In 2017, YouTube leapfrogged WhatsApp into second place behind Facebook in total active global users. Meanwhile, consumers view 100 million hours of video on Facebook every day, with one out of five videos being Facebook Live broadcasts.
Looking to help travel sellers leverage this trend towards greater online video consumption, Amadeus has launched Video Solutions, a cloud-based, self-service tool that helps marketers upload interactive videos that include links for viewers to directly explore and book travel.
For instance, some Video Solutions launch customers are linking to hotel availability and rates, restaurants, recommended activities and other destination options.
“Today, most travel videos are still one click away from bookings,” said David Trastour, head of Amadeus Video Solutions. By embedding the video with links at an agent’s website, travel sellers can improve sales at the same time they increase their search engine optimization (SEO), said Trastour, who spent the two years leading up to the product’s launch studying how video impacts travel consumer buying habits.
“In terms of merchandising, the point of the video is to inspire you to want to travel and choose a particular destination, hotel, or activity. The video would make you want to spend three days instead of two, to really fine-tune your decisions at the point of shopping.”
“Posting a video on YouTube, or your Facebook news feed, still requires the consumer either interrupt their viewing and research somewhere else on the Internet or wait until the video ends,” Trastour said. “Here, we make sure we optimize SEO and direct people to your site.”
With the Video Solutions tool, destinations and other industry players will be able to capture more bookings through the convenience of direct links, also known as “clickable calls to action.”
Approximately two-thirds of travelers watch videos when they’re planning a vacation, Amadeus said. According to Google, 66 percent of travelers watch videos for inspiration, while social media consultancy KISSmetrics says 85 percent of all consumers are more likely to buy a product after watching a video.
“Marketers need to tell stories that inspire people to travel, so that the viewer wants to live that experience themselves,” Trastour said.
Opportunities both online and in retail storefronts
Another selling point for the Video Solutions service is the ability for agents to track consumer online behavior in greater detail, including which calls to action viewers click on during their viewing sessions, and ultimately, which content leads to sales (“conversions” in digital marketing parlance.)
For travel agencies with a storefront, Amadeus has an AppleTV version of their video channel that could be installed for clients to watch while they are browsing or waiting to meet with an agent, Trastour said. “We already have a good catalog of a wide variety of video destinations. We can easily source good content from day one, with a lot of video available, and link to the agency’s pricing,” he said.
“Or when I am a consumer, walking into your store, you hand over an iPad instead of a brochure, something that is more engaging, with videos telling a story,” he said.
Amadeus is not disclosing pricing for the service, but did say that for solo entrepreneurs like home-based independent contractors, it would be at the high-cost end of marketing channels.
“We’re trying to address two different markets. One is the Amadeus large customer: airlines, hotel chains. They will have the necessary marketing budgets to afford this. Then there are smaller customers who really want to engage with their customers, like a local tourist board.”
“We didn’t just want to reach a wide audience, we wanted to reach the right audience at the right time, and give them the ability to book their trip immediately, without having to search across many different websites to complete their booking,” said Oliver Stotz, corporate director marketing and distribution at Lindner Hotels & Resorts.
Amadeus Video Solutions can also link its customers with online influencers, who can further expand their marketing reach. For example, Lindner Hotels & Resorts worked with ThatBackpacker.com on their video.
“These pages, the bloggers, are going to be online for years to come, so this is a long-term investment, as opposed to advertising which comes and goes,” Trastour said.
Industry experts believe that, like other technology innovations, over time, marketplace competition will help drive down the cost of these kinds of cloud-based services, and Trastour encouraged travel agents to experiment with more video content now on their websites and social media platforms to prepare for the future.