What do Kobe Bryant, Disneyland and WestJet Airlines have in common? They’re all featured in some of YouTube’s most-viewed travel videos. In recent years, online video has proven to be a powerful channel for information, education and entertainment, particularly in the travel and hospitality industry, where we’ve seen impressive growth. According to a recent study Google conducted with Ipsos MediaCT, two out of three U.S. consumers watch online travel videos when they’re thinking about taking a trip. What exactly are travelers looking for? What’s popular? What content are they watching? Here’s what we found.
Travel content has proliferated as people around the world share their experiences and seek inspiration for their next adventure. Every month, more than one billion people visit YouTube to watch more than six billion hours of video, making YouTube an ideal place to explore how travelers interact with video content.1 According to a recent study Google conducted with Ipsos MediaCT, two out of three U.S. consumers watch online travel videos when they’re thinking about taking a trip.2 But what are travelers looking for? What’s popular? What content are they watching? To find out, we analyzed aggregated and anonymized views of travel content on YouTube in the U.S. from early 2012 to early 2014. For the purposes of this research, we define “travelers” as those individuals who engage with or search for travel content on Google.com and/or YouTube. Overall, our findings have big implications for marketers looking to connect with travelers, regardless of category.
Videos influence travel decisions
YouTube data shows that travelers are spending more time watching online videos than ever before, with views of travel-related content up 118% year over year (YoY). According to the data, travelers are increasingly using mobile devices to consume travel-related videos anytime and anywhere; in 2013, mobile devices accounted for roughly 30% of all travel video views, with mobile viewing up 97% on smartphones and 205% on tablets, YoY.3
Across devices—desktop and mobile—travelers are consuming travel-related videos around the clock. Nearly half are viewed during prime time (3:00—10:00 p.m. PST).4 While desktop users tend to watch videos throughout the day, smartphone and tablet users tend to tune in during the evening hours.
Travel Category Views on YouTube by Device (in PST)