Mastering Video Content in Travel

Love and London Founder Jessica Dante shares top tips and insights on video content for tour, activity and attraction companies, in a preview of her featured Arival 360 | Berlin session

Reading Time: 6 minutes

Move over, paper guidebooks: travelers are increasingly using video to dream about and plan their trips.

Of course, you probably already knew that, but Love and London founder Jessica Dante has built her business on it. Originally a travel blog created by Dante when she moved to London for love, Love and London has grown into a digital media brand that creates travel guides by Londoners and reaches over five million people each month on Instagram, TikTok and YouTube.

Short-form video in particular has become pivotal to reach and inspire younger travelers, but video marketing is not just for Gen Z. Social media has a huge impact on how travelers are discovering and choosing tours and experiences in 2024, as the latest Arival research on the U.S. Tour Taker shows. And while TikTok is the second most-used resource by 18-34-year-olds, YouTube, Instagram and Facebook are all widely used by travelers 18-54.

But there is already an overwhelming amount of video content on all of these channels. So how can tour, activity and attraction operators break through the travel content clutter and deliver consistent video content that matters to travelers? Dante shared a few of her top insights with me in a preview of her upcoming Arival 360 | Berlin session:

Tips for Mastering Your Short-Form Video Content

1. Focus on Adding Value

Dante originally built her business on YouTube. While those longer-form (10-ish minute-long) videos are still her “bread and butter”, Dante saw a need to jump into the short form video world as TikTok and Instagram Reels really started to pick up speed a couple of years ago.

However, she shared that applying her tried and tested formula for YouTube videos to short form video was a struggle initially, until she and her team settled on an approach of “creating content that’s really educational and really helpful.”

“We’re just always thinking about: how can we provide value? What are people asking about? What are people worried about and what questions do they have?” 

Dante explained that practical videos such as how to use public transportation often ended up being among the most popular. 

@loveandlondon How to use the tube like a Londoner 🚇 First time in London? Make sure to grab our free London Trip Checklist. It’s your go-to guide for everything you need to sort out ahead of your trip and when to do it by. Link in bio to get it for ✨freeee✨ #londontube #londontrip #london #londontravel #londontransport #tfl ♬ original sound – loveandlondon

Love and London’s short-form video about how to use the tube (subway) like a Londoner amassed nearly 400K views on TikTok.

2. Make Friends With Your Followers

This doesn’t mean you have to DM (direct message) every follower and invite them for coffee, but building a rapport with people rather than just trying to promote yourself to them is important. 

Dante explained this has been one of her biggest learnings over the years of building her company. “No one cares what your brand is doing until you’ve made a friendship with them. The best way to do that and the easiest way really is to just make a lot of content that helps your ideal customer, answers their questions and validates their insecurities and things like that.” 

Many companies may be tempted to use social media primarily as a platform to broadcast promotional information. According to Dante, this is a mistake. She shared that Love and London aims to keep promotional content to a minimum: no more than 10% of their content is promotional.

You can create content that is about a new product, or experience, or tour guide, for example. “But until you’ve given people a lot of value and information, they’re not gonna care,” said Dante. “That’s the way I always look at it. And I think it’s a really good way for everyone to look at specifically social media.”

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3. Basic Storytelling Best Practices Apply

The same principles that make a good story on tour or on your website also apply to video content. Have a hook, define your audience, communicate clearly and succinctly, and don’t forget to add some personality. 

“Everybody needs to have a very strong hook that’s gonna get people to stay,” said Dante, explaining that Love and London has found that a negative hook works very well for them. “It’ll sometimes feel on TikTok you’re scrolling through and it’s a lot of really negative stuff starting these videos out, but that’s because that’s just psychologically that actually is what works really well.”

@loveandlondon Don’t want to have an expectations vs reality moment when you come to London? We got you! Our ultimate London Itineraries will tell you the best time to visit all places and attractions so you can make the most out of your limited time here! Explore not only the major attractions but also hidden gems that only Londoners know ❤️ PLUS they come with with their own digital maps, Toilet Guide, and tons of extras making the entire experience effortlessly enjoyable. 🔗 Click the link in our bio to get our 3, 4, 5 or 6 day itinerary at a 20% discount for a VERY limited time. #londontrip #londontravel #londonguide #london #londonitinerary ♬ original sound – loveandlondon

Many of Love and London’s videos start with a negative hook, but then go on to share positive tips and travel advice.

Next, Dante describes the other best practices: be up front about who the videos are for, be succinct and focus on only including things that add value, and add personality to it too. Tour operators have an advantage in that they should have these storytelling skills already, it’s all about adapting these principles for the short-form video format.  

Resources for Video Content Creation

That’s all well and good, you might be thinking, but Jessica Dante’s business is video. For operators who have a lot of other priorities, who’s actually going to create these videos?

There are a few different approaches here:

  • DIY it! Video creation is more accessible than ever, and you don’t need to be an expert. Here is a walkthrough on making a short-form video
  • Use the resources you already have! As Dante suggested, many tour and attraction companies are missing an opportunity by not getting their guides and other staff who are passionate and knowledgeable about their local area involved in video. “Especially tour guides are already so animated and really excited about everything that they’re doing and often that translates onto camera really easily,” said Dante, noting that guides may also be motivated by extra pay to help with video creation.
  • Work with influencers! For influencers like Dante, video is their area of expertise. Love and London has partnered with tour companies like Walks and Eating Europe to create video content. Consider identifying influencers prevalent in your region to partner with, and check out this guide to influencer marketing
  • Make use of User Generated Content (UGC)! As Dante explained, UGC is “kind of an in between of hiring influencers to promote your brand and hiring a social media manager.” According to Dante, this is a rising practice in 2024 as it can be more cost-effective: UGC creators may not have the same reach of influencers, but are still capable of creating high quality content. These are people you can send on a tour with instructions about what to capture and include, and they will do the editing and video production for you. “It’s good for especially the smaller travel brands who don’t have the budget to work with the bigger influencers.”

What’s Next in Video Content? Learn More at Arival 360 | Berlin

Building on her success with Love and London, Dante is excited to be working towards launching her next undertaking: Love and Paris. But first, she’ll be joining us for  Arival 360 | Berlin to share her expertise on video content creation for travel companies, and practical ways operators can take advantage of the latest short-form video trends. We hope to see you there!

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Header photo provided by Love and London / Jessica Dante

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