People often ask why I don’t do video reviews of hotels. I guess the short answer is that if I did them they’d probably be about as palatable as a video of Gilbert Gottfried reading 50 Shades of Grey (not suitable for work/if you haven’t eaten today/if you plan on eating today — you’ve been warned!).

Based on feedback after my trip with my mom to Bali and trip with my dad to Europe, I know I have to take more trips with my parents, which I plan on doing anyway since they’re actually fun to travel with. And it might actually be fun if they appeared in videos.

But I’m just not totally sold with hotel videos, for example, because I tend to think there are three ways it can play out (in my opinion):

  • You can do a tour of the hotel while standing silently behind the camera, which is just creepy
  • You can do a tour of the hotel while standing behind the camera giving commentary, which I find usually just ends up sounding like an episode of “To Catch a Predator.”
  • You can do a tour in front of the camera, which, well…

So I’m curious, do you guys think there’s any value in going beyond written communication on the blog?

Are there any circumstances under which videos would be interesting, be it of a hotel, an airline lounge, analysis, answering questions, or anything else? Are there other mediums that you think would add value?

Or should communication be limited to text and Sweet Brown memes?

Sweet-Brown-Meme

Would be curious to hear what you guys think.

  1. November 30th, 2013 at 12:06 pm

    Alan said,

    You could do a walk through without the narration. Use photos to show fine details and the video to show the entire room. The problem is typically the camera. You want something with a wide angle lens while walking around. An iPhone won’t cut it.. I’m not sure your Canon will either. I’ve found using a GoPro to work very well.

  2. November 30th, 2013 at 12:09 pm

    JetAway said,

    The talking head video blogs I’ve seen appear to be little more than vanity productions. However, hotel video reviews with voice-over could be useful–and entertaining.

  3. November 30th, 2013 at 12:10 pm

    peachfront said,

    I hate video blogs. They seem to be somewhat disrespectful of my time since I can read much faster than I can listen to/watch somebody yap. Also I might be reading the blog while listening to my own music, so often if there’s a video I just go to another site. But I may be in the minority. I’m just giving one person’s thoughts…but for me personally it would be hard to see what a video could do that a few well chosen photos or even one well chosen photo plus text can’t do better.

  4. November 30th, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    Ralph said,

    I really like Modhop because:
    1: The vids are in HD. Don’t do video reviews with a crap camera.
    2: The commentary is added afterwards and clear, helpful and concise
    3: Redmans voice is cool :)

    If you can do number 1 and 2 it would be a good addition.

  5. November 30th, 2013 at 12:21 pm

    PL said,

    Do videos enhance blogs? Nope, not in my opinion.

  6. November 30th, 2013 at 12:24 pm

    Wyattn said,

    Videos go more on the time you think we should see something. What if I want to really take a view in, photos make that so much easier. I actively avoid video reports because I think they are creepy and not as useful as typical photo based reports.

  7. November 30th, 2013 at 12:31 pm

    Andrew said,

    I think videos would help because a lot of the times it’s hard to portray the size of a room with just photos. With a video you can do a 360 panoramic pan so we can get a good sense of the layout. In terms of the actual video, I think instead of silence or commentary, you can just add some sort of background music. It’s probably more work for you but if you like that stuff it could be pretty fun : )

  8. November 30th, 2013 at 12:44 pm

    Ozaer N. said,

    the video of that crackhead you put sometime ago was awesome Ben…hide yo friends…you sistah…cuz they comin fo’ you.

  9. November 30th, 2013 at 12:46 pm

    AdamH said,

    I think I am with the majority of the commenters who feel video is generally slower than just reading a post and looking at some pictures.

    With that said, I do feel there are times when video can tell a better tale, for example a sweeping shot of a pool/beach at a resort. However I think if you want to do this you should embed the clips into the standard trip report more in a Vine/Instagram short clip manner.

  10. November 30th, 2013 at 12:49 pm

    Matt said,

    Check out a few of the selections on “The Points Guy’s” (LOL!) website, and then RUN, RUN, RUN in the opposite direction #gauche

  11. November 30th, 2013 at 12:50 pm

    BFrankley said,

    I probably wouldn’t bother to watch a hotel tour video. I’d rather see pics and read your opinion. But if you could put up video of some of your more bizarre/funny encounters… that I’d watch.

