YouTubing Innkeepers, surfing the digital river of the net

This is the third in the series of examples of Innkeepers using social media.  Please keep in mind my comments are personal, but do also come from a marketers view as well as a guests view.

While browsing through a great many B&B videos on Youtube (I found over 70 easily and came across about 100 more looking at those “related” videos that get suggested on the right), I came across a wide mix of videos, some were professional and well done, some were professionally produced, and not, well done. Quite a few DIY videos popped up, quite a few were innovative, some were ones (and I’m being honest) that probably should not have seen the light of day, let alone Youtube.

I realize there are many marketers out there encouraging lodging to shoot footage and have video on Youtube. It is, and will continue to be, a growing channel for marketing and guest sourcing. I do recommend that B&Bs explore their options when it comes to video if they can, as the amount of positive exposure you can get from video is very good, and will continue to get better.

Caveat, it can also work against you, so consider what you are putting up before posting. Very badly lit, very shaky camera work and having the camera following an extremely nervous innkeeper around their inn does not a great impression make.

If a potential guest is viewing this and can’t even see the rooms clearly, you are kind of defeating the purpose of doing this. The fact is, I think that most innkeepers are pretty calm, collected, warm people. Showing them at their most nervous and uncomfortable, is not what they are generally really like. I only bring this up because I saw more then 2 dozen B&B videos that were shot like this.

While many B&Bs don’t have the budgets for a professionally done video, they can do a good DIY one.

Here are a few tips for inns that want to try their hands at producing a DIY video themselves.

  • Use a tripod or monopod. Panning rooms and exteriors with a video camera is made much easier (and less shaky) then a hand held one.
  • Use a good high definition video camera.
  • Use a microphone. You can get a computer microphone at any office supply store and a decent one is usually under 20 dollars. They are very small and clip easily to a collar.
  • Keep the audio off on your video camera, because you may want music or narration on the finished product, and not only will background noises be picked up on video, if you are speaking the audio quality will not be nearly as good as being taped with a mic. A terrific free piece of audio recording and editing software is available from Audacity  http://audacity.sourceforge.net/
  • Make sure your rooms are well let. Depending on where you are located, there are companies that rent out lighting specifically for photo and video shoots. If you don’t want to spend the money to buy or rent, a good stand-in are those inexpensive garage shoplights that can be clipped to things for additional lighting. A piece of lightweight white fabric over the cup of these can soften the light as well, but don’t leave it on very long as the fabric gets hot fast.
  • Try doing short takes of video, re-play them and watch for things you may not have noticed the first time, a garbage can that would look better hidden, a window shade or lamp shade that’s crooked. Just like eyeballing still photos, look for things that are out of place or can be neatened or straightened.
  • If you are going to use yourself (as the innkeeper) in the shot, do small takes and speak a few well rehearsed lines at a time, interspersed with other pieces of video. Unless you are an innkeeper that is a well versed Toastmaster, speaking without notes can be “interesting” to say the least for longer time periods.
  • Sit down while being filmed unless you are pointing something out. Not only will you be more comfortable, it gives the viewer a better impression of you being relaxed and normal.
  • Consider how you are dressed. Do a short take of yourself on camera and look at it.  Think of how you would dress if you were going to be interviewed on a National TV show and dress accordingly. Many times people on video will dress well, but won’t consider how fabric moves when its being filmed, so do some takes with your chosen ensemble and watch how it looks and moves on camera.
  • Be aware that you can’t do a video and just grab your favorite soundtrack to go along with it. If you need some sources for music that is creative commons licensed, check out http://blogs.sitepoint.com/2009/04/30/30-creative-commons-sources/ for a good list of sites.
  • You can make a lovely “movie” using just still shots. Microsoft has Windows Movie Maker pre-installed on most windows computers, and Macintosh has I believe, a comparable program.
  • If you want a step up for making photo montages, I would recommend Photodex, Pro Show Gold, for $70 you get easy to edit transition effects and it does include video editing and audio. They do have a free trial so you can test it out first.
  • Don’t forget to smile and keep smiling.

If you have done a DIY video and have some tips to share, please leave them in the comments and I will add them in to the post (with credit of course)

A great post just came out this morning, (Thank you Todd L. for the good timing) talking about lighting and audio for video which may be helpful.

http://www.tourismkeys.ca/blog/2011/03/lights-camera-sound-making-quality-video-twit-video/

After watching a few too many hours of Youtube videos, I made note of a mix of types of video that B&Bs have done that in my humble opinion were noteworthy.

