Success is based on how well you know your guests and what you do with that knowledge. Hoteliers need to capitalize on past guest data to acquire new guests, while also engaging the traveler at every touchpoint to guide them along the path to purchase.
Understanding what’s trending will help you focus on what to do right now. Here, we highlight the most important insights coming out of the hospitality industry, and how these trends should be shaping your strategy in Q3 and into Q4.
TRENDING | WHAT’S NEXT
TREND: It’s becoming more and more critical to stop working in digital technology and marketing silos. Hotels tend to use a myriad of vendors: one for CRM, a second for the website, a third for SEO, a fourth for SEM, and so on.
By bridging all this knowledge under one roof and understanding who past “best” guests are (i.e., highest RFM Value: Recency, Frequency, and Monetary) and their preferences, stay behavior, and booking behavior, your property or properties can capitalize on these insights to fuel digital marketing campaigns to reach future best guests.
TREND: Widgets, lots of widgets. There are many companies popping up, promising that ‘one line of code on the website’ will translate to thousands in additional revenue and direct bookings.
Some widgets in the marketplace can impact download speeds, gain access to your data, and insist on using analytical platforms that allow them to manipulate data and attribute revenue that isn’t really theirs, thus (cannibalizing revenue from your other digital marketing initiatives). Ideally, one vendor can help you cover all your bases, without multiple levels of tracking, or risk of a security breach.
TREND: Personalization is no longer just a marketing initiative, it’s an overall strategy. Eighty-nine percent of U.S. marketers reported that personalization on their websites resulted in an increase in revenue (eMarketer/Evergage).
Let website visitors know that you remember them. Deliver dynamically personalized content based on past booking history, guest preferences, loyalty program affiliation, demographics, location, website behavior, or market segment affiliation.
TREND: Budgeting season is here! Hotels around the globe are starting to put together their budgets for 2018, knowing that yes, it can—and probably will—take a few months to get everything approved and finalized.
It’s time to analyze what is working this year, review trends in the industry that should be taken into account when constructing your budgeting strategy, and start thinking about any major upgrades your property needs to take in its digital technology and marketing strategy. Stay tuned: Our yearly budgeting whitepaper and webinar is coming soon!
TREND: Airbnb is aggressively moving into the unmanaged business travel segment. The company tripled the number of business trips booked on Airbnb the previous year, and expect to quadruple that this year.
Hotels must promote what gives them a competitive edge over Airbnb to retain these lucrative travelers – complimentary breakfast, reliable high speed Wi-Fi, security, spaces for meetings and social interactions, quiet executive accommodations, luggage storage, etc.
BUSINESS NEED SPOTLIGHT | FOSTERING LOYALTY
Answering key business needs through strategic and cost-effective digital marketing is one of the major challenges for hotel marketers. Each quarter, we feature a common business need for hotel brands and highlight effective strategies to optimize your website and drive the right audience to increase conversions.
GET YOUR WEBSITE ON POINT.
Prompt visitors to upgrade when browsing room types.
Increasing the value of each and every guest starts with your website. One great way to prompt website visitors to upgrade their room is to present a suggestion lightbox when a user browses a room type encouraging them to upgrade. A simple message can go a long way, e.g., “Did you know? For just $30 more per night, you can have an oceanfront balcony.” Not only does this add value for potential guests, it adds revenue to your bottom line.
Upgrade the guest experience with a guest portal.
Don’t treat your guests like strangers. Serve a unique version of your website to guests within a specified radius of the hotel or to guests connected to Wi-Fi. This guest portal website can feature local events, spa and dining packages, check out times, and other relevant information. To capture 100% of guest emails and the emails of guests who booked through an OTA, prompt users to enter their name and email before accessing the Wi-Fi and the guest portal.
Increase guest value and win loyalty.
Use dynamic content personalization to target non-loyalty members with personalized website content offering a free room upgrade for becoming a loyalty member. Not only will this increase loyalty sign ups, it will expose users to an enhanced guest experience that they will be more likely to book again, unlike guests who have never stayed in the
upgraded room type.
GET YOUR BEST GUEST THERE.
Retarget visitors to room pages prompting them to upgrade.
When a website visitor browses a room type, retarget them throughout the travel planning journey not only promoting the room type they viewed, but prompting them to come back and upgrade with an exclusive offer just for them. An enticing offer, such as “Upgrade your stay at an exclusive rate of just $20 more a night when you come back and book,” not only provides unique value over competitors, it promotes a personalized one-to-one offer not available on the website.
