Digital Presentations: Tips to Capture the Stories Your Club or Hotel Wants to Tell

Now more than ever, it is all about great (no, exceptional) communication to succeed. As a communicator, you must do more than just speak and write well — you need to be creative, experiment, take risks and move fast. And right now, most of this communication is taking place on screen.

Art Lewry

The first presentation in a special “Hackathon Week” series recruited digital communications expert Art Lewry, founder and CEO of the creative agency Hunter Gatherer Ltd, to discuss “Digital Presentations for a New Reality.” Lewry is a multi-disciplined creative director and producer, as well as a designer, film director, writer, strategist, innovator, business-builder and communicator.

This information comes at a valuable time when many hospitality businesses such as clubs or smaller hotel properties may be looking at moving some of their digital communications operations in-house to alleviate pressure on the budget. You may also need to create quick marketing collateral that illustrates any new protocols your property has enacted in response to Covid-19 for your social media channels or website. In his presentation, Lewry gives a variety of helpful tips that will encourage you to embrace and master the amazing digital tools at your disposal to design, shoot, record, edit and get your message across to your audience.

Tell Your Story

  • Make your story relevant, engaging and memorable.
  • Keep it simple.
  • Have a clear call to action.
  • Use emotion to appeal to your audience. Avoid gimmicks.
  • Remember that it is not about you. It is all about your story, and your audience.

The duration of your story-telling video should correlate to your audience’s state of mind, their location, and their method of viewing. Are they online? If so, are they on their phone? Or, do you have them in a room where you can hold their attention for a longer time? On social media, videos range from just 20 seconds to two minutes; in fact, more than half of all online videos from the past year are less than two minutes long.

Many videos are viewed with the sound off, so be sure to use visual graphics and text to help tell your story. To keep people engaged, make every single second count and do not save the best for last; present great content in the very beginning.

Creating Graphics for Video

  • Use graphic design programs like Adobe PhotoShop and Illustrator, if you have it. Keynote and PowerPoint are great tools, as well.
  • Create graphics with a 1920×1080 pixel screen size.
  • Be creative and draw your graphics by hand.

Shooting Video on a Smartphone

You may be limited in your video tools to just your smartphone. Despite what you may think, you can get great results on a smartphone when done right. Tips for shooting video on a smartphone include:

  • Generally shoot landscape format.
  • Get a grip or gimbal, or use a tripod to help steady the camera.
  • The video quality is much better on the back phone camera, not selfie mode.
  • Your subjects should look directly at the camera lens, not at the screen. Eye contact is important.
  • Never read from a script; the viewers will be able to tell. Learn your lines in advance.
  • Keep the camera at eye level with the subject.
  • Shoot visual B-roll and incorporate cutaway shots to help you tell your story and add context.
  • A classic pro tip: Clean the lens (even a quick, two-second polish with the edge of your t-shirt).
  • Watch the lighting. Shoot in the shade if you can; do not shoot with your subject looking into the sun.

When framing a shot, you can easily get distracted by the person in the frame, which narrows your focus. Look at the entire picture to increase the quality of your shots ten-fold.

Recording sound on a smartphone is more of a challenge. Be aware of ambient noise. Even a gentle breeze can cause a rustling sound. Plug-in headphones or separate microphones that plug into your device are great alternatives if you do not have a lapel mic.

The video software on your phone is good, but to get great results and better control, use a video app such as FilmicPro on iOS and Android.

Video Editing

Learn how to edit your videos. There are several free or inexpensive editing programs that you can use, including iMovie for MacOS and iOS, Lightworks on Window, MacOS and Linux, Blender, HitFilm Express, or Wondershare Filmora 9. Adobe Premiere Pro CC is a more expensive, professional editing program to consider.

Now, go and create. Tell your story. If you do not have one, find one. Your only limit is your imagination.

About the Hackathon Series

The University of Houston Conrad N. Hilton College of Hotel and Restaurant Management, in partnership with HFTP, made the decision to address the immediate need for creative and thoughtful solutions that will assist hospitality companies to put their businesses back on track. To begin this critical dialogue, they have challenged students in hospitality programs across the globe with the first-time Hilton College Hospitality Hackathon. The competition, running the course of the summer, has asked participants to tackle COVID-19 head-on and address the challenges it has posed to all sectors of the hospitality, travel and tourism industry, and to develop solutions to move it forward.

As part of the program, the C.N. Hilton College and HFTP hosted a series of presentations via Zoom as part of a special “Hackathon Week.” These presentations, including Lewry’s, have been recorded and made available on the HFTP YouTube channel. Watch his full presentation, and tune back into HFTP Connect for future blog recaps.

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About the Author: Briana Gilmore

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