  12. November 30th, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    Richard said,

    Ain’t nobody got time fo’ dat. Seriously though, I’m not going to bother to watch a video when I can quickly read or skim a written review and look at the pictures as I scroll down. Plus, don’t tell anybody, but there are the rare occasions when I view your website from work. I don’t want people to know that I’m actually not performing a work task. So I wouldn’t bother to watch the videos anyway because it’s a dead giveaway.

  13. November 30th, 2013 at 1:15 pm

    Denise L said,

    I usually skip the videos because they slow down my reading. I would rather view the photos of a hotel room and property while listening to my own music selection.

  14. November 30th, 2013 at 1:26 pm

    Pete said,

    Normally I would say no videos. But in you’re case, since they’d likely be replacing 758 photos of the top sheet, the bottom sheet, the ottoman, the bathroom soap, the bathroom shampoo, the backup electrical outlet, etc., etc. I say YES to video.

    That way, if I want to skip it, just as I usually want to skip the photos, it takes a lot less scrolling time.

  15. November 30th, 2013 at 1:27 pm

    Pete said,

    Doh; *your*.

  16. November 30th, 2013 at 1:41 pm

    rami said,

    No videos; more pictures with details; definitely more of your parents

  17. November 30th, 2013 at 1:42 pm

    Matt B said,

    I second Matt’s thoughts on TPG’s video blogs. They are awful, cheesy, and for some reason really rub me the wrong way.

  18. November 30th, 2013 at 2:06 pm

    Carlos said,

    I also prefer to read and look than watch videos, I don’t think you should change. I think it’s interesting to have some reports from guest writers, but as long as you also make your reports, as it’s nice to compare different points of views from the same products.
    Nevertheless, I think some moments would have been really nice on video:
    1 – You walking around the airport in first class pyjamas.
    2 – A video review of a hotel room with “bad juju”.
    3 – You ordering coffee on a brazilian McCafe.
    4 – A flight review of Royal Air Jordanian around Hong Kong.
    5 – Janesis being your flight attendant.
    6 – A flight review of Emirates after a few shots of tequila.

  19. November 30th, 2013 at 2:26 pm

    HansGolden said,

    Besides agreeing with Carlos, in all seriousness, I hate vlogs (ala The Points Guy) and never watch them (I understand that he’s just trying to get traffic from YouTube, which is legit, and it doesn’t annoy regular readers too badly because he usually does a text summary too, which is what I always read). However, I love a quick video walkaround of a hotel room. One of those foreign bloggers (Loyalty Lobby? Mighty Travels? Travel.Bart.La?) does a lot of those and I always watch. It gives a way better sense of the hotel room than photos. Also, I’m sure there are other niches in which the video medium enhances the message rather than detracting.

    What would be really perfect is if you got Google Glasses and speculatively recorded a lot of stuff in order to get some of the funny bits.

  20. November 30th, 2013 at 2:46 pm

    Steven L. said,

    Option 4: Tour + light music. No creepy silence for us, no feeling awkward for you.

  21. November 30th, 2013 at 2:47 pm

    nemme said,

    I always skip videos – easier/quicker to read/look at pics – and I really can’t stand the vanity of some bloggers by inserting themselves into the reports. I love your reports the most because they’re well written, informative, and have great looking and sized photos. Keep up the good work and don’t feel pressure to add another media.

  22. November 30th, 2013 at 2:55 pm

    Darren said,

    I stopped viewing TPG’s website long ago, so lame, but from what I remember, I cringed every time I saw his videos. Don’t do that.

  23. November 30th, 2013 at 2:58 pm

    Antonio said,

    With videos, either:
    - You post the video unedited, which is then long and boring for the reader to go through, or
    - You go through and edit the video, make it nice, and then you end up spending 5 hours on a 30 second video.

    I think the time it takes to do a good job on a video is not worth the benefit. We’d rather you post reports with with pictures than with crappy videos or do fewer reports with taking the time to do good videos.

    My suggestion is that it would be nice to get a higher resolution version of the image when you click on it.

  24. November 30th, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    steve said,

    I never watch videos on blogs.
    I also hate it when i click on yahoo front page for news, and it’s a video.
    More often than not, the video doesn’t play so I stopped trying.

