Hospitality marketing is all about bringing awareness to your business to increase your overall revenue. Like marketing in other industries, hospitality marketing is fluid with trends that come and go. Savvy Hotel Marketing Managers need to stay in the loop so they can keep up with competitors and optimize the number of guests they attract through their digital initiatives.
Fortunately, if you’re looking for what’s new when it comes to hospitality marketing trends, you’ve come to the right place.
1 – In Response To The Pandemic
Communication With Guests
Every region has its set of COVID-19 guidelines, and it’s your hotel’s job to know what they are. It’s now common practice to publicize the COVID-19 safety measures your hotel is taking so guests feel comfortable during their visit.
Communication of your hotel’s safety guidelines could take the form of advertisements, email communications, and signage throughout your hotel. It’s understandable for guests to now consider the risk factors of travelling during the pandemic, so reassurance of proper safety measures is a great way to appeal to more cautious guests.
Flexible Cancelation Options
The pandemic has created a lot of uncertainty for travellers. In response, your hotel can implement policies that make it easy (or easier) for guests to cancel or change their plans.
Being flexible is part of empathizing with your customer’s journey and rolling with changes in the industry. Incorporating your policies throughout your marketing channels is also a must. People need to know about them if you’ve made changes in response to the market.
In fact, it could be detrimental to not have flexible cancellation options. Most hotels have already changed their cancellation policies, so you could be losing business as a result. It could also affect your reviews online and elsewhere from a publicity perspective.
2 – Enhance The Customer Journey With New Technology
Contactless Guest Check-In
Technological advances permit hotels to have a contactless guest check-in. What does this have to do with marketing? It can free up staff time to enhance the guest experience in other ways, including on marketing initiatives. Contactless check-ins save money on traditional cards that get lost or damaged. They’re also are more secure because you can change room access codes with each guest.
In addition, if your hotel is well-suited for contactless guest check-in, make sure to promote it! A 2020 study found that 89% of guests would download a hotel app that allowed them to check-in and out of their room. Guests’ preferences are changing, and for your business to keep up, it’s necessary to embrace new technology. Incorporate contactless check-ins in your marketing messaging, so your audience knows what you’re offering.
Sales Pipeline And CRM
A Sales Pipeline and CRM system that fits your hotel’s needs saves time on administrative tasks and provides a smoother technological experience for your guests. For example, it’s easier to send out proposals when your CRM system has pre-saved, professional-looking templates. Communicating with customers is made simple with an automated emailing system within your CRM. Digital invoicing makes payment faster for everyone and mitigates slower, outdated payment options.
3 – Personalized Marketing
We’ve written about why a personalized guest experience matters, and the same principles apply to marketing. Targeted marketing makes sure that the right guest gets the right message at the right time.
There are several ways you can go about personalizing your marketing content. You can create user personas to segment the content you publish, for starters. You may have a persona for your group bookings guests, business travellers, or vacationers – it will all depend on your hotel’s clientele. When those are made, you can create content targeted for each persona. Blogs, promotional emails, social media posts, or your website content should all have a target audience.
Sending targeted, personalized content to your guests promotes a memorable, unique experience for your guests. Satisfied guests are the fuel to a thriving business. They’re more likely to be a repeat guest, share their positive experience with others, and help build your hotel’s reputation.
4 – Enhanced Pre-Booking Experience
The world of virtual reality (VR) has been emerging in the hospitality industry. VR tours are the next best thing to actually being in a hotel. Guests can see the rooms and event spaces in a way they otherwise couldn’t with regular photos.
VR tours can be featured on hotel websites with a standard browser or VR headsets. Either way – they help show off the features of your hotel and encourage guests to engage with your hotel online.
If you aren’t familiar with augmented reality, it’s an interactive experience or an enhanced version of reality. An example you may be familiar with is Snapchat filters. They show your natural face but with cat ears or sunglasses.
Hotels have gotten creative with this new technology. For example, Holiday Inn launched an AR feature that allowed guests to use their smartphone devices to see the virtual Olympic and Paralympic athletes at the reception hall or in their own hotel during the Olympic games 2012. Pretty cool!
5 – Influencer Marketing
Traditional word-of-mouth referrals aren’t enough to cut it in 2022. Influencer marketing has increased in popularity, probably because it resonates with younger guests.
To do this, hotels partner with an influencer who will promote their hotel stay to their online audience. Not only does this open up your hotel to a broader audience, but it also helps build the reputation of your hotel. If an influencer makes a YouTube video about your hotel, it gives a deeper look into what the guest experience is really like.
6 – User-Generated Marketing
Online user engagement is easy for hotel marketers to overlook. Just because your brand is posting on social media doesn’t necessarily mean your audience is engaging with the content. Remember that your audience can be our best advocates, so when they like, share, comment, and tag friends, they’re also promoting your hotel.
An example of how you can engage your audience is to have a giveaway where users need to tag a friend to enter to win. This helps bring new users to your social media channels to improve your brand awareness.
Another example would be to create a hashtag for guests to use when they stay at your hotel. This can be a way of reaching a bigger audience based on the guests you already have. It’s also a fun and engaging way to build customer loyalty.
7 – Renewed Focus On Local Guests
Domestic tourism continues to be the leading factor in the hospitality industry’s recovery from the pandemic. Working with this knowledge, it’s wise to create content directed at local guests. Get creative in how you highlight features. Perhaps your hotel has new packages for staycations or local events that are more relevant for your guests than before.
8 – Digital Retargeting
Retargeting campaigns are a way of reminding your website visitors of your hotel after they leave your website without booking. It can be done through several different channels, including display ads, search ads and email.
This form of retargeting occurs when users have visited your website and are targeted with display ads as they continue to browse the web. Statistically speaking, this form of retargeting is valuable. Retargeted website visitors are 43% more likely to convert than non-targeted users.
Unlike site retargeting, search retargeting is designed to find new customers who haven’t likely yet been to your hotel’s website. It uses the keywords users search for to target them with display ads. You choose the keywords based on who you target and what is relevant to your hotel. According to Wordstream, retargeted search ads have higher conversion rates than display ads – although display ads aren’t that far behind.
When it comes to email retargeting, you can use a simple code in the email so that guests who open your email will be targeted with ads for your hotel on sites throughout the web. This is a clever way of reaching already interested users without overwhelming them with more emails.
9 – Increased Video Content
Short-form video clips are becoming more popular across digital platforms.
Instagram, for instance, is trending towards posting more video content through its reel feature.
Work with these trends for a more “Insta-worthy” social media feed. Younger demographics drawn to social media will be more engaged with your content, and you’ll have more success in building brand awareness if your content is fresh and on-trend.
Hospitality marketing trends are a blend of two fast-paced industries. Marketing is constantly evolving, and so is the hospitality industry. When it comes to reaching your hotel’s goals and developing your strategy, staying on trend is beneficial for your revenue stream and building a reputable hotel.
Do you agree with our list of hospitality marketing trends? Let us know in the comments below.