The hospitality industry is constantly evolving. A recent report by Adobe Digital Insights showed that 61% of leisure arrangements are made online. These statistics go on to show that in order for your hotel business to thrive, you need to put emphasis on digital marketing. To keep up with the competition and stay on top of the game, you need to make sure you invest in these five areas in order to keep your business successful:
1. Digital Marketing
2. Guest experience & personalized marketing
3. Visual Marketing
4. The Impact of Influencers
5. Use Client Reviews to your Advantage
6. Voice Search and Face Recognition
1. Invest in Digital Marketing
“About 61% of mobile owners use their phone to book a stay”
The use of digital marketing in the hospitality industry is growing at a very fast rate. Marriott Hotels, for example, allows their customers to avoid check-in and go to their door directly, by letting them use their phone as a key.
© Voyage d’Affaire
Today, digital marketing plays a vital role in the marketing strategy, and it will continue to do so in the near future. In 2019, almost every hotel started to aggressively invest in digital marketing to gain competitive advantage. Further on, the focus will be placed on augmented reality, blockchain and artificial intelligence. So far, there are 5 major trends in marketing:
Content marketing and SEO
Automation of Marketing
Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning
Big Data Analytics and Internet of Things
As today’s great hotel experience is both physical and digital, the future will put much greater emphasis on the digital part. People will be able to get a first impression of the services by using the online booking experience, which will ultimately shape their opinion. More than 95% of all employees working in the hospitality business claim that they want to integrate Artificial Intelligence technologies in their business. It’s important to note that your hotel must deliver a great digital experience at every stage of the process, and not just the first few initial stages. Your business also needs to adapt to the fact that the majority of bookings are made on a mobile phone. With nearly 80% of all clients owning a mobile phone, about 70% of them would want to book various services such as spa appointments on their mobiles.
Relying on brand history and loyalty alone is not sufficient anymore. Your business needs to integrate small devices and touch-ups such as IoT connectivity that will allow guests to customize their experience with an app or their own voice.
2. Guest Experience and Personalized Marketing
“36% of all hotel clients would pay more in return for receiving more tailored information and experiences”
Robert Cole, founder of the travel technology and hospitality consulting firm called RockCheetah, argues that personalized marketing is where things should be going. Your task will be to make it all about the guest and the guest experience. This will ultimately drive the customer lifetime value. According to Google and Phocusright, creating a memorable experience is not the only thing hotels should worry about. It is also about because hoteliers want their clients to come back and tell others about their stay. In addition to that, your business needs to present not only individualized and relevant pricing, but also provide the visitors with personalized pricing.
To succeed, hotels need to establish the demand generators that would show my individuals are traveling, who are they traveling with, and what they are looking for in their experience. Furthermore, hoteliers need to get access to these things and then attempt to facilitate them. In addition to that, your business should ensure that the customers are satisfied by following up with them during three stages:
Before the stay: send a personal confirmation email that provides all the necessary details. Another email should be sent a few weeks before arrival in order to help them plan their stay, specifically providing him with a list of activities or services along with the survey.
During the stay: send a welcome email or message after your guests have checked in. Information can also be sent throughout the day about the many options and events happening. However, you need to be careful not to overwhelm the client with unnecessary information.
After the stay: send an email to the client thanking him for his visit and invite him to respond to a short satisfaction survey. In addition, your hotel can send the client a loyalty card or any other exclusive offers.
With the help of a personalized and 100% automatic emailing program, you can triple your number of loyal clients. According to a study conducted by Revinate, 86% of consumers indicate that customized booking has a real influence on consumers’ decision to buy. In addition, customized booking can increase your return on investment by five to eight times.
3. Visual Marketing
“77% of clients opt out for a virtual tour prior to booking a room”
It’s not a surprise that good visuals are some of the most powerful visual marketing instruments in the industry. As most know, people can retain up to 70% of what they watch and only 30% of what they read and hear. About 48% of people determine the credibility of the company based on its website. Just this alone shows that visuals are more appealing than anything else. Visuals are vital if you want to increase your hotel conversion rate. About 60% of all marketers say that visuals tend to be the most captivating form of marketing that leads to the highest ROI. By including photos on your site, you increase your chances of being booked by 225%.