Bailey’s Uptown Inn Dallas Texas Bed and Breakfast  (Youtube Channel, multiple videos)

http://www.youtube.com/user/baileysuptowninn#p/u Bailey’s has a collection of videos featuring each of their rooms, plus an area attraction video.

The Briar Rose Inn Bed & Breakfast

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4vLPx90q8QY&feature=related

I love the music in this (and appropriate tune as well). Very interesting use of “faux” black and white reel to reel film, interspersed with color. While some of the filming is a little shaky it adds to the charm of this as it does make it reminiscent of old style filming.

Mount Dora Historic Inn

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=owahCrqzRJ0&feature=player_embedded

I love this video, its got a great conversational style, the innkeepers talk about some of the things you can do in the area, with examples. Talk a bit about their breakfast, with photo shots. What to do, where to go, what to eat and where they are.

Mt Dora also has a video of their chef, Chef Jim, makes Blueberry Citrus Bread

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vRShSw1oTDc&feature=related

as well as a video narrated by Ana primarily about their breakfasts

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8x5GaJmVcec&feature=player_embedded

Forty Putney Road (Youtube Channel, multiple videos)

http://www.youtube.com/fortyputneyroad

The Bradys have a unique style with their multiple videos, check out some of their commentary on area things to do and attractions (with examples of course!)

San Diego, The Bed & Breakfast Inn at La Jolla

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FGKxnIpnic0

I love the intro to this video, the video has some great food shots and location shots, not so much about the inn itself but it does get across romance and relaxation.

They also have some creative use of video for each of their rooms https://convoyant.com/resnexus/book/select.aspx?&ID=635&ResID=118054 and this one http://www.innlajolla.com/video-sousa-room.html is interesting as its tying together the name of the room with the composer its named for.

Canyon Villa Inn, Sedona Bed & Breakfast

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_jmND8lY52U

is an example of a professional produced video, note the use of showing examples of what the narrator is talking about as it moves from shot to shot.

Inn on the Paseo, Santa Fe, New Mexico

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wqodltg_P0&feat

Nice use of still photos just accompanied by music.

Baker’s Bed & Breakfast B&B, Stone Ridge, NY

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Se_jr2S8-uw

Nice use of still photos just accompanied by music

*something to note in this one, similar to proofing video to make sure things are “perfect” the first couple of shots of the dining room for example would have been better if the still used had all of the chairs lined up neatly.

Alta Vista Bed and Breakfast, Tucson Arizona

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tGFSiNjr0Go

nice use of stills of just music

Bed and Breakfast Wisconsin Appleton

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dfkxtZEPTao

A lovely use of good stills mixed with regular video. I personally could do without the narration as it does have text overlays on the photos and think it detracts a bit from the video as the music is playing a the same time.

Mont Tremblant Crystal Inn B&B Massage and Spa

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6DXQnUA_qkY

nice use of stills and music to get you in the mood for “A different kind of BB” as they advertise themselves to be.

Special mention:

Room Tour of La Posada de Taos- Taos Bed and Breakfast

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A2FFB2WTVYI&fe

This video has a nice mix of still shots combined with slightly shaky camera work.  While a tripod and better lighting would have improved the overall video, the insertion of guest reviews was clever and point out of text of King Beds for example was nice.

If anyone has come across a good example of a B&B video please let me know and why you think its interesting. Youtube has many many more videos that I probably just scratched the surface of.

The first two posts in the innkeepers using social media series can be found at Blogging Innkeepers Oh My!!! and Twittering Innkeepers, Lions and tigers and bears! Oh, my!

Updated March 12, 2011: more videos 🙂

Normandy & Pays de la Loire (Youtube Channel, multiple videos)

http://www.youtube.com/cassiscassis/

Lovely use of stills to advertise area things to do and see.

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About Chef Forfeng

Innkeeping Tip and Tricks: Please check out some marketing ideas for Inns and B&Bs, Blogging ideas, Facebook Tips and Social Media Tutorials https://chefforfeng.wordpress.com/marketing-for-lodging-resources/
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One Response to YouTubing Innkeepers, surfing the digital river of the net

  1. Some nice examples there, Heather – thanks for the tips. We use a video made up of still clips on our site but actually use our Youtube channel much more for showing clips of places to visit in the area – we think it is important, as we’re not in a “tourist hotbed” area, to highlight the recreational and sightseeing possibilities around here. We link to our YouTube channel from the the website (traffic is actually 2-way) and also embed the individual videos on other pages of the site.

    Phil

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