You’ll no doubt already have a robust hotel digital marketing strategy in place to benefit from techniques like blogging and search engine optimisation. It’s a great way to ensure your property stands out from your competitors’. However, it can sometimes seem as though you’re doing the same things, month in, month out.
Although this is a necessary evil and should result in financial rewards through a better online reach, there can be the occasional desire to come up with something new to impress those daydreaming travellers. If this sounds like you and you’re looking for ways to spice up your digital marketing campaigns through 2017 and beyond, you might be interested in taking a look at some of this year’s biggest trends to see if they could be applicable for your property.
Perhaps they could give you the variety you’re searching for and maybe even provide you with a leg up when it comes to bringing would-be guests in.
We’ve been looking at static ads since the early days of newspapers and even moving banner ads online have become somewhat old hat to our jaded millennial eyes. That’s what some brands are now introducing marketing that allows the viewer to become completely immersed in that world. For instance, Pepsi launched an augmented reality ad, while social media portals have been showing off 360-degree videos. Both of these tactics could be great for hotels by giving travellers the chance to try your hotel out before they make a booking.They could tour your spa using virtual reality devices or walk along your stretch of private beach, allowing them to really picture themselves there – and hopefully click through to make a reservation. It worked for Virgin Holidays after they published 360-degree video of one of their Mexican resorts; sales of trips there suddenly jumped.
Linked to augmented and virtual reality is live video, something Facebook and Twitter have been heralding for a while now. It’s great for creating a sense of urgency and that old-style feeling of millions of people watching something at the same time, which had died out a little with the rise of on-demand content. Hotel owners can use it to showcase time-specific events and really get people enthused about their product offerings.
Up until now, product placement has always seemed a little clunky and obvious. No one wants to be painfully aware they’re being advertised to, Truman Show-style when they’re looking at something supposedly organic. However, with the rise of YouTube has come the ability to subtly put brand names in a prime position while still retaining that natural feel. You could capitalise on it by publishing influencer videos on your site that feature your hotel name, or by standing in front of your property and its signage during the beginning of a YouTube clip.
Influencer marketing and, speaking of influencers, this is another huge trend this year and going forward. People are trusting of the opinions of their online peers – just look at the success of the likes of Zoella for proof of this.For 2017, experts suggest influencers are going to become ever-more important as thought leaders in consumer marketing, meaning brands are going to be on the lookout for brand advocates they can use in their own industry. As a hotel marketer, you might not be able to benefit from the big YouTube stars, but there must be someone you can partner up with in order to spread your brand message and sway would-be guests into making a reservation at your property.
According to an American Express study, 83 per cenr of millennials would permit travel brands to track their habits if it meant benefiting from an improved, more individual experience. Furthermore, 85 per cent of respondents of all ages said they much prefer customised itineraries to ‘one-size’ trips.You can take advantage of this by gathering all the data you can and using it to make people’s stays perfectly tailored to them. For example, if you know they asked for room service last time, offer them a discount coupon just ahead of their booking this time.This type of marketing is likely to become increasingly more important as brands become more aware of its plus points. However, beware being creepy and acting as though you’re stalking your would-be guests – stay on the right side of helpful.
The Internet of Things
This is something that’s continually cropping up in this type of list, but the Internet of Things is really coming into its own now and turning into a useful tool for the hospitality industry. Better technology and improved affordability means even smaller properties might be able to implement something automatic that can improve guests’ stays.For example, there are the devices that can control heating with smart remotes or phones, or automatic stock updaters for mini-fridges. These might require some investment, but they could well be worth it in the long run if you think you’ll benefit from the buzz in reviews and better guest engagement.
Even More Traditional Video
We might be experiencing all the bells and whistles video can provide, but ‘traditional’ YouTube clips aren’t going away any time soon and so they’re still a big trend for hotel marketers. Indeed, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every single minute and nearly five billion are watched a day.The number of hours people spend watching such clips is also up 60 per cent year-on-year, the highest rise seen so far. That means that if you aren’t uploading something relevant to your hotel for would-be guests to watch, you’re surely missing a trick and potentially some revenue too.
As you can see, there are lots of new tactics to try, so why not make this the year you go for something new in your hotel’s digital marketing campaign?