot It Yourself believes marketers should be taking a first-person approach when filming a branded video so the viewer feels as though they are experiencing the trip alongside the traveller.
McDowell believes, however, that video is still an untapped opportunity in the travel industry and that this needs to change due to the increasing need for video content from users alone.
A study reported by Oberlo found that the average user spends 88% more time on a website with a video, compared to one without.
Currently 1.5 billion people use YouTube and 74% of marketers currently not using video plan to start in 2019.
Companies who are not currently and don’t plan to use video said they lacked time to produce content.
A further 21% said they didn’t know where to start and 12% felt production is too expensive, according to the study by Hubspot.
“Compiling video takes a long time. We have over 10 years of experience in post-production and training in broadcast television. We understand how to tell a story, and hone the narrative,” says McDowell.
Shoot it Yourself promotes its service as a low-cost option compared to hiring a professional videographer because they offer half the service.
McDowell adds: “Anyone can edit but no one has the time. 20% of videos on YouTube are travel vlogs now, so there are people that do it. But this is for the people who don’t have the time.
“They can just go on holiday and upload the videos later. We do the time-consuming work. These holidaymakers just want to have fun and we can expand that to benefit companies with branded content.”