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Livestreaming to Boost your Hotel Brand

Livestreaming is the newest medium to take the social-networking world by storm. Since livestreaming apps Meerkat and Periscope launched in March, they’ve earned two million and 10 million users, respectively. That provides hotel marketers with a large audience for their promotional content. Abi Mandelbaum, co-founder and CEO of YouVisit, offers insights into how hotels can capitalize on this new marketing opportunity.

How livestreaming works
Meerkat and Periscope allow users to broadcast video live to other app users. When a user begins recording a video, their followers are notified so they can tune in. Other app users browsing content also can tune in to any livestream.
What sets the livestreaming experience apart from posting a video to other social media sites is that Meerkat and Periscope allow the livestreamer and the audience to interact in real time. Throughout the livestream, viewers can “like” the video and post comments or questions that are seen by both the livestreamer and the livestream’s viewers. That gives the livestreamer a chance to answer questions, respond to comments or expand upon a topic viewers are giving many “likes” to.

Periscope and Meerkat work very similarly, though they do offer a few differences. Periscope features a cleaner design favored by app critics. With Periscope, videos are accessible for 24 hours after the livestream. Because it is Twitter owned, users can choose whether to have a link to their livestream sent out to their Twitter followers.

Meerkat provides users with a link to their videos, which can be embedded on webpages, blogs, Tweets, and Facebook updates. Livestreams can be scheduled ahead of time, so that the link can be used to promote a future video across social media pages and websites. However, Meerkat videos disappear as soon as the livestream ends, meaning followers only have one chance to view the video.

How hotels can use livestreaming
Livestreaming provides a great opportunity for hotel marketers to interact with a broad audience while promoting all that their hotel chain or individual hotel property has to offer.

An obvious use would be to livestream hotel tours, highlighting conference rooms, suites, restaurants, and other hotel amenities for potential guests, trip advisors, conference planners, and even members of the media. Livestreaming a spa treatment or the preparation of a custom cocktail at the hotel bar would be a great way to showcase a hotel’s most attractive features. Livestreams of local events or tourist attractions could help draw travelers to a hotel destination.

Most users of livestreaming apps are members of the millennial generation, which is set to edge out the Baby Boomers for the generation spending the most on travel — upwards of $200 billion annually — by 2017. That means that livestreaming provides hotels with a big opportunity to connect with members of a generation that thrives on technology, social media and connectivity.

How brands already are using Meerkat and Periscope
Marketers began taking advantages of Meerkat and Periscope as soon as they launched, demonstrating how livestreaming could be used in brand promotion.
Royal Caribbean International garnered 30,000 viewers for a Periscope campaign that livestreamed videos of guests’ zip lining in St. Kits and riding natural water slides in Puerto Rico, as well as chefs preparing meals aboard the company’s ships. The livestreams were shown, with a slight delay, on 80 billboards throughout New York City, creating an even bigger advertising audience for the company.

The Hilton Hotels Corp. booked a Nick Jonas concert at its Hilton Anatole in Dallas in April, which it then livestreamed via Periscope. Ralph Lauren took a similar route by using Periscope to livestream its New York Spring/Summer 2016 fashion show over large screens in London’s Piccadilly Circus.
Other brands have taken more low-key and personal approaches with their livestreaming strategies. Luxury hotel group Dolce Hotels & Resorts hosts livestreaming chats with consumers each Wednesday via Periscope. Cell phone company T-Mobile has taken to livestreaming nearly daily, providing product highlights and conversations with company executives.

How to know if livestreaming is right for your hotel brand
Livestreaming via Periscope or Meerkat can provide your hotel brand with a large audience and help you reach a younger, more tech-savvy audience. As with any type of social media, the apps allow brands to make personal connections and attract new customers. If you’re interested in using livestreaming to promote your hotel brand, however, you must be willing to take risks and experiment with the new marketing medium to discover how it can work to boost your brand.
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