2019 Hotel Marketing Trends
On our list of 2019 hotel marketing trends, you will find initiatives which can have a great impact on the success of your business in 2019 and beyond. But these are not merely trends, these are also very practical pieces of advice which, when applied correctly, can pivot the trajectory of your business within a short period of time.
This really is the power of digital and today we bring to you a forecast of the ten things we believe are destined to be big hitters in 2019.
Not only because they seem to show signs of taking off but because in the name of practicality, they often make great sense and are initiatives that should be taken on board.
#1. Hotel Rate Parity Challenges
Even in 2019, hotel rate parity will still be a challenge for many hotels.
Considered as the cost of doing business, the relationship can often shift to rocky ground as hotels can often lose out when they become heavily booked by OTAs that regularly cut rates unexpectedly to boost their profits.
This forces hotels to find creative ways to increase direct bookings and have less direct influence from OTAs.
But luckily, there are a few key ways to positively respond to rate parity challenges.
Here is where we find specific trends being implemented by hotels to combat this challenge.
Trends such as:
- The use of Meta Search companies which use bidding techniques to get your listings to the top of search results.
- Offering great perks to your guest for booking direct.
- Using influencer marketing strategies to boost direct sales.
- Utilizing social media perks such as Instagram’s new e-commerce feature to encourage direct bookings.
Regardless of the options given, a push towards gaining more direct bookings is always going to be the best solution.
So we expect to see more initiatives geared toward direct bookings again in 2019.
#2. Instagram Functionality & Features
More than two years ago, Instagram made a move which many thought was out of desperation.
They launched a direct copy of Snapchat’s Stories, calling it Instagram Stories.
Within that time frame, Instagram Stories now boasts over 400 million daily users, twice as many users as Snapchat’s entire consumer base.
And now, with the addition of a new eCommerce feature being added to its Stories, we see an ideal opportunity for hospitality companies to find even more success marketing their products and services on this platform.
So with Instagram’s most recent venture into commerce, we expect to see brands explore and share more of the story behind their products and services into the year 2019.
#3. Vacation Rental Revolution
After being introduced in early 2018, AirBnB Plus pushes its head forward to be the new standard of room sharing hospitality in 2019 and beyond.
AirBnB Plus promises to be a selection of only the highest quality properties with the highest rated hosts.
It is a class of hospitality which is designed to meet a specific criterion which will allow for separation in the market.
But AirBnB won’t stand alone in the luxury rental revolution.
With vacation rentals as a whole being expected to upset the entire vacation and holiday Industry by 2020.
As a result, we expect those who qualify under the guidelines to take full advantage of initiatives such as AirBnB Plus as opposed to some of its competitors due to its already huge consumer base and reputation.
Which has been forecasted to grow, as AirBnB is expected to IPO sometime during the summer of 2019.
#4. Mobile First Experiences
Ever since Google Speed Update was introduced in July of 2018, it became even more apparent that loading speed would be one of the first gateways to maintaining or increasing traffic going into 2019.
Research has shown us that 53% of mobile website visitors will abandon your website if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
Also is the fact that mobile usage has forever been increasing, in fact, as of December 2018, it is estimated that 44.7% of e-commerce is generated through mobile, with that number estimated to rise to around 53.9 % in 2021.
This means the need for websites to have flat and simple designs has also increased. This fulfills another key requirement for pleasing the search engines and delivering constant traffic to your website.
All of this eventually lead to “Mobile first”. Ever since 2015, when mobile searches overtook desktop searches for the first time, many of Google’s later initiatives have been geared towards a better mobile experience.
But it has now become the new standard of website building where the mobile user is considered first in the creation process.
Therefore, in order for your 2019 marketing campaign to be successful, having a mobile-first website design will be crucial to your success.
#5. Google Hotel Ads
In a mobile first world, the need for personalization has never been greater. Getting that near perfect message across the screen at that near perfect time has never been more crucial to the success of hotel marketers.
This is just part of the struggle which hotel marketers face when it comes to competing against their OTA counterparts. Which is why staying on top of the latest trends and being innovative and adaptive is key.
Which is why Google Hotel Ads has been somewhat of a revelation to marketers. Allowing hotel brands to compete in search results against their massive OTA counterparts, in an effort to increase direct bookings.
After all, the 15-30% OTAs take can really add up, especially if they are undercutting booking prices from the beginning.
This is why we believe that Google Hotel Ads will be one of the most important marketing channels going into 2019 and beyond.
This has been proven with research done by RoiBack, which has shown us that hoteliers using GHA have seen a return on investment of up to 900%, with a 77% increase on sales last year from the previous time period.
This has seen booking made through metasearch engines rise to 12% in world where 75% of booking are made online.
