The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of online video

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly of online video

Dean Harvey, Designate digital development director assesses some attempts from the travel sector of getting video right to promote brands

According to the latest figures, 89% of leisure travellers watch video online when planning their travel and continue to do so as they go through the purchase funnel.

So it’s very surprising that online video remains largely untapped by travel advertisers, representing 3.5% of digital video advertisers share.

YouTube and video are inherently social, with 30% of viewers sharing with a friend after watching a video and 100 million viewers sharing or ‘liking’ a YouTube video each week, according to Google. Online video IS social.

Plus, online video can be amplified easily within social networks, reaching your audience efficiently, but it can do so much more:

– It’s engaging. Customers’ attention online is limited. Video can cut through online noise – especially in social media channels.
– You can convey concepts, products, experiences with well-executed video.
– 25% of people expect to see videos when researching a destination according to Econsultancy.
– It can help your SEO – people viewing video on your site increases the page viewing time.
– Videos are versatile and can be incorporated into all digital marketing channels, website, blogs, email, social and mobile.
– It can be really cost effective.


Already in the game, as you might expect, is Thomson and First Choice with over 11,268,986 video views on their YouTube channels combined, but what is it that they are doing differently to Virgin Holidays with a paltry 289,720 views?

At first sight they both joined YouTube at similar times, but dig a little deeper and the answer is obvious; you must apply the social media rule of being useful, authentic and interesting.

First Choice have a video on most of their hotels and locations, Virgin Holidays does not, choosing to focus instead on their latest TV advert which frankly, as I’m planning my holiday, I’m not interested in.

Worse still is this horrific piece from Branson on coral reef conservation:


If I’m planning on going to a hotel I want to see some video – better still an online review. First Choice is doing this, Virgin Holidays is not.

A similar strategy has been applied by Onthebeach.co uk, proving that their content has not cost a fortune – simple animation with voiceover and some stills seems to have done the trick with over 1,632,721 views.

It’s not just the big boys that can play this game well either.

I loved this recent piece from small specialist France operator, Matthews holidays – a short Facebook video that fits the bill for those going to France.

While seeking to educate it also inspires and sets the scene for part of a great holiday experience in France. Is it expensive and highly produced with a famous voice-over? No.

Is it useful, authentic and interesting? You betcha! So it can be done, and inexpensively.

So where is that leading UK online travel agent Travel Republic? Nowhere to be seen; no link to YouTube from the main website and I’m not surprised .

And the obligatory #fails complete the this instalment of the Good, the Bad and the Ugly of social media:

– Surely Teletext have the media all wrong with this ‘video’
– Skyscanner: no style – just wrong http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qxnbpV3wcpQ
– Club Med cringe:



– And I have no idea what this is all about from Wightlink Ferries.


Video can achieve enormous reach, cost efficiently, and enhance your brand and product – but put some thought into it.

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