  25. November 30th, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Spunkyryan said,

    I actively avoid blogs with videos of hotel rooms, airplanes, lounges etc. They don’t add any more value than carefully thought out photos. If people are reading the blog at work with a block on YouTube/video streaming, they miss out.

    The photos you take are great and give enough of an impression of what a product is like, please don’t go down the video path.

  26. November 30th, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    Brian said,

    Take a look at the tech gadget videos on theverge.com. They’re an example of blog videos done right, and the style would translate well to your blog. With a camera, such as a Sony NEX, it’s not too difficult to get similar production values. The GoPro might work, too. Also don’t skimp on the audio (use an external mike).

  27. November 30th, 2013 at 3:39 pm

    Frank said,

    Stick with text and a few pictures.

  28. November 30th, 2013 at 3:42 pm

    21h21j said,

    A well edited video of 30 seconds I’ll watch, but who’s got time to spend 6 hours to edit 3 hours of footage to something that’s 30 seconds of useful.

    I’d skip any video blog post.

  29. November 30th, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    Geri J. said,

    I never watch the videos. They take up too much of my time. The photos are good, though, as is the text reports. My only suggestion is that you make the photo files smallelr (not necessarily the images themselves) so they will load faster.

  30. November 30th, 2013 at 3:57 pm

    Michael said,

    No videos please , unless they feature your parents.

  31. November 30th, 2013 at 3:58 pm

    Michael C said,

    When a blog that I follow does a video post, I almost never watch it. I really appreciate the blog that also write out the content so I can consume it. The reason I don’t watch is that I usually read blogs when I get a free moment and that might not be longer than 30 sec or a couple minutes so I tend to read quickly and resume reading at the next opportunity. This is much harder with video. I also can’t skim the video to determine if the content interests me or just to get the gist of it. Lastly, if I’m mobile or can’t make too much noise, I need to hook up headphones. (That last one reminded me that I do listen to podcasts, so if the content didn’t need me to look at the screen, I could listen and do something else at the same time.)

  32. November 30th, 2013 at 4:11 pm

    Claudia said,

    Just text and photos are good for me. Video is redundant and I won’t watch. Love your site.

  33. November 30th, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    Levy Flight said,

    No – a well crafted review and analysis is much more useful than video dialogue.

  34. November 30th, 2013 at 5:05 pm

    Lauren said,

    All I can say, Lucky, is that I’d far rather watch a video of you than TPG.

  35. November 30th, 2013 at 5:13 pm

    Jeff W said,

    I’m not a fan of videos/vlogs. Your write ups are exactly what I want (need) and I find them entertaining and informative. Plus, I can read them while stuck in boring meetings (without anyone knowing) – can’t watch a video.

    Plus, I agree with what was said earlier…usually vlogs are more of a vanity project; they don’t add any more information having a talking head. At the end of the day I want to see the property, not the person. Your personality comes through your words.

    Now, if your goal is to become an on-camera talent, then you should start doing them so you have a demo reel. But if that’s not your goal, I wouldn’t waste your time. You stand to lose more (time, energy) than gain anything.

  36. November 30th, 2013 at 5:47 pm

    jimltravels said,

    I typically avoid video blogs as it is a waste of my time. I can read and see pictures more expediently. I specifically do not patronize video blogs. Half the time I have to watch an advertisement, if I ever watch a video blog. That is a hard pass!

  37. November 30th, 2013 at 5:59 pm

    nolatravelgirl said,

    NO! I want to quickly surf! I don’t need 5 seconds per sheet of TP on the roll. I have paticular things of interest to me and quickly scroll to the important things (to me.) I can’t accurately scroll through a video

  38. November 30th, 2013 at 6:02 pm

    Michael said,

    Please, no videos. Thanks.

  39. November 30th, 2013 at 6:06 pm

    sendaiben said,

    Please, no :)

    If you really must, make a Youtube channel and post the videos there. I hate video blog posts (don’t have time to watch them and would rather get the info from an article).

    You write well, so no need in my opinion.

  40. November 30th, 2013 at 6:19 pm

    snic said,

    Uh, no, no videos. Unless there’s some point you want to convey that can’t be made without video – like maybe an airport or hotel lobby has a striking art installation with moving components. Or the mannerisms of the hotel staff are unique and/or funny. Then a *short* video clip would be useful. But a whole video review? No one has time.

