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Digital Marketing

In the hospitality and travel market, email marketing can be personalised effectively. This is accomplished through a variety of simple techniques. By building customer profiles for your niche market, it becomes simpler to personalise emails that will address every client individually.

Tips to use personalisation as part of hotel marketing solutions:

Use names:

The easiest way to personalise any message is to use the first name of the subscriber in the subject line and content. Use an email service provider to add the first name to an email or message. When collecting subscriber details the first name with the email is saved and the latter serves as a personalisation tag.  When creating an email it could be added to key areas of the email. In this way, every individual subscriber gets a personalised email or message with their own name.

Create list segments:

While personalisation of emails is an easy way to personalise, there are other additional ways to do so as well. Build customer profiles as per their subjects groups. These can then be separated into segments, with content created specifically for that subscriber group. This can be done by building customer profiles based on their location. Other ways to create segments can be based on gender, age, preferences etc.

Offer subscribers to self-segment:

We do not necessarily have to segment our subscribers alone. We can encourage subscribers to choose their own areas of interests. E.g. those interested in travel can choose only to opt for deals to the places they are interested in visiting. Consequently, they will only receive emails and messages to the destinations of their respective choice.

Use dynamic content:

Dynamic content is another very effective way to personalise content for subscribers. E.g. While the message may be of relevance to all your subscribers, there may be one niche section you want to target. Dynamic content comes in handy here. It allows the marketing team to create a single email while customising certain areas for different groups of subscribers. E.g. if you are sending an email with the same offer for subscribers based in different locations you need not create separate emails for different locations. Instead of using dynamic content the content and images can see the deal based out of their own location Dynamic content makes it easy to create short relevant emails that match the preferences of subscribers.

Use data to create relevant content:

Personalisation also includes smart data collection. In the hospitality industry the greater the opportunity to gather relevant data the better the email marketing campaign can be tweaked. Data collection can be made more transparent by offering data collection in transparent ways by seeking the subscribers’ permission first and informing them about the purpose of the data collection.  When the customer is informed about the use of his data they are more open to sharing information to enjoy a more personalised experience. To achieve this CRM data, social media and subscriber forms etc. can be effectively used. The better the data the better will the customer profile and segmentation be.

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Hotel Revenue Management

For any business to succeed it has to have a strong reputation in the market. While the reputation of any business was subject to word of mouth publicity, things have changed in this digital age. Now it is the virtual world or the internet, which makes or breaks a business’s reputation.

Reputation does matter

As part of hotel marketing solutions, it has become essential for hotel businesses to better manage their reputations online.  Now an increasing number of hotel guests express their views of any hotel brand and experience of staying there on social media and other internet channels. With online reviews dominating the decision-making process of prospective guests and reviews after prices influencing booking decisions, it is time to manage a hotel’s online reputation. Since any business’ success is heavily dependent on online reputation a few ways to improve it are:

Keep a watchful eye on independent review sites: With sites like Trip Advisor and Yelp and other top-rated reviews sites influencing customer’s decision making, these have to be well managed. Keep a check on reviews both positive and negative, and add useful information on them to improve traffic to your website and social media pages. Ensure that all the images of the hotel and of the highest-quality and represent your services and facilities in the best possible ways. Remember just having good quality images of your hotel can increase booking percentages by a considerable amount.

Make the most of the available data. There are plenty of management tools available to gauge customer satisfaction and loyalty. Conducting regular surveys among existing clients is a good way to measure customer satisfaction and the probability of them leaving recommendations. Those who express satisfaction can be asked what areas of service or facilities were they satisfied or impressed by. Similarly, those who express displeasure can be asked to enumerate the reasons or areas that caused dissatisfaction. Following up on these and taking remedial measures will improve reputation and show how much customer satisfaction you value.

Be prompt in your response to customer reviews or queries. It is the most effective way to show that your hotel values its guests and their opinions of those that express their views online. From engaging to following up on every bit of feedback on social media will reflect positively on the business. Studies clearly show the connection between being responsive and improvement in a hotel business’ performance.  The greater the responses to reviews and feedbacks, the higher are the ratings of a business.

Reputation management for hotels is just no more something nice but rather critical and a must have. What once served as an asset to marketing is now an integral and vital part of any hotels revenue management strategies. The more we interact and respond with customers online the better will our hotel reputation be.

The bottom line is effectively managing a hotels reputation is the key to succeeding in the extremely competitive hospitality industry.

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Digital Marketing

If you are actively involved in hotel marketing for your hotel, you will be well aware of the many promises made by online marketers, which fail to deliver to expectations. There are plenty of gimmicks and sales techniques in use to improve sales and higher conversion rates. With content marketing, SEO, viral content etc. the buzzwords of hotel marketing, getting the right strategy to deliver the goods is still a challenge. While all of these mentioned techniques are important, these are not the sum total of hotel marketing.

While there is no definite formula in hotel marketing solutions to help hotel sales skyrocket, there are, however, three critical factors to take into account. These three basic but relevant factors are what can make your marketing more effective in 2019.

  • Be well informed about your guests
  • Strive to be original
  • Ensure content and information stays relevant.

