How To Add Video Marketing To Your Travel Agent Site FAST

Quick and Easy Video Marketing for Home-Based Travel Agents

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Don’t let the term “video marketing” scare you off. You don’t have to be a hot shot Hollywood director or a talk show super star to start adding video to your website that will make your site stand out. And you don’t need a lot of fancy-shmancy video equipment either.

If you have a smartphone, chances are you have everything you need to create videos that can quickly differentiate you from other, less imaginative agents. Your PC may already have a video-ready camera built in; if not, clip-on webcams are cheap. And if you want to get a little more advanced, you might be surprised how economical it is to set yourself up as your own “movie studio,” especially if you purchase used equipment.

Why should you even think about video marketing? Well, for one thing, it’s “hot” right now and Google is looking fondly on sites that have unique video content. The key word there is “unique.” There are lots of cookie cutter travel agent sites that have videos that are on hundreds, even thousands, of other sites. Google knows that and it figures your site can’t be all that interesting or valuable to searchers.

But the most important reason to start thinking about video marketing is that it’s crazy effective.

Video Marketing Statistics and Trends 2015

 Source: visual.ly 

Advice for your travel agent website

If you are just getting started with the Web (and the travel industry), let me make some suggestions:

  • Don’t pay for one of those cookie-cutter travel agent websites pre-loaded with all sorts of supplier offers. The major problem is getting traffic to those sites, which is fiendishly difficult. That’s one reasons that most of companies who do this are more than happy to sell you SEO services, which in my opinion are of dubious value. The second reason is that you are using “duplicate content,” which Google hates. There may come a time when one of those sites makes sense for you, but that time has not come if you are just starting out.
  • Don’t pay big bucks for a super-flashy custom-designed site. Again, the problem is traffic. You’ll be hard pressed to get enough to justify your investment. Once you become one of the “big guys,” maybe. But not now.
  • Don’t be lured by the fantasy that people will book online and you will get rich while you sleep. That dog don’t hunt so save your money.
  • Start with a simple but classy WordPress site. If you have some techie know-how, you might be able to do it yourself. Or you can go to fiverr.com to hire someone to do a simple WordPress install. For a bit more money, you can use eLance.com to have someone set up a site with a nice theme.

Here’s a short video that might give you the courage to do it yourself:

Website design is a vast field and far beyond the scope of this article. So let me just assure you that you don’t have to spend a ton of money to have a perfectly nice looking website. Simple, but nice looking.

For me, the key is authenticity rather than art and artifice.

If your site communicates to visitors that you are a real person with a genuine interest in serving their travel needs, you have succeeded where 99% of those slick sites fail.

Know your goals for the site

Remember that video marketing – any marketing for that matter – is not an end in itself. All forms of marketing must serve specific business goals.

As a new travel agent with a new website, I’d suggest that your major goals should be:

  • To introduce yourself and put a face to the business. Think about your own experience. How many travel supplier sites or travel agent sites have you seen where there is no indication whatsoever that there is a human being behind all the slick graphics?
  • To let folks know what you do. The more focused your travel marketing efforts are, the easier it will be to accomplish this. I am a big believer in specialization, which is why I spend so much time talking about it in the Home-Based Travel Agent Success Course! If you haven’t though about where and how you’d like to specialize, start now.
  • Encourage further interaction. Post your phone number and email address. You can, indeed you should provide a means for people to “follow” you through your Facebook page, Twitter, Pinterest, or other social media.
  • Better yet, use an “ethical bribe” to encourage visitors to give you their email address, which will allow you to contact them regularly (but not too regularly). The simplest way to do that is to offer useful information that can be delivered electronically. For example, if you are cruise specialist, you might offer “The Insider’s Guide To Quantum of the Seas” or “The Ten Best Shore Excursions in the Caribbean.” Even simpler, but probably less effective, is to have a field where people can enter their email with the promise that you will keep them posted about “special offers” or your next themed cruise for knitting enthusiasts (yes, they really do exist).
  • It all boils down to turning virtual visitors into real prospects who you can sit down with and talk to face to face.

That said, let’s look at three simple ways to get video on your site.

Now “simple” is a relative term, but none of this is rocket science. If you are a complete techno-novice, some of this may seem daunting, but help is close at hand. If you don’t have a teenager in the house (or maybe that boomerang kid from college), you can turn to eLance  for low-cost help.

1.) A video to introduce you and your travel agency

A short video introducing yourself and your business is the first thing you should do.

You can use the built in webcam on your computer or iPad, a smartphone, or a basic camcorder. It doesn’t have to be fancy, but you should pay some attention to lighting and your appearance. (You may work in your pajamas but does your public really need to know that?)

Talk straight to the camera with a great big smile and say something like:

“Hi, I’m Susie Stile, the founder of Cruisin’ With Stile, a home-based agency based right here in Anytown, Ohio. I have been cruising all my life and have taken 27 cruises so far, and counting. But why should I have all the fun? I bring my life-long passion for the cruise experience to Cruisin’ With Stile, along with my personal commitment to provide you with the best possible cruise experience. I want you to love cruising just as much as I do.
 
