The internet has been around for a while now and most of the business owners probably have already understood the importance of using it to reach their audience. Digital marketing is relatively young discipline but for some industries it already plays a crucial role in generating sales. This applies to the hotel industry too, meaning that hotel owners and managers should really follow the news in this field if they do not want to miss the train. So, what are the recent trends regarding online marketing for 2016 for the hotel industry?
Mobile Devices are the Future
Mobile phones, tablets, there are even smart watches out there, and in a few years we will have smart glasses. New technologies are altering ways we search the internet and successful websites are required to be user-friendly on all devices. In 2015, web traffic generated by mobile devices grew by more than 90%, with an average of 21% of customers booking hotels via their mobile devices. This influx of mobile users provide companies with the unique opportunity of providing hotel bookings anywhere and everywhere, a dominating market that could prove increasingly beneficial in years to come. This also opens the doors to cross-device data. Customers want to be able to book their hotels on whatever system is convenient to them, may that be a laptop, phone, tablet etc. Google are a prime example of how it should be done, and the hotel industry is no exception. Investing time and money into cross-device data will be crucial in 2016.
Also, new devices need new solutions for financial transactions. Fingerprint payments will grow, the operations will simplify and in this it pays out to be an early adopter. Companies such as Stripe are leading the way, providing customers with the gift of convenience, allowing the once tiresome process of hotel booking to become a breeze. However in order for customers to enjoy this process, they need to know that your hotel exists…
Marketing is Evolving
There are a number of techniques that are growing in popularity and will be everywhere in 2016. Firstly, holistic marketing budgets will override traditional budgets in 2016 with an emphasis on overall performance. Therefore managing a number of channels is crucial for success within the hotel industry.
- The rise of Meta Search hasn’t gone unnoticed, with companies such as TripInstant and Trivago emerging as formidable players within the hotel industry. With large-scale comparisons between competitors and the ability to book without going direct, it’s easy to see the appeal for customers. Consequently, these provide an opportunity for hotel companies to gain access to high numbers of customers, which can only benefit conversion.
- Potential customers can now also be accessed multiple times through booking re-targeting. Plenty of companies are doing it now, and yours should be no exception. So a customer is interested in booking, but for whatever reason doesn’t make the conversion? No problem, re-targeting is that second chance that could help both parties, acting as a reminder to the customer, not to mention enhancing your overall brand recognition.
- Get a marketing landing page. It’s that simple. By providing a single focal point for the campaign, your marketing campaign is highlighted, and increase conversion rates for your website.
- Talk to real and right people. That should be the motto for 2016. People want to talk and want to be heard in era of technology. They miss personal communication and you can make a difference if there is someone to hear them talk. What about a chat with a receptionist on your hotel website? After all, potential customers value trust when making a decision that could make or break their getaway. That personal touch could well be the boost in confidence that a potential customer needs.
Moreover, with new technologies, people are getting smarter too. They are tired of classic advertisements bombarding their eyes all day and that is why ad blocking is on the rise. In the past 12 months, ad blocking has grew globally by 41%, meaning that you might invest heavily in online ads and then might as well get blocked by all members of your target group. The solution to this problem is creativity ….
New Content is the Answer
Hotel owners will have to start to put some effort into creating their own content. Original content is the most efficient way how to attract visitors on websites. Creativity in the form of blogs, or even an innovative social presence, can set you apart from the rest who are still only providing the standard hotel information. In an industry where organic traffic is accountable for 30-40% of a hotel’s revenue, getting creative and thinking outside the box is the key to success.
- Getting someone to write articles, take photos or shoot videos for you might be a good idea, since videos are one of the most widespread and visually interesting media on the internet, they are everywhere , and they do the job. What’s more, videos are no longer restricted to YouTube. Social media sites such as Facebook and Instagram provide huge audiences for hotel’s videos, with 2016 providing more channels and more creative ways for videos to be promoted and accessed.
- Another solution is to make guests generate content on their own. Bring in your own hashtags, introduce competitions for the best holiday photo and see the photos popping up on your Facebook feed. Oh yes, don’t forget about Instagram. This social media is increasingly gaining importance since it is visually attractive and to this day there are more than 400 million users using it. Engaging users through the use of quirky hash tags and ‘selfie situations’ can enable hotels to be seen in an entirely different light (not to mention filter), gaining access to new audiences and potential future bookings in the process.
- With the addition of these modern marketing methods, In-the-Moment Marketing has never been more important. Engaging with customers across multiple platforms frequently, as well as being present at the right place and time to attract future customers is pivotal, meaning companies really need to manage their channels and strengthen their strategy in order to gain an edge in this industry.
- But what if there was a way of allowing potential customers to book from their social media sites at the click of a button? 2016 has seen the rise of ‘buy buttons’ on platforms such as Facebook and Pinterest, allowing e-commerce sites become ever-present throughout social media. Therefore implementing them on your social media should be a standard thing in 2016.
- Amongst the flood of new channels, let’s not forget the importance of email. Despite being around for some time, introducing personalised emails can offer a fresh approach, with simple techniques such as printing a customer’s name on an email leading to people acting twice as fast when asked to do something. Small personal touches like this can increase conversion rates by 12%.