Stay well updated with your guests:

When you have recurring guests you need to be well updated about their needs and preferences. The most effective way to know their specific needs is to actively engage with them. For this social media and digital technology offer the ideal tools. The more you interact with them online with a personal touch, the better a personal rapport will develop. This will make it easier to know their preferences and likes.

Be original in content:

The greater the interaction with the guest, the easier it will be to build content that is authentic and original. Long gone are the days when celebrity endorsements influenced consumer behaviour. The millennial generation does not give much importance as to what brands a celebrity endorses. They prefer personal experience and quality of services over all else. If they are not satisfied during their first stay or use of a product they switch brands. The emphasis is no to establish a personal connection with a brand. Consequently, hotel marketing strategies have to reflect an authentic and original feel that exudes empathy, excellence and perception of the guest.

All marketing content must be relevant:

When planning a marketing campaign it should provide information that is of use to the guest. This involves conducting research as to what the concerns and desires of the guests are. The areas where they feel services can be improved and those where they rate the hotel property highly. Instead of offering generic information that is passé, the need is now to focus on offering bespoke services to each of the hotel guests. Now guests at a hotel want to get personalised services with a sense of belonging. While this area can be the most challenging to adapt successfully in a marketing strategy and cater to, once you have the knack it will pay rich dividends in the long term.

The bottom line is in a dynamic technologically driven world guests are now better informed and constantly evaluate the products and services they pay for. As a result, they opt for those products and brands that stay relevant and serve their needs. As with any other business to stay competitive hotel marketing campaigns need to constantly evolve as per the customer and market needs.

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Hotel Revenue Management

Having the right hotel management software is critical in property management across the world. Hotel software is of immense use in daily operations for all types of hotels 5-star properties to B&Bs. While most of the top hotels have migrated to cloud-based hotel management software, others are still undecided as to what type of hotel management software to invest in. Having the right software saves on costs and time for any hotel.

One way to find the most efficient software is to engage a professional hotel marketing solutions company like Digital Hotelier. They offer the best state-of-the-art hotel management software including revenue management software among others. Their experts will analyse your business and help to identify the software best suited for your business needs.

Some of the things to consider when looking for hotel management software are:

Need for hotel management software:

Those with smaller and mid-sized hotel properties frequently have doubts about whether there is any need for them to invest in such software. Questions like the need for, cost and training the staff pop up most frequently. The fact is investing in such software is a prudent decision because:

  • Automation saves time
  • Improves worker productivity with time saved on manually updating the system
  • Provides detailed reports helping to streamline and function more efficiently
  • Helps to improve marketing strategy to raise profitability

Kind of software:

The fact is a selection of software is not subject to the number of properties or rooms at a hotel. There are various flexible models of software to cater to client needs. There are two kinds of software to choose from.

Cloud-based software:

Must more economical and fast with no requirement for hardware of an IT support team. There are various plans to choose from which are pay per month. The benefit of using cloud-based data storage is it is accessible from any part of the world. There is the flexibility for multiple users to log on simultaneously at no extra charge. An added benefit is the plans include support and training for staff. When selecting cloud base hotel management software it must integrate with the hotel website.

On-Prem Software:

Also known as Premise Software as the name suggests the data is stored on site. There is no requirement for an Internet connection and hotel owners have to pay for the complete package. While the hotel owner has complete rights over the software as its owner there is a limitation on the number of people with access to it at a single time. There also is a need to have an IT support team for maintenance.

Of the two, cloud-based software is the ideal option for hotel businesses of all sizes. The benefits offered by cloud-based software are not available using the On-Prem software.

The use of hotel management will improve the overall efficiency of the staff as they will no longer be busy with administrative tasks. The entire process is automatic without any need for manual intervention at any stage. No extra training is of need as it only needs basic computer skills.

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Digital Marketing

An effective online presence has never been more important to businesses in the travel sector. Today’s average traveller will extensively research and book their travel and accommodation with just a few taps of a screen. A few years ago, investing in a streamlined website that considered the user journey would have been enough. But in the fast-paced digital world where mobile devices rule, forward thinking hotels with an eye on growing reservations need their strategy to encompass much, much more.

For businesses to thrive, marketing hotel strategies need to place on the go online activity at the heart of their offering. Travellers today don’t only research destinations when they’re on the move, they book flights, read hotel reviews, and plan their holiday activities. To tap into the market of modern travellers, you need to match their enthusiasm for smartphones and tablets.

In 2016, UK adults spent more time on their mobiles than desktops for the first time ever, according to research from eMarketer. The average adult used their phone for 2 hours and 29 minutes each day, a rise of 11.8% on the previous year. With smartphones becoming more powerful, it’s a figure that’s set to continue rising.

It’s an area of growth that hotel marketing solutions need to consider from the outset to increase direct bookings. Results from a Google survey show that 31% of consumers who used a mobile for travel-related activities in the past month use their devices to search for travel information on a daily basis, demonstrating the opportunity you have to reach potential customers. What’s more, customers are willing to spend via mobile devices, with survey participants spending on average $299.50 in the previous 90 days.

