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The video begins with a smiling young woman addressing the camera. “Hi, Morgan,” she said. “Check out my nice T-shirt.” The casual use of my name grabbed my attention even before I saw it printed across the back of her T-shirt and then inked on her arm.

“This is called data-driven video,” she explained as she strode through an empty office with PhocusWire’s name printed on a wall. “And I think you’re going to want to see how it works.”

In the minute-long pitch from personalized video production company Seen, the presenter touched on the product’s potential for enhancing customer loyalty and other benefits before building to her point: “You can’t ignore a message when you yourself are in the spotlight, right?”

It’s a point a growing number of travel brands — including American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Disney, Trivago, DoubleTree by Hilton and Strawberry (formerly Nordic Choice Hotels) — have already embraced by partnering with companies that produce personalized video at scale, such as Seen, Idomoo and BHuman.

Even if you haven’t watched a video directed at you, it’s not hard to see why personalized, data-driven video at scale has become a popular tactic in travel marketing.

“When you check into a hotel,” said Yotam Ben Ami, chief marketing officer of Idomoo, “would you rather see your name written on a blank TV screen as your ‘welcome’ or would you prefer a video made especially for you, welcoming you and sharing personalized recommendations for your stay?”

Why travel brands are using personalized video at scale

For years travel brands have been seeking ways to bring personalization to their interactions with customers, to create a more tailored experience and, ultimately, to secure loyalty. Metrics shared by providers of personalized video at scale help to illustrate the appeal of this type of product to achieve those goals.

Seen said its email open rates hover around 75% in the travel category with some projects surpassing 90%.

“The availability of good content together with an engaged audience works really well,” said Joachim Medalen, managing director in Sweden and the United Kingdom for Seen. “Add to that, on average videos are watched around three times, [so] you get a lot of digital attention for your money.”

Idomoo’s clients in the travel world typically see five to 10 times boosts in conversions when using personalized video campaigns versus using text or image-based email marketing, Ben Ami said.

“Personalized video is also far more effective than ‘regular’ video, according to consumers,” he added. “The independent market study we run every year consistently shows that personalized video is over [three times] more likely to build loyalty and [four times]  more likely to make a customer feel valued by a brand. That’s key in the travel industry.”

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When you check into a hotel, would you rather see your name written on a blank TV screen as your ‘welcome’ or would you prefer a video made especially for you, welcoming you and sharing personalized recommendations for your stay?

Yotam Ben Ami – Idomoo

BHuman users both in and outside of the travel space had a collective open rate of nearly 52% for emails containing the company’s videos over a recent 30-day period, company founder Don Bosco said in a LinkedIn post.

“Anyone who does cold email knows how hard it is to stay relevant and not be drowned out,” Bosco wrote. “Typically, with non-BHuman campaigns, you’ll see an average open rate of 10-20% at best. … This just goes to show the increasing relevance and power of personalized AI video.”

The videos’ novelty and level of personalization help clients feel their message stands out.

It’s hard to engage with consumers who are flooded by emails promoting sales, discounts and other content, said Håvard U. Hovdahl, vice president of customer relationship management at Strawberry. Personalized videos can help solve that.

“They drive engagement, help us to use data in a more relevant and heartfelt manner, also setting us apart from competition,” said Hovdahl, whose company works with Seen.

Randle Roper, CEO and co-founder of Vacaya, said his LGBT+ charter company seeks to make every customer that books a trip feel recognized — a process that’s simplified with a personalized video.

“When someone books a trip with us and then receives their personalized video addressing them by name and with personalized elements sprinkled throughout within 10 seconds of booking, they feel seen by Vacaya right out of the gate,” said Roper, whose company also works with Seen.

That initial, personalized contact sets a high bar from the get-go, Roper said, and the company has taken notice. When Vacaya staffers meet clients face-to-face, they’ve “gushed” about the personalized video.

“That emotional connection is worth its weight in gold,” said Roper.

Along with Vacaya’s strategy of sending the video immediately to customers after they make a booking, brands can use personalized videos in other ways, such as to provide upsell offers and following a trip to invite customers to share their experience on social media. 

How personalized videos at scale are created

The companies creating personalized video at scale are doing so in different ways. Some shoot professional-grade videos in which personal data like names or hometowns, purchase histories and past interactions can be embedded.

With Seen, for example, companies can combine their customer relationship management data with Seen’s application programming interface (API) to create and deliver personalized videos automatically and at scale.

In one video promoting a grocery store chain, the customer’s name frequently appears on personalized signs along with lists of most commonly purchased items.

Seen’s Medalen compared constructing such videos to building with Legos, with each part of the video representing a different block that can be uniquely placed.

“What Seen’s technology allows you to do is to automatically replace, swap or re-order any of those blocks,” Medalen said. “The result? Every part of a video – a scene, a sign, a sound – can be dynamically adjusted based on the individual viewer’s data, making it more relevant and engaging.”

An Idomoo video for American Airlines’ credit card included graphics displaying the number of flights taken, miles flown and points earned by the video’s recipient. Like Seen, Idomoo can incorporate CRM data and any other data source to personalize videos.

While artificial intelligence isn’t necessary to create these videos, it can be used to speed up the process and cut costs, Ben Ami said. Whether or not it’s worth implementing AI depends on client needs. 

Generative AI is more important in the approach used by BHuman, which has users record a video template to which they connect their data to personalize. Some clients shoot the minimum 15 seconds to create a template, Bosco said, while others will record a five-minute video for something like a hotel room tour.

“From talking for 15 seconds, you can generate 200,000 unique videos for different people,” he said, with AI helping to fill in the gaps. “This is where our face cloning and voice cloning comes into play, so you don’t spend ages recording names [and] videos for each recipient.”

The future of personalized video at scale

While personalized video at scale may already feel a bit futuristic, there’s room for growth.

Ben Ami, for example, thinks it won’t be long before personalized videos begin appearing on screens in airplanes, cruise ships and hotel rooms.

“There are no inherent technical reasons that are preventing this from happening, and it would be a huge upgrade to the traveler experience,” he said.

Generative AI has the potential to transform personalized video just as it has research and writing.

Bosco’s BHuman needs only a brief clip of a human subject to create personalized video at scale using generative AI. Now the company is looking to create human subject clones that can answer questions posed by customers. 

“One thing that we’re leaning into, on a persona side of it, is [a] digital clone of yourself,” he said. “So you have someone that would say … I want to get on a chat with your persona.”

Once trained, a persona could answer questions based on data that exists on the internet already. Bosco believes cloned personas could also answer emails and complete other, perhaps mundane, tasks.

“So I think that’s a feature that we’re going to see,” he said. “Everyone’s going to have this digital clone of themselves that tries to eliminate the busy work and tries to basically represent their human owner in the digital space.”



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