Visitors bureau uses videos to attract tourists 

click to enlarge Caleb Everett is the new multimedia content manager at the OKC Convention & Visitors Bureau, shown working with his wife, Sarah Everett he is using as a model while photographing artwork to compliment video already shot at the Red Earth Museum in Downtown Oklahoma City, 1-2-15. - MARK HANCOCK
  • Mark Hancock
  • Caleb Everett is the new multimedia content manager at the OKC Convention & Visitors Bureau, shown working with his wife, Sarah Everett he is using as a model while photographing artwork to compliment video already shot at the Red Earth Museum in Downtown Oklahoma City, 1-2-15.

The Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau (CVB) uses promotional videos to showcase the city as a travel destination for tourists and out-of-town guests.

In the past, an outside firm took months to shoot and edit the film. By then, OKC had evolved — streetscapes, buildings and attractions changed in popular target areas. After such an investment of time and money, scrapping the video was unthinkable.

Through focus groups and surveys, CVB staff recognized that young mothers typically decide family vacation locales after watching videos on social media. That discovery corresponds with national findings by Scripps Networks Interactive, an organization affiliated with the Travel Channel, that found 87 percent of travelers believe videos impact their travel choices more than written articles.

The research nudged CVB President Mike Carrier to address videos in a different manner.

"It is great to look at pretty pictures in a printed guide, but wouldn't it be neat to see a video about the Boathouse District?" said Carrier. "In that video, you would find out that you can learn how to paddle a kayak there and the guides teaching you are Olympic athletes. Where else can you experience that?"

CVB launched a new campaign to create more videos in-house. The organization depends on its website — visitokc.com — and social media platforms for exposure but also expects local involvement.

Multimedia Content Manager Caleb Everett joined the CVB staff about two months ago. He began working with local ad agency Ackerman McQueen, 1601 Northwest Expressway, to create a series of short-form videos that take viewers on a 30-120-second journey through OKC locations. The spirited videos communicate the energy of the particular district or activity.

"We don't want them watching a slideshow,” said Everett, whose goal is to produce informative and entertaining videos. “We want it interactive and to make [the viewer] want to share it."

Everett is tasked with creating videos for the various districts as well as capturing footage for the monthly "What to OKC" video posted on CVB's website and YouTube channel. The CVB staff believes social media like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram will help increase the videos’ visibility.

Text appears only in the introduction and the ending of the district videos, to serve non-English speakers. Local music replaces stock soundtracks and is often provided by artists attending the Academy of Contemporary Music at the University of Central Oklahoma (ACM@UCO).

All videos are worth sharing on social media for giving non-OKC friends and family a feel for the area, said Seth Spillman, CVB's director of marketing and communications, who said the social media hashtag #SeeOKC is for locals as well as tourists.

The videos are meeting their first goal: People are tuning in. The two-minute overview video has garnered nearly 60,000 views on CVB's Facebook page.

"There is a lot to see in Oklahoma City," said Carrier, "and the ability to use videos puts us in a great place."

Print Headline: New approach, Oklahoma City Convention & Visitors Bureau launches a new video campaign and hopes locals get involved.

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