But to entice travellers, marketing hotel strategies need to make the process simple, quick, and attractive. Did you know that 90% of travellers using mobile devices will switch to another site or app if it fails to meet their needs? You only have a small window to make a positive impression and convert users. Over half of mobile visitors will abandon a site if it takes longer than three second to load but the average travel website takes over ten seconds, losing a substantial amount of traffic.

With the shift towards mobile connectivity in mind, hotel websites need to be optimised and engaging for those customers. For some businesses, it could mean a change in the design and data used throughout their digital profile is necessary. There are some core areas that you should be utilising to improve your customer experience from mobile devices.

web-designing

Responsive design

Website that have responsive design will automatically configure to meet the requirements of the devices travellers are using. It’s a technical feature that means your customers are guaranteed the same experience and level of service whether they access your website via a laptop or smartphone.

SPAs

Single page applications (SPAs) can enhance the user experience without them having to pass through multiple pages, ideal for mobile use. These single HTML pages dynamically update as the user interacts with it, creating a fluid journey and eliminating the need to constantly reload pages.

Personalisation

With access to more information, you’re in a position to uniquely tailor the user journey, improving your conversion rate. Personalised experiences are a trend that travellers are coming to expect. When done right it can have a direct, positive impact on reservations, satisfaction, and repeat bookings.

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Digital Marketing
E-mail marketing is a large part of any successful hotel marketing strategy, as e-mail is one of the key ways hoteliers and hotel marketers communicate with current, future and past hotel guests. The email marketing platform, Mailchimp describes transactional email as,

An email sent to an individual based on some action. It could be:
an action they took directly
an action they were the target of or,
perhaps even inaction on their part

A warm welcome sets the tone
For example, if a user signs up for your website, you should probably welcome them with a lovely email. Bam! That’s a transactional email. Signing up is the “transaction” in this case. Simple, right?

In the case of your hotel, a common transactional email would be a booking confirmation or, an email thanking the guest for choosing your property after they check out.

While you might think that this is a nuts and bolts type of message, research shows that there is a potential to drive more revenue from this transactional emails, because they tend to generate much better open rates than other types of email. This makes sense, given the transactional email will often contain information the recipient needs – such as their booking reference.

So, could transactional emails play a bigger role in your hotel marketing solutions? Do you need to rethink your e-mail marketing solutions to get more from them? Read on to check if your transactional emails are making the most of these opportunities.

revenue-boosting-strategy
Optimise Your E-mails
In an increasingly mobile online landscape, it is vital to ensure hoteliers take note of the need to optimise their e-mail marketing content for mobile users as well as those on a desktop. Failure to do so could result in e-mails which are difficult to read and even more difficult to engage with, which dilutes your offer and any information you are seeking to convey via this otherwise valuable methodology. Hotel guests increasingly book, search for and read e-mails on their mobile devices, so think in terms of using a mobile-responsive template and always check how your content appears on multiple screen sizes prior to scheduling or hitting ‘send’. The simple act of making your transactional emails better suited to mobile devices could result in more revenue and a better user experience.

Personalise Your E-mail Copy
Personalising your e-mails will help your customer feel like a valued hotel guest, not simply another number or a way to fill an empty room. An added benefit of personalisation is that it provides a low-to-no cost way of relationship building at source before your customers have even had a chance to see their hotel room or try out any of the features your hotel has to offer. In cases where your e-mails are focused on soliciting custom rather than confirming a pre-existing booking (such as welcoming someone who has signed up to your newsletter to receive offers) taking the time to personalise these automated messages could increase your transaction levels significantly.

Test Your E-mails
Another way of ensuring you have adequately optimised your e-mail marketing solutions to get the most out of your transactional emails is to perform some key tests on both the aesthetics and content prior to (and after) sending. Whether this testing takes the form of some clever A/B testing or takes advantage of analytics data to check opening rates and engagement levels as a means of improving future efforts, this could have a significant and positive effect upon the revenue boosting potential of your e-mail marketing with minimal extra hassle.
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Booking Engine
Guests like to feel valued by hotels. That’s a no-brainer. But in a world where 76% of travellers book online, customer personalisation is happening earlier and earlier in the customer journey. And if you don’t keep up, your business will feel the strain.

It’s integral to your business that you can also deliver personal touches when the customer is booking; you need to understand your demographics in order to do that. So once you’re happy with your website, it’s time to start working on your existing customers.

Plenty of hotel marketing solutions will focus on the ease of use of your site, and while that’s important, you need to know what your customer is looking for first. Are they business travellers? In which case, deals marketed towards newlyweds won’t work. Ask customers to create profiles, and then, crucially, use the data to improve the quality of your hotel direct bookings.

Offer deals that appeal to your core customer base, and make sure that these are prominently displayed in the booking options. That means making sure that your website is available to access via mobile, setting your customer experience apart from the crowd—Deloitte even did research that suggests that, by 2020, customer experience will be one the most important brand differentiators above even price or product.

online-hotel-reservation-software
If you want to up your hotel direct bookings, the actual process of making a booking should be quick and easy for customers; they find the deal they want, authenticate the days they’ll need it for, and pay for it. Greater personalisation armed with easy booking means that you’ll see more and more customers converting online, rather than doing research amongst your competitors before making their choice.