Adding visual marketing is also extremely important. This includes spreading video content not only on the website but also on different social media platforms. What’s even more effective are the 360-degree videos that open more opportunities to immerse the audience. Videos can tell potential buyers a story, giving them an experience that includes high quality and accurate photography and statistics that make your place stand out. Video making shouldn’t pose great challenges for your company, as you can easily hire professionals to do the work for you. According to e-market associates, if 20% of users read content, 80% would watch a video with the same content. This statistic alone shows how essential it is to include a well-filmed video on your page.
To increase your conversion rate, you should consider investing in virtual reality that can give your clients a better presentation of the hotel. Cesar Urbina, who works for the virtual reality agency, said that the customer feels more reassured and confident about booking their stay after using the virtual reality tour.
Of course, virtual reality can’t replace the actual experience of traveling, because you can’t taste the local cuisine or smell the ocean. However, “virtual reality can give you a small insight that encourages you to explore more,” claims Siham Fettouhi. In the US, 74% of consumers use a virtual reality tour prior to completing their booking.
4. The Impact of Influencers
“92% of customers are more likely to trust individual reviews rather than the brand ads”
In today’s world, marketing is majorly influenced by personalized reviews such as vlogs, blogs, and posts on social media. A social media influencer is much more likely to make an impact on a customer’s decision to finalize the purchase than a well-done marketing campaign.
The new generation will browse the web for the latest hotel and trip reviews before making the decision to book a stay. Many times, the buyers would get influenced by a particular visual that would trigger their attention and lead them to the final stage of clicking that ‘finalize your booking’ button. Today, the users spend on average 2 hours and 22 minutes on social media and messaging platforms. Of course, this data varies throughout different cultural settings, but statistics show that this trend will only continue to grow.
Caroline Zpira, a blogger and an influencer on Instagram with over 45,000 followers, regularly posts vlogs and reviews on social media about her recent stays.
© Instagram Account of Caroline Zpira
Zpira usually gets contacted by hotels to stay in one of their rooms and rate them at the end of her stay. Her duties include writing a blog where she can give the audience a general overview and an opinion about her stay. Zpira also has to post on social media about it, tagging the place and location.
5. Use Client Reviews to Your Advantage
After checking the price, reviews of the previous clients are the second thing consumers are looking at when deciding to book a stay. The reputation of your hotel online has become essential to the success of your business.
A hotel with many reviews would always seem more credible and attractive to clients than the one with only a few. According to Digital Commerce, 93% of all buyers consult the reviews online before booking a room. On the other hand, statistics show that 88% of all users would avoid looking at hotels that have a score of three stars or less.
In order to raise your online presence, your hotel needs to include the review section on the website. Another study shows that on average 76% of clients are willing to pay more for a hotel with higher reviews. Furthermore, eight out of ten people claim that online reviews influence their decision to purchase a hotel stay.
However, posting a review section on your website might not be sufficient. To increase your chances of being booked, you also need to spread your announcements on sites such as Trivago, Expedia, Hotels.com.
In addition, hotels that post on these websites and also have high-quality photos next to their listing tend to get higher conversion rates. With Meero, you don’t have to worry about your photography process. As a leader in the photography industry that uses AI to edit your images, Meero always delivers on time and tailors everything to your personalized needs.
6. Voice Search and Face Recognition
The facial recognition market is expected to grow from $4 billion to $7.8 billion by 2022. Scientists claim that facial recognition has the potential to improve security and efficiency in the field of hospitality. The AI will give the ability to analyze which data is useful in milliseconds. An AI application can also easily guide visitors through their stay. In the hospitality industry, facial recognition can be used for access purposes, such as entering the hotel room. Facial recognition can also simplify the check-in process and generate more tailored welcome messages. Moreover, your clients can confirm their payment at the same time. Despite the fact the current state is still not advanced at this point, the potential for emotional technology is promising.
In China, facial recognition is already used in different Marriott hotels, where guests can go directly to the kiosk to check-in. The technology scans their face and provides them with a key card within one minute. However, some customers are concerned about security, as even more of their personal data would become available.
According to ComScore, nearly 50% of Google searches will be voice searches by 2020. In addition to that, judging by the trends from 2015 to 2017 during which more than 20 million Amazon Echo speakers were sold, voice technology is becoming the new trend.