Marketing in the hospitality industry is always changing, now more than ever. With an ever moving goal line, it’s sometimes hard to keep moving forward and past the competition. Let’s take a look at some recent marketing trends that will continue to grow as we move into 2022.
Direct Booking is Key
2021 saw an increase in direct bookings, this trend will continue as more travelers are seeking specific information about their upcoming travel. Interacting with hotels directly regarding cleaning policies, openings and closures and general travel information became the norm. We also saw an increase in shorter booking windows, with travelers weary about having to change yet another reservation due to restrictions.
Nearly 60% of hotel bookings are made online. Shift your focus to building your online presence and leveraging your guests’ experiences and feedback. Your strength, young Jedi, lies in your online presence. Create a seamless booking experience and look for invisible walls that can stop your guests from booking directly. Booking a room should be quick, simple, and easy to navigate.
Ensure that your guests can find your website by upgrading your SEO performance. Don’t use the set it and forget it method of website content. Content needs to always be refreshed and updated. Don’t forget, there’s a growing number of consumers utilizing voice search, whether it’s to order products, get the weather or look up a fact. More people are searching for your property through voice search, make sure your SEO is written for conversational syntaxes. An easy way to solve this is to set up an FAQ section to capture these searches.
Along with your website, your reputation should always be top of mind of everyone within your organization. 96% of travelers consider online reviews while researching their next trip. Do you have a reputation management plan or are you just winging it? An unchecked reputation can cost you guests and revenue. Need some help? Check out our Guide: How to Respond to Hotel Reviews.
Let’s get Personal
I know, we say it all the time. We’ve said it here, and here and again here. It’s no longer cool to send an “eblast”. Your guests are people, not just the data that you have collected on them. They expect to be treated as such. Personally greeting your guests on arrival, personalized emails and special touches will help you retain your loyal guests. Look into your data for past booking habits and use that data to speak to your guests as if they were standing in front of you. Give them an offer that is designed to speak to them as a loyal guest.
Make sure your agents are collecting the right information during the reservation process, then again during guest registration. Most guests are willing to share this kind of information if they know it will enhance their travel experience. Utilize this information at every opportunity during your communication with your guests.
Find that Niche
Niche based travel is a trend that won’t be going away soon. Creating those unique experiences for your guests is another guarantee for guest loyalty. Think past the happy hours and dining specials, look at wellness programs, pet friendly perks, bleisure travel and local amenities. Use your guests’ social posts (with permission of course) as a testimonial to what your property has to offer. Plus, now that you have all of that rich guest data you collected above, you can create hyper-personalized messaging that include your unique offers.
If COVID-19 taught us anything, it’s the technology advances we need to make in order to keep our guests feeling safe. Digital and contactless technology completely changed the way we do business. More services are being offered using contactless technology, such as check-in and out, payments and digital concierges such as Ivy. More guests are becoming accustomed to self serve and finding that the ease outweighs the autonomy. That doesn’t mean your hotel should run on all chatbots. Always keep that guest experience at top of mind (remember the reputation discussion.) Use your technology wisely to keep your guests happy.
Digital Nomads, Bleisure Travelers and Hotel Offices
Working remotely is no longer a luxury that some companies offer every now and then. Big tech companies like Facebook, Google, Apple and even Revinate adopted a full time, hybrid or flexible remote work environment for their employees. Employees now have more flexibility as to where in the world they work and hotels will need to learn to tailor their amenities to these guests. The biggest concerns for the traveling worker are reliable, secure WiFi, quiet spaces for Zoom calls and of course, lots of places to recharge both their technology and themselves. These guests are not traveling just for the sake of it, so when they are not working they want to feel immersed in the local culture. “Live like a local” means bringing in locally sourced products, from vegetables to soap, cultural experiences and even ways to give back to the community.
You’re Virtually Here!
Virtual tours are one of the fastest growing marketing trends in the hospitality industry. #FOMO (fear of missing out) is real! We are coming out of a period of “dreaming of the future” and now into wanting to experience it. Help your guests see their dream vacation by visually engaging them with your property. Take a behind the scene tour of your Chef making pasta the way his grandma taught him, or the housekeeper that is making sure their room is perfectly ready for arrival. Video is everything in today’s market and one video can be used in so many different ways. Whether it’s tours on your website, reels on your Instagram, TikTok or a link in a well personalized email – your one video can result in a multitude of room nights.
What No Marketer Wants to Hear
The cookie is about to crumble. We’ve all been watching (more like peeking through our fingers) at the slow decline of third-party data collection. It’s no surprise, it all started with the release of Apple iOS15 and is now trending to be a cookie-less world by the end of 2023. It’s more difficult, now than ever, to track whether your email campaign is successful. Without conversion rates, open rates and click through rates we should all just go back to sending snail mail right? Not so quick! This is where your first party data is so (let me say that again for the folks in the back) SO important. Having clean data is going to keep you ahead of the game and your competition. Revinate’s Hotel CRM gives you a holistic view of your guests data, allowing you to use the specificity of first-party data to hyper-personalize your marketing, drive more room nights and, in turn, revenue. So who has the milk?
The future of travel is, once again, looking promising, but in order to stay competitive and profitable we need to keep on top of the ongoing changes. With upticks in sites like Airbnb and VRBO, old school thinking needs to keep evolving. With data segmentation, virtual reality, AI and “live like a local” experiences we can offer our guests the experiences they imagine and memories that last.