It’s also easier for casual browsers to become customers and future guests of your hotel if your website integrates your booking engine. An incredible 40% of consumers will abandon a webpage that takes more than 3 seconds to load, which means that waiting to access another website in order to book a room might be cause enough for them to abandon their idea of staying with you and book with another hotel instead.

If the guest has an existing relationship with you—from a profile created for a previous stay—they will naturally want to use your site as opposed to giving all their details away again to another website. Make it easy for them to pick you by creating and sending out personalised deals as part of your hotel marketing solutions, inspired by the post-booking, pre-arrival and post-departure questionnaires many hotels use and their prior behaviour online. Post-departure questionnaires are also a way to incentivise future bookings if you offer a saving or deal exclusive upon returning the survey.

Make sure your guests know that they’re personal to you—explain how you’ll store and use their data, assuring them that you follow data protection and that you’re asking for their details so you can make their stay better. It’s the truth—but customers will be impressed that you’re making every aspect of their stay comfortable before they’ve even set foot inside the hotel lobby.
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Digital Marketing
Personalisation is one of the biggest trends to emerge in recent years within the world of hotel marketing, presenting new and exciting ways of building brand engagement and enticing prospects to book hotel stays. Many premium hotels have already begun to take advantage of the possibilities of personalisation, and now the rest of the industry is standing up and taking notice, too.

A Competitive Advantage
The hospitality industry has always been competitive, and particularly as the digital environment becomes ever more crowded, the appeal of increasingly personalised methods of reaching potential hotel guests become more intriguing. Personalisation has a number of benefits not least of which is as a means of gaining the competitive upper hand and prompting not just solitary hotel visits, but encouraging repeat custom and brand loyalty. These benefits are borne out by a study conducted by PWC’s Digital Services group. It found that 94% of senior level executives cited their ability to personalise content as being critical to both reaching and retaining customers.

The challenge of personalisation comes as customers leave increasingly large digital footprints about their interests and travel preferences across the internet via social media platforms, review sites and mobile apps. There is great potential for this data to be utilised as a means of capturing the attention of these same customers and provide personalised recommendations.

Competitors analysis

Enhancing the Customer Experience
Today’s hotel guest craves opportunities for individualisation and tailored experiences. With this territory comes the need to personalise marketing and brand touch points, lest the traveller craving individualisation starts to feel like they’re one of a conveyor belt of guests.

Whether a business or leisure traveller, the same ethos applies; travellers are no longer content to remain anonymous when parting with their hard-earned cash at a hotel. Many hoteliers are eager to help capitalise on this new personalisation boom, but most are unsure where precisely to start and how to focus their efforts.

Pre-Trip Personalisation
The personalisation process doesn’t begin and end with the time guests spend within the walls of your hotel. Prior to their trip, customers now expect to know much more than simply the price and location of their hotel and the style of their room or hotel suite; they also increasingly expect to be provided with information about what they can do in the local area, making great storytelling about your prospective guests’ hotel experience all the more important. These storytelling techniques prompt an emotional response before your guests have even arrived – engaging them with your offering in meaningful ways which can provide a healthy boost to your brand reputation management.

The Possibilities of Personalisation
There are almost limitless possibilities to personalisation as the technology required for some elements of the personalisation process continues to evolve. Whether creating targeted, personalised content or providing a fully-personalised experience through mobile apps and even artificial intelligence, the value of personalisation is key amongst modern hotel marketing solutions, promising plenty of innovation and exciting opportunities for hoteliers, hotel marketers and their hotel guests for many years to come.
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Digital Marketing
Links are the currency of search engine optimisation and an important element of the fuel that will drive your hotel’s website visibility to the top of Google’s search listings. There are other important considerations of course, such as how mobile friendly your website is and how good, relevant and useful your content is but, all industry experts agree on the power of links for SEO performance.

Of course, especially in an industry as competitive as hospitality, the competition for links is fierce and, obtaining good quality, highly relevant links from authoritative sources can be a long term endeavour. Introducing robust, agile link building strategies into your chosen hotel marketing solutions should be a firm priority. If however, you’re finding it difficult to get started, or simply don’t know what other tactics you can try to build relevant links, try our five tried and tested strategies outlined below…

1. Use your competitors’ links

This sounds like it may be counter intuitive but, why not start your link building strategies using the groundwork that your competitors have already laid?

To make this work, you’ll need to get nosey and research which links your rival hotels have pointing back to their sites. You can subscribe to link tracking software services such as Moz or Ahrefs to create a list of links pointing back to a competitor site. Simply list the links that the competitor has that your site doesn’t to create a target list. You’ll then need to reach out to those sites and focus your link building efforts on targeting those highly relevant domains.

2. Create a highly shareable infographic

According to industry research, 37% of marketers say that visual content is their most important form of content creation. Visual content, and especially infographics, have the potential to spread like wildfire. If you create very niche or very specific infographics, they can be used to build highly relevant links.

