Monday, November 23, 2015

Content Marketing For Hotels - Personas

The hospitality industry must maintain a credible online presence in the face of intense competition with online travel agencies (OTAs) for direct hotel bookings. This is in order to keep pace or even gain a slight edge on the OTAs. Hotels have an advantage when compared with other industries in that their business is to provide, not only a place to stay the night, but a pleasurable experience for travelers. Potential customers of hotels are very receptive to compelling and relevant content offered by hoteliers due to the nature of travel. Effective hotel content marketing should be founded on a strategy designed to successfully guide prospective hotel guests into the digital booking funnel, without directly selling to them.

 

Know Your Guests

Effective hotel content marketing begins like any other marketing campaign with a clear strategy, by truly understanding your brand’s intended audience. Unfortunately many hotels and chains seem to lump all past guests and prospects into the same box and try to appeal to all of them. They disregard the unique wants and needs of even the most basic of traveler personas, business or leisure. Researching to uncover the various traveler categories or ‘personas’ is absolutely essential in gaining a knowledge of who exactly are the people paying money to stay on the hotel’s property. It is just as important for the hotel to essentially determine what its own persona will be. This is needed to fully understand itself and what categories of accommodations are provided for the guests.

It is crucial for the hotel personas to be more specific than business or leisure, for example. Various traveler types such as: Millennial (18-34) Generation, single female, who is very active, but mixing business with pleasure. Or another example, Baby Boomer (51-67) couple visiting their children to catch up with the grandchildren. Even within the business traveler segment there are many different sub-categories. Research can uncover the many personas that spend time at a hotel.

Once the proper audiences have been identified, then highly specific marketing messages may be crafted to reach out and appeal to each one. To begin, visual content must reflect the makeup of the hotel’s audience. When the different groups sign on to the hotel’s website, they should identify and feel some connection with the people they see there. Also, research can uncover what services, amenities and activities the varying different personas will find attractive.

It is just as vital to gain some sense of the cultural makeup of the audience as well. Maybe they speak a language not commonly spoken at the hotel and its environs, and would appreciate being reached out to in their native tongue. All of these questions are relevant to any discussion designed to fine tune a hotel’s content marketing strategy. 


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Friday, November 13, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 11/13/15

The importance of travel & tourism to the global economy

Hospitality supplier Nerval has put together an infographic illustrating the importance of the travel sector to the world’s economy. A few examples include the fact that one out eleven jobs worldwide are related to travel or tourism. In 2013 9.5 percent of the world’s economy was contributed by travel and tourism. The travel sector outperforms the wider global economy in terms of growth 3 percent versus 2 percent for the rest of the world’s economy. Full Story Here:

 

Hotel loyalty isn’t ‘intimate’ I don’t mind

A report published by MBLM has the loyalty level of hotel customers ranked near the bottom of all U.S. brands. U.S. hotels fell to the bottom of loyalty ranking, behind automotive, retail, tech and many other industries. Among hotel brands, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, The Ritz Carlton, Marriott, Hilton and Holiday Inn were in the top ten travel companies. Among all U.S. industries, Apple, BMW, Toyota, Amazon, and Harley Davidson were the top five. Full Story Here:

 

Social media a powerful global influencer in holiday choices: VisitBritain report

A report published by VisitBritain, the national tourism agency of the U.K., highlights the important role played by social media in influencing the vacation plans of travelers. The survey questioned visitors from the U.S.A., Germany, India and South Korea. 89 percent of travelers from all those markets combined stated they used social media at least once in the vacation planning process. Nearly 70 percent acknowledged the influence of content posted by friends in making travel plans. Full Story Here:

 

STR: US results for week ending 7 November 

Once again the U.S. hotel industry recorded positive numbers in the three most important performance measurements, the week of 1-7 November 2015. According to figures from STR, in comparison to the same period last year, occupancy was higher by 0.2 percent to 66.4 percent. Average daily rate climbed by 3.1 percent to reach $120.73 for the week. Revenue per available room rose by 3.3 percent to end the week at $80.23. Full Story Here:

 


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Thursday, November 12, 2015

Hotel Marketing Personalization

There clearly is a trend, empowered by emerging technologies, to personalize the hotel guest experience on-property. Driven by the Internet of Things and mobile technology, hotel guest personalization has become a powerful tool for hoteliers to build brand loyalty and garner increased direct bookings. But some hotels are missing out on an opportunity, which is to use their hotel website to personalize the hotel’s marketing message.

