Excerpts from a Master Thesis by Daniel Hofmann

1.1.1        Videography and Tourism

 

 

Today, videography is linked to the tourism industry in only a few ways. There are the relatively new studies of film tourism or so called film-induced tourism which is defined as tourists visiting destinations because they have seen them in a film on TV or in the cinema (Hudson and Ritchie 2006). Furthermore, there is the unknown field of adventure films offered by tour operators of adventure tours like skydiving or bungee jumping. The last link, and for this thesis most interesting one, is travel videography, for example travel documentaries, or videos for tour operators and/or travel agencies.

 

International travel is increasing and the entertainment industry is steadily growing which is the reason for the phenomenon of film tourism, or from now on referred to as film-induced tourism (Hudson and Ritchie 2006). Probably the best and most known examples for film-induced tourism are the “The Lord of the Rings Saga” and the currently produced film “The Hobbit”. With the international release of the former, Tourism New Zealand started promoting the country New Zealand by using images of the film (Croy 2004). Destination images in a film, or place placement, can be compared with the impact a product placement can have on a viewer’s attitude (Hudson & Ritchie 2006). Tourists, for example, are influenced by destination images, which therefore should be positive and different to other images (Pike and Ryan 2004; Joppe, Martin, and Waalen2001). A lot of different factors are involved in film-induced tourism and not all of them can be controlled, for example, film-specific factors. With a well-planned marketing campaign and a popular movie, film-induced tourism gives destinations the chance to increase tourism numbers, which therefore generates economic development (Hudson and Ritchie 2006).

 

A lot of tour operators in the adventure sector are already using adventure travel videos to make money. They offer extreme experiences and consequently people want those experiences on video, in order to be able to have a memory and to show them around, and in addition they pay a lot of money for it. These experiences include bungee jumping (Bungee New Zealand 2012; UK Bungee Club 2012), skydiving (Jump the Beach 2012; skydive franz 2012), zorbing (Zorb 2012) and whitewater rafting (Tributary Whitewater Tours 2012; "Whitewater Rafting" 2012). It is also very common for tours to have a photographer with them or that someone from the crew is taking pictures. On the end of such a tour the travellers can purchase a DVD with all the pictures of the tour ("Great Barrier Reef" 2012) or download photos online (Mojosurf 2012). Especially experiences where it is not possible for the travellers to record or to take pictures themselves, like bungee jumping or surfing, companies can benefit a lot from selling these photo and video DVDs. Especially extreme experiences like skydiving are selling video DVDs to extremely high prices, due to the fact that most of the people know that they are only going to do it once in their lifetime. 

 

It is a human characteristic to tell others about our journeys. Travel presentations have a long history, going back to the Greeks, while travel literature arose from the pilgrimage and the crusades (Binder 2005). According to Butler (1990) oral and literary media were historically very important, as they were the primary ways for people to become aware of destinations and places beyond the world they knew. In the course of time new medial opportunities made it easier to tell or to show a travel journey. The older generations probably remember slideshows in dimmed rooms because friends or family members wanted to present their latest vacation. With the new technological opportunities, digital cameras started to become cheaper and affordable for everyone. People started creating slideshows on their home computers and making photo books became very popular. Today, video cameras are affordable for everyone and smart phones can record videos in High Definition. Consequently people will start to show travel videos instead of pictures. Buhalis and Licata (2002, 213) already stated that there is great potential for the use of multimedia, including videos, in the tourism industry. Their research showed that "once the technical problems are resolved, tourism organization(s) would be able to take advantage of the enormous opportunities emerging through multimedia".

 

People are not only using the new technological opportunities for capturing their own vacation, they are doing research on the Internet about travel destinations and they want to see videos of the ones they are interested in. Travel-related videos are becoming more and more popular; people watch them on their mobile devices and tablets, and dream about their next vacation, while sitting in a tram. In 2011, 46% of personal travellers and 68% of business travellers watched travel-related online videos ("Traveler’s Road" 2011). Australia has its own website with travel videos of the whole country (Lens on Australia 2012). There is also an Australian Website where people can upload their own pictures and travel videos (There’s nothing like Australia 2012). This website demonstrates a marketing strategy called crowdsourcing. People upload their own content and write about their journeys in Australia. This is effective and cheap advertisement for the country. Crowdsourcing will happen automatically when a company managed to win fans and supporters through the proper use of social media (Shih 2011). Urban (2010) conducted a survey about video marketing with 50 participating companies. Most of them originated from the media sector, followed by service and marketing sectors. One result of the survey showed that the tourism sector is the best place to use video marketing as shown in figure 1. 

 

Figure 1
Figure 1

Other results for the best suitable factors of success in video marketing are the retrievability in search engines and the use of Web 2.0 as illustrated in figure 2.

Figure 2: Factors of success for video marketing (Urban 2010, 7)
Figure 2: Factors of success for video marketing (Urban 2010, 7)

A lot of people are into travel videography as a hobby (Nomadic Matt 2012; Travel Guy 2012), but only a few people and companies make a living out of it. To mention a few examples, there is Simone Di Santi, an online TV presenter who travels around and films destinations, tours and events to upload them on her website (A Road Retraveled Video Podcats 2012). She is making use of the multimedia possibilities, while connecting her website to her Twitter account which offers an RSS feed, is connected to itunes and sells an application for her online TV show. Mark Shea is also travelling the world as a travel videographer for an online TV show called "Overlander TV" (World Travel 2012). Michael Palin started producing travel documentary for BBC in 1989, starting with Around the World in Eighty Days. A lot of documentaries followed, for example Sahara with Michael Palin in 2002 and Around the world in 20 years in 2008, all self-penned and presented (Oliver 2012; Palin’s Travels 2012). The "New Media School for Travelers" - Matador U - offers courses on how to become a travel writer, travel photographer and travel videographer (Matador U 2012). Chibi Moku is a spouse videography team specialized in tourism and event videos in Asia and the Pacific Islands. They use social networks like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube for their video marketing (Chibi Moku 2012). It is impossible not to get across the name of Thomas Reissmann when doing research on the Internet for travel videography. He gives interviews ("Every Day Could Be a Holiday" 2008; "Travel Videographer Shares Secrets" 2008) runs two English websites (Filming Holidays 2012; Bringing holidays to life 2012) and a German website (Travel Sensations 2012) and wrote a manual called "How to Produce Effective Promotional Videos for the Tourism Industry", which he distributes on his websites. To get a better insight into the working life of a travel videographer, a written interview was conducted with Thomas Reissmann, which is presented in Chapter 3.