Live streaming became a fashionable trend among big brands in 2016, with such companies as Taco Bell and Lowe’s, among others, testing the concept through platforms such as Periscope and Facebook. Sales always lie at the heart of any marketing activity, but many of the early efforts with live streaming were primarily seeking engagement among consumers.
Now the technology is beginning to revolutionize the travel industry, with both resorts and tourists alike using the technology to broadcast online. Apps such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook enable travellers to live stream to their friends, whether from their resort or local attractions. While interest in streaming videos from the home and office has dimmed, travel companies and tourists have proven that they have uncovered a live streaming niche with staying power.
Vacationers no longer need to take a zillion photographs or write long hotel reviews when they can say, and show, all they want through live streaming. Now it is common to have a smartphone while on vacation, so there’s no excuse not to live stream from anywhere in the world. Whether a spur-of-the-moment getaway or a long-planned vacation, there is always potential for live streaming.
Tourist companies jumping on board
Tourist operators are seeing the benefits of live streaming, too. One of the better-known examples is flight portal Skyscanner broadcasting on Periscope for 24 hours to offer tips on various destinations around the world. Another example would be Harbour City Mall in Hong Kong using the same platform to stream a marketing campaign centered around “Where’s Wally?”.
Among the companies to have used live streaming in the most innovative way is Royal Caribbean. 2016 saw the cruise company coordinate three of its Oasis-class ships to come together in the same spot, inviting the internet to join them virtually via Facebook Live and Periscope. Allure of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, and Oasis of the Seas convened off the Florida coast, with the event live streamed from the company’s social media accounts. Facebook users were given an opportunity to ask questions about the ships to the company’s CEO, Michael Bayley, which undoubtedly helped reach out to the more than 4.3 million subscribers to the company’s page.
Another popular example of live streaming in the travel industry is Airbnb’s 360 live video on Periscope and Twitter. As Adweek reports, over three days, Airbnb utilized the technology to inspire tourists to consider Detroit and Hawaii as potential destinations, while also creating an interest in Cameroonian cuisine. It worked with a number of home-rental members in various locales in its first 360-degree attempt. It was promoted as a tour with multiple worldwide stops.
On-the-go access to live entertainment
Live streaming concerts really took off in 2017, with the highlight being MTV’s live broadcast of Ariana Grande’s benefit concert in Manchester. The event was organized to benefit victims of the suicide attack that occurred at her original concert in the city on May 22. It was also live streamed on Freeform, the cable network from Disney.
Facebook has publicly distanced itself from live streaming primetime sports. It may just be a matter of time before it rivals broadcasters for rights, however. After all, it did recently attempt to acquire the digital rights to the Indian Premier League in cricket for $610 million. In 2017, Facebook signed deals to stream 22+ Major League Soccer matches, 46 Mexican soccer league games, and a number of matches from the UEFA Champions League. Facebook won’t charge users for watching these events, which means that tourists can enjoy them for free in the comfort of their hotel room without a need to upgrade.
Esports has enjoyed huge success with live streaming. Live eSports offers gaming fans a great way to stay entertained while on vacation, whether on a bus going from one destination to another, or in the hotel room in the early hours when jet lag takes over. The main website for fans to watch eSports is Twitch, a platform that has become synonymous with online gaming. It now attracts over 100 million gamers each month to its feeds – an impressive feat for what is often regarded as a niche industry.
eSports have made the leap to the industry known as iGaming, too, with online bookmakers offering eSports betting market. But the highly competitive industry of iGaming embraces live streaming in a different way, too: In the past few years, iGaming brands have expanded the standard array of casino games to have introduced live dealer games to their roster, where players are able to connect to a casino floor via live stream and have a real person deal their cards when playing blackjack or baccarat and spin the roulette wheel when they choose the latter. Punters have welcomed the personal, immersive element. There’s no doubt it; live streaming entertainment helps to fill in the boring bits when on vacation, making travelling a more immersive experience than ever before.
Streaming in the sky
Image source: Flickr
Drones have become a powerful marketing tool for the tourism industry, which has a history of being among the quickest industries to respond to new technologies. An ability to produce affordable and innovative aerial photographs and videos has been among the primary reasons behind the success of drones in the industry. Travel and hospitality marketers are now able to provide their target audience with video content that shows a unique perspective of a destination, tourist attraction, or resort.
The benefits that drones provide are not limited to travel or hospitality operators with large budgets, either. A number of local operators and niche tour providers are tapping into this relatively new medium to promote their business.
One example would be a whale-watching tour provider from Orange County, California: Dana Wharf Sportfishing and Whale Watching. The company has regularly used drones in its marketing since 2014, offering live streamed aerial video footage through both social media and its website, as well as on action sports and outdoor websites, news channels, and broadcasters. Dana Wharf attached a GoPro to a drone to capture footage of whales and dolphins, and has reached over 8 million viewers on its YouTube channel.
Facebook leading the way
While Instagram and Snapchat have become big players in live streaming, Facebook Live has become the biggest player of all. It’s easy to use and has enabled every man and his smartphone to broadcast to their family and friends while on vacation.
Over one-fifth of Facebook videos are live and are reported as viewed three times longer than other videos on average; so we can expect to see many more live streaming videos from the social networking giant in the future. More than 80 percent of mobile and Internet audiences consumed more live video in 2016, with live streaming comprising more than two-thirds of all online traffic. That number has been estimated to reach 82 percent by the year 2020.
Have you tried live streaming your travel experiences yet?
Share your thoughts and comments with us.