What’s more, infographics can spread virally and build likes, shares and links organically over a period of time, meaning they’ll continue accruing links for you long after they are created. To make sure the subsequent links are highly relevant, keep topics very focused – a guide to a specific area for example – or targeted to a very specific type of traveller.

3. Try crowdsourcing

Anyone who has ever backed a project on Kickstarter or Indigogo will appreciate the power of the crowd. Why not apply this philosophy to your link building too? Poll experts at sites you’d like to link back to you and ask them for their opinion on a certain subject or news item. Compile the results and share the article. Chances are, the person will be flattered to have been asked and vanity will ensure they share a link back to your article. Mission accomplished.

4. Invite guest posting

If you’re regularly approached by bloggers and other brands for guest posting, consider taking some of the more authorative ones up on their offer. Be sure to check their style meshes with your own blog’s tone of voice and agree a topic beforehand. Confirm that your will have exclusive use of the blog and it won’t be submitted elsewhere too. It’s in the blogger’s interest to share their post on your site, meaning they’ll actually do the link building for you.

5. Create useful resources

Some of your hotel marketing solutions budget will undoubtedly be dedicated to content marketing. Why not put this to work and make it pull its weight twice? Instead of creating a standard article or post, invest extra time and effort creating a really useful resource. This could be a complete guide to your destination, with a list of restaurants, attractions, taxi companies, bars, water sports centres, business centres etc. Once complete, let everyone you’ve included know.

This creates not just a great piece of content but means all of the other businesses included can be contacted with a request to link back.
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Digital Marketing
It’s an unfortunate consequence of running a thriving hotel business – sometimes customers abandon their bookings before they’re complete. Remarketing gives you a chance to win back these customers, and represents one of the cleverest hotel marketing solutions available.

What is Remarketing?

Not all people who visit your site complete their intended activities – whether that’s making an enquiry or crucially, a booking. Remarketing is a highly effective advertising tool for online marketers, giving them the chance to pursue a lost lead in the hope of creating a meaningful connection between brand and potential customer.

Whether referred to as remarketing or retargeting, the goal and the tactics are the same – creating advertising which draws the prospect back into engaging with the company.

Implementing a Remarketing Campaign

Remarketing is dependent upon a non-invasive piece of Javascript code which is entered onto your hotel website. A remarketing campaign works by placing cookies on web visitor’s devices, adding them to your list of potential customers. Remarketing activity then begins. Remarketing ads are those adverts which appear to ‘follow’ you after you’ve visited a brand’s website but not made a purchase – and they can be delivered in either plain text or image formats. The ads can be managed via Google AdWords and pursue your target audience’s subsequent online browsing on websites which permit Google advertising, attempting to coax them back into interacting with your website.

Defining Remarketing Effectiveness

The success of a remarketing campaign depends almost entirely upon what it is your customers are looking for, and the effectiveness of your chosen remarketing advert in pursuit of that goal. If your prospect was genuinely window-shopping, continued exposure to your brand via a remarketing campaign could help nudge them further along the customer journey to complete the transaction they began. Remarketing can be used in conjunction with other hotel marketing solutions, such as influencer marketing and email marketing to create a greater brand awareness and ultimately, secure a reservation.

Creating Great Remarketing Ads

Your remarketing ads should have a solid structure and a clear strategy. What is it you ideally want your prospect to do? In all likelihood, you want them to book a room at your hotel. This should be a clear enticement for anyone who is targeted by your remarketing ads. Persuasive text, clear branding and attractive imagery are all key factors to consider. Whilst your end goal is sales-oriented, you should make the content customer-oriented, explaining why they should respond to your call to action. Focus on the benefits of your offering.

Choosing the Right Frequency

Deciding the frequency with which your remarketing ads will be seen by your target audience – and therefore their opportunities to engage with the content and be drawn back into making a purchase – is no simple task. You don’t want to become that annoying sales message which is easily blocked from people’s minds, but you do want to make sure you’re visible enough to leave a lasting impression.

Segmenting Your Audiences

A one-size fits all approach only works if all of your website visitors were there for exactly the same reason. Whilst it’s likely they were all looking for a hotel, perhaps they weren’t all looking for the same kind of hotel visit? Audience segmentation in AdWords can extend to those who viewed particular pages, not just the website as a whole – giving you a chance to craft content which provides them with the optimum customer experience.
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Digital Marketing
Travel marketing gives marketers lots of opportunity to indulge their creative side whilst coming up with new and exciting ways to showcase the best their property has to offer.
As an expert voice in hotel marketing solutions, Digital Hotelier has lots of knowledge and experience when it comes to great travel marketing. Here are some of our top examples of campaigns that got it spot on and the reasons why they’re great, so you can learn from their success.

