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Thursday, 26 October, 2017, 12 : 16 PM [IST]

Marketing in the Digital World

The hospitality industry has come a long way in managing and engaging guests. However, there are certain aspects of marketing that needs due attention in the current changing business scenario, it’s important to plan and to budget accordingly for the coming year.

Content is King
To stay relevant and top of mind, your property should regularly produce new content. Produce content for your website, social media, travel blogs to expand your digital footprint and reach more potential travellers. Search engines love new content and that’s because consumers are searching for new stuff to read, watch and share. We should embrace short-lived and micro content that may only be helpful or interesting for a short duration of time.

Video will Dominate the Web
Using videos to market your property will remain popular. Video content comes in many different forms and your property can experiment with it different ways. Showcase your property, city, staff, local events, your recipes, etc. Most importantly, experiment and see what works.

Creating content around a local event may generate a lot of traffic and conversation that could produce real benefits for your property.

Mobile will take Over Desktop
Even if guests do not book their trip on mobile, it’s highly likely they will interact with you at some point on mobile. If your website is not mobile optimised, you need to make plans to fix your site. The booking engine should also be mobileoptimised so that guests can complete their bookings in one session. If potential travellers are unable to complete bookings on your site, you run the risk of them booking somewhere else.

Email Marketing
Email marketing remains one of the cheapest and most effective ways as it allows communicating well with your existing guests before, during, and after their trip. Use email to send them helpful information about your property and this gives an opportunity to upsell. Ensure you plan your email strategy and decide how often to send emails.

In hospitality-centric businesses, making each guest feel special is important. For example, create fields in your booking engine that allow guests to explain the purpose of their trip. Special events like honeymoons, anniversaries, birthdays, and the likes can have some sort of personalisation added to them. Treating guests like they are individuals gives them a story to tell and spread to their friends.

Reputation Management
Online review websites have done an incredible job at building loyal fan bases and generating traffic. It’s important to keep an eye on all of your online platforms and ensure that you’re staying ahead of any negative reviews. It’s good practice to respond to all of your reviews, but at the very least, all user-generated negative reviews should be addressed in time.

Distribution Channels
New distribution channels are a great way to market your property. A healthy distribution strategy is essential to a successful marketing. Direct bookings and third party distribution channels (OTAs) both have their place for almost all types of properties. Use these channels to your advantage.

Focus on Location
Local and shared experiences will be at the forefront of hospitality trends, which means that your property should capitalise on the local area. Undertake staff trainings for so that they are up-to-date on local trends and the best spots for different types of guests.

Data Driven Marketing
When making marketing decisions, there are a number of metrics that you should look at. Keep track of data over time so that you pull insights into whether certain marketing activities are paying off over time. You should analyse fluctuations so you’re making the most informed decisions.

Conversions through Social Media
Social media platforms can be optimised to drive bookings. For example, Facebook has a button that you can customise with a number of different callto- actions, including Book Now. You can direct the URL to any destination. For your property’s page, you should direct them to your direct booking engine or website. One should also leverage on technology platforms such as LinkedIn for new business development.

B2B Marketing
In a large market like India, the traditional B2B marketing still plays a major role and contributes over 50% of the total business. Being in the face of the customer is important to strengthen business relations. Re-aligning your sales force and deploying on to new and profitable segments of business is the way to go. With a major growth in domestic and outbound travel in India, the trend today is not just focus on primary markets but also secondary markets to target the rich aspirational travellers. For inbound, identify new international markets such as China, Latin America are worth exploring.

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