How Hotels Can Use Video in Unique Ways

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In an increasingly visual world, it’s imperative for brands to think outside of the box in order to differentiate themselves from competitors and stay ahead of the curve. Hotels in particular are able to do this in a unique way, since every hotel has some sort of defining quality that sets it apart from others.

Joie de Vivre hotels (JDV), which means “joy of life,” strives to create innovative hospitality services and products, and has designed numerous one-of-a-kind boutique hotels, restaurants and spas.

Last summer, they transformed the standard hotel check-in process into a musical experience when they launched “Singing for an Upgrade.”

At several Southern California hotels, guests were encouraged to (literally) sing in attempt to receive an upgrade on their reservation. Not only that, all entrants were put up for a vote, American-Idol style, against other “competitors.” JDV awarded daily prizes for the first guest to sing a specific song each day, while performances were also captured on video then uploaded to YouTube and Facebook

Even if an upgrade had already been redeemed for a specific day, guests were still eligible to enter the video contest for a chance to win the grand prize. Over 60 people entered, and once the videos were posted online, people voted for favorites and the selected winner received a two-night stay.

Southern California hotels participating included Shorebreak Hotel in Huntington Beach and Pacific Edge Hotel in Laguna Beach who were among participating Orange County properties, while Los Angeles properties Hotel Angeleno in Brentwood and Hotel Erwin in Venice also partook. Each hotel provided a variety of songs from which guests could choose, and the singers were allowed to read lyrics as they performed.

This boded well for the brand’s social media presence as humanized the brand and depicted its light-hearted vibe, as well as solid guest interaction (both online and off) and pure entertainment. It helped deflate the “stiffness” that some major brands display.

It proved to be a far more successful hotel marketing campaign than they had originally thought.

This past June, Travel + Leisure debuted the Social Media in Travel + Tourism Awards (SMITTYS). Eligible entrants included hotels, resorts, cruise lines, airlines, travel boards/CVBs, attractions, tour operators and car rental agencies.

The judges sifted through hundreds of submissions across three categories: Best Use of a Social Media Platform, Best Single Social Media Promotion, and Best Social Media Promotion of Travel Deals. The initiation of these awards by an established travel publication really emphasizes that social media in the hospitality industry is here to stay and be taken seriously.

Major brands including Ritz Carlton, Hilton and Disney accepted honors, while JDV’s “Singing for an Upgrade” took the top prize for Best Single Social Media Promotion.

Congratulations to Joie De Vivre hotels on a job well done! What are some other authentic ways hotels can use video as part of their hotel marketing efforts?

Debbie Miller
Debbie Miller contributes a monthly column on Social Media for the Hospitality Industry. Debbie is the Founder of Social Hospitality, a blog which outlines the ways businesses in the hospitality industry are using social media. She works for HyperDisk Marketing managing social media accounts, writing website copy and executing SEO strategies for clients. Prior, she was with a destination marketing organization where she maintained the website along with launching and managing their social media presence. She is very active in the social networking community in southern California, has enjoyed watching social media emerge over the past several years and is fascinated by its continuing evolution. +Debbie Miller
Debbie Miller


Covering trends related to hospitality and social media, technology, marketing, branding, customer service, engagement, SEO, blogging. Founder: @TheBigDebowski
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