10 Digital Marketing New Years Resolutions For Hotels

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Hotel Marketing

After saying goodbye to 2018, we are starting the new year with fresh priorities and goals. January and February is a great time for hoteliers to reflect on last year’s strategies and analyse the results in order to create a blueprint for a successful new year. Determining your hotel’s or accommodation providers most successful digital marketing initiatives is the first step to executing a strong plan that will achieve greater results this year than last year.

With new technology and digital innovations announced daily it seems, it can seem overwhelming for hotels to stay on top of trends and work them into their own digital marketing strategies. With voice search, semantic and AI, omnichannel marketing, and the use of influencers on the rise, hoteliers can reach potential guests at more touchpoints than ever before.

It is vitally important to start 2019 with a strong foundation to your digital strategy and be able to incorporate new initiatives as the year goes on. To get you started, Search4Local have put together the top resolutions for hotels and destination providers based on current and forecasted marketing trends.

The Best Website Designs For Hotels

Hotels should implement design trends on the website that follow UX and are backed by the right technology that leads the user towards a booking. Selecting the right CMS is important for your hotel’s digital strategy. Content management systems can help your hotel implement website personalisation, present real-time rates and inventory, promote offers and specials, and more. All these factors will showcase the property and can turn website visitors into bookings and revenue.

As mobile continues to dominate and this not change, you should also make sure that you have a mobile-first, fully-responsive website design. Last year, Google began to use the mobile page versions of a domain for indexing and caching in its search results, and subsequently, for ranking. Historically, the desktop version of a page was primarily used when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user’s query.

Read our article on Mobile First Web Design

Manage Your Customer Relationships

The goal of customer relationship management is straightforward – improve your hotel relationships with your guests. A CRM solution can help hoteliers to understand customers through data and deliver them messages that they want and care about. By engaging guests before, during, and after their stays, hotels can fuel loyalty throughout the customer lifetime journey. Own the conversation from the moment a booking is made, nurture the experience with marketing automation, and retain your best guests by showing them how much you value their business.

What Is Omnichannel Marketing?

Multi-channel marketing has been around for a while now and has proven to be a most successful strategy for hotels. Now with consumers expecting more personalised communication from brands, comes omnichannel marketing. This refers to providing a seamless experience, regardless of the channel or device.

Consumers expect their experiences with a brand to be the same in a physical location, on a website or app, through social media, and across online advertisements on any gadget they use. All these touch points create an omnichannel experience for the user. Hotels and guesthouses can take advantage of omnichannel marketing by monitoring what guests are responding to best (on social media and on the website) and creating content that reflects the brand and property. Utilising data can help hotels understand what guests really want from the brand. From there, hotels should make sure all digital touchpoints represent the brand. This can include the look and feel, the tone of voice, and the use of colours.

The final aspect of omnichannel marketing is personalisation. As mentioned above, personalisation can connect users to brands and help develop and better relationships. By personalising content, hotels can achieve the omnichannel experience where guests will feel noticed and appreciated no matter what platform they interact with the hotel on.

What Is Personalised Web Content?

A personalised online experience is more important than ever for hotels and bed and breakfasts. Customers expect brands to remember them and present information that is relevant to them. The data does not lie. It is evident that customers expect a personalised experience when they visit your hotel website. 74% of consumers feel frustrated when website content is not personalised (Infosys) and 77% have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalised experience.

It’s no longer enough to present potential guests with static website content and expect them to find what they’re looking for and make a reservation. In fact, a Salesforce study found that, by 2020, 51% of consumers will expect brands to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions.

Through personalisation, hotels can create a dynamic user experience. Rather than a broad experience that attempts to reach all possible travellers, hotels have the ability to create unique content that appeals to different segments in order to achieve specific business needs. In this way, the hotel website can—and should—be the primary channel for engaging your best guests.

Read our article on Content Marketing For Tourism

What Is Rich Media?

