What hotel marketers need to know about Instagram’s IGTV

At a glitzy event in San Francisco this June, Instagram announced the release of a brand new video format called IGTV. While Instagram users have been able to create video content for the past five years, IGTV is a new long-form video format designed specifically for mobile.

Instagram is already a go-to platform for travelers seeking inspiration. With the launch of IGTV, hotel marketers will be able to influence early decision-making with a tool designed to promote more immersive, narrative-driven content.

In the following post, we’ll explain what hotels need to know about IGTV, and outline its potential applications as an exciting new marketing tool.

What do you need to know about IGTV?

IGTV plays full-screen video in a vertical format, which suits the way most people watch content on their smartphones.

Content creators can also upload videos up to ten-minutes long (the previous limit was just one minute), and anyone with a large enough channel can upload videos up to one-hour long.

IGTV begins to play as soon as you open up the app, and every creator has his or her own channels. So in many ways, it functions and feels like regular TV. IGTV is also being used to upload episodic content, which is a great way for creators to build loyalty by encouraging their followers to revisit their channel.

Why did Instagram launch IGTV?

The internet has revolutionized the way we consume video content. Recent research by Cisco predicts that by 2021, mobile video content will account for 78% of total mobile data traffic. During Instagram’s launch event of IGTV, the company’s CEO Kevin Systrom noted that teens watch 40% less TV than they did five years ago. And that Instagrammers have consumed 60% more video over the past year.

By offering long-form content designed specifically for mobile, IGTV is Instagram’s attempt to capitalize on this boom in online video consumption and steal market share from YouTube.

Tips for hoteliers to utilize IGTV

As of now, there are no ads within IGTV, even though Instagram’s CEO said that IGTV is “obviously a very reasonable place for them to end up.” Until IGTV ads become available, how can hotel marketers utilize IGTV to reach their own audience?

1. Showcase your experiences and destination

Hotel guest beside pool

Instagram is a go-to platform for travel inspiration. With the ability to upload 10-minute videos (and up to one-hour videos for large creators), IGTV offers the chance to showcase your experiences and destination with more engaging, in-depth content.

For example, you may want to film the unique local trips and experiences available at your hotel, or produce a series of themed guides to promote your area’s dining scene, nightlife, entertainment, and landmarks.

The long-form nature of IGTV also provides a chance to offer insider tips to help your followers feel connected to your hotel and neighborhood. For instance, you could ask local residents and your own staff to recommend their favorite restaurants, local parks, nature trails, etc.

Despite the generous one-hour time limit, a video of between 5-10 minutes is ideal. Remember, your content needs to be attention-grabbing and share-worthy in order to drive engagement and widen exposure.

2. Room tours and amenities

The 60-second time limit on traditional Instagram videos didn’t really lend itself well to hotel property tours. On the other hand, IGTV enables you to go beyond the time limit and give your followers a much better feel for your rooms and amenities.

This doesn’t mean that you should let the camera roll for a full hour (remember, the typical Instagrammer is used to shorter, snackable content). But a longer format means that you can play around with creative concepts that promote your property in a more entertaining way.

For example, consider producing a day-in-the-life video from the perspective of one of your typical guests. Show your guest enjoying a lazy breakfast in bed, taking a plunge in your pool, hitting the gym for a workout, indulging in a massage treatment, then ending their day with a gourmet meal at your restaurant.

By taking an imaginative approach to showing off your rooms and amenities, you’ll be able to inject a sense of wanderlust among your audience while selling the kinds of specific benefits that shorter Instagram videos just weren’t able to do.

3. Work with influencers

Instagrammer video at hotel

IGTV seems destined to become a hugely powerful tool for influencer marketing. We’ve previously discussed how you can reach out and work with Instagram influencers, and IGTV offers an even more expansive way to capitalize on the magnetic pull of popular creators with celebrity-like status.

A lot of hotels offer complimentary stays to influencers who fit in with their brand image. With the one-hour time limit of IGTV, your chosen influencer might be happy to record various aspects of their entire experience with you. Besides documenting their time at your hotel, you could encourage them to explore your neighborhood and offer their opinions on the best attractions, landmarks, activities, and nightlife spots.

Hotels that want greater control of influencer content can choose to pay for it. In these instances, a proper contract between the influencer and hotel is necessary and should include specific terms.

4. Host a masterclass

In addition to selling your hotel and destination, IGTV offers an opportunity to grow your followers by providing content that entertains and educates. This could take the form of a series of masterclasses led by your chefs, bartenders, housekeeping, and concierge.

Marketing to foodies is a big business for hotels, so a great place to start would be to upload videos of your head chef revealing the culinary secrets behind favorite dishes (tip: check your regular Instagram feed to see which dishes have the most likes and comments).

Additional options include filming your in-house fitness trainer hosting themed workout sessions, and asking your housekeeping staff to reveal quick tips for making a room look spotless in next to no time.

Just like traditional TV, consider serializing your content to encourage your audience to tune in again. For example, each masterclass could end with a short teaser that summarizes the top reasons to watch your next ‘episode’.

5. Promote on-property experiences

Bartender making cocktail

From cocktail-making classes and dancing lessons, to yoga workshops and floristry courses, more and more hotels are hosting their own classes and events to keep guests entertained and spending on property. And IGTV is the perfect tool to market your top activities and experiences to reconnect with past guests and engage with new ones.

In addition to  filming your chosen class, be sure to interview participating guests to capture the buzz the experience and discover what lessons they’ve learned.

IGTV also offers opportunities to showcase  recent events hosted at your hotel, such as live music performances, comedy shows, and themed talks. Depending on their length and entertainment value, you may want to upload these kind of events in their entirety as stand-alone pieces of content.

Leveraging the potential of IGTV

IGTV is still pretty fresh out of the box. So if you start using it now, you’ll gain an important head start on the majority of your competitors.

It’s worth noting that IGTV is designed to look and feel different to traditional Instagram posts and Stories. So your content needs to be produced with an understanding of its strengths and opportunities. Forbes Magazine offers a series of tips to make your IGTV channel look great.

While very much in its infancy, this all-new video format certainly has the potential to become a powerful marketing tool. Learn to use it wisely, and your hotel will drive invaluable attention as online video consumption continues to surge.

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