Anyone who has any familiarity with digital marketing – which nowadays should surely include every independent hotelier – ought to be aware it’s a sprawling arena that’s constantly changing and evolving. But as we segue from 2016 into 2017, what’s the direction of travel in digital marketing right now…?
The future is mobile-shaped
Long gone are the days when desktop and/ or PCs were the be-and-end-all of online usage. Last autumn, mobile and other handheld devices finally overtook desktop as the primary source of Internet access. Simply for that reason alone, mobiles and mobile-optimised websites
have to be at the centre of any and every hotel’s marketing strategy
And there’s much to be said too for mobile-related products like Google’s Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) device, which cleverly speeds up the loading of a site once a user’s reached it. Why? Because it’ll help ensure more users are retained on your site – research suggests that most people move on from a site if it takes more than three seconds to load. And hoteliers can’t afford to overlook downloadable applications (apps) anymore; they’re fantastic for brands that specifically want to focus on customer experience and delivery, offering so many opportunities for connection, interaction and retention of pre-existing and current hotel visitors.
Get your approach to organic search right
It’s true that the pages of organic search (on search engines; primarily Google), which rank the most popular choices at the top of their first page, are getting ever more crowded and competitive. Like it or not, that’s inevitable given the importance of organic search to modern marketing; it’s what – above all other methods – most consistently delivers quality visitors to sites. And, for hotels, that means travellers looking to book directly. So, ignoring the need for smart and effective search engine optimisation (SEO) to make the most of hotel search engine marketing
and ensure you get people visiting your site and booking with you, simply isn’t an option.
Be warned, though, if you’re driving traffic to your site and it doesn’t look appealing, you’re more than likely throwing away all your investment on it. Equally, though, it’s not just about aesthetics; the text is as important as the site’s imagery and video when it comes to retaining visitors and persuading them to book with you directly. So, if you want to drive more hotel bookings, it’s critical to be serious about filling your site’s pages with intelligent, informative, high quality content. Indeed, it’s crucial for SEO purposes too, of course, that the content’s rich in relevant keywords in order to drive visitors to the website in the first place.
Being smart about social media
Finally, since becoming so popular they’re now ubiquitous; platforms like Facebook and Twitter have ensured social media’s become an essential component in the hotel industry’s marketing arsenal. With their outstanding capacity for engaging and interacting with users (who aren’t looking to just visit your website and so potentially book directly, but share your content – promotions, deals and amenity details – with countless other users), social media networks offer enormous branding opportunities. And when leveraged correctly can serve as a decisive first step in the customer journey.
That said, social media’s also an arena that can become flooded with new and exciting, flashy things – for instance, any number of trendy tools – so much so that, on occasion, it can be easy to get side-tracked and waste time on evolutions that aren’t going to improve your hotel’s social media standing. In which case, it’s critical to remain focused and keep your eyes on the prize. And it’s precisely that reason why so many hoteliers are turning to reputable agencies like Digital Hotelier who are experts in making the most of the marketing opportunities social media platforms can offer.