The British newspaper The Guardian recently reported on the biggest YouTube convention that has ever taken place in the British Isles. The article posed the rhetorical question of whether Youtube continues to attract niche interest and hobbyists, concluding emphatically in the negative that it is slowly but surely becoming a genuine rival to television. Just over one year previously, another quality British newspaper, The Independent, similarly concluded that YouTube is garnering a magnitude of attention which could be compared to TV.
YouTube travel content soaring
By the same token, a recent report compiled by Google indicates that both destinations and travel-related companies ought to take sources such as YouTube extremely seriously. The report suggests that United States consumers utilise online travel videos as a serious source of information when making decisions about holidays, with as many as two in three US holidaymakers viewing online travel videos when they're thinking about taking holidays.
The keenness among US travellers to view YouTube-based travel content is reflected in the exponential growth in views of such videos on the web. Google's figures indicate that the number of people viewing travel-related content on Youtube increased by as much as 118% in the last 12 months.
As the importance of mobile platforms grows, tech industry observers will not be surprised to see that online travel videos were frequently viewed using mobile devices. In 2013, approximately 30 per of online travel videos viewed via a mobile device. This suggests a certain spontaneity to the viewing of online travel videos, which must be of interest to both destinations and travel-related companies, as once upon a time such spontaneity would surely have been directed toward physically seeking out information from travel agents and other similar services.
Aside from merely monitoring the amount of videos being viewed, Google also collects a variety of demographic data on both the types of videos being viewed, and the types of people viewing them. Therefore the corporation is able to assert that tourist destinations and attractions are by far the biggest category of online travel videos viewed by members of the public, with this sector attracting 40% of the overall video views.
It should be clear from this that there are massive opportunities offered to travel destinations by such sources as YouTube. And if the number of videos being viewed overall has grown exponentially, the increase in viewing of branded content can only be described as stratospheric. The viewing of branded online travel videos almost quadrupled in merely one year, suggesting that corporate content is successfully finding a captive audience.
In addition to the content-related figures that were collected, Google also identified two very clear demographics within video views. The 18 to 24 age group strongly focused on inspiration for future travel plans. This demographic was particularly interested in video blogs; seemingly seeking out a taste of a particular destination before committing any of their disposable income towards travelling there. The older and potentially more affluent 25 to 64 age group was much more focused on using videos to help them plan current travel arrangements. This group focused on reviews, travel brands and travel networks; clearly must focused on a value-based assessment of which travel destination to plump for.
When one looks at this Google report, it is clear that across a variety of industries advertisers are increasingly embracing online video. Not only are such sites as YouTube becoming increasingly popular, but they also provide an interactive medium which can help to establish an online community. This is obviously a functionality not offered by television, powerful and attractive though TV advertising undoubtedly remains.
The Google reports made it crystal clear that there are huge opportunities for destinations in this area. With views of travel-related videos increasing by 190% between 2012 and 2013, and the figures seriously outpacing the growth in other major categories, there is a huge potential volume to tap into. Google's study concluded that YouTube is used as a primary source of travel inspiration for holidaymakers all over the world, and that travellers also use numerous related categories to carry out further travel research.
The authentic experience
Before embarking on a trip, travellers wish to have insight into the culture and vibe of a particular destination. If destinations are able to somehow convey the attractive atmosphere of their particular resort via Youtube then there is no doubt that this will pay off in financial terms further down the line. Travellers seek authenticity on YouTube, and destinations able to provide this in a professionally presented package will reap the rewards.
Online digital video is already a massive part of many people’s lives, and as more and more devices are connected to the web, this will become more prevalent. Both destinations and other travel-related companies can seize this opportunity by creating a strong online brand, and providing travellers with unique and authentic information that helps to sway their decision-making process.
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