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Here's the deal: Marriott commissioned all its employees to get together with their colleagues to create a video "highlighting the Local Area Knowledge Expertise (LAKE) of Marriott Associates around the globe" as part of a company-wide contest across all Marriott brands. Some of the submissions are, er, very special but some might prove to be pretty helpful on your next trip, if you don't mind taking a video tour of an area guided by a few Marriott employees sporting their nametags. Hey, at least this way you can skip out on stopping by the concierge desk during your hotel stay.
Our faves of the bunch are the JW Marriott Hong Kong's vid and the submission from London Marriott County Hall mostly cause the first stop on their city tour is to grab a beer at a pub. Check out all the vids here.
We are totally still in Hong Kong, and if there's one huge benefit to staying longer than a week in a new city, it's the opportunity for side trips. Tempted by the possibility of more passport stamps and a ride on a jet catamaran ferry, we hightailed it out to Macau, a former Portuguese property which now turns out both gambling addicts and heavenly egg tarts.
After about $15 USD and a comfortable 40-minute ride out in the South China sea from Hong Kong's downtown port, we headed ashore to what has become the Las Vegas of the East; The Sands Casino towers is a behemoth sitting right off the main drag, and further down the main street you'll find the newcomers MGM Grand and the Wynn along with the old Hotel Lisboa. At one moment you'll be strolling down a cobblestone alley and licking gelato, and the next you're throwing dice a few hundred feet away from a Chanel boutique.
To compliment the release of Standard Hotels' 2009 Staff Calendar, a YouTube video introducing its contents has been released. Full of pretty young things pumping iron and playing cheerleader, the video is about displaying their hip, young employees frolicking within the retro Standard environs.
In fact, most of the scenes seem to be shot on the rooftop and in the public area of the Standard Downtown LA. If funky designer furniture isn't enough to fetishize the Standard brand, then a staff full of eye-candy should do the trick. Keeping with the high school yearbook theme of the calendar, you'll be introduced to the Heartthrob, the Stoner, the Prom Queen, and our personal favorite, the Teacher's Lounge.
Keep watching even after the credits for this curious little addition: "Balazs Productions." That's right, there will be more to come! This video is technically entitled "Part 1: The Standard Hotels' Bright Young Things," so are we to expect a Part 2 featuring some of their dull, older things? Oops--we probably just spoiled the theme of next year's calendar.
In their everlasting, always admirable and at times embarrassing quests to reach out to the "Facebook Generation," hotels often venture onto the interwebs to create blogs and Twitters and what have you. On occasion, we rip on them when they're done poorly -- who wants to read a blog full of lame plugs for a hotel or watch a YouTube channel full of commercials? -- but sometimes they do it up right and warm our hearts.
The latter is the case with the May Fair Hotel's YouTube Channel (hooray! We're saying nice things!) You'll find all kinds of vids that a potential guest of the hotel might want to watch: an awesome foray into the penthouse suite, a one-on-one sesh with the hotel's personal trainer, and even an exclusive interview with the mindnumbingly boring Paris Hilton (fun to watch if you want to get a taste of the friendliness of the staff; exceptionally lovely even when faced with a Hilton sister).
We especially dug the video footage of the rooms -- like the Bamboo Suite, above.
Hotel Videos / Hotel Giveaways / Hotel News / Starwood Hotels / Intercontinental Hotels / → All Tags
Guess what? Next time you shoot a quick video of your hotel room and then send it into the vast expanses of the interwebs, you might score a free stay at that hotel! Also, next time you buy a lottery ticket you might win the lottery. But we digress.
According to USA Today, the video = free stay thing can happen:
Aaron Schwartz, an executive recruiter in Fairfax, Va., wanted a nice memento of his vacation in Aruba. Using his video camera, he filmed his stay at the Marriott Renaissance Ocean Suites last June -- shots of the beautiful beach, flamingos along the water. He uploaded the video to his MySpace page and YouTube.
He then received a call from the resort's general manager, who liked the video so much that he offered Schwartz a free seven-day stay."
So, turns out, hotels are watching your videos in an effort to monitor their online images (smart!) and even going as far as to reward amateur media-makers for helping their brands look pretty.
While we might have been complaining recently about a few dull hotel videos, we found a slightly-above-average example today. The Outrigger on the Lagoon has just released what it's calling online DVDs which are, simply put, hotel promotion videos, but they're much more interesting to watch than the other stuff we've seen lately.
Yes, there's exotic music and promotional voiceovers, but the filming is pretty high quality and it all comes out looking very professional. Plus, there are lots of action shots of people doing what they should be doing on holidays--relaxing in a hammock with a drink, staring out at the view from their balcony, even sitting in bed (in their custom-made resort dressing gowns, of course).
Hotel videos are all the rage this week, but we still haven't found too many that we actually like. And while we thought that the promo videos from the Hilton Caribbean hotels were pretty average, we've unfortunately found a variety of hotel YouTube efforts that are worse.
Our problem with the Hilton Caribbean promo vids was that they were so, well, promotional. But in retrospect, we liked the fact that the Hilton Caribbean videos actually featured video. The waves rolled, the palm trees blew in the wind and there were real live people walking around.
If you turn your attention to a hotel video like the one just featured on the Rydges Blog for the Rydges Sabaya Resort Port Douglas in Queensland, Australia--although in fact, we don't really recommend giving it too much attention--you'll see a lot of similarities to other videos, except that there's nothing actually moving. It's just a bunch of still photography that's zoomed in and out a bit to give the feeling that it was worth making it into a video, but in fact it's even duller than the hotel videos we already labeled dull.
Which is a pity, because we think the Rydges Sabaya Resort is actually a nice place. We recommend trying it in person (room rates start at US$230 a night) rather than living the torture of the video. And we put out the call once more for hotels to make interesting promo videos. Please.
We love a good YouTube video, we really do. What we're not so super keen on is fairly dry and dull promotional videos on YouTube. At the moment, that's pretty much the only type they've got posted at the new Hilton Caribbean YouTube page.
It's a nice idea, though. You can click on the hotel of your choice, including some pretty spots like the Hilton Curacao or Hilton Barbados, and get a virtual tour even before you decide to book a room. They show areas around the hotel as well as inside, and give you the differences between some of the rooms, for example.
It's functional, has a decent narrator and pretty pictures, but it's not exactly captivating. We're after a bit of action--maybe interviews with some staff or guests, and music that's not quite so cheesy. Are we asking too much? If YouTube virtual tours are the hotel promotional tool of the future, we think there's more that can be done.
[Video: Hilton Caribbean]