The way we’ve consumed content has shifted dramatically. Visual intelligence is on the rise. We’re bombarded with over 10,000 marketing messages and processing 100,000 words a day. When we encounter verbal information, three days later we’ll only remember 10% of it, but if we’re exposed to an image, we’ll remember 65% of it—perhaps because we process visual information 3X faster than a single word.
What does this mean? We’ve calibrated our brains to take processing shortcuts in the form of visuals.
We know telling stories can have a demonstrable impact on consumers and society, and visuals bring narratives to life in an increasingly image-consumptive culture. And marketers are taking notice. In a survey of 500 marketers, 56% of them used visuals 100% of the time in their content in 2018, and plan to double their content marketing investment in 2019.
As hotel marketers, we have to consider not only the kind of stories we tell but also the variety of forms it could take. Now that we know visuals have the propensity to break through the content culture and create formidable impact, let’s consider four forms that will amp your engagement and increase bookings.
Infographics have the power to deliver complex information in an easy-to-consume format. According to a Nielsen study focused on behavioral patterns and online behavior, people only read 20-28% of words they encounter—meaning, they’re skimmers. People ferret out the information they believe to be important, and infographics offer a concise and digestible view of powerful, insight-driven content. Infographics not only have the ability to increase page traffic, but they also drive high levels of engagement.
Hotel marketers can use infographics to highlight key trends and consumer behavior or deliver a “year in review” of their performance as well as engagement from their best customers.
2. Custom illustrations
Illustrations provide a visual representation of a concept, text, or process—the central point being to help consumers understand or imagine a simpler, more convenient process. Consider how you design and develop your mobile apps, bookings page on your website, or even booking confirmation emails. Illustrations render cold processes warm and inviting. When you’re explaining the process of booking, checking in, or selecting various features or amenities, illustrations tend to make the process simpler and entertaining.
While you may use stunning photography and video to showcase your property and the lifestyle guests would experience as a result of choosing your hotel, you may want to think about how, and if appropriate for your brand, you want to use illustrations to communicate the administrative aspects of your content marketing, i.e., logistics.
Why could this be key in the booking process? Remember, people perceive pictorial elements faster than words and important the brain often fixes information as visual images, so if you don’t want anything to impede the booking process, illustrations might be your best bet.
Here are two heart-stopping video stats:
- Videos will comprise 82% of all online traffic by 2022, according to a Cisco study.
- Mobile video usage has increased by nearly 10 million daily viewing minutes in the pasttwo years.
Video has become the lingua franca of the content age. Since consumers demand a seamless and integrated cross-platform information gathering and purchase experience, it’s key that hotel marketers consider how video can be a core element to your story strategy online and via mobile. You could use video in every element of the guest journey—from showcasing the rooms, suites, dining, and spa and wellness facilities when they’re deciding where to book to giving them a virtual explorer’s guide of the local area and attractions when they arrive, video can breathe life into a property in a way that staged images can’t.
For example, Ritz Carlton Santa Barbara whets your luxury palate, showing you all that the area has to offer in terms of entertainment, relaxation, fine dining, and more, while Thompson Hotel’s #ThompsonUncovered program gives guests an all-access pass to living like a local.
5. Visuals in VR
Sophisticated travelers, who’ve adopted the “experience economy” mindset, are intrigued by virtual reality (VR) and the way it can transform their experience. Virtual reality gives prospective guests the opportunity to “try before they buy”—merging physical and virtual worlds—as they experience and interact with a 3-D world via a head-mounted display. A Tourism Australia study revealed that 20% of consumers have used VR to select their travel destination and 25% plan to do so in the near future. In analyzing VR in China, 74% of customers are interested in VR experiences as it relates to travel, tourism, and adventure. Back in 2015, when Marriot launched their VRoom Service 51% of people who sampled the program wanted it implemented in more Marriot properties.
Imagine soaring over a hotel, surveying a hotel from all possible angles and then swooping down and gliding into the lounge, through the rooms, dining area, and all your property has to offer. Guests could step onto a sandy beach, savor a frothy tropical cocktail, and slip into a hotel bar after a long day of excursions—a high-sensory impact experience, all from the convenience of their living room. Not only does VR afford guests the opportunity to access a 360 panning view of their room, but they also can scout out their nearby surroundings and area attractions. Your storytelling could morph into their story living.
While you can’t imagine a world where people are reliant on sunglasses and headsets, know that the VR industry is booming. A third of consumers globally will be using the technology by 2020. The market is said to surpass $49.7B in 2023, at a 59% CAGR from 2018-2023. So you may want to consider how your storytelling can be amplified by VR technology.
Need help crafting visual stories that break through the online clutter? At Storified Hospitality Group, we offer transformative training and workshops on story design and architecture from hotel veterans who have created consistent, award-winning, revenue-generating content. Contact us today to get started.