The travel and hospitality industry is a trillion dollar industry that is wildly competitive. When it comes to standing out in the travel and hospitality world, it’s essential for your business to remain keenly aware of the most recent and relevant industry data.
For example, recent research from the Tippie School of Management shows that the majority of travel and hospitality bookings are moving from offline sources to online avenues. In fact, 53% of all travel is now booked online. In other words, if you want to capture the attention of your target market, you have to exist online.
Also, it’s important to remember that existing online is only half the battle. If you really want to stay ahead of the game, you also have to know how to market to your audience. This post will present an overview of the most recent travel and hospitality marketing trends you need to know to help you stay competitive.
1. Mobile marketing is the norm
Mobile customer experiences are growing in every industry, but especially the e-commerce industry. In fact, mobile has contributed to 94% of year-on-year growth in e-commerce traffic. When it comes to mobile travel and hospitality bookings, growth rates between the years 2011 and 2015 reported an increase of 1700%, accounting for 18% of online revenues. And, as of late 21% of hotel bookings took place on mobile devices.
The 2017 Travel and Hospitality Industry Outlook from Deloitte predicts that travelers will start to feel the real power of mobile as more and more industries make mobile marketing a priority. It will become more of a norm to be able to book, check in, get itinerary updates, and more via mobile device in 2017.
2. Customers expect personalization
When it comes to marketing, a surefire way to capture the attention of your customers is to leverage data to personalize their experiences. While infrequency of travel and hospitality bookings can indeed make this difficult, there are still several ways you can personalize the experience. Some of the most effective personalization methods to date include the following:
- Capture and leverage social network data by instituting social logins,
- Personalized relevant marketing messages by automating your email messages, and
- Use information you know about a customer (booking date, check in information, preferences, etc.) to create a customized onsite experience.
The more you can do to make your customers feel unique and special through personalization, the more effective your marketing efforts can be.
3. Video reigns supreme
We’ve all heard that content is king, but out of all the types of content pushed out in the travel and hospitality industry, video reigns supreme.
To get a better idea of how significant video marketing content is to the travel and hospitality industry, let’s review a few of the most telling 2017 video statistics compiled by Invisia:
- YouTube has over a billion users (YouTube).
- As of 2017, online video will account for 74% of traffic (KPCB).
- 52% of marketers say video is effective for brand awareness (WowMakers).
- 52% of marketing professionals worldwide say video has the best ROI (Syndacast).
- Using the word “video” in an email subject line increases open rates by 19% (Syndacast).
- 4x as many customers prefer watching a video about a product than reading about it (Animoto).
If you’re looking to uplevel your marketing tactics this year, then it’s time to invest in video.
4. Real-time or moment marketing pays off
23% of digital marketing budgets are now set aside for moment marketing, and did you know that travel and transport is the best performing sector for moment marketing. Why? Because travel and hospitality is one industry where people actually show up to a location, on-time, and you typically know about it in advance. This gives you the opportunity to have a strong presence on all channels, across all devices, and in your physical location where you can cater to your guest’s persona.
Not only is this an opportunity to strengthen your marketing strategy, but it’s an opportunity to connect in real time with customers, upsell products and services, and elicit repeat business.
5. Dynamic content emails guide the customer journey
Gone are the days of sending random emails or a generic email blast to all of your subscribers. As mentioned previously, customers in the travel and hospitality industry are looking for personalized experiences, and email is one of the top marketing tools to help you accomplish this. The best part is email personalization pays off with a 2.5x higher click-through rate and 6x more sales.There are
There are several ways to personalize your content like addressing your subscribers by name, sending a personalized subject line, and swapping out images to match subscriber preferences. But did you know that with dynamic content, you can conditionally display content based on custom fields set up in your subscriber lists? In other words, you can switch out whole sections of content based on subscriber data.
For example, let’s say you know the gender of your subscribers, and you just happen to be throwing a ladies’ night party at your bar. With dynamic content, you could customize a section of your message and write one set of copy that appeals to men and another that appeals to women. Then, your campaign will automatically send the right set of copy to the correct subscriber. This helps you hone in on customers and ensure you’re delivering the right message to the right subscribers.
6. Booking retargeting is effective
It’s no secret that one of the biggest challenges in the travel and hospitality industry is driving more direct bookings. In the hotel industry, reports show numbers of up to 81% of booking abandonments. Imagine how much your numbers would improve if you could either land the sale the first time or ensure that you have a second shot at landing the sale.
Thankfully, there is a way and it involves beefing up your booking funnels to include second chances. In other words, focus on booking retargeting.
When a customer abandons your booking funnel, all doesn’t have to be lost. Instead of wishing them farewell, you can retarget them and catch up with cart abandoners on other marketing platforms. For example, if your customer showed interest in a booking, but left your booking funnel before sealing the deal, you can redirect their attention back to you on other online marketing platforms. This includes paid search ads, on-screen prompts, and more.
7. Invest in and serve millennials
It’s important to remember that millennials are the number one generation invested in the travel and hospitality industry. Yes, an important and current hospitality trend is that millennials are much more prone to travel than Gen Xers and Baby Boomers—for both business and pleasure.
Additionally, once millennials find a brand they love, they show their loyalty and want to participate. This means loyalty programs are a great way to reward millennials and foster continued engagement and repeat business with your brand.
The travel and hospitality industry is growing and brands that keep up with current marketing trends will have a competitive advantage over those that settle for old fashioned marketing and advertising. Remember, as you look to attract more business, it’s vital to adjust your marketing strategies to meet consumer expectations.