 

Dynamic Content Personalization

 

Usually referred to as “Dynamic Content Personalization,” this tool leverages readily available data that hotels already have on hand. It compiles it in such a way by creating individualized marketing messages based on past guest information and current interests. Personalized content appears to website users when the website recognizes a past site visitor, then tailors the web pages for the individual user. In this way, the website user finds information which is highly relevant for them. This in turn leads to a higher degree of conversions of potential guests into direct bookings on the hotel’s website.

Content personalization is built around tracking past website viewing history, both on the hotel website and elsewhere on the Internet. This can include past online purchases and any reviews which may have been written by the user, combined with demographic and purchase information available from any past hotel stays. Even the geographic location of the user is taken into account. Taken together, this data can result in a truly customized website experience for users.

This has only been made possible by the disruptive innovation brought about by the gathering of big data in a scalable way. Information on past guests and hotel loyalty program members is easily available to hoteliers. And when combined with the online user data, gives hotels a powerful advantage over the competing online travel agencies and metasearch engines for booking customers directly.

Some ways in which a hotel website, armed with such data, could put it to best use may include:

 

  • Recognizing the user’s IP address, and adjust the website language for visitors from another country. Also, specific promotions and offers can be tailored to an international audience.

 

  • Based on data available to the hotel, the website may detect that a website visitor is a business traveler. In which case they would see content specifically geared to that travel demographic. Hotel amenities such as, on-property meeting facilities and the free high speed Wi-Fi connection would appear, for example.

 

  • In the case of the website recognizing a leisure traveler, the content displayed might include stunning visuals of the surrounding area with regard to the hotel’s address. Offers accentuating the pleasurable relaxation available to hotel guests through the hotel’s spa and the delightful dining possibilities that await them are examples of content customized for that demographic.

 

Disruptive big data collection technologies, through dynamic content personalization, have given hoteliers the capacity to choose their website content and match it to specific hotel market segments. This is a potent means of driving direct hotel bookings in the crowded travel space.

 


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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Guest Personalization For Hotels - Part 2

The growing high expectations of the twenty-first century traveler provides hoteliers with new opportunities to build customer loyalty through the personalization of the hotel guest experience. In addition to the personalization made possible through mobile apps, smart technology applied within guest accommodations can further improve the guest experience.

 

Smart Technology

The implementation of smart or “connected” technologies, sometimes referred to as the Internet of Things or IoT, is transforming the in-room guest experience. The connected technology enables guests to control, either through their own mobile device or one provided by the hotel, all aspects of their hotel room. Environmental controls, such as lighting levels and room temperature may be set by the guest to their preferences. Services including ordering room service or requesting more towels can be accomplished by simply touching a screen.

The guest’s setting preferences may be saved and then be reverted back to hotel selected standardized settings upon check-out. Whenever the guest arrives at the hotel for their next stay, these preferences can be re-set and returned at will. These technologies can be even further enhanced with the utilization of voice and motion activation. Smart technology, through sensors in the room, can tell hotel housekeeping staff when a guest is not present in a room in order to prevent awkward intrusions. Additionally, sensors will inform front desk staff when the guests have checked out.

Travelers are now bringing their own entertainment content with them on their mobile devices. They desire television access to their various content services such as Hulu, Amazon, and Netflix. Smart televisions provided in-room will enable hotel guests to access their digital content. Added benefits such televisions offer is the elimination of external cable or satellite boxes and greater control for the hotel of content they provide. Some hotels are also revamping their in-room telephone systems with voice over IP (VoIP) phones. These also offer further options for guest personalization.

