Christmas and the close of another year are just a few weeks away, which means it is time for hoteliers to start thinking about their marketing plans for 2019. The challenge for any hotelier though is the sheer number of options available for marketing your property. And, while that might sound like a good problem to have, very few independent hoteliers have the time to research the methods that will best suit their business. The good news is we’ve put together a list of three important marketing trends you’ll either want to add to your strategy next year, or earmark for the future.
Voice assistants’ impact on SEO
Around 30% of all online searches are expected to be conducted without a screen by the year 2020.
This demonstrates how important our voices have become when it comes to searching for answers, advice or services online. Apple’s Siri and competing voice assistants from the likes of Google, Microsoft and Amazon are increasingly playing an important role in our lives, and that’s having an impact on the way websites need to be configured.
Search engine optimization (SEO) has, until now, relied on targeting keyword phrases that are typed by the user. However, we type search queries rather differently to the way we say them, and with voice search on the rise, your website will need to be able to respond.
For instance, when typing a search in your favorite search engine, you may type “best hotels in Orlando”. However, when voice searching you may instead say, “What are the best hotels in Orlando?” To optimize your property’s voice search features, you may need some assistance from an SEO expert to make sure you don’t miss out on voice-powered search traffic next year and beyond.
A few ways you can ensure that your property is located during a voice search is to make sure your Google My Business Page is up to date with the correct address, phone number and contact information. Also, you can optimize for local searches by building your online reviews.
Although arguably not for the masses just yet, chatbots are slowly transforming the way customer service is delivered. If you’ve dealt with a big brand online via a chat window recently, you may well have unknowingly interacted with a piece of software that mimics human response.
Hotel chains are making use of this technology both on their websites and via services like Facebook (who offer their own chatbot feature on the Messenger platform), but it won’t be long before it filters down to the independents.
The purpose of chatbots isn’t to fool the customer or provide an inferior service – it’s to offer genuinely useful, fast advice to common queries; chatbots are capable of reducing the amount of time staff spend dealing with run-of-the-mill booking requests and questions about the hotel.
If there’s one form of marketing that’s almost guaranteed to engage an audience, it’s video. If there’s a ‘play’ button present on a webpage or social media post, people will probably click it, and if you get the content right, it remains one of the best ways to demonstrate to the world why your hotel beats the competition.
While it has long been possible to produce great quality videos on a shoestring budget thanks to advancing smartphone technology, expect hoteliers of all shapes and sizes to implement video marketing on their social media platforms in 2019. Behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes on at the property and interviews with staff and guests will be the order of the day, so why not start planning some of your own video content for next year – now?
One of the most exciting things about modern hotel marketing is that most forms of brand promotion are now open to all. You no longer need deep pockets to reach huge audiences, and the three trends above are just the tip of the iceberg.