Best Promotional Tool for Tour Operators – VIDEO!
Marijana Lovric

Marijana Lovric

Marketing Manager at Orioly
Marijana is a passionate web design and visual communicator who specializes in sales and internet marketing. Privately and professionally immersed in tourism, she owns her own blog ‘Kod sata’ (Engl. At the clock) where she writes hot tips and reviews of the best places to visit in Zagreb, Croatia and gives an extra grasp in their historical significance.
Marijana Lovric

We already said the best way to promote your awesome tours is to make your potential customers feel its touristy atmosphere: excitement, fun, lust for life, pride… So we’ve explained how to do that by making remarkable photos.

But we also said that even a better way to promote your tour business is to make a great video. Videos are the best way to show your potential customers who you are and what they can expect from your tour. They are a more reliable source than a blog, reviews, and photos altogether.

Can you feel the atmosphere of Baleal Surf camp from this video?

Many statistics show the importance of videos in sales. According to Virtuets.com, 85% people are more likely to buy a product after viewing it in a video. It’s not a surprise that 51.9% of marketers think a video is a type of content that brings the highest ROI (return on investment). In this article, we’re going to give you some tips for the kind of a video you should film. Also, we’ll tell you what gear you should use. There are also more than 10 tips on how to make your videos more interesting and appealing. 

Plan a Story for Your Video

Before you take your camera with you, you need to plan in advance what kind of a story you want to tell. This will ensure you don’t waste time during your tour trying to figure out what to film. You need to write down, what do you want to film and where? Are you going to film people or landscapes? What are you going to say? Which questions are you going to ask? If you’re filming outdoors, make sure that the weather is going to be fine. Watch similar YouTube and Vimeo videos of different tour operators and travelers to get inspired.

These are the stories you should film to introduce your tours to your potential customers in the best way:

1. Footage of a specific tour and introduction of your tour company

This is the most important video. You should create videos for each tour and activity that you offer. Experience your tours without your travelers. Go with someone who can help you identify the right moments which bring the most excitement to your travelers. Also, notice which landscapes need to be integrated into the footage. Capture photos first to see which composition works best.

Kensington Tours filmed beautiful landscapes and wilderness to evoke their tour atmosphere.

When on a tour, film those right moments and try to capture the peak of a traveler’s excitement. You also need to capture spontaneous moments and random conversations of your travelers while they’re experiencing their most memorable situations. It’s crucial to capture their reactions and emotions during a tour. That’s why you need to be unnoticeable when filming. People subconsciously act differently when they know they are being filmed. You should ask them for their permission to film them before the tour. Give something in return to those who say ‘yes’ (a discount, free t-shirt or something else).  After you get their permission, you need to become an invisible filmmaker.

This is a great example of filming the right moment under a waterfall. It was filmed by  Kallpa Tour Operator. 

It’s a good thing to insert a short introduction about what travelers will experience and enjoy during the tour and how the tour works. See how  VBT Bicycling and Walking Vacations describes what their traveler will experience during Czech, Germany & Austria tour.

Also, immediately after travelers have completed your tour, ask them to sit down with you and describe their experience on a video. Ask them about your tour and how they feel about it. If they say something interesting or different, ask some follow-up questions. It’s important to be relaxed and chat just like you would to a friend over a coffee or drinks. Watch a 20-minute video of Mountain Ram Adventures tour operator and how they introduce their tours and interacts with customers.

To give your potential customers an overview of what you do and get them to trust you, insert a short clip with an introduction to your company and your tour guides. Think in advance what you are going to say. Write a scenario and think about all important questions you should answer in that video.

These are the great examples from Butterfield & Robinson, world’s best tour operator in 2015, according to Travel &Leasure.

2. Unique presentations of the area where your tours take place

Film videos that show the authenticity of your tour location and they will make you a travel and tour expert in a specific area. I’ve read tons of articles about filming great travel videos. And every single one says that the most interesting part of a travel video is local people, their stories, and culture. And guess what – you’re a local and you can present your destination in the best way. And because you’re a local, you can get the most interesting stories from other locals easier than a foreigner would. Find locals who can tell you an interesting folk tale about some attraction. Find an anecdote, show local greetings, street signs, local music, food shops, traditional festivals and film local people during their daily routine… anything that is different from well-known tourist attractions. Just be sure to ask them permission before filming.

3. Vlog about anything that you find interesting

Make occasional vlogs (video blogs). Talk about your tours, company or destination and film yourself. Vlogging is the easiest way for you to introduce yourself to your potential customers and become the most popular tour provider in your area. To make a good vlog, check your lightning first. Hold a camera with one hand slightly from above and talk to it. But also film yourself from different corners to keep a viewer’s attention. First, you need to say who you are, where you are, what are you doing, when you are doing it and why. Then you can talk about the topic you’ve been planning to talk about. Try not to talk about usual boring stuff. Point out something different and unfamiliar. And be more lively and excited than usual to keep the viewer’s attention. Remember to keep it short and simple. Be natural, goofy, odd, weird, gross if necessary, honest and yourself as much as possible. Be interesting!

Vlog in public, forget about your looks as much as you can and act like is normal. At the end of the video, summarize what happened, your thoughts and emotions, with tease what they can expect in the next episode.

