Key Marketing Trends for 2016

As we head into the full swing of the New Year and begin to implement our sales and marketing strategies, it is important to know the key trends are to keep abreast of the competition.

2016-marketing-trendsWith technology changing every day, it has become abundantly clear that digital marketing has become more competitive thanks to online travel agencies, Meta search engines and the increasingly sophisticated web presence of various hotels.

In order to remain ahead of the pack, hotels must be prepared to wisely channel their time and resources into devising effective strategies in order to obtain positive results.

*Ongoing investment in your website – the company’s most important real estate
The consumer is going to review at least 2 to 3 websites before making a purchasing decision. It is imperative that your website has a responsive design, supports dynamic content personalization, offers dynamic rate marketing and it updated on an ongoing basis in order to remain competitive.

*Dynamic content personalization – the newest tool
Adding fresh content frequently to your website these days is not enough. The latest buzz is creating dynamic website experiences through content personalization designed to increase conversions.
This is accomplished by accessing and analyzing viewing history, reviews, past purchases, demographic information or psychographic segmentation in order to generate a customized experience.

*Why it is time for ‘Real Time’
Dynamic rate marketing in the hotel booking world is fairly common.

Real time hotel pricing and room availability is displayed in the various marketing channels such as display advertising, Meta search, retargeting, Google AdWords, email marketing, and keeping your Google Business Listings up-to-date.

It is not a difficult process to set up, and dynamic rate marketing can dramatically increase conversions and boost ROI.

*Make the consumer engage with your website on multiple occasions
On average, consumers will visit a website up to 10 times before making a purchase.
So it is important that the consumer is engaged enough to make multiple visits to your website, which hopefully will lead to a booking!
To increase conversion rates, it is crucial to analyze all areas of your sales funnel, create attribution pathways and focus your efforts on the highest converting pathways.
Reviewing all parts of the campaign as a whole rather than each one in isolation will help you to make a more informed decision.

*How to fight OTA’s
Even though OTA’s have a seemingly unlimited budget, a strong and sensible online strategy can divert these potential bookings to the hotels website.
A hotel can be quicker and react faster to making changes that an OTA. Hotels need to be more targeted and focused. In addition, hotels have the ability to spend more money on the direct property site.
Combined with a great marketing automation strategy and an enticing rewards program for returning guests, a hotel’s digital marketing strategy has the power to wrestle traffic from OTAs and raise revenues.

*Why Video Will Continue to Dominate
YouTube dominates the video world. It is also important to know how to use video across different channels such as Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat. Video is the best way to grab potential guests’ attention in this media heavy world. Keep the video no longer than 60 minutes after which the attention span wanes.

How does one do this: Create a quarterly video content calendar. The quarterly format helps you keep the content fresh and relevant for throughout the year.  Come up with at least one video per month and make each video topical. Focus on something related to your property that will interest your guests. Some ideas include: local points of interest, guides, maps, history, and employee stories.

Create a strategy for marketing these videos after you produce them. Decide how you will share them via email and social. They should be fully integrated into your existing email and social strategy. Videos will also improve your SEO because their bounce rates are lower, which means that your website users will stay on your site longer increasing your rankings. Additionally, your website will be able to rank on Google’s video search.

*Revisit Your Branding and Make Refinements
With a New Year it is time to think about updating your brand assets. This includes updating pictures on your website and social media channels. It’s important to keep images up-to-date and fresh to present the best image of your property.

Revisit the story your property is trying to tell. Your story and branding will drive the content you produce and the social media strategy you create. The story you tell should attract the type of guests you are looking for. If you are a ski and snowboarding lodge in Japan, your story is much different than a luxury hotel on the beach in Hawaii.

*Online Reviews why they are so important
At least 80% of consumers will check TripAdvisor re: reviews on your property, especially if they have never visited your hotel. Conduct a thorough audit of all online review channels and respond accordingly. It is best to respond to all reviews, but the negative ones are especially important. It looks bad for your property to have an unresolved negative review on the books. Even if you cannot change the guests’ experience, you can mitigate damage to your brand by explaining circumstances and being gracious and magnanimous.

Reviews are also a good way to gauge how your property performed over the past year. Guests’ reviews will you give you great insight into what you are already doing well at, and where there is room for improvement.  Marketing strategies can be created from online reviews as well as customer experience issues.

*Mobile Optimize Your Website
Mobile will only become increasingly more important. This should be taken seriously. Frankly if your website is not mobile you are definitely behind the times – create one. If you currently have one, make sure the pages display correctly.

Then, go through the booking process on multiple different mobile devices such as an iPhone, an Android phone, and a tablet. The way a website displays will vary based on the device, so it is best to test on multiple devices.