Travel brands must use video to tell 'great stories' says YouTube head

Travel brands must utilise video content to "tell great stories" and turn their consumers into brand advocates, according to Sarah McDonald, Google's YouTube travel chief.

Speaking at the ABTA travel convention in Dubrovnik, McDonald, head of YouTube in Google's travel division, said video production "is not the expense you think it is anymore".

Investing in the medium, she said, drives brand engagement over longer periods of time than pure TV ads. McDonald continued: "Campaigns have a very short life time [on TV] but there is no limitation of schedule with video."

Referencing a viral by Thomson Airways that featured a child in a cockpit, wearing a pilot's uniform, she explained how the work has been steadily growing in viewership over time.

MacDonald said: "This was never part of a campaign and people just stumble upon it when it becomes relevant to them."

Video, she said, has the power to turn consumers into "brand advocates," especially when people are invited to co-create content. MacDonald then referenced GoPro, the action camera company, which invites consumers to submit their own video content to the brand's YouTube channel. The sports films by the amateur movie makers are all shot on GoPros.

She said: "They now have 1.2 million subscribers. They have gone from being a camera manufacturer to being a very powerful sports media channel."

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