Interactive video is a relatively new trend in digital marketing, but the travel industry is already finding new ways of using the media to engage holidaymakers. The ability for viewers to interact with video content in new and exciting ways presents brands in the travel sector with a powerful tool to engage, convert and understand the needs of your customers.
Marketers have already demonstrated that online video outperforms other digital ad formats when it comes to raising brand awareness and purchase intent. And with only 22% of businesses confirming they are satisfied with their online conversion rates, interactive video provides a potential solution.
Case in point: reports indicate that interactive video delivers more value to viewers and is yielding higher benchmarks across the board as a result. A survey published by Wyzowl.com reveals interactive video creates a 591% uplift in total user activity and Demand Metric report the format delivers 25% more conversions.
A further study published by Brightcove revealed interactive video is attracting more interest from marketers. One in five businesses that took part in the study confirmed they are already using interactive video and one-fourth have plans to introduce the media into their marketing strategy in the foreseeable future.
The study also revealed that interactive video is being channeled through four or more applications. By a wide margin, driving engagement and training customers are the top two uses for interactive video. 70% of participants that are already using the interactive video confirmed the format performs strongly for both goals.
How are travel brands using interactive video?
The potential to be virtually taken to far-flung lands across the world is irresistible for travellers. Even passersby looking for a moment of escapism can be inspired enough to book a holiday and visit destination they want to experience in real life.
Brands will be wise to take the hint from Anthony Bourdain. The TV host has launched a digital experience that features behind-the-scenes footage and commentary to some of his favourite locations recorded for the program, Explore Parts Unknown.
Bourdain explains the digital footage is intended to give deeper insights to viewers that want an immersive experience and will “hopefully encourage them to go out and look at the world...if this inspires people to follow their curiosity around the world and get their passports renewed, then we’ve done our job.”
The advent of 360-degree images and virtual reality technology makes it possible for tour operators and tourist boards to create interactive experiences. Brands are already finding inventive ways to whet the appetite of travellers.
In Armenia, a team of film makers has created panoramic tours of over 300 monasteries and ancient sites. The footage is shot using 360-degree technology visitors can view through a smartphone app or VR headset. Users are encouraged to add annotations and comments.
The project’s founder, Vahagn Mosinyan said the idea is to ‘preserve and to archive cultural heritage’ but also gives viewers all over the world the option to switch from street views to aerial views and ‘navigate through interiors, and view relics and historical art.
Tour guide, Pierrick Destraz utilised interactive video to showcase the city of Laussane in Switzerland. The video enables viewers to customise their experience by learning about the city and selecting the language they want to listen in.
Newsfeed SmartApps have also introduced a new tool that will make publishers rethink about how they publish videos on social media networks. Travel brands are encouraged to record vertical interactive videos that are designed for mobile users and post them on social sharing platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Instagram is also encouraging travel brands to share travel experiences by launching a version of the latest must-click activity; interactive polling. The interactive poll sticker allows users to post a question for their followers and track the results of how people vote in real time.
How can travel companies can create interactive content?
Creating content ideas for interactive video is arguably easier than standard video because of the limited amount of audience participation you can incorporate into travel videos.
Having said that, creative content marketers shouldn’t struggle to find new and exciting ways to engage holiday seekers, travellers and curious onlookers with interactive videos. Below are several methods you can adopt to make your video ads more compelling.
Giving the viewers a choice of what they want to see is surely the best approach to interactive video. When time is of the essence, viewers want convenient means of saving time.
The interactive story gives viewers the option of choosing categories and places. Not only does this give them immediate access to the information they want on the spot, they also influence how the video plays out and cuts content they don’t want to see.
Interactive video does not only have to focus on the product. You can use video footage for educated customers how to use your website, book holidays, learn about travel insurance and much more. Whatever you need your customers to know, interactive video brings it to their attention.
Interactive video gives you the opportunity to ask questions. You can use this feature for a number of functional reasons; learn more about your customers, provide entertainment and to break up the video to allow viewers the option to navigate to other parts of the video you want to take them in order to stoke their interest with information they probably don’t already know.
An important part of marketing is to understand your audience and you can use interactive video to ask questions and learn more about what your customers are interested in or want from their travel experience.
You can earn advertising revenue through interactive video by adding a powerful e-commerce functionality which gives your partners the ability to make products available to your viewers. Customers can add products to their shopping cart simply by clicking an element within your video.
When you consider the future of content marketing within the travel sector, all the signs point towards interactive video being the stand-out feature. If you aren’t including interactive footage in your marketing arsenal, you’re not standing out.