Hotels themselves also benefit from the implementation of these various smart technologies. For example, a hotel can garner substantial savings through the energy efficiency offered by smart thermostats and sensor technology, which detects the presence of hotel guests. The trend in hotel guest personalization is only going to grow as the demands and expectations of hotel customers are raised by the expansion of smart technologies. Hoteliers would clearly stand to greatly profit from their adoption and integration.  


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Friday, November 6, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 11/6/15

Expedia To Acquire HomeAway, Inc.

It was announced that Expedia, Inc. has agreed to acquire alternative accommodations provider, HomeAway, Inc. The deal, which includes all of HomeAway’s brands, is reported to be for $3.9 billion in cash and Expedia common stock. HomeAway, a worldwide leader in vacation rentals, brings 1.2 million properties to the online travel agency. Full Story Here:

 

US Hotel Occupancy Up 1.2% To 62.3% Week Ending October 31st - 2015

The U.S. hotel industry ended the week of 25 - 31 October 2015 higher in all three key performance markers, as compared to the same period last year. Occupancy climbed 1.2 percent to reach 62.3 percent. Average daily rate increased by 5.1 percent, up to $120.46 for the week. Further, revenue per available room was 6.4 percent higher, to end the week at $75.06. Full Story Here:

 

Hotels market to expand at 4.0% CAGR due to exponential growth of travel and tourism industry

The worldwide hotels market, estimated in 2014 to be worth $534 billion, is projected to reach $702.7 by the year 2021. This is according to the “Hotels Market - Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends and Forecast 2015 - 20121” published by Transparency Market Research. The hotels market, segmented by star ratings ranging between non-rated to 5 stars, features 3 star hotels leading the market with $179.07 billion. These 3 star hotels are forecast to maintain their market dominance in the projections. Unrated hotels are projected to be the fastest growing, reaching $32.8 billion by 2021. Full Story Here:

 

Hoteliers warn of ‘rogue’ sites tricking guests

The two trade associations representing hotels and online travel agencies recently battled it out with words traded back and forth regarding the safety and security of OTA websites. The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA) reported that OTA’s trick consumers into thinking they are booking directly on hotel websites, when in fact they are not. The trade association cited a report they commissioned by GFK Custom Research. The study found that hotel bookings through OTA’s are often corrupted, inaccurate, or even nonexistent. Full Story Here:

 

 


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Monday, November 2, 2015

Hospitality News For The Week Of 10/30/15

ReviewPro releases its 2015 Top Luxury Hotel & Brand Report

ReviewPro, a guest intelligence solutions provider, released the results of their second annual report of the most highly rated luxury hotels and brands around the world. The report is based on reputation scoring and is compiled from guest reviews from a variety of online sources. TripAdvisor is the largest source of these online guest reviews, providing 28 percent of the total number of online guest reviews. Guests at luxury hotels posted an average of 836 reviews per hotel during 2015. Full Report Here:  

 

STR: US results for week ending 24 October

Industry wide, U.S. hotels performed well for the week of 18-24 October 2015, recording positive results. As compared to the same time frame last year, occupancy rose by 1.7 percent to reach 70.6 percent. Average daily rate climbed by 4.6 percent to $124.76 by week’s end. Revenue per available room increased by 6.4 percent to close the week at $88.08. Full Story Here:

 

Millennials Want to Travel More for Business, Embrace Value of Face-to-Face Meetings

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) recently released the results of their Business Traveler Sentiment Index. The study found that members of the Millennial Generation are almost two times more likely to travel for business than their Baby Boomer counterparts. Additionally, the research went on to state the importance of conducting business in person, according to Millennials. A solid majority, at 57 percent, believe face-to-face meetings will never be replaced by technology. Full Story Here:

 

US Hotel Occupancy Up 1.4 percent to 71.3 percent For Third Quarter 2015 

The three major hotel performance yardsticks indicated positive growth in year-to-year measurements for the third quarter of 2015. Occupancy increased by 1.4 percent to stand at 71.3 percent for the quarter. Average daily rate climbed 4.5 percent to reach $122.66 for the quarter. And revenue per available room was up 5.9 percent to $87.47 for the third quarter of 2015. Full Story Here:

 


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