Hotel Marketing and Video with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Sine Scott

Welcome Sine! I’m excited to have this opportunity to chat with you and get your professional take on hospitality marketing.
SÌNE SCOTT, REGIONAL DIRECTOR INTERNET MARKETING, FAIRMONT HOTELS & RESORTS: It’s my pleasure to chat about hospitality marketing. I love travel and technology, so there is no better industry to be in than hospitality marketing.

Coming from the Pacific Northwest, I have always wanted to share how amazing the West Coast of Canada is to the world.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts has amazing properties in the Pacific Northwest and it is my job to get that message out.

Hotel Marketing and Video with Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, Sine Scott

Tell us about your background in online marketing and your marketing role at Fairmont.
SÌNE SCOTT: I got involved in technology in the dot com boom working for a start up in Montréal, Canada.

Our team was developing a platform for personalized mobile advertising.

We worked with telecoms and advertising agencies to explore how we could use SMS technology to deliver personalized, geo-targeted push messaging. I think some of the foundation of that product could be very useful today to create a more profile driven mobile experience.

VFM Leonardo iPhone Mobile

Unfortunately, this company was a little before its time.

I evaluated industries that were starting to build a strong online business model and travel stood out as a great opportunity. I joined Fairmont Hotels & Resorts and worked on Fairmont.com developing the e-commerce platform and implementing a search strategy. In the past several years I have also worked with Whistler Blackcomb on their database marketing and Canada Tourism Commission in the lead up to the 2010 Winter Games in Vancouver.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts have a rich heritage and foundation in their communities, making them unique. Places like Vancouver, Banff or San Francisco have developed with a Fairmont Hotel in the center of the community. It makes for some legendary stories including visits from kings and queens, celebrities and even a ghost story or two.

Travellers are ever expecting more from their hospitality providers. What are would-be guests expecting to see from a hotel property they are researching?
SÌNE SCOTT: I do think that photos and video are a hit for travellers.

In particular, video is such an easy way for a traveler to quickly get a sense of the place. I know personally when researching a family trip to LA we went straight to find the videos for the attractions we were planning to visit.

Hotel Front Desk Happy Family Check In

Those presentations definitely influenced our travel decisions.

A high functioning mobile website is a must. A lot of companies get caught up with developing their own app, but it can be challenging to get uptake for a new app. However, we are seeing exponential growth in users accessing our site via mobile. Fairmont has an app with some useful features, but our user base for our mobile website is growing at a faster rate so we look for opportunities to cater to that audience.

 

” …I do think that photos and video are a hit for travellers … in particular, video is such an easy way for a traveler to quickly get a sense of the place…. “

– Sine Scott, Fairmont Hotel & Resorts

Listening and responding to your customers has become an expectation. The feedback a brand receives on TripAdvisor, Yelp and a multitude of other social media sites is invaluable. The brands that take that feedback and use it to improve their operations and communications will benefit.

Beyond the basic requisite website, how must hotel brands leverage online marketing to stand out from the competition on today’s world?
SÌNE SCOTT: As I mentioned, I think that understanding and listening to your customer is crucial to a brand’s online strategy.

Fairmont Hotel Vancouver

We are in an age where there is an overwhelming amount of data, so the brands that can put it all together in a meaningful way will stand out.

I think that online marketing and social media has made creative more relaxed, fun and candid which is great and definitely more interesting for consumers than staged rooms as we have seen in the past.

What are marketing trends that the hospitality industry has embraced in the past 5-10 years?
SÌNE SCOTT: The industry has been quite quick to respond to social media trends, in particular, I think because it seemed like a low cost opportunity for exposure.

Over time hospitality brands have learned that they need to put investment into content development, photography and video to really benefit from social media. Consumers have access to more destination information than ever to make travel decisions.

 

” …hospitality brands have learned that they need to put investment into content development, photography and video to really benefit from social media…. “

– Sine Scott, Fairmont Hotel & Resorts

Search has been a cornerstone to any hospitality marketing strategy for over 10 years. I think that there will be more to come with search marketing integrating photo and video.

Recently mobile has become a more meaningful part of the mix. Responsive technology makes it simpler to build mobile rendering emails and integrate click to call.

I think that mobile has actually made email more relevant.

How does embedded video improve over online static graphics or text on a site?
SÌNE SCOTT: With video, subjects come alive and maintain a visitor’s interest longer than written content.

Well made video certainly helps to make a website more captivating, sticky and overall an enjoyable experience.

Why does video enable viewers to deeply connect with a brand’s message?
SÌNE SCOTT:It is interesting to see that viewers are not only connecting with the brand’s messaging, but they are part of the development.

