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Lights, Camera, Reservations! Short-Form Videos Are Fueling Discovery and Hotel Bookings

You’ve probably noticed it already on all your social media channels–short-form videos rule. Why? Data shows our attention spans are shrinking and…

  • Consumers find short-form video to be 2.5x more engaging than long-form video (The Sprout Social Index™).

  • Instagram Reels have the highest reach of all media types on the platform. (The Sprout Social Index™).

What does this mean for hoteliers? Well, short-form video is quickly becoming the way consumers find out about your property and your brand.

  • 40% of U.S. travelers aged 30 and older prefer TikTok over Google as a search tool when researching travel (MMGY Global)

  • 42% of Gen Z and 26% of Millennials use short social video content in planning travel (Deloitte Insights)

  • 64% of the ICYMI community said short-form video is their content format focus in 2024.

trends in short form video
source: ICYMI Community

The Opportunity: Video as Storytelling

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. If that is the case, a video is priceless in terms of words, emotions, and storytelling as a format. Creating an emotional connection for guests prior to their arrival is the job of hotel marketers, and short-form video can be used as a canvas to showcase the 360 experience of the property matched to the right platform and audience.

How To: Ideas for Your Property

From an aerial video of the property to the finest detail of the most popular dish to everything in between, the possibilities of content are endless. Hotel marketers should build their short-form video content library with content type, audience, and platform in mind. For instance, short-video could be used to showcase:

  • Employee storytelling on LinkedIn showing company culture

  • Golden hour pool vibes on Pinterest capturing a pinnable moment

  • Architecture and lobby entrance on Instagram highlighting unique features

  • Neighborhood Guide content on YouTube offering a unique view on the location

  • The essence and spirit of your F&B outlet activated on Instagram

It’s very important that any new hotel openings, particularly a new brand, have an abundance of video content to educate guests on what the experience and purpose is all about.

Hotel marketers, including those in the luxury category, need to balance both quantity and quality. A high volume of short-form video content is needed to sustain content efforts throughout the year, and in order to do so, polishing each frame to perfection isn’t possible. Authenticity and participation are key benefits of short-form video, so keep it real and loosen standards where it may make sense.

Additionally, new AI tools in video editing and adding translations for global audiences allow short-form video investments to go farther and work harder.

Don’t Get Left Behind: All Channels Are Favoring Short-Form Video

While there is definitely a social-first mentality with short-form video, every marketing channel, platform, and algorithm is favoring video more and more. It’s no surprise as travelers crave it as well! The data doesn’t lie…

Organic Social

  • Algorithms vary by platform but all include signals around video usage.

  • 40-50% of content on platforms like Instagram to be short-form video. (Spherical)

  • Organic video posts see around 40% more comments and likes than organic images. (Target video)

  • Facebook’s algorithm prioritizes the type of posts users engage with most. So, users who watch more videos will get more video content.

  • TikTok uses video quality, captions, sounds or hashtags to recommend content.

Social Advertising & Display

  • Ads with video catch travelers' attention.

  • Video ads on Instagram generate 3x as much user engagement. (Target video)

  • Display ads with video tend to have an average 7% higher CTR than static ads.

SEO & Web

  • Search giant Google favors pages with video content with potentially higher rankings.

  • Websites with videos have a 53x greater chance of appearing on the first page of Google search results when compared to websites without videos. (Amra & Elma)

  • Google Business Profile has video upload capabilities to show your business in short-form video up to 30 seconds long.

  • Users spend longer time on a website when there’s video plus there is a higher likelihood of backlinks.


  • A complete content strategy includes adding video to email.

  • Video in email boosts click through rate and lessens unsubscribe rates.

  • In some cases, including the word “video” in the subject line increases open rates by 7-13% (Media Post)

Bottom line: Short-form Video Is Fueling Discovery (and Bookings)

Short-form video is not only inspiring travelers on where to go and where to stay, but it is powering bookings as well. Equinox Hotel New York saw 81:1 returns using short-form videos in social advertising run by Spherical. The luxury lifestyle hotel generated original video content to support key activations, including The Ultimate Private Sailing Experience and Play Like a Pro (supporting the US Open). Short-form video ads served generated a ROAS of 59:1 and 81:1 respectively, outperforming evergreen content. When testing sailing video content vs. carousel ads supporting the programming, the video content outperformed in revenue by over 600%.

As audiences continue to use mobile and crave seamless booking experiences, booking a hotel from a video view is becoming the norm, and you don’t want to miss this emerging sales funnel.

Lori Kresse, SVP , Client Service and Integrated Marketing at Spherical
Lori Kresse, SVP , Client Service and Integrated Marketing at Spherical

Lori Kresse is SVP, Client Service and Integrated Marketing at Spherical. She was an original Google Glass explorer, has worked with the top travel brands and hotels in the world from Aman to The Ritz-Carlton, and is fascinated by the intersections of luxury, travel, wellness, and technology.


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