Google has redesigned the way YouTube looks and works, to make it work on all devices, including tablets and mobile. They’ve redesigned the way we organize videos on our channels and communicate with new viewers, an update they’re calling YouTube One Channel. Since video marketing is an important part of every hotel’s online marketing strategy, it’s important to understand how YouTube One Channel works so you can take advantage of the new tools at your disposal, which will help you market your hotel property tour videos, image slideshows, and other videos.
Currently, YouTube users need to “opt-in” to take advantage of the new YouTube One Channel layout, but starting June 5th, Google will roll YouTube One Channel out to all users. Optimize your YouTube channel now so you’re prepared before June 5th.
What Has Changed with YouTube One Channel?
The most visible new feature with YouTube One Channel is channel art. You can now upload a large image, similar to a Facebook or Google+ cover photo. This image acts differently depending on the device used to view your YouTube channel. For example, if someone views your channel from a TV (navigating using an Xbox, for instance), then YouTube will display your cover art in full resolution (a whopping 2560px by 1440px).
If someone views your channel from a desktop or laptop computer, YouTube crops your image into a thin, wide strip that stretches across the top of your channel.
Finally, if someone views your channel from a mobile device, like a smartphone, YouTube shrinks your art and shows only the center of the image at the top of your channel.
YouTube has made it easy and clear for guests to find your website from your YouTube channel. You can now overlay any link you choose onto your cover image. Use this space to link to your hotel website, so guests know exactly where to make a reservation.
The Channel Trailer is the best innovation that comes with YouTube One Channel. You can tell YouTube to auto-play a specific video only to non-subscribed viewers. Then, once guests subscribe, they see your recent and popular content, instead of the trailer.
This is an excellent way to make sure that guests see your marketing message when they hit your profile, instead of getting lost in your vast library of videos. Choose a video that shows off your property in the best possible light—for example, a property tour, with tours of local attractions, and perhaps short interviews with your staff, to make your property personable.
YouTube gives you more control over how your video library is presented, by allowing you to create sections. These are shown to guests who have subscribed to your channel, making it easier for them to browse your content. You can make sections of your most popular videos, recent uploads, and custom-made playlists.
How to Set-Up a YouTube One Channel for Hotels
First, upload an icon for your channel (usually your hotel logo–your channel may have one already). Hover over the icon and click the small pencil that appears. The image you use must be under 1MB, and the dimensions must be up to 800px by 800px (square).
If you don’t want to make an image, you can instead select a frame from one of your uploaded videos, and crop it to shape.
To change your channel art, click on the blue ‘add channel art’ button at the top of the page.
You can now choose the artwork you want. You can use an image already uploaded to your Google+ profile, select an image from YouTube’s gallery of stock images, or upload a custom image.
For hotels, it may be easier and you may get the best results by uploading a very high-resolution photo of your property. If you want to create a custom image, use a tool like Photoshop to make an image that fits YouTube’s recommended channel art size, which is 2560 x 1440 (and less than 2MB).
When creating the channel image, consider the channel icon, which appears in the top, left hand corner over your image, and your website URL link, which appears over the bottom, right hand corner of your image. Make sure to create a cover art that leaves these spots blank, or at least looks good with these sections obscured.
Once you upload your cover art, YouTube will show you how your art will look on 3 different devices—TV, Desktop, and Mobile. Make sure your image will look good on all three—particularly on desktop. You can crop your image as necessary clicking the blue “adjust the crop” button.
Include links to your website, blog, and social media channels, which will appear beneath the “About” tab. Click the pencil icon over your cover art and click “Edit Links”.
Add links. Click the “+Add” button to create new links fields. The left column is the link label or description, and the right column is the actual URL.
Tick the check mark that says “Overlay first link on channel art” (make sure it is checked). This will place the first link in the list over your channel art, acting as a “call to action”, directing guests to your website. To remove a link, click the trash can icon.
Next, complete your social links, below. These will appear as social media icons next to your links under the about tab, and over your cover art, if you choose.
To complete the About tab, make sure you write an interesting description that encourages people to visit your website. You’re limited to 1,000 characters, which should be plenty. Sadly, links you include here won’t be hyperlinked, but that’s what the “Edit Links” section is for.
Choose a video from your library to act as your channel trailer, which auto-plays for non-subscribed viewers. Click on the home icon, and make sure the drop-down says “Unsubscribed trailer”, if you don’t see the trailer selector. Then, click the blue “+Channel Trailer” button.
Then, choose a video from your library. You can sort your videos to find the one you want easier, or you can search by video URL. Note that you can only enter URLs to videos that belong to your account.
Once done, your trailer and its description will appear. Make sure to edit your video trailer and write a killer description, including links and “calls to action”.
Switch to Subscriber View to add new sections.
Next, click the “Add a Section” button at the bottom of the page to add a new section.
Choose from several sections to add. I suggest either creating a custom playlist that has your videos in the order you want them to be viewed, or simply adding the Recent Uploads and Popular Videos segments.
You can move each section up or down in the list by clicking the arrow that appears when you hover over the section. You can delete a section by clicking the trash icon.
You can switch sections between Horizontal and Vertical view. Vertical view will show off more videos in a small grid.
I hope this guide has helped you complete your YouTube One Channel. Leave a comment below and share a link to your shiny new YouTube channel.