Canadian Tourism Commission has been encouraging locals to share their travel experiences and recommendations in photo and video. It started with a Locals Know campaign and spread to a cornerstone of their marketing communications:

What’s a good example of your Fairmont Hotel & Resort’s video efforts?
SÌNE SCOTT: At Fairmont many members of the team have gotten involved in our videos…

Chef Brown at Fairmont Pacific Rim has been sharing his experience interacting with local farmers on his blog and the hotel social media channels.

At The Fairmont Waterfront everyone from their culinary apprentices, to their rooftop honeybees have been featured.

 

The hotel even had a lot of fun doing a lip dub with their General Manager a few years back.

Right now a couple of our properties are interviewing colleagues around the hotel so they can share their stories and destination tips.

I am excited to see how these turn out.

Our colleagues are wonderful brand ambassadors.

Just any old video won’t work for a professional brand. What are the top qualities of an effective professionally produced and implemented video that ensures it will be successful?
SÌNE SCOTT: For hotels it is now a standard to have professional videos that give a good overall representation of the property and destination.

These videos need to touch on all of the selling points for the property and be tailored to various markets. A couple of years ago our brand worked to create a catalog of hotel videos and b-roll.

Having an interesting narrator goes a long way to developing intrigue and capturing the viewer’s attention.

Our Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel partnered with Vancouver International Airport and hosted a local blogger to create 81 days of video stories and one of our historic properties, The Fairmont Empress in Victoria BC, shared the story of their ballroom renovation on video.

 

A brand that is doing an amazing job of storytelling with video is Whistler Blackcomb with their Wonder Reels. This is an ongoing series of passionate videos documenting all of the thrills and wonders of the mountains.

Can you tell I am getting excited about ski season already?

What would you say to director of sales unfamiliar with using video that they will experience positive return on investment if the invest in professional video marketing?
SÌNE SCOTT: I would share the stats that indicate travellers watching video is one of the top online travel planning activities for leisure and business travelers.

A professional video can be edited to serve different markets and can set the property apart for clients or meeting planners who may not have the time for a site visit!

It can be tricky to pinpoint the hard ROI on video. We have tried to look at correlation between users on our site viewing video and then making an online purchase and so far that isn’t exactly clear. We do know that the video section of our site has strong visit numbers and a higher than average time spent on page. Externally hosted video is also a factor in driving visitors to the website and lead generation.

 

” …stats indicate travellers watching video is one of the top online travel planning activities for leisure and business travellers… “

– Sine Scott, Fairmont Hotel & Resorts

YouTube is now in a leading search engine and Google + is integrating videos as well. The impact on search is another important benefit of video marketing.

What suggestions do you have for a manager that is about to start investing in hotel promotional video?
SÌNE SCOTT: Find interesting stories to share.

Hotel Front Desk Agents, Bellman, Manager on Duty

Get your team involved as they have the best understanding of the product and what your customers are interested in.

Talk to the food & beverage team, the concierge and others who interact with guests every day.

Take the time to hire a professional videographer who is interested in your business and willing to be part of the process.

Don’t forget good editing goes a long way and when you have your video share it in as many places as possible!

What is next for online marketing as whole? Why is it vital to keep on top of trends?
SÌNE SCOTT: I wish I had the crystal ball.

Online marketing is always interesting as it is still evolving and there is more than enough data and tools to determine what is working.

I would say that websites and video will continue to merge becoming more like cable channels and online advertising may become as pervasive as television commercials, but in order for it to be effective it will need to cut through the clutter and be well targeted.

Woman Engaging with Mobile Video on iPhone

 

” …

online advertising may become as pervasive as television commercials…. “

– Sine Scott, Fairmont Hotel & Resorts

I see search evolving to allow for more creativity in advertising outside of the standard paid ad text format. We already see that to some degree with Google Display Ads, but I think there will be more to come.

I would also expect to see more sophisticated retargeting and personalization on the web.

It’s been a thrill having the chance to speak with you! What are the best ways for readers to learn more about you and Fairmont Hotels and Resorts?
SÌNE SCOTT: Nice to speak to you too. Thank you for the opportunity.

Fairmont Hotels & Resorts
Fairmont Youtube: http://www.youtube.com/fairmonthotels

Fairmont Pacific Rim

LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/sinescott
Twitter: @SineScott

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1 COMMENT

  1. […] ”  The industry has been quite quick to respond to social media trends, in particular, I think because it seemed like a low cost opportunity for exposure. Over time hospitality brands have learned that they need to put investment into content development, photography and video to really benefit from social media. Consumers have access to more destination information than ever to make travel decisions… ” – Sine Scott, Fairmont Hotels […]

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