Disruptions For The Hotels Industry
Digital marketing for hotels has come a long way. The transition from traditional channels of marketing to online marketing is not smooth but the entire hotels industry is placing more value on paid social media content and mobile marketing than ever before. In an era of real time social media engagements and 24/7 content, the hotels industry is finding their footing.
Perhaps the biggest shock to the hotels industry in recent years has been disruption of the hotels model. AirBnB, a website that connects rooms to rent with lodgers, challenges established hotel names such as Marriot and Hilton in scale and market share. Hotel businesses such as AirBnB are savvy about digital marketing, and the integration of digital content (user generated and paid) with offline channels. They are also agile enough to improvise with content marketing.
Keys to digital marketing success for hotels in 2016
Digital marketing for hotels in 2016 will involve content optimization, multi-channel marketing approach and forays into user generated or interactive content. Before implementing a digital marketing strategy for their hotel, managers have to define the hotel brand’s unique selling point (USP), who their target customers are, marketing objectives and what actions are effective in reaching them. Once this is defined, they can measure and evaluate their digital marketing efforts.
Here are the 10 key areas of digital marketing for hotels in 2016
1.Programmatic buying for hotels
According to a study by Business and Leadership, more than a third of marketing budget is being spent on programmatic bidding in 2014-2015. This number is certain to rise in 2016. Programmatic marketing allows marketers to place ads automatically in front of audiences that are interested. Marketers in the hotels industry will invest more in programmatic buying to target their customers.
2.Reputation management across multiple channels
Social networks are a double edged sword for hotel reputations. Online travel review sites are another cause of concern for hotel brands (139 reviews are generated every 60 seconds on TripAdvisor alone).Constant monitoring and fast responses to complaints are the only ways to mitigate harm to your hotel brand. Resolving complaints in a professional and timely manner is expected.
On social media, hotel brands can engage in social listening to gauge what consumers are saying about their experiences. Social media managers employed by the hotel may address public complaints sincerely and in real time. Maintaining a good reputation on social media requires PR skills and quick thinking when crises breaks out.
3. Conversion rate optimization for hotel websites
The hotel website is integral for engaging and converting website visitors. There are many opportunities to engage through the website photos, descriptions and special offers. Visitors to a hotel website already have the intention of booking, so having a user friendly website that is intuitive to navigate towards payment/checkout is vital. Furthermore, hotel websites should be mobile friendly or responsive to different viewing devices. 69% of people planning travels begin their search through mobile devices.
4. Hotel video marketing
Video content is ideal for the hotels industry where story telling can say more than an entire brochure. A website with video is 53% more likely to appear on the first page of Google so this can boost your online visibility. Creating video content and then optimizing the video for the major search engines could be one of the smartest investments in hotel digital marketing.
5.Remarketing hotel websites
Statistics show that 92 website visitors never return to a website. A very high percentage of new visitors is not ideal for hotel businesses where the cost of customer acquisition needs to be minimized. Remarketing content, or retargeting, allows hotel marketers to customize content for website visitors when they have left the website. Hotel brands can create messages or videos that follow website visitors so they can guided through the purchase conversion funnel. Retargeting hotels customers is the perfect solution for abandoned hotel room checkouts or incomplete email signups.
6. Optimize content for all social media networks
Every social media platform is different and presents opportunities for the hotel to showcase their brand persona. With 60% of hotel guest using more than one social media platform, it is vital to maintain a unified presence on all of them. A well designed Facebook page, beautifully formatted Flickr and engaging YouTube page, for example, can amplify your brand.
Twitter cards allow hotel marketers to attract Twitter users with exciting content that links back to the hotel website. You can insert engaging media or use a large gallery card to entice leads. To implement Twitter cards, hotel websites require a markup using html within the webpages. Hotel brands already using Facebook can use Open Graph, Facebook Open Graph protocol-to generate Twitter cards.
7. Share content across different digital channels
Hotels can really utilize the interconnected social networks by sharing positive content about themselves. Glowing guest reviews from TripAdvisor, user generated content from guests, articles, hotel marketing videos and influencer content should be distributed amongst the social networks for faster uptake. Sharing creates greater brand awareness and can reach more leads over time.
8. Mobile optimization for hotel websites
Increasing mobile traffic and use of mobile on the move means mobile optimization is a priority for hotels. Mobile optimized content should also be consistent with the hotel brand image. Instead of treating mobile optimization as an afterthought, hotel brands can make mobile an engaging platform for guests. Many guests book hotels at the last minute and will want all the booking information at their fingertips. Hotels can design their mobile websites in such a way that contact, pricing and room availability information is immediately accessible. A mobile app created just for guests to book rooms on the move is a viable option for hotels with corporate guests.
9. Diverse and niche channels of hotel marketing
Relying on a single channel of marketing is bad for any hotel. By diversifying the distribution channels to different travel booking websites, hotels can attract more guests and market themselves in a different angle. Travel websites such as MrandMrsSmith.com and Jetsetter.com are especially good for marketing hotel brands as luxurious boutiques or honeymoon resorts.
10. Flexibility in digital marketing methods
Digital marketing is constantly changing to facilitate the way guests communicate and book hotels on the move. At any time, hotels may have to reevaluate marketing campaigns that are not effective and start something new. At other times, a digital marketing strategy may need to be adjusted in line with unforeseen changes. At the core of hotel marketing is customer service and proactive approach to meeting customer’s needs. Marrying the traditional approach to hospitality services with agile technology is the way forward for hotel marketing.