“I am a certified Alaska Specialist and I also have an in-depth knowledge of the Caribbean. I love planning honeymoons and destination weddings. But whatever your cruise needs, I am ready to serve you with personal consultations. Sure you can book on the Web, but why book a cabin when you can Cruise With Stile and create memories that will last a lifetime. Just leave me your name an email in the form below and welcome aboard!”

Or at the end you might want to say something like, “Just click on the link below this video to learn more about my services and how we can work together to plan the vacation of your dreams.” The page reached through that link might be a better place to ask for their email.

‘How I Made A Small Fortune As A Home-Based Travel Agent’

Million dollar agent tells how she did it, how you can, too!

Click here to access her success formula

2. Videos that provide Social proof

Over time, you should build a series of short videos that let visitors to your site know that you actually do what you say you do and that you’re good at it.This is what is known as “social proof.”

If you are just starting out, you may not have the video material you need at hand. Then again, maybe you do.

Using our Cruisin’ With Stile, example, do you have any video you shot on your last cruise? (By the way, you should always document your travel experiences this way. The video footage you get is marketing gold.)

Edit together a short video showing the highlights of Ship X or the ports of call you visited.

Failing that, you can create a slideshow of photos from the ship, taken from the cruise line’s website. (This is perfectly legal, by the way, but you should give the cruise line credit.) Arrange the photos in a logical order and then, using a free online service called Jing narrate a guided tour of “my favorite” ship.

The best type of social proof is testimonials from satisfied customers.

If you ever escorted a group you put together, you may already have useable footage. But going forward, you should document your groups, including specific testimonials.

Simply ask people to speak into the camera and share their experience. Encourage all your customers to make short videos while they are on their trip, ideally one that mentions you and praises you for your efforts on their behalf.

You can also record video interviews with people who have returned from trips, using their digital photos or video to lend visual interest.

3.) Videos about what your travel agency sells

There’s nothing wrong with having text on your site that tells people about the products and places you sell as a travel agent, but the ancient saying “A picture is worth a thousand words” has never been truer.

You can shoot your own videos, of course, as suggested above, and all things being equal that’s probably the best way to do it.

But the easiest way to show off your words is to embed video from your suppliers on your site. Some suppliers may make promotional videos available to you and make it easy to display them on your site, but the quickest and easiest way is good old YouTube.

Here’s an example from Royal Caribbean:

There are other ways to use YouTube videos, including this German TV commercial, which is one of my favorites:

To use videos like this, look for the link below the video that says “Share”. Click on it, then click on “Embed” and copy the highlighted code, which you can then paste into your site. Easy-peasy.

Getting your videos onto your website

This may be the most technically daunting step in the process. If you want complete control over your videos, you may want to look into a storage service from Amazon called S3. Your videos live “in the cloud” and with the right code you can make them appear on your site. I have found it easiest to use an intermediary service called EZS3 [link], which simplifies the process of sizing and placing videos on your site. This strategy does not apply to YouTube videos, however.

And speaking of YouTube, the easiest way for newbies to effect the above strategies is to use YouTube. First, you must create a YouTube “channel.”

Here’s a tutorial. (Try to ignore the annoying background music!):

Then upload your video:

Confused? Intimidated?

Don’t worry. Like I say, professional help is easily found at eLance or even locally on Craigslist.

If you’d like to muddle through on your own, you can learn how to do an amazing number of things just by Googling “How to ….”

This discussion has been brief and I’ve glossed over a number of points, but I feel confident that it will get you started and once you’ve done it, you’ll have a better appreciation of just how easy it is.

So if you don’t have a site, set one up.

If you do have a site up and running, do something today. Perhaps the easiest is to embed a YouTube video.

Additional video marketing resources

Like I said, you can find a wealth of how-to-do-it material on the Internet, but if you’re the old fashioned type like me, there are some good books that will help you get started and keep going.

Getting Seen by Steve Garfield

The organization is a bit chaotic, but this book is jam-packed with ideas for how to create video on the cheap and how to exploit it. I go back to it over and over.

Video Marketing for Dummies by Kevin Daum and Bettina Hein

If you like the flip, irreverent style of the Dummies series, this book may be just the ticket for you.

101 Video Marketing Tips and Strategies for Small Businesses by Lasse Rouhiainen

My friend Lasse hails from Finland and works in Spain, so he brings an international perspective to video marketing. His book is aimed at corporations, but he recommends some affordable equipment and his suggestions for making effective videos apply whatever the budget.

If you’d like to see more posts on video marketing or travel agency marketing in general, let me know what topics you’d like to see covered.

Here’s to your success!

Home-Based Travel Agent Success Course

How To Add Video Marketing To Your Travel Agent Site FAST was last modified: October 22nd, 2015 by Kelly Monaghan