Video and rich media continues to dominate the tourism online experience. 70% of consumers have shared a brand’s video (Wyzowl) and 52% said that watching a product video makes them more confident in online purchases (Invodo). Although investing in video, drone and rich media assets can be costly, the payoff can be huge for hotels and destination providers. Videos can be utilised on websites, shared on social media channels, and provide a great way for potential customers to get a feel for their experience before ever stepping foot in your hotel.

How To Optimise Your Website For Voice Search?

As the use of voice assistants and semantic terms grows, hotels need to optimise their websites in order to capture this audience. Although still in the early phases of being a viable distribution channel for hotels, voice search is already shaping consumer behaviour, with the use of digital assistants higher than ever. In order to stay on top of the changing landscape, hotels must optimise their website content for voice by combining traditional SEO, technical SEO, and incorporating patterns inherent to voice commands.

Read our article on optimising for Voice Search

A robust content strategy also helps in voice search optimisations for those in the beginning stages of the travel planning journey. At this stage, users can have their devices search for destination information. Further, into planning, they may say to their device, “Siri, find me the best hotel rooms in Exeter.”

The impact of voice search will have on the hospitality industry is still uncertain, but, based on current trends, we can anticipate that the voice search landscape will continue to evolve, and hotels can expect to see new opportunities for engagement and revenue.

The Robots Are Coming!

Over the past few years, we have heard about artificial intelligence and I do not mean Skynet! Advancements and innovations will have even more people talking about its potential impact on different industries, including travel and tourism. AI & BI (business intelligence) can analyse consumer behaviour by utilising data from across the web to help businesses understand users. By beginning to plan for AI technology this year, hotels can have an edge over competitors.

How To Use Analytics To Track Your Bookings?

Often when analysing the success or not of a campaign, hotels are led to believe the most important KPIs are bookings and revenue. While these metrics are significant, it is also important to understand the purchase funnel. Marketing to users who are still in the early phases of their travel planning journey means engagement metrics are equally as imperative as reaching those who are ready to book.

When a customer is in the upper funnel, or the “dreaming” phase of the travel planning journey, they are undecided on which accommodation they will book, with 67% of users more likely to book with a brand that provides relevant information for the destination they are interested in (Google). Why not consider adopting or investing in some of the following initiatives to capture the attention of those beginning to think about their next getaway:

When a customer is in the upper funnel, or the “dreaming” phase of the travel planning journey, they are undecided on which accommodation they will book, with 67% of users more likely to book with a brand that provides relevant information for the destination they are interested in (Google). Why not consider adopting or investing in some of the following initiatives to capture the attention of those beginning to think about their next getaway:

What Is Influencer Marketing?

It has been a hot topic in the hospitality industry for a while now, but with 92% of consumers saying that they trust word-of-mouth recommendations more than any other type of advertising (Nielsen), it is clear that influencer marketing is not going away anytime soon.

Using social media influencers can be a very effective method to attract new customers to your property as well to generate fresh content for your tourism brand. The first step is to identify key advocates that embody your brand and can deliver the messages you want to convey in an organic way. Additionally, you need to look at the follower loyalty of the influencer. Having a high follower count is much less important than the engagement their content receives (i.e. how many people interact with their posts).

What Is A Virtual Concierge?

As a form of AI, chatbots or virtual concierges will make a splash in the coming year without a doubt. This technology allows for instant messaging in real-time with website visitors. Many people are already used to interacting with chatbots online and 80% of businesses are already using or plan to use bots by 2020. And with the development of Facebook Messenger bots, it is easier than ever for hotels to utilise bots in their online presence. These bots are programmed to understand questions and provide answers.

The benefits of chatbots include reaching an audience directly, saving time and money on customer care, qualifying customers, handling transactions, and re-engaging users.

Web Design For Tourism In Devon

Overall, as you begin to execute your 2019 digital strategy, it is important to be aware of the continuously changing trends and technology updates. Your resolutions can be a guide for your digital plan and should adapt throughout the year as business needs change and as technology innovations become available to you. Using this as a “checklist” can help ensure that your strategy stays on the right track and that your digital performance and website design is successful through 2019.

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