5 Great Travel Marketing Campaigns

  1. Discover Your Smile – Thompson Holidays (2015)
  2. Dumb Ways To Die – Metro Trains Melbourne (2012)
  3. It’s Just Next Door – SNCF Europe (2013)
  4. GREAT Britain – Visit Britain (2012 -2016)
  5. Le Bar Guide – Stella Artois (2013)

Discover Your Smile – Thompson Holidays (2015)

A delightful ad campaign to tug at the heartstrings, Thompson’s ‘Discover Your Smile’ was anchored by an advert featuring a neglected teddy bear having the time of his life on holiday with his young owner and his family. By placing the advert from the perspective of a cuddly toy, the campaign ensured that it would hit the right notes with its family-oriented target audience. A creative approach meant that the ad was just twee and kitsch enough to play into nostalgic memories of childhood – and targeting the advert at a time of high summer holiday booking uptakes was another masterstroke for the company.

Dumb Ways To Die – Metro Trains Melbourne (2012)

Its topic is far from a cheerful subject, but Melbourne’s ‘Dumb Ways To Die’ video marketing campaign proved that you can gain great success – and go viral – when a potentially harrowing concept is made approachable with the use of a catchy jingle and some animated characters.
 Source: DumbWays2Die
In an effort to improve public safety standards, the Metro system created an advert which showcases all the different ‘dumb’ ways people can lose their lives – from electrocution to accidental shootings. The campaign was a landmark moment for viral video marketing, achieving worldwide recognition. However it should be noted that the video also achieved its initial goal, with far fewer accidents reported on the Metro following its creation.

It’s Just Next Door – SNCF Europe (2013)

Source: TBWA PARIS

As an experiential campaign which garnered some great creative video content, SNCF’s ‘Next Door’ campaign sought to emphasise the proximity of European countries in order to encourage more mainland holidays connected by its rail service. This was achieved through creating a ‘door’ from one country to the next, with LED screens. This cheerful, ideas-oriented approach appealed to core SNCF travellers and played to ongoing acknowledgements of both the benefits of travel – new experiences in a new culture – and the fundamental ‘sameness’ of human beings the world over.

GREAT Britain – Visit Britain (2012 -2016)

Encompassing four years of marketing activities, the GREAT tourism campaign sought to publicize the UK as a whole to worldwide travellers. Utilising the Union Jack and aiming to increase travel aspirations, the campaign took a multi-layered approach, showcasing the best of British culture, exports and talent. Beginning the campaign at a time all eyes were on the UK in 2012 (the year of both the Olympics and the Queen’s Jubilee) was a masterstroke of great timing. The campaign has generated over £800 million in added visitor spend in 2015/16 alone.

Le Bar Guide – Stella Artois (2013)

 Source: Stella Artois
It’s not a travel company, but beer brand Stella Artois still got involved in the holiday making arena with a smart augmented reality app designed for travellers. Le Bar Guide gave customers a chance to download a dedicated app and locate the best place to get a Stella Artois – wherever they were in the world. Using creative flourishes and with an in-app functionality for booking a taxi following a great night out, the app shows all marketers a thing or two about how powerful a combination wit and genuine usability can be when appealing to the travel segment.
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Digital Marketing
Most digital marketers know that email is one of the hardest digital marketing channels around but, did you know that it’s also one of the best converting? Hotel marketing solutions should be focused on areas that deliver paying guests to your hotel and that means, you need to create emails that your subscribers actually want to read. Email can be a difficult channel to get right but, with the following tips, you will find it much easier to create content that delivers traffic and conversions. Read on to find out how to improve your open and click through rates (and ultimately your email conversion rate) by making just a few simple changes to your email marketing approach.

Email marketing

1. Decide on a format
Regardless of how often you send out an email shot, you should have a structured, uncluttered format in mind. If you approach every email shot with a blank piece of paper, you may find that your mail shots end up being a real mix of different content types and muddled calls to action. If you’re guilty of having no clear format, and placing blog posts next to promotions, next to images, news and offers, you’re likely leaving your reader confused.

Make a point of creating a clean, concise and uncluttered format for your email marketing. You may need to create a couple of different content types – one for emails that showcase your best new content and another that’s purely for special offers for example. Having a clear focus will make it that much easier and more welcoming for readers, leaving them more likely to want to engage with your message and read what you have to say.

2. Figure out what types of content your guests and potential guests enjoy
Now that you have your templates and formats set, you can think about the kinds of content your subscribers are actively going to want to consume.

You can spend as much or as little time as you want on this but, the more effort you put in to understanding which content resonates, the more successful your emails will be. Your existing hotel marketing solutions will provide a wealth of data:
•  Which pages on site have the longest time on page?
  What kinds of social media posts generate the most likes, comments and shares?
  Which blog posts have been the most popular in the last three of six months?
  Which PPC keywords generate the best click throughs and conversions?
  Which organic search terms generate the most traffic to your site?

As you sort through all of this data, you’ll glean a wealth of insight. You’ll learn not only which keywords prompt visits – so you can include them in subject lines and content – but you’ll also see a pattern emerging of the most popular types of content you create. Simply by determining which social media posts do well will give you ideas of what to include in your emails.

Listing out the top 3 or 4 blog posts from the last month should give you plenty of subject areas to explore for your next mail shot.

3. Check you have a balance of information and promotion
All of us have subscribed for newsletters based on the promise of an exclusive offer or a discount code. Even if you use that as a call to action to build your subscriber list, you’ll quickly turn readers off if you bombard them with emails which all focus on book, book, book.