  41. November 30th, 2013 at 6:27 pm

    FlyingDoctorWu said,

    Please god no videos. Well put them up if you want but I won’t watch them… I like to read, I like pictures.. that is all.. Plus I view your blog a lot on a mobile device….

    FDW

  42. November 30th, 2013 at 7:23 pm

    Elteetrav said,

    It is very rare that video will enhance what you are already doing. I like the commentary and the high quality photos. I greatly appreciate your desire to always improve the work you are doing. But I think you can do that by writing more. You write clearly, and have a unique and entertaining point of view. I would read more i(and those who are in a hurry can focus on the pictures.)
    As an example, you often talk about certain crews being stellar. I’d be interested in the details of what they are doing that’s above and beyond.

  43. November 30th, 2013 at 7:49 pm

    Justin said,

    Mixed feelings. I don’t generally like them on blogs, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t go to YouTube for room walk-throughs when considering hotels for extended vacations.

    I think you do a good job w/ pictures and descriptions and if you wanted to include short “pan around the room” videos, that could help, but not needed.

  44. November 30th, 2013 at 7:52 pm

    Cate said,

    Please, NO VIDEOS. Or only if you also intend to do a complete written version as well. I read a lot of these at work, and don’t have the time or patience for video; my reading speed is much faster than your video would be.

  45. November 30th, 2013 at 8:34 pm

    anita said,

    I don’t watch them on other blogs and wouldn’t here.

    But thanks for the tip about GG reading Fitty Shades :0

  46. November 30th, 2013 at 8:56 pm

    MS said,

    Just choose the content wisely. The Points Guy posted a video discussing how cool it felt to clear out the IHG minibar in Vegas as a RA and the benefit got stripped away in hours.

  47. November 30th, 2013 at 9:01 pm

    JetAway said,

    For those who haven’t heard Lucky/Ben speak, he actually has a very good, effective speaking voice and style. To me, at least, he sounds a lot like Jim on “The Office.” Used sparingly a video report by him can be both entertaining and informative. Key word is “sparingly.”

  48. November 30th, 2013 at 9:02 pm

    Fernando said,

    Hmm, I say do it. Plus it would be interesting to actually hear you talk about the experience. Plus, for the lazy reader: why read it, when we can hear it! :)

  49. November 30th, 2013 at 9:38 pm

    Scott C said,

    I will add to those saying no to videos. I would not watch them. I hope if you decide to do videos you also include a write up.

  50. November 30th, 2013 at 10:04 pm

    Ben said,

    Videos with narration are pretty pointless as I can see myself what I’m looking at. Plus as mentioned already I can read faster and in more places than I can watch video. Answering questions via video is good idea though.

  51. November 30th, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    john said,

    Check out this guy who does hotels on youtube http://www.youtube.com/user/MrKesavaraj/videos

    Doing a hotel walkthru doesnt have to be perfectly edited and lighting perfect to be a educational video.

  52. November 30th, 2013 at 11:19 pm

    Mairi said,

    No… Your pics are the best. No need to make us sit thru the boring parts.

  53. December 1st, 2013 at 12:06 am

    Hobo13 said,

    Before you can do video, you’re going to need to get a wife like Mrs. MMS to star in them!

  54. December 1st, 2013 at 2:43 am

    JOHN said,

    A “NO” vote here. Photos are sufficient, along with a short description.

  55. December 1st, 2013 at 3:44 am

    Brock said,

    Only if it is a supplement to your normal reports, not a replacement. I personally would not watch the videos, I prefer to read. But if there are short bits about something particularly video-worthy, I wouldn’t have a problem with them. Turning your usual trip report into a vlog would just be horrible IMO. The great thing about a written web page with photos is that it’s easy to skip down. Like I usually spacebar past the wine menus on flights. I don’t really know enough about wine, and I don’t really care. (However, I do know that the wine lists are a valuable part of your trip reports; I have a friend who’s really into wine that I introduced to your blog, who spent a lot of time reading those lists and is using them as a partial basis for which first-class products to try. They’re just not for me.) I can look briefly at the photos if I’m in a hurry, or take the time to read the whole thing if I’m just wasting time. It’s a lot harder to do that with a video; skipping forward in a video, you can’t really tell what you missed.

