It’s not uncommon for people to like sharing their travel stories. Once upon a time, that took the form of waiting until the travels were over, getting photographs developed, and telling (undoubtedly bored) friends and family everything in the most elaborate, unnecessary detail. These days, of course, there’s no need to wait: With digital cameras, the Internet, and especially social media, you can tell everybody in the world whatever you want about your getaway the instant you’re lying in your temporary bed… and one hotel chain in particular would really, really like you to do that, thanks very much.
DoubleTree, a hotel chain under the Hilton brand, is launching its own YouTube channel called DTour, to let users generate content about travel – anything frrom photos or videos to specific locations and recommendations of places to visit, eat, stay. Of course, we wouldn’t be surprised if Hilton would like it more if you gave the brand an extra bias here, but users can also share other kinds of travel tips like where to find the nearest supermarkets or drugstores in case of emergencies. The channel will be supported by a year-long contest, sponsored by DoubleTree, as well as ads on both BBC and Lonely Planet’s websites and promotions on Twitter and Foursquare.
The contest – which enjoys the punny title “DTour of a Lifetime” – asks entrants to upload a video spotlighting “a nearby landmark, an unusual cultural attraction or a not-to-be-missed travel spot” that lasts between 30 seconds and three minutes, and feature a description of 300 words or less, to YouTube. A panel of judges will go through all of the entrants to select 24 finalists, whose videos will then be put to a public vote via the DTour channel, with prizes including journeys around the world.
According to Google’s head of industry, Megan Danielson, the company’s partnership with DoubleTree for DTour is “what YouTube does best… letting people play around and explore interesting content.” This is far from the first YouTube contest of this sort; among others, the site is currently in the midst of its own Simon Cowell-created talent search, The You Generation.
Although DTour is likely to gain positive PR effect on DoubleTree’s brand, the hotel chain’s global head John Greenleaf noted that it’s more than just promotional value and wanting to give back to the traveling community. “This [concept] is purely based on traveler content as well as content that employees at our hotels post,” he told Adweek. “Our research shows that 80 percent of travelers don’t know where they are going when they start to plan a trip.”
Of course, it’s not entirely altruistic. “It’s a wonderful way for [people] to go in and take a look at a city and see what there is to do based on other travelers’ experiences,” Greenleaf added, “while taking a look at our unique hotels in each of those markets.” Hint, hint.