To create emails that your guests and potential hotel guests want to read, create a mix of informational or entertainment led pieces, backed up with a smaller proportion of room and rate promotions. A good rule of thumb to get started is the 80/20 rule, with 80% of your email content educational, informative and entertaining and just 20% sales orientated.

4. Experiment with subject lines
Your subject line needs to be both enticing and effective. Carry out A/B testing using a small test group to measure which subject line works best before you do a main send. This ensures you give your email newsletter the best possible chance of success – after all, you may have got the content spot on but, if the subject line doesn’t encourage the recipient to open the email, your efforts will be for nothing.

Email marketing is an excellent and potentially profitable addition to your hotel marketing solutions mix but, it does require just as much time and effort as any other channel. If your emails aren’t working as well as you’d like, get in touch with Digital Hotelier to find out how we can help.
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Digital Marketing
Conversions are the holy grail for any marketer – and this is especially true if you’re running a hotel website where conversions impact revenue quickly. Of course, traffic statistics, CTRs and other marketing metrics are important, but they mean nothing if you’re not getting the conversions at the end of that process. CRO (conversion rate optimisation) is one of the most effective hotel marketing solutions out there. If your RevPar isn’t where you’d like it to be and conversions are in need of a boost, try these strategies to cement those vital confirmation.

CRO

Make sure your CTA buttons are optimised
Your call-to-action buttons will be integral in boosting your conversion rate – and the slightest amendment to these buttons could make a world of difference. From choosing the right colour to making sure the button is positioned correctly, these tweaks can have a huge effect on your conversion rate. You should also consider playing around with the size of the buttons – reports show larger buttons are more likely to be clicked, and could increase conversions rates by between 10%-25%!

Test, test, test
Testing is one of the very best methods of increasing your hotel website conversion rates. By creating two different landing page designs and seeing which one works best, you’re learning more about how your visitors interact with their site, and what makes them more likely to engage. There are plenty of landing page testing tools out there you can choose from, including:

•  Optimizely – packed with features and great for experimentation across your website.
  Convert – you’re in good company when you use this enterprise testing tool; it’s used by the likes of Sony.
  The Five Second Test – this unique website allows you to upload your design, which it then shows to other users for five seconds only. They’re then asked what they remember about the page, so you can work on making the right elements more memorable.

The most popular type of testing is A/B testing, but that’s far from the only test you can use. Here are some other effective testing methods:

  Multivariate testing – this is a very experimental method which mixes elements like images, headlines and body copy in a variety of different ways, with technology to track how well each combination performs.
  Usability tests – it’s vital to make the process of taking action as simple as possible for users, and this type of test focuses on that vital usability. This method helps to ensure your landing pages are straightforward, concise and easy to use.
  Template variations – clean up your layout to make it less noisy and cluttered with template variation testing – use Google’s Website Optimizer for best results.

Don’t stop improving
If you’ve made a few successful tweaks and seen your hotel website conversion rate increase, you might think that your job is done, and be tempted to stop optimising. The reality is that conversion rate optimisation should always be an ongoing activity – you can take a break for a few weeks, but it pays to keep returning to those pages and seeing what could be made even better.

If you’re looking for an effective digital marketing solution or hotel booking engine for website, get in touch with the team at Digital Hotelier today.
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Digital Marketing
Thanks to the ever changing nature of digital technology, hotel marketing can often feel like it’s standing on shifting sands. No more was that true than last year, when social media innovations and the fortunes of online review/ booking giants had knock-on effects throughout the industry. So, thanks to the developments of 2016, what should hoteliers be focusing on marketing-wise in 2017…?

Hotel Marketing Solution
 
It pays to pay on Facebook now – and Messenger’s opened up
Changes implemented by Facebook last year had quite big consequences for businesses that use it as an advertising channel. First off, the social media titan altered its newsfeed algorithm to favour posts made by friends and family over promotional ones made by businesses. Why? Well, we’re talking organic communication posts here; the sort that are free to make. The immediate knock-on effect of this is that, if you’re a hotelier, fewer (potential) visitors will now see such posts you put up; those who do are likely to be those who’ve interacted with your page in the past or do so regularly. And, naturally, the second effect is, like it or not, it’s pushed businesses to pay for more ads on Facebook in order to establish a footprint on the social media channel.

Conversely, another area of possible customer interaction has opened up on Facebook – in the shape of businesses being able to set up chatbots to communicate with people via the site’s Messenger service. What’s so good about this is it offers hotels a chance to improve travellers’ experience at every stage, as it’s an opportunity to reach them and guide them through bookings, as well as to reconnect with customers who may have abandoned bookings. Indeed, it’s relatively easy for a company to create such a Messenger chatbot, so much so they can embed it in their own website, ensuring genuine interconnectivity.
 
