It’s not simple to build a brand, and it’s not easy to maintain a strong brand reputation either. It can take decades to build a brand that’s not only well-known, but trusted. You then have the challenge of keeping that brand image a positive one. Social media was a massive hurdle for brands. They had to work out the best way to utilise this powerful tool without allowing the consumer to take charge. The majority seem to have managed it though, with big brands now thriving online.
2016 is set to bring new challenges to brands, but, much like we saw with social media, along with these challenges there are also great opportunities for building brands and taking them to entirely new heights. Mobile devices are now fast stealing the limelight from desktop computers, and hotels are seeing mobile bookings increase significantly. In fact, it won’t be long before mobile bookings overtake those made on desktops. This means that, if it isn’t already, then 2016 is the year to optimise your website for mobile.
TripAdvisor recently revealed that as many as 42 per cent of travellers are now using their smartphones to plan or book at least some phase of their trips. In addition, 2015 saw Google changing their algorithm so that if your website isn’t optimised for mobile then it will be penalised in the rankings. This means that you’re jeopardising your brand even further if your website isn’t mobile optimised, because you won’t hit the top results in Google searches. You need to look at all of your distribution channels and make sure that you’re visible in as many places as possible.
There’s no doubt that online travel agencies (OTAs) have made a tremendous impact on hospitality, with their rapid growth offering hotels global visibility that perhaps wouldn’t have otherwise been reached. This is obviously brilliant, but it can’t be solely relied upon for a marketing strategy. OTAs charge extremely high commissions, so the amount of money made on these bookings is significantly lower than from direct bookings. Because of this, you’ll want to work on your own distribution channels.
Look at your website and see if it could use a revamp. Are you regularly updating your blog and social media channels? If not, then put more into these. If you put in the work then these channels can really bring in a return on investment, and you’ll find that the return is much bigger than you get from OTAs.
With this in mind, you need to make sure that you haven’t lost focus on your social media. You likely have a solid strategy in place now, but don’t just let it tick over. Look for new content and delivery ideas. Have you thought about videos and images? Infographics perhaps? You need to be innovative. There’s more competition than ever so try and stand out from the crowd and really see your brand boom in 2016.