About one year ago I committed to begin using video in all elements of my marketing. Not because I love how I look on camera (in fact, I hate it). And not because I have a secret dream to become a Hollywood director...
I committed to using video because video is irrefutably the preferred online content medium of the future. Any progressive business professional will tell you that video creates better relationships and drives more dollars.
So if we acknowledge this fact, it is actually irresponsible to our business to let any fear or excuse get in the way of integrating video and winning more bookings.
Thankfully, there are tons of video gurus out there today that we can hire for very reasonable sums. We had the video (above) filmed at our latest Inner Circle Meet-Up in Toronto, at the Drake Hotel. And pleased with how it came out, I thought it might be helpful to share the steps to hiring a videographer for your rental business.
If you're hiring your first videographer or your hundredth, make sure you are giving yourself (and the artist) the best chances to succeed possible. Here is the process I used in the past experience but feel free to hit up the comments area if you have additional tips to add:
There are a few places you can post, but I chose the Creative area of the Gigs section. It's important that your ad is as specific as possible: I've noticed a direct correlation between the quality of the classified post and the quality of the applicants. Be sure to explain precisely what you're looking for in terms of a final product (length, purpose, and style of video) include links to videos you like (and why). Ask that applicants submit a few samples of their work. In my case, I got about 30 applicants and the quickest way to form a short list was to compare their portfolios.
If you live near a big city, chances are, you'll get plenty of young applicants looking to ply their trade. I spoke with my top choices on the phone so to explain the project, what I was looking to achieve, and to sense whether they could produce.
Select someone who has produced a video that you'd be proud to call your own. It's much easier to say, "I want a replica of what you did there," than it is to try and describe something entirely new. I chose a young guy named Stephen McLoughlin because I liked his portfolio and he seemed to have a real understanding of what we were looking to achieve.
Note: Remember that with video, you typically get what you pay for. This is not the time to skimp on your spend. I would highly recommend you find someone amazing and respect their price. Great videographers despise hagglers the same way we despise tire kickers at our rentals.
You definitely want to be present for the filming. And while I do recommend discussing your scenes and themes beforehand with the videographer, I find that most good video people appreciate some personal space to be creative. In the end, the artist's stamp of individuality is actually what makes this outsourcing opportunity so valuable.
Use tips from How To Create A Day In The Life video to capture still shots, social media teasers...etc.
I know this is an awkward area for most videographers. They want you to have something you are happy with but they also have to draw a line in terms flexibility/changes. Be very specific and thoughtful in your feedback -- do not shoot from the hip here...really think about your requests before you send them over. f you don't like something, explain why and how you would like to make it better. If you have any serious concerns, try to identify the exact next steps to fix. I don't think there should be a limit placed on the number of revisions -- but a good videographer should respect you enough at this point to create something you're happy with.
Whether you're placing your video on YouTube, inserting it in your website, or maybe just sending it in an email, be sure to associate your brand with this wonderful piece of media. You can embed a logo in the corner, but in my case, I hired a company called Doodle Video to create a logo reveal (the animated bit at the beginning of the video). For $197 I received a 30-minute phone consult, sent them my logo files, and was very happy with the final result.
Tip: Tip: Use the advice from Part 1 (above) in describing what kind of logo reveal you want. The less complicated your instructions and the more quality examples you can provide, the better.
Also, if you are using Wistia to host your video, you can place a call to action or link at the end of your video that takes the viewer to a "Book It Now" page OR you can place what's called a turnstile that allows viewers to opt-in to your email list. This is a nice way to pin an ROI to your video investment as opposed to simply throwing it on Youtube and "seeing what happens."
If we are truly committed to doing everything possible to build sustainable vacation rental businesses that last, we should be willing to implement guaranteed best practices even if they make us feel uncomfortable or are out of our pre-established budget.
Because it's the stuff that our competitors are not willing to do, thus video is the stuff that helps us (and our industry) innovate and grow. If you are new to VR marketing, be sure to check out the 4 Stages of Listing Site Independence to determine whether video is right for you.
Matt Landau is the Founder of the VRMB and the Inner Circle, two online resources dedicated to helping vacation rental owners and managers generate more bookings.
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