5 Hot Trends All Hotel Marketers Should be Following in 2018
Keeping up with the latest technology changes and trends is among today’s greatest challenges for hotel industry marketers. Distribution channels like OTAs and metasearch engines frequently announce new advertising products and platform enhancements while the number of third party technology providers offering services from revenue management systems (RMS) and customer relationship management (CRM) systems to website personalization and messaging apps that connect guests directly to hotel staff continues to grow.
Staying informed is no small feat, especially when it’s just one aspect of a hotel marketer’s job.
Here's a glance at five current trends to be aware of if you’re a prospective job seeker looking for a hotel marketing position.
1. Hotel Website Redesign
In an effort to drive more direct bookings, hotels are relaunching their websites to better appeal to the needs and interests of today’s traveler and provide them with an improved user experience. That typically includes optimized images or media content, more detailed information on local places of interests and in some cases, improved booking engines designed to require fewer steps in the purchase process so that website users arrive to “the bottom of the funnel” or the actual purchase more quickly and are thus, less likely to bounce off the site.
2. Website Personalization
This may be part of a hotel’s website redesign, but not necessarily as it usually requires the technology of a third party provider or agency and thus, is an additional expense for the hotel. The product can identify the IP address of site users, which indicates where the user is located and that information will determine the language in which the site appears to each individual user and potentially, the content that they will see and the offers and promotions that they are automatically served.
In other words, if a beachfront resort in Mexico attracts both guests from the U.S. as well local Mexican travelers who book last-minute weekend getaways, the site will immediately deliver the respective language and relative information to each of those sets of users.
3. Metasearch Marketing
There’s growing interest in this distribution channel among hoteliers as it drives direct bookings and is viewed as less expensive than bookings derived from OTAs. But it can be time-consuming to manage and requires an in-depth understanding of how each metasearch engine works and who a given hotel is competing with on each meta site (as OTAs also list hotel inventory on meta channels).
Plus, the meta sites themselves are constantly announcing new advertising platforms for the hotel industry. So how hotels work with this channel and where the channel is going in the future is constantly evolving. But in the meantime, metasearch is also giving rise to another class of third-party suppliers that work with hotel clients to manage their metasearch campaigns.
4. Cloud-Based Hotel Management Systems
While these aren’t yet commonplace in the hotel industry, they are increasingly gaining traction as hotels move away from legacy systems to cloud-based software and services, providing a single, overarching system in which what were previously standalone systems such as Revenue Management Systems (RMS), Point of Sale (POS) systems, Customer Recognition Management (CRM) systems, are now networked.
Aside from eliminating the need – not to mention the expense of – hardware installation and software licenses, cloud-based systems also steamline the process of connecting to software applications, even if they have different providers. It’s also possible to integrate systems in order to share information, and that is considered a key benefit of a cloud-based system since, for instance, an integrated RMS and POS can give a hotel’s revenue management team a more granular perspective on ancillary, on-property sales that are adding to the bottom line.
5. In-Room Voice-Powered Technology
Digital voice assistants are the latest in in-room technology upgrades, especially as Amazon Echo recently launched Alexa for Hospitality, which is being integrated at a number of internationally branded hotels this summer.
Products like this allow guests to request housekeeping services, turn lights and heat controls on and off, order room service and ask questions about hotel locations such as ‘what time does the spa open?’ How the traveling public at large will react to this in-room technology remains to be seen as there are still some privacy concerns with it.