Hotel online marketing trends have changed over the years. From the early days, when marketing was fairly traditional, to today, when hospitality brands use innovative methods to compete with online travel agencies, many developments have shaped the industry.
It would be impossible to cover them all in a single, short blog post. That said, this post can provide a general overview, helping you better understand why it’s important to constantly develop new strategies.
The Early Days of Hotel Online Marketing
Hospitality brands began marketing on the Internet in much the same way as brands in various other industries. They relied on traditional media and channels, including email marketing, social media, blogs, and, of course, SEO-optimized websites.
It was certainly possible for brands to use these tactics relatively effectively. However, relying solely on the same methods as everyone else limited the potential return-on-investment of their efforts. This remains true today. To stand out among the competition, you need to leverage innovative approaches to marketing.
The Role of OTAs
Online travel agencies have played a significant role in hotel marketing strategies for many years. In fact, they’ve substantially changed the way people book hotel rooms. Recent research indicates as much as 27% of hotel bookings are now made through indirect sources, such as OTAs. Additionally, younger consumers tend to favor OTAs due to the simplicity they offer.
That’s why many hospitality brands have used them to market their properties. An OTA can, for instance, choose one of your hotels as a “top pick” in a given area, making it more attractive to potential guests.
That’s not to say there haven’t been drawbacks. OTAs can charge substantial commissions. They also limit your ability to market your properties in a brand-appropriate manner. Because of this, many hospitality companies have begun pursuing other marketing strategies.
The Push for Personalization
Several new trends have emerged as hotel online marketing strategies have changed and developed over the years. One such trend is an increased focus on the importance of personalization. Research consistently indicates consumers are increasingly demanding greater personalized experiences and marketing content from brands.
This may be due in part to the rise of artificial intelligence. With AI, brands can collect information about each user every time they use their products or services. This allows the AI to tailor the user’s next experience to their tastes, behaviors, and needs.
Luckily, there are many ways you can go about adding a greater degree of personalization to your online marketing strategy. For instance, you could automate emails that get sent to customers on their birthdays, providing them with discounts based on their previous booking behavior or website use. On social media, your brand can respond to individual comments, helping users feel they are engaging in a personal interaction. Additionally, if a customer books through your brand often, you can collect information about them, offering relevant suggestions (room size, extra amenities, etc.) the next time they book a room.
These are all points to consider when developing a marketing strategy for your hospitality brand. The main point to take away from all of this is the fact that marketing trends change over the years. What works now may not always be effective later on. That’s why you need to be vigilant, aggressively staying abreast of the latest developments in hotel marketing. That’s key to staying ahead of the competition.