We all know by now that hotel digital marketing is a must for hotels in the 21st century and it is a medium that is evolving all the time as technology improves.The ways in which property marketers might have got their brand name out there five years ago may not be relevant today, replaced by a whole plethora of different tools that can be used online.But what are some of the biggest current trends in online marketing for hotels? Let’s take a closer look at just five of them.
1. Selling experiences Thanks to the popularity of bucket lists and a desire to fill our time doing things that make us happy, people are increasingly looking for experiences rather than just products. Travellers don’t just want a few nights in an anonymous hotel room – they want it to be part of an exciting package that involves excursions, food and much more so they can share it with their friends afterwards.Millennials in particular will respond well to this kind of marketing, so tempt them with exciting images of your hotel, the resort, beautiful beaches and smiling models that make them emotionally engaged and more likely to press that ‘book now’ button. They will want to put themselves in the models’ shoes if you can make your images desirable enough.
2. Influencer marketing You need to create content about your own property to sell it to would-be guests, but what other people say about it is likely to become ever-more important in this world of digital influence. Blogs in particular are massively important and their power to sell products cannot be underestimated – just look at their ability to make fashion products sell-outs if you need an example of this.Consumers now look towards each other and their favourite personalities for clues about what to buy or where to stay, with a study by McKinsey finding that marketing-induced consumer-to-consumer word of mouth generates more than twice the sales of paid advertising.If you can get people to mention your hotel online and talk about it in a blog post, then you are like to see bookings increase. If you don’t think this is likely to happen naturally, then you might consider pairing up with a blogger and offering them a free night’s stay in return for a write-up on your service.
3. Editorial content continues to be relevant We have known since the mid-noughties that editorial content is essential for your hotel website, but things have moved on from simply creating news articles and cramming them with keywords in the hope that Google would find them.Today, hotel websites need carefully tailored, relevant articles to help their would-be guests engage with them, including things like guides to local resorts, tips on packing light for a city break and anything else you think might be interesting for your target audience.Make sure it is written to inspire would-be travellers to book a stay at your property, rather than simply being plain, functional copy – we’re going back to the selling an experience point here.
4. Video content is getting bigger According to Cisco, video will account for 69 per cent of all consumer internet traffic by 2017, while video-on-demand traffic will have almost trebled. Video content is huge and 64 per cent of marketers expect it to dominate their marketing strategies in the near future, according to Nielson.You should definitely be including video clips on your hotel website and also putting them on social media portals for extended reach, particularly YouTube.However, do carefully consider your target audience and message when you are creating them, as they should always be relevant, on-brand and have a point. Don’t use video just for the sake of it; if you think your message could be better put across in a blog post, then do that instead.Some quick ideas include tours of the area local to your hotel, your chef cooking up a brand new dish in the kitchen and guests using your spa facilities, but you should be able to come up with lots more.
5. Instagram tags Instagram is hugely popular with young internet users in particular and it has shown itself to be a boon for the travel industry because it is image-led. It’s great to share plenty of pictures of your hotel that leave viewers dying to stay there, but you can also make the most of the new trend for tagging friends and family in pictures.Not only do people use hashtags to label their pictures, but they now also mention their pals in the comments section to draw their attention to them. Hotels can exploit this by publishing material on the social site and then adding a call to action (such as ‘tag a friend’) in the comments.Just as people might share a Facebook post, they can then share the Instagram picture, thereby extending your reach and creating qualified engagement that could boost your followers and even your bookings. It will be interesting to see what new trends crop up as we move into 2017, but why not see if you can make the most of this top five for now?