Well, here we are – almost halfway through 2018, and at Clockwork we’re in the same spot we were last year, and the year before that and 20 years before that. Boldly sailing into the hurricane headwinds of hospitality marketing.
It’s what we do, it’s what we love.
But yes, headwinds. You see, marketing hotels (or anything) isn’t a “oh, don’t worry – we’ll just repeat last years’ efforts” type of deal. Sure, there are aspects of marketing that endure, and will always be relevant (digital or otherwise). However, there’s an endless tech wind blowing, and ever more refined ways of communicating.
Marketing moves forward annually like a cheetah that’s been lapping energy drink.
For our clients, we make it a top priority to stay firmly afloat and don’t let any marketing trends give us the slip.
Here we go, here are the top hotel marketing trends 2018 for you to ponder over.
Personalisation & Authenticity
Okay, what does personalisation mean for the hospitality industry?
86% of travellers like personalised offers. This could be custom travel itineraries, targeted banners and interactive content.
E.g. an advert asking customers to “list their favourite wines, craft drinks and nibbles” then stand a chance of winning a short break in X with a personalised hamper on arrival.
Here’s what it’s not – a hotel with a fine dining restaurant running a live wrestling promotion. To be extreme.
Your hotel has its own personality and staying on brand is the best way not to confuse customers.
Did you read that as experimental?
Whilst being experimental with marketing is great, this is about experience. As a hotel, what are you selling? It’s not a product (or really a service) it’s an experience.
Staying at a lovely hotel, as part of a wider holiday or break can help fire lifelong memories. (If, the experience is what it should be).
The idea is to make your hotel experience memorable, in a positive way -from booking to checkout. Not a single part of the journey should be lacking in flare.
User Generated Content
Social proof is an age-old marketing technique. "Other humans just like you buy this product and like it – so you should". Simple, yet very effective.
What if those humans are smiley stock people, or thinly disguised actors and actresses? We don’t relate, that’s what.
The strongest pull to purchase is an emotional one, and we respond better to genuine emotion than anything else. Basically, when we see real people enjoying themselves – we want in.
User generated content is uploaded by your guests to social media and approved by you.
“Wow, the spa here at the X looks amazing – time for my digital detox weekend. Over and out!”
It’s free, honest and an asset to your hotel.
Where isn’t there an advert these days? Soon enough a company will fly into space and dig out a slogan in a series of colossal trenches on the moon. We’ll look up into the night sky, to be met with “DentaCorp – moon white teeth for everyone”.
We’re joking, obviously. Celestial ad space should never be a thing.
Our point is – we’re bombarded by large numbers of brands daily, each wanting us to buy something. This has become even more pronounced in the last decade with the rise of social media and online advertising.
As consumers we’re over stimulated, so it’s harder to grab our attention and we spend less time viewing more media.
Cue the YouTube six second adverts or “bumper ads”. This is becoming increasingly popular and is the perfect way to showcase a punchy message for your hotel.
“Alexa, what’s the most expensive cheese?”
Some of us are using this, some aren’t. Like all leaps in technology it’ll take a while for people to feel fully comfortable with it. It’s better to be ahead of the curve though.
The way we speak is different to the way we type search queries – so search engine optimisation (SEO) for voice is also different.
Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
More than ever before consumers are using their mobiles to research the specifics of hotels, but then booking via a desktop.
This means your website should be thoroughly optimised for mobile devices.
Facebook sidebar adverts are old-ish hat. It’s all about native advertising now. What’s a native ad? This is one that appears within a personal newsfeed – right in the heart of the action.
It’s thought that more than half of consumers that click on a native advert do so with the intention of purchasing.
Cookies Now Stale
HTTP cookies. You may still be wondering what these digital biscuits are. To put it simply, they’re a way of conserving information on a consumer’s browsing habits, allowing targeted marketing efforts.
Anyway, they’re no longer as crunchy as they once were. Native advertising and people-based, authentic marketing are the way forward for hoteliers.
The longer a keyword phrase becomes, the more specific it is. Those that are three words and over are known as long-tail keywords. When worked into your site content, these are great way of helping attract quality traffic.
There is less competition for these phrases, and they make 70% of the total search volume.
The New Search Engine: Social Media
Okay, Google is a behemoth that isn’t going anywhere. However, social media platforms are not what they used to be. They’re far more complex, immersive and a standard way to connect with brands.
When searching for hotels, some consumers bypass traditional search engines all together and go straight for social media. To ensure your hotel is easy to find on social media, make sure to include relevant #hashtags in your posts.
Exclusive Hotel Marketing
It would be unfair of us to point out the latest marketing trends, without offering to market your hotel for you. You’re busy, with the day-to-day running of your hotel - and don't have time to fit in a marketing day job too. At Clockwork we've worked exclusively with hotels for 20+ years. We create pure hospitality websites, that fuel direct bookings - and understand the nuances of your industry the way other agencies can't.
If you'd like a friendly chat with us about how we can rennovate your online presence - please give us a call on 01803 872 999 or check out our Digital Marketing page for more info.