Most industries now incorporate digital in some way or another. So hotels and restaurants which do not undergo a digital transformation in 2018 risk falling behind. Investing money in web marketing is vital for the hospitality industry in 2018, because it offers a chance to connect with worldwide audiences. Here are the web marketing trends for hotels and hospitality units in 2018:
#1 The Age of Big Data
Big Data is set to be huge. Companies all over the world are tapping into Big Data and the hospitality industry should not trail behind on this web marketing trend. For example, if a guest checks into the hotel and posts a review about it on social media channels, this is important feedback. However, mining each and every single review is next to impossible. Big Data can help you to see the big picture and offer an honest look into the experience you offer your guests.
The future is here, when it comes to the hospitality industry. In the age of web marketing Big Data remains the competitive differentiator for hotels and service industries worldwide. Big Data lets hospitality companies and hotels gather data on customer tastes, preferences, demographics and shopping trends of the past.
#2 Virtual Reality Delights Customers
Virtual displays can alter the dining experience. Research has found visual displays even impact the taste of whisky. Virtual reality can alter sight, smell, sound and even taste! Guests can experience a live demo of the hotel experience through VR headsets. Furthermore, web marketing will take on a whole new meaning. For hotels and restaurants, the limits are defined only by your imagination. Your hotel can display and play to its strengths like never before.
Introducing a VR setup enables customers to walk into restaurants and cafes and get a real life experience as well as view selections of equipment tailored to start-ups. One can even use events on the property to immerse users in an entertainment experience that adds value and excitement by watching 360-degree immersive video. Digital marketing trends for the hospitality industry are incomplete sans VR.
#3 The Rise of Immersive Storytelling
Showy, big budget video productions are the thing of the past. Now is the age of immersive storytelling style videos. Clean layouts, real footage and promotional videos which offer a true peek into your hospitality brands are the order of the day. Video marketing has been around for some time, but the dynamics are constantly changing. Facebook, for example, generates 8 billion video views on an average every day.
YouTube, on the other hand, reports mobile video consumption rose by 100 percent Y-O-Y. Snapchat users additionally watch 10 billion videos per day. Further research shows that including a landing page video boosts conversion rates by 80 percent.
#4 Google Rich Answers Add Immense Value
The aim of your hotel’s website is to rank #1. Thanks to Google Rich Answers, your hotel can rank even higher. Rich answers are snippets on top of Google Search page which provide direct responses to queries. But it’s a whole lot more than that. Descriptive solutions for trip planners are the top spot hospitality web marketers need to aim for, as far as Google Rich Answers go. Sprinkle keywords, search question variations etc., throughout the content. The result will be awesome.
#5 Google Q&A for Businesses
A new feature hoteliers are banking on is Google Question and Answer. Google Maps has this new feature which permits users to ask questions to a business directly from the SERP. This offers hotels a chance to interact with guests, much like the Facebook direct messages feature. All you need to do is have a verified location setup for Google My Business. Then Google maps need to be downloaded and linked to the Google Account which manages your business listing. Hotels can then set up apps to receive notifications when users ask a query. After that, all you need to do is respond to the questions and et voila, you receive instant publicity online.
#6 Engage With Customers at Deeper Levels
Hospitality is essentially a growth industry, and ranges across luxury hotels, food services, accommodation and online booking to see continuous growth through the next few years. In 2017 alone, the restaurant industry worldwide is worth USD 2.1 trillion! International tourism is on the rise too. As the hospitality industry explores new ways of achieving the best user experience, the internet has become an enabling tool, allowing the industry to find new ways to engage with customers and script digital marketing success stories.
#7 The Growth of Mobile Marketing
The year that global mobile usage surpassed the PC was 2016. Two years down the line, every restaurant and hotel needs to appreciate the mobile-first approach to website optimisation, given the smartphone revolution. If your website is not optimised for mobile, losing customers is easier than you think. Research found that 90 percent of customers using mobile to browse switch to another more mobile optimised site, if the app or site did not meet their requirements.
#8 The Emergence of Experiential Marketing
Hospitality is all about the user experience. Customers will not only be paying the premium, but even be return clients if the experience is awesome, from booking to travelling and checking-in/out. Experiential marketing has facilitated the use of new digital media to improve customer experience. For instance, the world famous Marriott hotel chain lets customers use VR to explore hotel rooms before booking one.
#9 Cashing In on Micro Moments
Grabbing hold of the competitive edge is hard, but using data provides insights on how customers will react. Micro moments, for example, can evaluate touchpoints of a customer across the hospitality experience. Form the analysis of data points, a total of 85 percent of leisure travellers decide on activities only after reaching their destination. So hotel help desks can benefit from such data.
#10 The Rise of Chatbots
AI and chatbots have entered the hospitality industry too. Chatbots have the potential to improve customer experience right from the booking. AI also improves operations by handling customer engagement, offering localised language options and personalised care at any time of the day or night.