DoubleTree today is announcing an unusually interactive YouTube channel called DTour, which encourages online and mobile viewers to share videos, Instagram photos, Facebook posts, tweets and general tips from their worldly travels. The Hilton hotels brand partnered with Google to create the aggregation-minded effort and will push it with a year-long, user-generated content contest, display and video ads on the BBC's website and Lonely Planet, as well as paid promotions running on Twitter and Foursquare.
"This [concept] is purely based on traveler content as well as content that employees at our hotels post," John Greenleaf, global head at DoubleTree by Hilton, told Adweek. "Our research shows that 80 percent of travelers don't know where they are going when they start to plan a trip. It's a wonderful way for them to go in and take a look at a city and see what there is to do based on other travelers' experiences, while taking a look at our unique hotels in each of those markets."
Powered by Thismoment's aggregation software, viewers can also explore other users' favorited photos, videos, tips and travel anecdotes. Megan Danielson, Google's head of industry, said DoubleTree's initiative is the first-of-its-kind for a travel brand. "It does what YouTube does best," she said, "and that is letting people play around and explore interesting content."
To enter the contest, dubbed "DTour of a Lifetime," entrants must create and share a video highlighting either a nearby landmark, an unusual cultural attraction or a not-to-be-missed travel spot. Submissions must be between 30 seconds and three-minutes long and include a description that’s 300 words or less. A panel of judges will choose 24 finalists, and then consumer votes on the YouTube channel will determine six winners. Prizes include a variety of trips around the globe.
Meanwhile, the brand has a dedicated team that typically responds to Twitter and Facebook posts, particularly when they are complaints, Greenleaf said. The same strategy will be applied to the new YouTube destination.
"We publicly address it and offer a way to resolve any issue that might come up," he said. "They're infrequent [occurrrences], but they do come up. It gives us an opportunity to judge ourselves through what our travelers are thinking."