  56. December 1st, 2013 at 6:50 am

    Blandon said,

    As a photographer, I can say that shooting really good video is ten times as hard as shooting a good still photo. And editing and stuff is very time consuming.

  57. December 1st, 2013 at 7:39 am

    Andy said,

    Simply…’NO to videos’….because few people do it right. Or have the time to do it right. You’ll probably have to host it on Youtube or some other 3rd party site that’s now plagued with annoying non-bypassable ads. Also, it takes too long to load videos on mobile. Would much rather have more photos (and reviews) or better (eg. HD) photos than video.
    Plus, you’ll have to spend more time editing the video, and hence, limiting your time to post new reviews. :-)

  58. December 1st, 2013 at 8:20 am

    Elenor said,

    I’m delighted (!) to read that most folks play on the team I’m on: NO to videos! I figured I was a semi-Luddite in that I skip videos, or even skip links pages that ‘advertise’ videos. I don’t have time for seeing movin’ pictures of something that a still photo shows-off just as well or better! A video might suit for something for which movement is inherent (say, a hotel providing a killer whale show?) but for static features (bathroom/ bed?) — what’s the point? (And, even then, we’ve all seen a lot of killer whale videos — so what would it add?)

  59. December 1st, 2013 at 8:35 am

    Susan said,

    Please, no videos, for any number of the reasons listed by others. And I personally could do with fewer photos: on the road I’m stuck paying outrageous fees for data, and a post with 50 detailed photos of a hotel I have <1% chance of ever visiting means that I don't even open my RSS reader unless I'm in a free wifi hotspot.

  60. December 1st, 2013 at 9:59 am

    MSPpete said,

    I like the written reviews much, much better. I can scan for the items that are interesting to me w/o waiting to watch through the video.

    P.S. Please comment in hotel reviews about the shower/bath. Is it a tub/shower combo or a separate shower. I like the separate showers. Other people would prefer a tub.

  61. December 1st, 2013 at 11:00 am

    Ralph Grizzle said,

    I run a blog about cruising and my videos get quite a lot of views. I know my subscribers say they are useful so I would think they would be for hotels. Here’s an example – if the link stays http://www.avidcruiser.com/2013/06/25/royal-princess-staterooms/

    Definitely recommend a GoPro or even better Sony’s HDR AS15 http://www.bhphotovideo.com/c/product/887139-REG/Sony_hdras15_b_HDR_AS15_HD_Action_Camcorder.html

  62. December 2nd, 2013 at 1:42 am

    AZTravelGuy said,

    I always skip videos unless it’s some viral video, or I have a very specific interest in a hotel or some other topic. Why watch a 4-5 minute video when I can read the text and peruse photos in less than half that time?

    If you do create videos, they absolutely must include closed captions or a transcript. In this modern age failure to do that is shameful.

  63. December 4th, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Mitchzmagic said,

    WOW! Well the response here answers your question, I think it goes to show the niche demographic your readers are. I personally would love video entries, I got excited reading your review for BA’s A318 flight from New York to London City and then watching your takeoff/landing video. Have you ever watched this guy? He’s a pro at travel vlogging.

    http://www.youtube.com/user/FlightTravels

    Having said that, I think it takes a very certain and entertaining person to vlog, like you write so brilliantly, I would be so disappointed if you made videos appearing shy and without sporadic opinions or anectodes. Plus, I hate hotel videos with commentary, e.g. camera goes past a basin “That’s a basin.” -_- really?

    So decide if you’re right for vlogging. And if you enjoy recording and editing.

    Buut, it appears your readers are against it. Buut, if you created a YouTube account and just uploaded videos there, I think you’d gain more of a following. And there’s a lot of videos in Economy, not many that frequently upload decent Business or First reviews.

    All IMO

  64. December 10th, 2013 at 12:38 am

    Josh said,

    I no longer go to TPG’s blog because of those dull, self-indulgent videos. Stick with what you’re doing. If you want to add video footage, make the clips quirky, short, and unusual — a glimpse of something evocative that can’t be captured in words or photos. DO NOT use video as a talking-head substitute for text while petting a cat. Bleugh. The written language was invented for a reason. It works.

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