As the Internet continues to evolve and grow, YouTube stands tall as one of the most popular Web 2.0 communities. Millions of videos are hosted and viewed literally billions of times. Businesses have recognized the advertising potential and cashed in: rock bands release music videos, companies put out humorous or intriguing commercials, and many others promote themselves in one way or another. As a hotel, you can even use YouTube to promote and expand your own business, attracting new guests and grabbing the attention of an extremely large number of people through viral marketing and well-produced videos. These can be commercials to attract attention, or videos covering major events at your hotel, or something completely different and creative. Here are seven different ways you can use YouTube to your fullest advantage, and how to optimize your use of it to attract as many people as possible to your hotel and its website.
1. Create your own channel.
This is an extremely simple first step. With your own channel, you have the ability to centralize all of your YouTube content. As you upload multiple videos, you will want them to be linked together to direct potential customers to each one. You will also get a specific YouTube URL for your channel (i.e., http://www.youtube.com/yourchannelnamehere). You can then attach a profile and link your channel to your main hotel website for bookings.
A YouTube channel acts as a base for you to build upon. It is the beginning of your YouTube presence, and it is where you want YouTube viewers to be directed. YouTube allows you to customize your channel's web page rather extensively, so be sure to make it sharp-looking and professional.
2. Choose the right account type.
There are several different account types for you to choose from:
Don't settle for 'Standard'. A standard account tells the potential guest nothing. Now, if you are producing these web videos yourself, there's no problem with selecting 'Director'. If you produce sharp or entertaining videos, being recognized as a director can be a very good thing. Obviously, establishing your YouTube presence musically would mean using the musician profile. As a musician, you could promote catchy jingles or songs that you use to promote your hotel's brand. Even the 'Comedian' option can be used if you are putting together humorous videos.
The 'Guru' account can also be useful. As a guru, you would be promoting yourself as an expert. If you want to be considered an expert in hospitality, go for it. Just make sure you back up your account title with useful information.
3. Keep it short.
Generally speaking, viral videos run under five minutes. If you want to be viewed by lots of YouTube visitors, you need to keep it short and sweet. If you have a campaign put together that you really want to use, but it runs longer than five minutes, break it up into segments and number them as such. You will stand a much better chance of driving viewers there. Relate your content to your account type and hit the viewer quickly.
4. Tag and categorize your videos.
YouTube videos are searched. People find lots of videos simply by entering a term in a search bar at the top of the page and clicking away on the results. Tagging and categorizing your videos properly and effectively will push those viewers to your video. Use as many tags as you'd like, don't be shy about it. It can increase your chances of being recommended as a 'Related Video' when someone views a different video.
5. Create targeted playlists.
Help your viewers out. It breeds loyalty, which will increase the chances of them patronizing your hotel when they are able to. Gathering related clips into a playlist will drive the viewers to your channel, which will increase your exposure while entertaining them. Taking the work out of the hands of the potential customer will give you a positive online image, and boost your brand in the process.
6. Take advantage of YouTube Email and Bulletins.
Many companies view YouTube as a video site, and nothing more. However, it is important to recognize that it is also a social networking site. Use it to your advantage! Reach out to users and let them know about a useful or entertaining video that you've just posted. Don't abuse this, however. Sending mass amounts of unsolicited email is called 'spamming', and it is no good. Target those who are already interested in your content or content similar to yours. Posting bulletins on your profile or others' is a great, easy way to let them know that you've just posted something they may be interested in. If used wisely and correctly, these two tools can vastly increase your views.
7. Join or create YouTube Groups.
Much like other social networking sites, you are able to be a part of many different groups of users with the same interests. Taking part in one can provide you with a targeted audience for you to tailor your content towards. Interaction with other group members builds your network. Just like any other marketing opportunity, a bigger network means more business.
Using YouTube as a supplement to your marketing campaigns is just like any other marketing option: it will take some time. But if done correctly, you can reduce the amount of time it takes to increase viewership and drive traffic to your main website. There, the website can make the sale, and you will have guests ready to book their next stay at your hotel.
About Lodging Interactive
Lodging Interactive is a leading provider of Internet Marketing Services to the hospitality, spa and restaurant industries. The company provides a portfolio of effective Internet Marketing Services to hundreds of hotels, resorts, timeshares, spas and restaurants. Clients included branded hotels from nearly every major brand as well as prestigious, landmark independent hotels.
The Company offers effective online tools and services: ChatterGuard.com, an online social media monitoring and reputation management system, HuBBub.com, a fully managed Travel 2.0 Distribution & Marketing service, CommentCards.com, a full-service business-2-consumer comment card service, eProposalSystem.com, an online RFP response system hotel Sales Managers, RFPLink.com, a group RFP lead generation, HotelDirectBook.com, a consumer hotel portal, link2brand.com, personalized URL's for hotels, DiningClick.com, Internet Marketing Services for the restaurant industry, and SpaInteractive.com, Internet Marketing Services for the health spa industry.
Lodging Interactive is a proud member of the American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), The California Hotel Association, the Day Spa Association, and a supporter of the Hotel Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI). For more information contact Richard Walsh, Vice President of Business Development at [email protected] or at 877-291-4411. The company's website is located at www.LodgingInteractive.com.