Hotel Investment Trends from ITB: Reputation Management and Personalized Marketing

At ITB Berlin last week, the message resounded clearly that key hotel investment trends in 2015 will include the development of a one-to-one relationship with guests through reputation management and personalized marketing.

TripAdvisor gave ITB attendees a sneak peek of its 2015 TripBarometer report. One stat stood out in particular: 60% of hoteliers say that they’ll invest more on online reputation management this year compared to the previous 12 months. This was the top investment priority out of several areas of investment surveyed. Spending on Marketing and Advertising also ranks high on the list, with 51% of hoteliers planning to invest more in 2015.

The release of the full 2015 TripBarometer report today revealed further evidence of the importance of online reputation management: 73% of hoteliers across the board, from resorts, to hotels, to inns and b&bs agreed that online reputation management is ‘very important’ to the future of business in 2015.

The good news is that hoteliers are feeling more confident in 2015, with 73% of hoteliers expressing optimism about their business profitability.

Other items rated ‘very important’ for the future of hospitality by hoteliers include:

  • Increasing repeat business – 80%
  • Increasing # of direct bookings – 77%
  • Enabling people to book online: 76%
  • Easy for people to contact/find us from any device they choose – 73%
  • Continued staff training to exceed service expectations – 71%

Additionally, the Hotelschool The Hague’s Senior Lecturer Anna De Visser-Amundson and Revinate’s EMEA Marketing Manager Thomas Landen delivered a joint presentation on the state of hotel marketing today. The topics centered around the need for hotels to move away from “cookie cutter experiences” and differentiate by delivering messaging that actually talks to the traveler.

“The bottom line is actually, if you don’t personalize your messages, they’re pretty much worthless,” Landen said.

To achieve true personalization, the presenters argued, hoteliers need to start collecting data about their guests. Information like guests’ demographics, interests, preferences and behavioral patterns can help hotels understand what the consumer seeks from a hotel experience.

“You can easily target your guest, segment them by arrival day, by age, by gender or by location – you can create smart campaigns targeting your clients,” said Landen. For example, he said, “If they like wine, invite them for wine. If they’re fanatical golfers, you make offers for the golf course. After that, invite them to give feedback online. And then six months later, try to win them back.”

Ultimately, developing a one-to-one relationship with guests requires a cohesive strategy around collecting data, both by requesting and analyzing feedback, and by proactively gathering information like social data, past stay, and preferences. Overall, the vast majority of hoteliers worldwide and across all accommodation types will be investing in their online reputation in 2015. Will you?