“Most smart travel leaders have come to accept this frenetic pace of disruption as the norm and must try to remain vigilant, as the winners in 2017 will likely be those most responsive to change.” Deloitte
When disruption is the “norm,” the ability to adapt separates the winners from the losers in the hospitality industry. In addition to the traditional tasks — providing guest service, managing rooms and facilities, balancing availability and pricing — today’s hotel managers must also think about communicating with and competing for guests across channels.
The adaptability, the responsiveness, required to do this, and run their business day-to-day, lies in a dynamic hotel digital marketing strategy.
Here are just a few reasons online hotel marketing is critical to success in 2017 — and beyond:
Leverage Budget-Friendly Tools.
Unlike other marketing and advertising methods (e.g. television and magazine ads), digital marketing campaigns can be developed and launched in a cost-effective manner. Platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are free — though you certainly do need to make investments in terms of people-power (staff/outsourcing) to monitor and moderate your online communities, sponsored ads, etc. But overall, digital helps you increase the power of your spend.
Get in the Game — On a Level Playing Field.
At the same time, these methods empower small and start-up businesses to compete the “big boys.” According to Deloitte’s Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook 2017, bookings are healthier than in past years, and “the spoils are not guaranteed to travel’s biggest or most-well-known brands.” This underscores the lesson that it is service, not size, that matters to consumers. Digital hotel marketing puts your brand in front of those service-savvy customers’ eyes.
Hit Moving Targets.
If the key to success is responsiveness, digital is the logical avenue to pursue. You receive real-time insight into your campaigns with access to critical metrics, such as conversion rates, subscriber levels, peak engagement levels, email open rates, website visitors, and much more. With integrated tools (e.g. Facebook Analytics, Twitter Analytics, etc.), it is easy to measure results.
This intel also enables you to refine your strategy and implement changes quickly. Rather than wasting time on a non-starter, you can optimize tactics and campaigns to realize enhanced results.
Build Your Brand.
Remember, service trumps size, and a strong online presence enables you to start the experience before guests ever check in. Starting with a welcoming, informative website and branching off into easily accessible social and booking platforms, you can add value to your customers far earlier in their journey. Your reach, as mentioned, is much greater. People can see a post anywhere in the world, a feat that traditional methods cannot accomplish — at least not without a massive expenditure of resources.
Engage Customers on Their Terms.
If great service starts before customers arrive on site, then it follows that it also meets their needs. Today’s consumers hate the hard sell; they want information on their terms. Instead of inconvenient phone calls or mailshots destined for the junk mail pile, digital tactics help reach them more effectively. They can search and find answers when it’s convenient for them. Let them discover your brand; to help them, provide them with great content, user-friendly sites, linked social platforms, and an easy way to read and leave reviews.
Being able to respond to shifting consumer needs, not to mention global and economic conditions, requires flexibility. Hotel digital marketing empowers businesses to keep up with customers — and surpass the competition.