The structure of the hospitality industry has changed significantly in the past 20 years, and there is no reason to believe that it won’t continue to evolve.
What in the past may have seemed groundbreaking, such as travelers booking their own trips and planning their own itineraries without the help of a local travel agent, is now the accepted norm. As some hotel chains have struggled to keep up with technological advances and adjusting to a changing sales model, other have embraced the trends and found success.
Most hoteliers have recognized that consumers are booking their own trips, often through an online travel service. Customers read user reviews, compare room rates and check out amenities before making a decision. As a result, many hoteliers are putting their companies in front of consumers using both their websites and multiple social media platforms.
Most businesses have created loyalty programs, and many of them routinely ask guests to write reviews of their stay. It is standard for hotel chains to capture site visitor email addresses so they can send targeted messages to people who agree to receive them.
Rising in Popularity
The hotel companies that are at the front of the pack when it comes to online marketing have taken their efforts even further. A majority of them have taken a hard look at their websites and overhauled them so that they offer the best customer experience possible. Wise hoteliers have ensured their sites are easy to read and use on multiple mobile devices, since that’s what most consumers use when planning a trip.
Other innovative marketing strategies include personalized email newsletters, consistent social media activity and a focus on immediately addressing customers’ concerns when they are expressed in online reviews.
What’s Up Next
Marketing professionals have predicted several new trends coming up for hoteliers who are willing to embrace new methods, and most of them revolve around technology. These innovations render “online marketing” as a nearly redundant term, because all of them are facilitated by the Internet.
- Interactive tech adoption: It will allow consumers’ devices to book rooms, check in and leave reviews based on your preferences and previous experiences.
- Go social: New social media platforms are expected to emerge that target hyper-specific groups of people.
- Personalization: There will be more ways to gather personal information about shoppers and guests, meaning hotels will have access to all sorts of demographic information that allows them to truly customize each guest’s stay.
Hoteliers who want to ride those marketing wave into the future should learn all they can about how to put these tools to work for their business.
What to Do Right Now
For companies that have been mulling how to jump aboard the hotel online marketing train, it is time to make the leap. Hoteliers should focus on basics – at least by modern standards — such as personalized email newsletters, a comprehensive review-gathering method, a solid social media presence and a website that’s optimized for mobile viewing. In fact, websites might be due of an overall refresh to be more customer friendly. Once hoteliers have mastered these areas and developed a good base of followers, they can think about the next steps in the process.
The face of hotel online marketing is constantly changing. Companies that work to embrace trends and take advantage of current tech innovations likely will find themselves ahead of the pack. Time and technology will keep marching on, so hoteliers are advised to get in step. It can benefit not only the company, but also current and future guests.