In January we launched our annual package, Megatrends Defining Travel in 2016, where we identified the global trends in travel in 2016 and beyond.

For this trend, we looked at how — after years and years of high-priced experiments and consumer flops — the industry has finally hit its stride with video.

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Tuning In

A work-addled American loses his laptop in Paris and finds love in the form of Margaux, a beautiful French woman who tells him, naturellement, to stop obsessing and enjoy life.

No, this isn’t the feel-good romantic comedy of the summer, but a 25-minute film produced by Marriott Hotels that despite its length, logged upwards of 6 million views at this writing.

The film, which took place well before the horrific events in Paris in November, is also possibly the answer to a question plaguing the industry: How can a brand emotionally connect with possible customers?

For a long time, this conundrum stymied many travel companies. When you sell experiences, which is what most travel companies actually do, it’s easy to fall back onto time-worn cliches of beaming businessmen relaxing in first-class or couples walking down a sunny beach.

Smart brands have learned that a customer’s feelings, in many ways, determine what they buy. Instead of selling hotel rooms and airplane seats as commodities, brands are learning to tell stories using video that create an emotional connection with a specific audience.
Marriott International is the leader in this approach. The brand now operates an entire video content studio, which produces original short films and animated clips, to serve its own needs and create content for clients.

Some airline brands are also making video a more prominent part of their marketing outreach. Turkish Airlines’ Delightful Stories campaign, for instance, profiles travelers from around the world, high-lighting the motivations that drive them to travel.

“The idea with our video ads is that we’re giving our customers soft messages,” Turkish Airlines CEO Temel Kotil told Skift. “We’re never giving them hard messages such as ‘We’re the best airline.’”

Why has this new form of video marketing emerged? Consumers have an intimate relationship with mobile technology, with which they increasingly consume video. Streaming video will account for more than two-thirds of all consumer Internet traffic by 2017, according to Cisco.

As more consumers cut the TV cord, they will increasingly turn to online video for entertainment and inspiration. As always, the travel industry will meet consumers wherever they are.

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