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Project Shout-Out: Travelzoo

How Bottle Rocket Media Mined Travelzoo’s Expert Staff for the #Tzootips Series

Travel is a competitive and often noisy category. Travelzoo needed an ongoing campaign to break through the chatter with an authentic voice, deepen their relationship with travelers, and further establish themselves as travel experts. So we utilized the ultimate influencer in everything travel—Travelzoo employees.

Each video in the series stars a different employee travel expert as they guide the viewer through sensible and useful travel tips on various topics. By featuring real employees, the series boosts Travelzoo’s authority and adds valuable authenticity to the messages.

#Tzootips Q&A with Brett Singer

What was the vision and inspiration behind the #tzootips video?

Travelzoo is a travel deals site and community that asked us to help them make a series of social shareable videos where their employees share real-world travel tips. Most everyone who works there genuinely loves to travel, so the tips came from real experiences shared by real people. We loved the idea and were thrilled to do it with them.

How did you come up with the idea to feature the unique expertise of staff members from their jobs BEFORE joining Travelzoo, and how does that support the Travelzoo brand?

Our Travelzoo contact, then-Social Media Producer Megan Mitchell, sourced the Tzoo Experts for us. She did all of the legwork on finding the right people. Fortunately for us, the people she selected were all super nice, easy to work with, and great on camera. Plus, they obviously had great tips to share. It did seem like a trend that many of their tips came from previous jobs and experiences before landing at Travelzoo.

What elements contributed to the effectiveness of the storytelling?

The tip videos were a mix of off-the-cuff tips and scripted scenes written in partnership with the featured employees. The first series of videos were more improvised. When we added a more complex graphic component, we need to refine the storytelling to be more concise. Knowing that graphics would play a larger role and do a lot of the legwork for us, tightening up the on-camera content helped ensure all the moving parts would work together cohesively.

How do you think your approach to this video helped capture the brand’s unique elements?

I’m sounding like a broken record on this point, but the people at Travelzoo really do LOVE to travel. When deals come out on their site, THEY’RE the first ones to share them around the office. “Did you see that great deal to Iceland?!” We heard stories like that again and again. It’s such a big company with offices worldwide, so it was a great opportunity to put a face on such a large organization and really feature what makes it special: the travel nerds that work there!

Did any obstacles come up while making this video? If so, how did you work around them?

For the most part, this one was smooth sailing! We filmed in both Chicago and Los Angeles, and we shot even more tips than we got to produce in the end. Sadly those extras won’t see the light of day, but I’ve still got ‘em.

What was your favorite part of the project, and why?

The best part was the employees who took the time to share their tips. Being in front of a camera is REALLY hard. We were blown away at how camera-ready they all seemed to be! They were fun, friendly, and ready to try something weird and different to share tips about something they love…travel. That’s just cool.

The One Question That Will Make Or Break Your Video: Why?

Zeroing in on your video’s vision needs to be your first step. Here’s how to do it

Too often in video projects, teams make simple but crucial mistakes at the outset that derail the project later on. In our experience, all of these problems start with not having a clear vision. Before you even touch a camera, know what story you want to tell. Outlining a vision is a lot easier than it sounds, especially if you follow the following steps.

Define Your Audience
There are many stories to tell, and even more ways to tell them, which is why tailoring your vision to your intended audience is rule number one. Before you consider what your video should look like, first decide who it’s for, and the impact you want to make. Focusing the scope of your video, will lay the foundation that gives the rest of the project its shape.

Now that you know who you’re trying to reach and what you’re hoping to accomplish, start with a big group brainstorm. Even if you’re working on the project solo, input from others early on can be hugely beneficial. Once you have a sizeable set of ideas on paper, combine or narrow down concepts to the most unique, creative or effective ones. This is a great time for debate and discussion, but once you move on from this stage, the team should be united behind the final idea.

Find Your Angle
Now it’s time to think about  how you’ll deliver that message. There are countless ways to do this: the one that’s right for your message depends on the nature of your brand. Whether you choose humor, shock value, strong emotional stimulation or a different approach, look at the concept through the eyes of your audience. You can craft a beautiful video with an impeccably realized vision, but if it doesn’t resonate with your audience, it will never be a success. Remember, what appeals to your target demographic doesn’t necessarily appeal to you.

Get It Down in Writing
With the structuring work complete, it’s time to put your vision into action. Until now, your ideas and concepts have been abstract, and no matter how comprehensive your plan is, it still only exists in your head. Put together a rough script and a storyboard, so you can see your ideas take shape. While you don’t need to nail down all the nitty gritty details of your final video, your storyboard should be a comprehensive, frame-for-frame visualization of the finished product you have in mind.

Call in the Professionals
Putting all of these pieces together without the help of experts is not always easy. At Bottle Rocket Media, our passion is helping companies bring their vision to life with high-quality video that stands out. From early creative concepts to a polished final product, we’re there with you every step of the way. If you’re ready to make a marketing video that packs a punch, get in touch with us today.