Marketing films that agents can overbrand can inspire customers, says Gordon McCreadie, If Only director

It’s easy to overlook a simple solution to something, particularly when it’s less of a problem and more of an opportunity. This is something that happened recently when we sent our marketing team on the road to meet some of our agents.

Among some really valuable feedback, it became apparent that not many in the industry, especially tour operators, are utilising video content in a format that agents will respond to or, perhaps more importantly, use on their own digital platforms.

Social media is the new shop window, and visuals sell everything in travel. We’ve all been there, scrolling through Facebook on our phones and been stopped by a video that’s caught our attention. In an August 2018 article by SociallySorted.com, Facebook revealed that 64% of its users admitted that watching marketing videos on the site influenced their purchasing behaviour.

Video inspiration

Print and the written word still remain integral to consumer behaviour in travel, but we want to give consumers a starting point to whet their appetite. There may be thousands of ways to write about luxury, but written prose is open to each person’s interpretation. Video takes away that ambiguity and gives the holidaymaker a more rounded impression of what they can expect. It’s at this initial point of enquiry that we want to inspire customers to take action.

With all this in mind, we decided to spend some time collaborating with our customers to create a video format that can be easily modified for an agent’s specific needs. These videos can be tailored, such as to focus on regional departures, branded with the agent’s logo and even configured for both social media and in-store digital displays. We’ve already seen these prove tremendously popular, with our first four videos receiving nearly 10,000 views on our social media channels, and that’s not counting those which have been shared by agents on their own social networks.

Customised marketing

Customisation is where we see a real future in social media engagement. Booking a holiday is no longer about just sitting by a pool at a hotel.

Enhancing customer experiences at the destination is how we can really stand out as a luxury operator. Whether it’s ‘gastrotourism’, fitness and wellbeing, culture or history, we can tailor packages to promote a key feature of a property or destination that could be of interest to individuals, families or even group bookings. These small touches are what set us apart as experts in delivering bespoke luxury holidays that perfectly fit the brief of any given consumer.

By also making these specific to regions, towns, events, trends and even customer types, it allows our agents to use their experience and expertise to really home in on the demographics they think the offers will appeal to.

We’ll be having further agent forums on all things marketing when we get them up to visit us in our new office, to gain more feedback on marketing support that works for them.

If we can somehow incorporate sneezing kittens and YouTube fails into our next foray into social media marketing, we should have the whole internet sewn up by the summer!