With the smell of spring in the air, and summer just around the corner, there’s no better time to take stock in your hotel’s 2013 marketing plan and re-evaluate your digital strategies.
As we mentioned in our guide, 2013 Hotel Marketing Trends: From standout social media to marvelous mobile marketing, social, mobile and visual storytelling across the web would be important for hotel marketers to focus on this year. Let’s revisit them now and explore how you can continue to push these initiatives forward.
It Starts with Visual Storytelling
The key to attracting travel shoppers and increasing your bookings is to connect with them emotionally. The best way to do this is to share a visual story that will appeal to each target market that your hotel is catering to.
The first step in creating your visual story is to develop and source great visual content – photos, videos, virtual tours, etc. Take a look at the photos you currently have for your hotel and ask yourself the following questions:
- Do they accurately showcase the hotel, guest rooms and amenities?
- Do they accurately convey the hotel’s story?
- Do the photos help the hotel stand out from the competition?
Remember you don’t need a thousand dollar photo shoot. Technology has made it easy to take good photos and make them look great. You can also curate photos that your guests share on sites like Instagram, Pinterest and Facebook. Don’t forget to look into sourcing images from the local attractions and tourism boards.
Consistency is Crucial
When researching hotels, consumers use more than one website. In fact, the research process usually involves going to 20+ websites (Google, The Five Stages of Travel). This means that travel shoppers are viewing your hotel on your own dedicated hotel website, across multiple OTAs, review sites, and social media sites. They are also looking through multiple devices – laptop, smartphone and tablet.
Because of this behavior, consistency is crucial when sharing your visual story. Make sure your visual media is sending the same message across the different channels by using current media and updating it regularly. Remember that creating a consistent visual story is an important factor in creating an emotional connection with your guests.
Once you have gathered all of your content and created your hotel’s story, it’s time to share it with the world! A great way to amplify your story is through social media as 52% of travelers use social networks for travel ideas (tnooz.com). Social media is a critical channel to inform and create important conversations and showcase your hotel’s personality.
- 3.5 billion pieces of content are shared each week on Facebook (blog.kissmetrics.com)
- Based on a study by Facebook, users add more stories about travel to their Facebook Timelines than they do any other type of life event (tnooz.com)
- Travel is ranked number 9 in the top ten categories on Pinterest (rjmetrics.com)
Become part of the conversation! By creating a community online, you can open clear lines of communication. Don’t forget, being active on social media doesn’t mean you have to be on all channels. Instead, keep things tidy by choosing 2-3 that make the most sense for your hotel and start posting and interacting on daily basis.
Monitor Your Online Reputation
Sites that enable guests to post reviews of your hotel (like TripAdvisor) give other travelers insights into guest stories and what guests really think of your hotel. Monitoring and responding to these guest stories is vital for hotel marketers. They are great way to get insights that can help you when crafting your own story.
Travelers like to read and write reviews. The average number of reviews per hotel on OTA sites is 238 and 81 percent of travelers find review important (statisticbrain.com). The Jupiter Hotel is great at responding to every review on TripAdvisor. They take the time to thank guests for positive reviews and address issues and concerns. It’s never too late to start becoming active on review sites!
Optimize for Mobile
Now is the time to make sure your website is mobile optimized. Mobile usage in travel is growing rapidly. 57 % of US business travelers and 38% of leisure travelers reported using mobile devices to access travel information in 2012 (Google and Ipsos Media CT’s).
- 61% of customers who visit a mobile unfriendly site are likely to leave and go to a competitor’s site (googlemobileads.blogspot.ca)
- Mobile search has grown 400% in the last year (Adworkshop.com)
Guests are using mobile devices during all stages of the shopping journey. If you haven’t gone mobile (meaning optimized your hotel website for smartphone and tablet visitors) our best advice is to make this a top priority. Don’t sweep this task under the rug.
Spring is the season for taking inventory and reorganizing. Take this opportunity to evaluate ways that you can clean up your marketing strategy by sharing your story consistently, staying social, managing your online reputation and moving to mobile. For more tips and best practices, download the guide: 2013 Hotel Marketing Trends: From standout social media to marvelous mobile marketing.