Expert Vagabond has a great blog where he combines all elements a good travel video blog should have.

Invest in Your Equipment

The general rule for every camera is – you need to know every feature of your camera before you start filming. That way you’ll avoid missing a critical moment because of a technical reason. Here’s a list of equipment you should consider to buy in order to make the best possible videos you can.

Smartphone (+lenses and apps)

Because of their large screens, phones like iPhone 6, and tablets like iPad Air, are the best tools for making a mobile video. Buy  clip-on lenses that can give you that overall movie look and feel. One of the best known clip-on lenses is Olloclip, Manfrotto, and Moment. Also, download a Hyperlapse app. It’s free and it’s great for image-stabilization when you pan across a scene. The final video looks like it has been filmed with an expensive camera. It can also speed up and slow down recorded videos from 1x to 12x normal speed. That’s very useful if you’re filming a journey from a vehicle.

Camera

Invest in a light camera with great lenses and a built-in stabilizer that helps eliminate shaking. If you’re providing adventure tours, you should definitely invest in GoPro camera for shooting an action from unusual angles.

Read latest articles about different types of travel cameras, top travel cameras of 2016, best video cameras and best GoPro alternatives to gather more information.

Tripod

It’s very important to avoid shaking your camera or phone. Otherwise, your video might look like a home video. A great solution for small cameras is Manfrotto Pixi tripod and Manfrotto monopod. GorillaPod is a tripod with flexible legs that you can attach wherever. Glif is one of the best tripods for iPhone.
gorillapod phone, smartphone, phone, camera, picture, photos, video, filming                                                                                  Image source: theappfactor.com

Extra charges

Shooting a video drains your phone battery really fast. Especially if you’re providing a whole-day tour, you should bring an external battery charger like Mophie JuicePack Duo. Or choose one from this list of the best external chargers from 2016. And don’t forget to empty your memory space!

Drone

You can put your camera on a flying vehicle – drone. If you’re providing tours on a vehicle or bicycles, it’s really cool to set a drone to follow you from above wherever you go to enhance the beauty of your journey. If you opt for a drone to help you with your videos, pay attention to regulations. You can’t fly your drone wherever you want. There are many law restrictions because of violating security and privacy. Make sure you check them with your country authorities. The best-known photo/video drone is DJI Phantom 3 and Parrot Bebop, but you can find cheaper versions here.

Be Interesting. Be Different.

Follow these tips for making better videos:

Light is crucial

Early or late in the day is the optimal timing for filming. If you’re filming people during midday, seek for shade. If you’re using iPhone, set ISO as low as possible and adjust exposure. Avoid shooting in the dark, it makes videos grainy. Try to get a light source from lamps or candles to lighten your subject.

Reduce sound

Think about background noise and try to avoid it. Shoot in quiet places if possible. Try not to speak while filming, so you can edit your videos later without cutting a scene in a middle of a sentence.

Film a conversation

Stand not more than three feet from a person you’re filming, or invest in a microphone to minimize aural distractions. Good microphones are for example Rode Smartlav or Mikey Digital. If you’re filming conversations with your smartphone, switch your phone to airplane mode so you don’t get interrupted by a phone call.

Film a  journey

You should film while driving in a vehicle. Set your camera on the roof of your car, for example, or shoot out of the train window. This will help tell the narrative of your trip. For example, the intro of this video:

Film from a different angle

The most interesting videos show the same subject from different angles every few seconds. For example, you should kneel down and shoot upwards or get up on a tall building to shoot from above. Afterward, you’ll combine different scenes and give your footage a flow. Watch this video with 5 Keys how To Film Good Times and notice how an angle changes every once in a while. Remember, if you’re using a smartphone, film in the landscape mode.  

Don’t zoom, pan

When you’re filming, don’t use zoom effect, rather move closer. When you move the camera left and right like you’re mimicking a human head you’re panning. Use a fluid head tripod for that purpose.

Film close-ups

The most interesting thing in filming a travel video is to first focus on something, then expanding to a landscape. For example, if a traveler has an expression of excitement, get a close-up of his face. Or if you’re providing some cooking or art tour – get a close-up of ingredients or art tools. The point is to show the most interesting details of your tour.

Film actions

If you provide adventures or active/sports tours, you know where the action is going to happen. You need to film that moment of excitement or danger. Start filming before the actors come into the frame.  

Avoid quick cuts

It’s easy to get distracted and film in different directions depending on where the action is. Let movement happen within the frame as the eye would naturally observe that scene, or follow a specific subject. Going back and forth quickly between both can be disorienting to the viewer.

Shoot more than you need 

Most of your footage is going to end up in trash, so you need to film as much as you can,  to cut out the good parts and combine them in 1 good piece of footage.

“10-second rule”

This rule supplements the previous one. Every 10 seconds should be an “ah-ha” or an interesting moment. Take out anything that is boring, shaky, or sounds bad.

Keep it short

Keep your video under 3 minutes, and try to shorten talking sequences for no longer than 20 seconds. For anything longer than that, you should have breaking news to keep viewers’ attention. Watch this beautiful travel video and try to detect these rules.

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