"The advent of drones makes the once-prohibitively expensive task of aerial videography much more feasible for a much broader swath of destinations and attractions," says Peter Himler, owner of Flatiron Communications LLC. Why is this important?
In a Forbes Contributor article, "Drone On, Travel Marketers," Himler tells the story of a Mexican resort hit hard by reports that the entire country had been destroyed by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake in Querrero state. The resort was in pristine condition, and so were most of the other big resort destinations.
Himler's approach to the problem was to shoot helicopter-captured B-roll video footage. When they made this video available via satellite and hard copy to all of Mexico's media organizations, it quickly became 'news footage.' The drone video helped viewers visualize the limitations of the damage. This quelled the U.S. hysteria, and soon bookings to Mexican resorts were flowing again. It appears drone helicopters played a key role in showcasing that Mexico's tourist destinations remained a vacationer's paradise.
Reasonable for Smaller Resorts
Aerial photography and video have been around for years as a resort-marketing tool. However, it was cost prohibitive. Only the most prestigious resorts could afford it, so aerial perspectives gave them an edge over their smaller competitors.
The investment remains worth it, and finally, it's something that smaller resorts can do as well. In fact, there's no reason they can't do it even better than the big guys. The advent of drone photography and video has eliminated the expenses associated with hiring an airplane or helicopter. Now resort marketing managers can hire a commercial drone pilot and showcase what their resort offers in dramatic ways that those older aerial options couldn't capture.
Better Aerial Photography and Aerial Video
The shots available from an airplane or helicopter were limited to a safe distance above the resort. Close-up shots had to depend on zoom lenses. This and other physical limitations with the equipment meant what the video or photographs could show had to adapt to those restraints.
Drones offer maneuverability. Once the proper permissions are gained from the FAA and property owners, they can get closer to the action. They can move from a ground camera perspective to one high overhead in minutes. They can change position to render creative perspectives not possible without putting a camera on the end of a boom.
Highlight your Resort's Assets
Imagery that highlights your resort's assets has always been important. In the past, most smaller resorts could only afford to depend on photographs. Photographs are great, yet they don't give an accurate feel for what a guest will experience when they walk onto your resort grounds. Now, you can add aerial photographs to build out your photo gallery because they can give potential guests a perspective ground-level pictures just can't capture.
However while you're using a drone for aerial photographs, why not use it as an opportunity to highlight your resort's assets through video. Nothing beats video for increasing conversions.
Ground-level videos are better than no video. Yet, you'll find the addition of aerial video shots will make it even easier for your potential guests to personalize the experience they anticipate if they choose your resort as their destination.
What are the Assets you Want to Highlight?
- Scenery and Landscapes: You might not consider your surroundings unique, however, for someone who lives with Joshua trees and Saguaro cactus, your 'ordinary' rolling hills with tree-edged fields could be just what they're looking for. Consider anything that's natural an asset--pristine beaches, woodland trails, sand dunes, rivers, streams, rocky outcroppings, etc.
- Stunning Interiors and Exteriors: Using a drone to take video of both interior and exterior shots can give a completely new perspective of your resort. Show a guest's perspective as they approach your resort by flying up the drive and through the entrance to the reception area. Use drone video to capture the view from your guest's window if the view is something worth featuring.
- Cultural Heritage: Don't let your definition of 'impressive' prevent you from highlighting cultural sites in the vicinity. If your resort has an interesting heritage, emphasize it.
- Sports Activities: This can be a great way to keep tourists interested in your resort both in-season and off-season. For example, many winter resort areas can be perfect for summer outdoor activities. However, they must be marketed for those summer pursuits.
- Shopping and Dining: Everyone needs to eat, and many love to shop. If there's a unique dining experience or shopping experience connected with your resort, don't overlook its importance in attracting guests. Consider expanding to the surrounding town as well if it's close.
- Unique Points of Interest: Ask yourself, "Is there anything of interest I've missed?" If so, consider including these things in your video.
Consider each element as you're scripting your drone video. Prioritize, and then film. You don't need a luxury resort to experience the benefits of aerial video. Just a carefully planned video that highlights what you have to offer.
Highlight Your Resort as an Event Location
There are many types of events. Seminars. Writer's camps. Artist's retreats. Executive retreats. Appreciation events. Concerts. Weddings. Honeymoons. If your resort would be a good fit, then consider hiring a commercial drone pilot to pull together a video that highlights your resort for at least one event type.
For example, if your resort is an attractive site for weddings, consider what having a drone video might do to promote your resort for this purpose. We like what Aerial Helix did with this wedding using only aerial video at the Grand Pacific Palisades Resort in Carlsbad, CA. Combining ground level video with aerial could showcase even more.
Run a Contest
You might even want to consider running a competition like Australia ran from March 2 through May 2, 2017. 'Australia From Above' invited professionals and enthusiasts alike to submit their aerial visions of Australia. The prize for the winner was a DJI drone package, and a six-day journey for two to Lord Howe Island and Kangaroo Island.
A contest has the potential for increasing your ROI through exposure during the contest and after. It also attracts more creatives, so you increase the odds you'll have some truly great video to promote your resort.
Now that aerial photography and videography are affordable it's time to start showcasing your resort from the air. As Rafat Ali, founder of the largest industry intelligence and marketing platform for the travel sector says, "Drone videos are a new arsenal that travel marketers should be looking at seriously now, while the novelty wow factor lasts." Later adoption doesn't mean you won't benefit. However, moving now will mean you're ahead of your competition.