#6. Visual Searches
With the introduction of “Lens”, Pinterest has now made it possible to find almost any item, where to buy it as well as pins containing similar content.
Even though the technology isn’t perfect, it still clocks in around 600 million searches per month.
Making it a major marketing opportunity for those who can use it to their advantage.
On the other hand, Google’s ‘Lens”, currently available on Pixel phones only, allows users to take a photo of a landmark, building or hotel, for example, and subsequently, receive information on that place and the surrounding area.
The CamFind app also allows users to search visually. Instead of typing queries into a search engine, you can search directly through the content to find similar images, price comparisons, local shopping results, etc.
Just as users love the “swipe up to shop” feature on Instagram Stories when they see an image, we believe going forward, users will use the app to take photos of places, hotels, restaurants, and search the best deals much faster.
#7. Video Marketing
The emotional attraction involved in showing someone visuals from an actual location is still one of the best ways to sell.
With over 1 Billion monthly active users, great targeted reach and solid engagement metrics, IG Stories and IGTV have proven to be a fresh breath of air for marketers engaging in video marketing.
With an estimated 72% of millennials choosing to keep their phones upright, the need to meet vertical demands is more than ever.
Those who are quick to take advantage of this approach, a great head start, and much-coveted market space.
We believe that this already strong trend is expected to continue into 2019.
#8. TripAdvisor becomes a Social Media Platform
Research done by Oxford Economics has found that TripAdvisor has influenced more than 10.3% of global hospitality spend in the year 2017 alone.
Which in figures is around $546 Billion!!!
Now, Tripadvisor wants to increase that number by adding a one size fits all solution; helping travelers get all of their information in one place.
With over 500 consumer brands signing on to be a part of beta testing for Tripadvisor’s push to become a travel social media feed.
This will allow real-time interactions between consumer and your hospitality services.
Even though they are being very tight-lipped about details, we expect brands to push hard and expand their global presence on the platform in 2019.
#9. A.I. is here to stay
When it comes to A.I, we believe chatbots are destined to steal the hearts of many hoteliers.
The ability to have a 24 hr, 7 days a week virtual assistant, delivering answers to simple questions or requests.
These simultaneous interactions are often impossible to be replicated by humans and at a fraction of the cost of a traditional support team.
A.I. seems best positioned to be best positioned to qualify leads that can be further nurtured and closed by the human sales expert.
As a result, we expect A.I. at this point to be heavily involved in the funneling section of the marketing process as the user experience going forward into 2019.
#10. Voice Search
Just ask Alexa!!!
Adding to the guest experience is a breeze with Alexa for Hospitality. She can add next level guest experience by being more than just a virtual concierge.
Ask her to raise the temperature, lower the lighting, order more amenities or even order in room service.
Being innovative is going to be a huge part of what hospitality means in 2019. Integrating new innovations such as Alexa for Hospitality can be a great sell for those targeting millennials.
Additionally, information gathered from persons willing to engage with Alexa can always be used creatively to re-engage them, starting with using social messaging apps such as WhatsApp, WeChat, and Messenger to reach out to those people.
Combined, these apps have more users than Facebook and YouTube and have far surpassed the daily use of regular social apps.
This is a great strategy for reaching out with specials, events, etc. with a better chance of reaching the guest than an email blast.
Our Notable Mention
#11. Influencer Marketing
The trend of influencer marketing follows a very basic and traditional form of marketing which is word of mouth.
Due to an influencer’s ability to direct traffic straight to your hotel’s social media pages or website, you now have the ability to win that customer directly.
But all influencers are not made equal!
A micro influencer is generally recognized a someone who has between 10,000 – 500,000 followers on social. But the term can also be quantified as someone who has an engaged audience in a specific niche.
They can often have a much greater impact even with a smaller audience and tighter budget, due to their brand loyalty and follower trust.
Very much similar to micro influencers but with generally less than 10,000 followers.
Who at times may have an even greater passion and energy about what they promote, with an even higher level of audience engagement.
Needed maturation in this space
When it comes to the maturation of influencer marketing and it becoming a key tool for businesses, we find great roadblocks due to the vagueness of where it fits in.
Is it a public relations tool, maybe media or a creative asset?
Who is responsible for budget allocations and strategic planning?
The truth is, there are great benefits to placing it under any of these umbrellas but due to the true nature of what is really is, we believe in allowing the creative team to manage the entire process would be ideal.
Once all parties involved come to this realization, which we do believe they will, we expect the trend of influencer marketing to really flourish going into 2019 and beyond.
So there you have it!
Our list of Top 10 Hotel Digital Marketing Trends for 2019.
We would love your input as to what you think about the trends we have listed here.