How YouTube makes friends and influences consumers

Invaluable insights into how the travel industry can use YouTube to dramatically improve engagement and reach out to potential customers emerged during a packed presentation by founder and managing director, Michael Collins.

Travel industry stakeholders who ignore YouTube do so at their peril, Collins said.

“We all know that in today’s world, you cannot control your brand, only manage it. But you have to engage and manage it well. With YouTube you know other people are talking about your brand, sometimes in ways you don’t want them to,” he told the eTravel Lab event audience.

The solution, he said, was to thoroughly understand and exploit YouTube’s listing and search engine optimisation (SEO) characteristics to ensure your video gained the highest profile possible, and was the rst thing that appeared when a customer sought out your business.


“YouTube is unique in three ways,” he explained. “As a search engine, social media platform, or television. It’s great, but most people [in the business] don’t use it, which I nd strange. YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine and third most-visited site after Google and Facebook.”

Collins was joined on stage by Tom Otley of Business Traveller, who explained how, with Travelmedia’s help, videos posted by the magazine rating the services of various airlines saw exponential increases in viewership in a matter of days, and continued to build its audience.

“The same applies to any brand in this room,” said Collins. “Whether you are a hotel, an airline or a tourist board I can guarantee there are people out there making critical videos about you.”

He said YouTube should be treated as a social media platform and a search engine like any other. It was important not to “dump and run” by putting videos online, and failing to engage with viewers or those who posted comments.

Collins added that YouTube should be treated like news television with timely, relevant and useful content. Finally, research and trial-by-error were vital to pinpoint the right SEO phrases to draw viewers to your video.

Photo: Michael Collins at the eTravel Lab