YouTube and other sources of online video footage are increasingly competing with traditional holiday brochures as a way for consumers to research holiday options.
Tour operators and destination marketers are turning to mediums such as YouTube, which offers a cost-effective and easy way to post video footage that brings holidays to life for consumers.
APT Group started developing a library of video footage last year, recognizing that YouTube has opened the door to a new stream of promotional formats.
"Video footage helps our customers to really picture themselves on a cruise or tour far more effectively than any still picture will ever do," says APT's general manager of business development, Michelle Cox.
"You can see photos of Uluru or Kata Tjuta but you don't see people sitting down with indigenous people and painting, or sitting around a campfire and swapping stories. It's more about the experience when you go to a destination."
To date, the company has seven short videos - ranging from Red Centre and Kimberley tours to European river cruising - on its website and YouTube, with plans to add nine more this year.
Tourism NT has gone one step further and set up a branded channel at youtube.com/user/Australiasoutback, which its general manager of marketing and communications, Rita Harding, says serves as a central point for the region's online footage.
The channel, which has more than 40 videos to choose from, was launched in February. "People are looking beyond static imagery to understand what they will experience," Harding says.
"It reinforces the forecasted 'primacy' of online as a pre-planning tool. We are really starting to see it become a big force for people."
STA Travel runs a travel blog, photo and video footage section on its website that has been contributed to by 20,000 people. Trafalgar Tours has 19 videos on YouTube, which were added at the end of last year.
Google Australia's head of travel, Claire Hatton, says the search engine is the first point consumers go to when they think about booking a holiday.
"People use it to dream, plan and purchase - all the way through. There's a 'purchase funnel' process that videos fit into.
"There's still a role for brochures as people like to see the pricing and have something to hold but videos are going to be a much bigger trend."
Voyages marketing manager Lisa Bora agrees it is not the end of the holiday brochure yet. "Traditionally, the brochure has played a significant role in terms of the consumer decision-making and every touch point needs to be considered. Consumers have a plethora of choices in how they gain information."
Voyages launched a 10-minute DVD this year that shows footage of all its 15 properties. See voyages.com.au/dvd.
Cox says video footage works well from a business perspective, too.
"They offer a new medium at a really minimal cost (and allow us) to explore an area that is still developing. The opportunities out there are endless. We are only starting to grapple with it and what we can do."
Source: The Sun-Herald