Once you’ve decided to invest in video to show off your vacation rental, you’ll run into your next consideration: Where those videos should ‘live’ online.
When you add video to your website, the actual video file needs to be saved somewhere. You basically have two options:
- Save it to your own web server, with your other website files (i.e. pictures, documents, etc.). Unless you have the technical skills to understand what you’re doing, this option means a lot of work that’s not necessary.
- Save it using a third-party service. This solution isn’t just more straightforward, it also makes it easier for people to find your videos without visiting your website first (i.e. finding it via search engines, like Google or Bing, instead).
Two Ways to Prepare for Video
There are basically two ways to watch videos from sites like YouTube: You can go directly to the YouTube site, or you can watch a video that’s been embedded into a different website.
Embedding a video on a website it a bit like watching a show on TV: Different people can watch the same show from wherever they want, the TV show itself is broadcast from a centralized location.
Because there are two ways to access your videos, there are two ways for you to get the biggest bang for your buck when it comes to putting your videos online:
- Find the right spot for your video(s) on your own website, and
- Create a branded page for your vacation rental on YouTube itself.
This way, people will be able to find you and your vacation rental easily, regardless of how they might come across your video.
Step 1: Create a YouTube account
Google owns a lot of web property – YouTube included. If you have an account for another Google product, like Gmail, you can use that same account to access YouTube.
But wait! Just because you have an account already doesn’t mean you shouldn’t create a new one for your vacation rental.
While the decision is up to you, creating a business-focused Google account helps distinguish your personal activity from your business activity, a boundary that’s always worth keeping in mind. Click here to create a new Google account.
Step 2: Basic setup
Once your new account is up and running, go to YouTube. Google has put together an extensive guide for creating YouTube channels that you can reference, but it’s a lot of information and can be intimidating when you’re just getting started.
Instead, here are the first steps you should take to get your YouTube channel ready.
- Create your channel and set your privacy settings. To create your YouTube channel, click on your name in the upper right corner, then select “My Channel” and follow the directions.
- Make sure your profile is complete. Filling out your profile makes it easier for search engines to keep track of your video and show it to people looking for related information; “Set Up Your YouTube Channel for SEO Success” outlines numerous steps you can take to optimize your channel.
Start with the first section of the article, Editing your profile, which explains the sections you should fill out or act on first — like adding links to your website or Facebook Page — and why doing so is a good idea. The rest of the article digs into slightly more advanced stuff, which is all good to know if you’re feeling adventurous.
Try to keep your YouTube page similar to your other marketing materials; there’s no need to rewrite information if you’ve already written it for your website or listings. Also, use similar photos and colors where possible to provide some continuity.
Step 3: Upload
Once your channel has been created, you can start uploading videos. YouTube works with a variety of file formats, so you shouldn’t have to worry too much about whether or not you have the right one.
Start by going to your YouTube Dashboard, and click the “Upload a Video” button. (Note: For your first video, this button should be quite easy to find. However, once you’ve added a video or two, the “Upload” button will move to the top of the page.)
Once you’ve uploaded your video,
- Give your video a descriptive title, like this one: Seaside, FL 3 BR Vacation Rental - Toye Cottage - Cottage Rental Agency. Again, adding detail makes it easier for search engines to find your video.
- Give your video a good description, sharing details about the property, neighborhood and even linking to relevant websites. Click here for a great example from NewYorkHabitat — note that they include links to other videos they’ve created exploring the local neighborhood.
- Use the same keywords to tag your video that you use on your website and other listings. This might include: Name of the town or city, local landmarks, the name of your vacation rental, the address, key features (i.e. beach, waterfront). Choose tags that really describe your property.
- The category for your video is probably best set to “Travel & Events”, which is one of the categories set by YouTube.
- Choose a good looking video thumbnail that will serve as the still photo for your video; you should have three to choose from.
Once your videos have been added, you have the option of doing more with your YouTube channel. Like Pinterest, there are opportunities to go beyond featuring your own property by highlighting videos that let interested people learn more.
For example, you can create playlists of videos produced by other people that highlight:
- Local tourist videos made by other groups or organizations, like your local tourism bureau,
- Local singers, artists and entertainers,
- Featured attractions,
- Restaurants and other local businesses.
Video has added a whole new dimension to vacation rental marketing. Are you using it to draw attention to your property?