Posted at Oct 25, 2019 3:16:00 PM by THAT Agency | Share
As 2019 draws to a close, it’s time to start preparing for a successful new year. Planning is in full swing here at THAT Agency, and we’ve been tracking hotel marketing trends for 2020 in order to bring you the most relevant insights for the hotel industry. Ready? 3… 2… 1:
1. Customer First: Customer Experience Marketing
It makes sense to start here: your customer is your raison d'être - your reason for being. The idea is that, in the hotel industry, consumers do not pay for the room, the products, the service. They pay for the experience.
Your secret weapon in terms of hotel marketing is the exceptional service you offer. Are you unfailingly kind, respectful, and responsive? Do you offer unique features and facilities (e.g., visual concierge, inductive charging, fresh menus for room service, cafes, spas)? Focus your messaging on the experience - on why people stay in hotels, on what they expect - and then what you do to go above and beyond.
2. Hey Google: Voice Search
More consumers are utilizing voice search to book hotels. To capitalize on this trend, make sure your website is optimized for the more conversational style in which people search. I need a “3 or 4 star hotel in South Florida within walking distance to the beach for under $300 a night.”
Introducing conversational language in your website content not only helps with voice search but ensures you have the “human touch” that people need when researching trips and booking accommodations.
You can also go a step further and integrate smart hubs or speakers into your rooms or suites; these would enable guests to access information about attractions, key services in your area, or book hotel services (like that spa treatment) right from their room.
3. Smart Move: Integrating AI
Artificial Intelligence holds a great deal of possibility for the hotel industry. You can leverage it to segment customers based on interests, needs, demographics, etc., in order to create personalized messaging.
AI-fueled chat bots can also help you provide stellar customer service - anytime of day. Today’s consumers demand instant answers. Live chat functions facilitate speedy responses and customer satisfaction. But don’t people hate talking to “robots”? Nope! They are capable of “learning” by analyzing customer behaviors and patterns, so they can better assist. In fact, chat bots are incredibly popular among customers.
4. The Power of "Peers": Influencer Marketing
Influencers have gained significant traction in the last few years. You don’t need to go after the YouTube superstars: you can leverage the power of micro-influencers who have sway with your target audience.
Identify these social media marketing influencers on Instagram, Facebook, and other platforms and partner with them to create video, written, and social content.
5. A New Reality: VR and AR
Virtual reality and augmented reality are two of the fastest growing hotel marketing trends for 2020. How can you leverage it?
Use VR to invite people to experience a digital recreation of your environment - your rooms, your spas, your gorgeous pool… Virtual reality tours can give people a real sense of what they can expect when they stay with you? And while you're at it, why not use VR or video in your marketing to give a tour of the spectacular attractions and features your location has to offer (e.g., beaches, shops, restaurants, galleries, theme parks, festivals, etc.).
Pokemon Go is the best example of AR around! Essentially, AR recreates the real-world environment and enhances certain elements with computer-generated perceptual input. For example, you can enhance visual and auditory experiences. An example of an application for the hotel industry: you could have an interactive map in rooms that provides tourist information with the use of a smartphone.
6. Social Proof: User Generated Content
The power of user generated content (UGC) is not limited to the hotel industry. In fact, the vast majority of consumers trust peer recommendations over advertising. When it comes to accommodations, people want to know: was this hotel comfortable? Were the rates right? Did they offer the amenities I want? Was staff polite? Was check-in easy? (And… eww… were there bed bugs?!).
They will scour reviews - and they will take them seriously. Use this. You deliver exceptional service and accommodations. When people share snapshots, videos, or social posts regarding their stay, this is social proof demonstrating your quality. Highlight these posts, and ask guests to leave reviews with you and with sites like Yelp.
7. Hey, You: Personalization Matters
Personalization allows you to deliver targeted content to individuals. No one wants to feel generic. You’ll have to collect loads of user data - luckily, that’s available through your website and social media analytics, as well as other sources. The information is there: put it to use in your hotel content strategy.
You can personalize product recommendations, deliver personalized emails, and target content based on people’s social media activity, browsing habits, and stage of the buyer’s journey.
8. Let's Try This Again: Remarketing
Inevitably, you’ll have people who reached out, visited your website, interacted with you on social media, saw your Google Hotel Ads… and then disappeared. All right: maybe they weren’t ready for a vacation/trip at that moment! Remember, people often start researching travel options well before making any decisions.
Remarketing enables your hotel to target folks who have shown interest. Maybe you show them a high quality image of the type of room they were searching for or highlight your amazing farm-to-table restaurant - depending on their previous interactions. Re-capture their attention and stay top of mind.
Get Ready for 2020
After a period of growth, the hotel industry is expected to level out in 2020. Demand will moderate. It will still be there, but you’ll have to work harder - no, smarter - to fill vacancies. Staying on top of the latest trends is essential so you make the most of your competitive edge. THAT Agency is here to help you plan and launch the initiatives that will propel your hotel to success in the new year. Contact us today.