Things suddenly look rocky for TripAdvisor
Having started out a s travel-related review website, TripAdvisor has grown into something much more – indeed, last year it expanded its ‘instant booking’ functionality to enable users, without leaving the site itself, to book rooms in around 500,000 hotels across 11 separate countries, via its hotel/ online travel agency (OTA) partners. However, compared to the previous year, TripAdvisor saw its first-quarter fall by 3% and net-income drop 57% – the reason being the costs necessary to implement and market this additional feature. Moreover, its stock market value nearly halved across 2016. Thus, there’s now speculation it may be in the market for a buy-out, with Internet behemoth Google and discount travel booker Priceline frontrunners. Watch this space.
 
What should hoteliers do?
For hotels, evolution and change in digital and web-based marketing is nothing new; in fact it’s a constant of doing business nowadays. But how best should hoteliers react to these significant changes – in terms of hotel marketing solutions what should they look to do in 2017 that they didn’t (or did less of) in 2016?

  • 1. Target your advertising – the change that Facebook’s implemented to organic posting/ advertising by businesses somewhat changes the social media ballgame for hoteliers; making sure your advertising on Facebook is more targeted then is a must and this means paying for your ads outright or ‘boosting’ your organic posts (for which you’ll also have to pay), as well as targeting them to specific audiences. Actually, redoubling your efforts to keep targeted your posts across all social media (Twitter and Instagram too, for example) is strongly advised.
 
  • 2. Only use new technology if it’s going to work for you – investing time and energy in Facebook’s new Messenger chatbot functionality is a relatively low-risk enterprise as it’s swift and easy to do, but be wary about every new thing that comes along, such as voice-activated booking search services (Alexa Skill); only go (and, of course, pay out) for them if they look worthwhile for your bottom line
 
  • 3. Drive up your direct bookings – wouldn’t it be wonderful if you didn’t have to worry about what’s happening with TripAdvisor and its OTAs because you got the vast majority of your bookings through your own website? By focusing ever more on direct bookings (using effective SEO, social media promotion, good guest reviews and a quality user-friendly booking engine), you can make this a reality. In short then, keep your eye on the real prize!
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Digital Marketing
As the utterly dominant search engine supplier (and perhaps the biggest Internet power player there is), Google has the potential to cause shockwaves rather than ripples when it dips its feet into a specific branch of online marketing. So it was last year when it increased its footprint in the hotel marketing arena. Let’s take a look at its activity over the past 12 months – and, moving forward, what it may mean for independent hoteliers and their properties…

Digital Marketing
 
Prioritising mobile
Undoubtedly, if it’s not already, your hotel’s website must be mobile optimised. Why? Because – thanks to it becoming public news last autumn that web browsing on mobile devices had finally overtaken that carried out on desktop – critically Google decided it’s going to split its desktop and mobile indices, the result being that, of the two, the mobile index will be the primary one. The consequence of this is that those websites not mobile optimised in time will be caught on the hop – their rankings in Google search and, therefore, their organic traffic (all-important for generating direct online bookings) will be seriously compromised.
 
Expansion
Don’t doubt it; Google’s also looking to profit from travel-concerned browsers more directly than merely through its search pages. One signifier of this is, thanks to carrying ads for online travel giants Expedia and Priceline, it earned more than $6 billion last year alone. But even more markedly, realising just how lucrative hotel marketing solutions have become, Google has specifically focused on aiming to keep travel browsers in its ecosystem by enhancing its own accommodation booking platform and launching a travel planner app.
 
Booking platform
The ‘Book on Google’ platform enables the Internet giant to ensure travel shoppers don’t leave its interface when they select and book hotel rooms; meaning there’s no redirection to non-Google sites in order to complete the process. Within months it’s likely the platform will be launched throughout the world as opposed to being available in the US and UK alone, as it presently is.  

Google’s USP for the platform is interconnectivity across its multiple channels and, thus, ease of use – indeed, should a user already have the peer-to-peer payment service that’s Google Wallet they won’t even need to enter their pay-card details, thus speeding up the purchase process.

For independent hotels, Book on Google might be seen as an attractive option when it comes to bookings; after all, it’s free to hotels and OTAs that already pay out for Google Hotel Ads. Yet it’s a decision not to be taken lightly because while, technically speaking, the platform isn’t an OTA itself, it’s not an all-out direct channel either. Therefore, if and when it does effectively change over to become an OTA, the pseudo-direct online bookings it delivers your hotel will go up in smoke, even though bookers won’t notice any difference whatsoever.
 
Travel planner app
Finally, as noted, to capitalise on its near total ownership of people’s travel-related online searches, the web monolith also launched ‘Google Trips’ last autumn.  A personalised travel planner in app form, it was clearly designed to take advantage of the aforementioned ever skyrocketing amount of browsing conducted on handheld devices. As an app, it enables users to browse potential travel options, manage reservations they’ve made and check up on details while away from home – all without the need for Internet access. In addition to drawing data and inspiration from Google Maps (of course) and a user’s own email account, it is – like Book on Google – a smart, interconnected piece of software. Moreover, what with Book on Google’s ongoing evolution, a merger between the two may well be likely in the near future. Overall then, it’s clear that hoteliers must pay attention to Google’s ongoing moves in hotel marketing – the signs are that, as time goes on, they’re only likely to increase and evolve.
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