While the past several years have certainly been a whirlwind, we’re happy to share that the hospitality and tourism industry is recovering. As a result, competition and hospitality marketing strategies are heating up. Hotels need to prepare fresh ideas to keep up with the changing market.
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the primary source of tourism hasn’t derived from international travel. While international tourist arrivals increased by a steady 4% in 2021, it’s been a slow recovery. Instead, most of the tourism recovery has come from increasing domestic tourism. According to data from the World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), U.S. domestic travel spending could reach more than $1.1 trillion for the year. This amount surpasses pre-pandemic levels by 11.3 percent.
This is excellent news for the hospitality and tourism industry.
In response, hotels should plan for the increase of tourists traveling. To optimize their bookings and revenue, it’s wise to segment your hotel’s marketing tactics. Targeted marketing towards tourists can help create a more personalized experience and help your hotel stand out among competitors.
Let’s dive into the subject a bit deeper.
Using The Customer Journey For Better Hospitality And Tourism Marketing
The hospitality industry is, at its core, about providing guests with quality service and a seamless experience.
When planning out the strategy for marketing to tourists, a helpful place to start is to empathize with the entire customer journey.
1 – Ideation
Before a tourist plans their trip, they imagine their experience (in some capacity at least). They dream about a trip and perhaps get inspiration elsewhere. Maybe they saw something on social media or talked to a friend who recently traveled.
To help facilitate potential guests in the ideation phase, encourage guests to share content on their social media while staying at your hotel. This could look like a hashtag or a contest where users need to tag a friend to enter.
2 – Research
Next, the user will plan out their trip. Then, they’ll look at things like cost, promotions, social media content, and online reviews. This is a meticulous phase because consumers are now the gatekeepers of information thanks to the internet. It’s now easy to compare prices, amenities, and locations.
Luckily, there are ways to use the internet to your advantage.
Customer referrals are a powerful tool to bring in business and reflect on your hotel’s customer loyalty. This could be through word-of-mouth, a referral program, or good reviews online.
Your hotel can put work into having a referral program or encouraging your guests to send in reviews online. However, online reviews can be tricky because it’s almost impossible to please everyone. What you can do, though, is listen to your guests’ feedback and make adjustments to your hotel based on feedback.
It’s also wise to put out targeted marketing content specifically for tourists. For example, email segmentation can help provide the right user with the correct information at the right time. Certain features will be more appealing to tourists than to your business travel guests, so remember, don’t have a one-size-fits-all content strategy.
Another way to help tourists in the research phase of their journey is to use virtual reality (VR). For example, you can set up a virtual reality tour of your hotel and its features to promote them. This allows users to understand better what they’re paying for and what they can expect when they arrive.
3 – Booking
A smooth booking process is essential to compete with other competitors in the tourism industry.
Examine your website’s analytics to see any roadblocks in the user journey. For example, are guests logging off at the check-out phase? Perhaps you need to look at changing where the call to action (CTAs) buttons are on your landing pages. Is the copy on your website concise and clear?
Thinking about your website will help you mitigate the number of users who use online travel agencies (OTAs) and improve your revenue and guest experience.
Having chat-bots in the booking experience is also helpful. It allows guests to get the information they need in a personalized, quick fashion.
4 – Experience
Think about how your hotel’s experience matches up to tourists’ expectations.
It’s essential to have a modern check-in experience that’s flexible and caters to your guests’ needs. Consider looking for ways to improve your check-in experience and leverage technology.
Another part of a quality guest experience includes having everything go according to plan. For instance, are your guests getting pre-arrival emails? Then, when they arrive at their destination, is all of the information attributed as expected? An all-in-one CRM platform is valuable in minimizing mistakes behind the scenes. When guest information is in one place, hotel staff don’t need to worry about errors made while cross-referencing material.
5 – Post-Experience
A visitor’s post-experience is an opportunity to continue to engage the guest. You can collect valuable feedback from post-visit emails and remarket to build hotel loyalty.
Follow-up emails can include promotional material to encourage your guests to book with your hotel again, or you can use it as an opportunity to collect information on your guest’s experience. In addition, you can send out surveys and use data points to adjust your hotel’s focus.
Additionally, your hotel can look into remarketing. Remarketing is a way of targeting users online who have already interacted with your hotel to generate future revenue. It can be carried out on social media or Google AdWords and is a valuable tool because it provides users with relevant information.
Your hotel can draw a lot of insight by going through the tourist user journey. Essentially, hospitality involves serving clients through an empathetic lens which is why it’s a good exercise to think about the steps your guests go through when they engage with your hotel.
Every hotel should be intentional with its customer experience, so marketing for hospitality and tourism is best done with the user’s journey in mind.