Be there for every step of the guest experience.
Once a guest books, the real journey begins. Be sure to engage guests with pre-stay, in-stay, and post-stay email communication with the most relevant information at each stage of their trip. Pre-stay emails can prompt upgrades and provide weather details for packing; in-stay emails can offer events nearby, spa and dining specials, and important stay information; and post-stay emails can prompt guests to leave a review, sign-up for the loyalty program, and offer an exclusive discount for an upcoming stay.
Increase guest value by targeting luxury guests.
Utilize dynamic rate marketing to hone in on the luxury segment across travel ad networks and serve a higher ADR in real-time to potential guests who have booked a first-class flight. This is a great way to drive ADR and build a customer database of high-value best guests.
FROM THE DESIGN STUDIO | COGNITIVE CREATIVITY
Choosing an image and writing copy for creative is hard. Knowing which image and message will generate the most revenue is even harder. When hoteliers are able to use data to inform their creative process, they are maximizing their potential for making large contributions to the hotel’s bottom line. Below are examples of what strategic hotels are doing to ensure that their creative will captivate users and generate direct bookings.
TRANQUILITY BAY HELPS USERS IN THE DREAMING PHASE
This Reservation Abandonment Lightbox Banner is shown to potential guests who clicked out of the booking engine. Knowing that their typical guest has a longer booking window and a higher return frequency than the average website, Tranquility Bay is making it easy for travelers to plan in advance, and learn more about the month of travel they are most interested in. Serving the right information at the right time is helping them win the direct booking.
APEX HOTELS CALLS OUT THE RIGHT BENEFITS OF BOOKING DIRECT
Getting a potential guest to come to a hotel site is one hurdle, having the right design that will win the direct booking is another. Apex Hotels leverages a website design that prominently calls out the benefits of booking direct that they know will resonate most with their guests. Giving users a reason to stick around on the website and learn more is what can help push them through the conversion funnel.
LOTTE NEW YORK PALACE ENGAGES PAST HIGH VALUE GUESTS
Engaging their past guests who booked direct, Lotte New York Palace sent an email to those that haven’t stayed in a while. Using data to drive marketing efforts, and identify your best guests, is what will turn a regular guest into a loyal guest. Making your best guests feel special and extending an elevated experience will have them coming back again.
METRICS THAT MATTER | BENCHMARKING
Do you ever find yourself wondering where your hotel stands compared to industry benchmarks? We think it’s important, and like to keep our clients in the know. Check out our current best practice recommendations, based on trends uncovered during the most recent review of our client portfolio consisting of thousands of hotel properties.
MOMS “LIKE” TRAVEL INSPIRATION
THE TREND: Facebook Promoted Posts receive the most engagement when targeting moms (ages 30-45) planning travel. The most successful post content across HEBS Digital client portfolio are travel inspiration details highlighting the hotel’s location, convenience, and attractions nearby.
BEST PRACTICE: When planning a family travel multi-channel campaign, be sure to include Facebook Promoted Posts highlighting not only the enticing offer and promotion, but details about the hotel that moms value such as location, value, and things to do with kids nearby.
THE MILLENNIAL MANTRA: ENGAGE OR ELSE
THE TREND: When targeting millennials, rich media banners that are interactive and engaging are the most successful display creative. Across HEBS Digital portfolio rich media banners targeting this age demographic have a 4% higher click-through rate than any other banner.
BEST PRACTICE: When targeting millennials, focus on engaging display campaigns that feature rich imagery with people, video, and interactive components that draw millennial’s attention—and their wallets.
WHAT’S A PREHEADER?
THE TREND: Email marketing is tried and true, but open rates are on the decline. Everyone thinks that it’s the pretty email design that matters the most, but it’s the subject line and preheader—the brief summary that follows the subject line in the inbox— that break that barrier to open.
BEST PRACTICE: To hit a 13% open rate or higher, create compelling subject lines coupled with engaging preheader text. Better yet, use data and A/B testing to see what types of messages resonate most with your audience.
MORE SUPPLY MEANS MORE SHOPPING
THE TREND: Across the globe there is an increase in room supply. With the vast increase in hotel options, the traveler is able to shop and compare accommodations more than ever before.
BEST PRACTICE: Make it easy for your travelers to not only compare overall value through merchandising storytelling website content, but also showcase live rates that eliminate the need to initiate a booking. Having information easily accessible for travel researchers will help websites surpass the average 2.35% conversion rates.
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