Marketing trends hotels need to know in 2016
Marketing trends are constantly changing as technology improves and consumers crave even more from brands. Gone are the days when television adverts radio adverts are the only option, as we see social media, influencers, event promotions, inbound marketing, digital marketing and virtual reality submerge the market.
It’s not possible to predict upcoming trends with 100 per cent accuracy, but by taking a look at what’s happening now, you can get a fairly clear idea. So, what do we believe is on the horizon for the rest of 2016?
Expansion of social media
Most companies only started thinking about social media as part of their marketing strategy a few years ago, and already it’s becoming more than that. Now, to get the most success, brands need to think of it entirely as its own medium – much like the internet. Google’s growing relationships with the big social media players such as Facebook and Twitter highlight its dominance online. With this in mind, it’s imperative that as a hotel, social media is not only part of your strategy, but a key player in your marketing activities.
Before deciding whether to purchase a product or service, consumers now want to be able to experience it. For a product this is much simpler, because brands can provide samples or allow people to test products. However, digital technology is making experience much easier for service-driven brands, such as hotels. Use content such as blog articles, images and video to let potential guests ‘experience’ your hotel before they make a booking.
For quite some time now businesses have been collecting consumer data, but many are unsure what to do with it. However, big data solutions have now been developed that are able to analyse that data, giving marketers meaningful information on how markets perform. With this information, marketers can now create much more informed strategies. This big data is taken from social media, the company’s own interaction with customers and secondary data available from research businesses and surveys. All of this data together can give businesses a huge insight into their market, and as technology expands, this is expected to become a much more popular tool.
Mobile will grow even further
Mobile has slowly been taking over, and it seems this is a trend that isn’t going to stop any time soon. Every company should be using mobile in some way, as all websites that aren’t mobile-optimised are penalised in Google’s search rankings. However, mobile is capable of much more than optimised websites. Companies and brands of all kinds now have their own mobile apps – especially hotels. It could be for making a payment, booking a service, registering a complaint or a game for kids. In fact, it could be for almost anything. The next step, according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, is chatbots – a messaging service that responds to consumer queries. Whatever comes next, it’s sure to be swiftly absorbed by the millennial generation, so as a hotel – whose main customer base will often be made up of this generation – you need to be sure that you’re staying up to date with these trends.
Content will stay on top
Content marketing has been in the driving seat throughout 2015, and it will remain there over the next year too. Consumers are craving top-quality blogs, articles, social media posts, images, graphics, videos and more. How useful and engaging it is will determine how popular it is among consumers, so if you’re just churning out as much content as you can instead of really thinking about it, then it’s probably not going to have much benefit. As well as consumers judging the quality of your content, the likes of Google are judging it too. The search engine has changed its algorithms to determine whether or not content is original, as well as using metrics to find out which particular keywords are most popular in searches. With this in mind, plagiarised content is now being penalised, and will decrease rankings in the search engine. This isn’t just for the written word though – it extends to videos, images and infographics too. Your content strategy remains one of your most important tools for success, so make sure that you’re doing your research and creating content that will add value to the reader and position your hotel as a thought leader, as well as a great accommodation choice.
Of course, markets move so quickly that not all trends can be predicted, but by staying on top of these, you should be prepared to adapt should something entirely new come along.