Update: This post dates back to 2009. If you’d like to see how far we have come with video since, check out The Vacation Rental Show presented by Booking.com. We still encourage all advanced vacation rental professionals (Stage 3 and 4 of Listing Site Independence) to begin practicing with some form of video storytelling.
It should be no secret that video is playing an increasingly important role in marketing these days. And knowing that trust and personality are two hugely defining factors in the vacation rental industry, I wanted to share how my “day in the life” video was created and how you can achieve a similar effect on a limited budget.
The videographer I refer to above is named Trent Bayliss and I think Trent did a great job of conveying my personality and values. Since this was a new style of video for him, I’ve decided to summarize our learnings for those who want to replicate a ‘lifestyle’ video for their own rentals.
Here’s What We Learned
If you plan to make one of the videos for yourself, feel free to use the following tips as a blueprint. And if you are an Inner Circle member, we are sharing constructive feedback on each others’ video plans here:
– Identify core themes: start by jotting down what makes you and your rental unique. There’s no need to be overly romantic…just honest. When you are making decisions about what to film or include in editing, use these themes as your compass.
– Limit your filming time: focus on a small handful of scenes and stick to them. It would have been very easy for us to spend weeks filming scenes but we chose to limit it to one day. No major motion picture here.
– Keep it short: We had to remind ourselves that most viewers online have the attention span of a goldfish. And even at 4 minutes, we felt like the total length of the video could still have been shorter. You’ll need to eliminate lots of good footage. But you always want to leave viewers wanting a bit more (rather than boring them to departure).
– Get over the embarrassment: I have to admit, one of my biggest hurdles (in even sharing this with you today) was admitting that I just commissioned a video “all about me.” This seemed sooooo egotistical (and it is). But in the end, I have just kinda gotten over it and received enough feedback to reinforce the initial instinct…that it just helps clients understand you better.
– Host it on Youtube: There are plenty of video hosting platforms. And I was tempted to host it on Wistia privately (for analytics and call to action features). But in the end, we just went the Youtube route for ease of access, choosing a title that was aligned with my product (this blog). This will allow it to show up in the video Google search rankings and give me that ‘surround sound’ effect of “being everywhere” when someone is researching my business.
– Grab some stills and teasers: Since Trent had tons of footage that he didn’t use, we turned a select handful of the clips into “teaser” videos (15 second clips) to post on Instagram and Twitter with some cool music overlaid. Since this footage was not featured in the final video, it seemed like a shame to let it go to waste. He also snapped some portrait still photos (like the ones below) along the way for my marketing portfolio. Any owner can use this on their About Us page or listing site bio for a more polished and professional look.
– No action? No problem: I think the only reservation people may have (against making this style video) is that “I’m not that interesting” or “my day is boring.” And to that I would argue that simple scenes in your rental, meeting friends/family, and at your computer or doing something owner-ish is all you need. Don’t even feel the need to get all dolled up. Casual is best.
If you are looking for more ideas or are considering investing in this kind of video to promote your vacation rental business, read through this vacation rental video post to get more ideas.