Hotels Need More Online Video Content Says Google Travel Head

More users expect websites to feature videos as well as photos

Hotel operators need to put more video content on their websites to engage users and boost revenue streams.

Nigel Huddleston, Google’s Industry Head of Travel, said the number of people searching for travel videos doubled in the last year but many hotels still make do with static photos – even some of the biggest brands – which isn’t appealing, particularly to younger, tech-savvy guests.

“It’s no longer good enough just to go to a web page and see a few photos – there’s an expectation there’ll be video there as well. People want that ‘inspire me, inform me’ element and video is key. We say it’s still not too late to be early in video.”

But he warned that the trick was to come up with content that benefits operator and destination.

“Guests are looking for the ‘top 10 things to do’ in a destination – they don’t necessarily want the hard sell. Interestingly, we’ve found the hostels in Europe have done a great job at that. You see some great videos and there is an associate ‘book here’ tool, if people want to, but it’s not so overt.”

He added that mobiles, with their increasingly large screens, no longer pose visual constraints. “In the States, 25 per cent of YouTube views are now on handhelds,” said Huddleston.

He added that while booking windows are squeezing, many searches are still price oriented. “You do see these odd phrases in search – ‘cheap luxury’. People still want the best deal possible. But we find that brand is key, particularly in the Middle East – it tends to more prevalent than in the UK.”