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Your Top 10 Digital Marketing New Year's Resolutions for 2019

After saying goodbye to 2018, we're starting the new year with fresh priorities and goals. January is a great time for hoteliers to reflect on last year's strategies and analyze results in order to create a blueprint for a successful new year. Determining your hotel's most successful digital marketing initiatives is the first step to executing a strong plan that will achieve greater results this year than last year.

With new technology and digital innovations announced daily, it can seem overwhelming for hoteliers to stay on top of trends and work them into their own strategies. With voice search and AI, omnichannel marketing, and the use of influencers on the rise, hoteliers have the opportunity to reach potential guests at more touchpoints than ever before.

It's important to start 2019 with a strong foundation to your digital strategy and be able to incorporate new initiatives as the year goes on. To get you started, we put together the top resolutions for hotels based on current and forecasted trends.

1. Understand the importance of an updated website and technology. Implement design trends on your website that follow UX and are backed by the right technology that leads user towards a booking.
Selecting the right CMS is important for your hotel's digital strategy. Content management systems can help your hotel implement website personalization, present real-time rates and inventory, promote offers and specials, and more. All of these factors will showcase the property and can turn website visitors into bookings and revenue.

As mobile continues to dominate, you should also make sure that you have a mobile-first, fully-responsive website design. Last year, Google began to use the mobile page versions of a domain for indexing and caching in its search results, and subsequently, for ranking. Historically, the desktop version of a page was primarily used when evaluating the relevance of a page to a user's query.

2. Make CRM a priority. The goal of customer relationship management is fairly straightforward - improve your hotel relationships with guests. A CRM solution can help to understand customers through data and deliver them messages that they want and care about.

By engaging guests before, during, and after their stays, hotels can fuel loyalty throughout the customer lifetime journey. Own the conversation from the moment a booking is made, nurture the experience with marketing automation, and retain your best guests by showing them how much you value their business.

3. Learn about the importance of omnichannel marketing. Multi-channel marketing has been around for some time now and has proven to be a successful strategy for hotels. Now, with consumers expecting more personalized communication from brands, comes omnichannel marketing. This refers to providing a seamless experience, regardless of channel or device.

Consumers expect their experiences with a brand to be the same in a physical location, on a website or app, through social media, and across online advertisements on any device they use. All of these touchpoints create an omnichannel experience for the user. Hotels can take advantage of omnichannel marketing by monitoring what guests are responding to best (on social media and on the website) and create content that reflects the brand and property. Utilizing data can help hotels understand what guests really want from the brand. From there, hotels should make sure all digital touchpoints represent the brand. This can include look and feel, the tone of voice, and the use of colors. Multi-channel and omnichannel campaigns can help achieve high results on a fairly small budget, sometimes generating over 10X ROAS.

The final aspect of omnichannel marketing is personalization. As mentioned above, personalization can connect users to brands and help develop relationships. By personalizing content, hotels can achieve the omnichannel experience where guests will feel noticed and appreciated no matter what platform they interact with the hotel on.

4. Give website visitors a personalized experience. A personalized online experience is more important than ever for hotels as customers expect brands to remember them and present them relevant information.
Data doesn't lie. It's evident that customers expect a personalized experience when they visit your hotel website. 74% of consumers feel frustrated when website content is not personalized (Infosys) and 77% have chosen, recommended, or paid more for a brand that provides a personalized experience.

It's no longer enough to present potential guests with static website content and expect them to find what they're looking for and make a reservation. In fact, a Salesforce study found that, by 2020, 51% of consumers will expect brands to anticipate their needs and make relevant suggestions.

Through personalization, hotels can create a dynamic user experience. Rather than a broad experience that attempts to reach all possible travelers, hotels have the ability to create unique content that appeals to different segments in order to achieve specific business needs. In this way, the hotel website can—and should—be the primary channel for engaging your best guests.

5. Invest in video. Video continues to dominate.70% of consumers have shared a brand's video (Wyzowl) and 52% said that watching a product video makes them more confident in online purchases (Invodo).
Although investing in video assets can be costly, the payoff can be huge for hotels. Videos can be utilized on websites, shared on social media channels, and provide a great way for potential customers to get a feel for their experience before ever stepping foot on the property.

A video on The Grand Ely Lodge homepage recently helped the property increase the time spent on the website and decrease bounce rate, both of which impact search engine rankings and the overall health of the website.

To continue reading, visit www.hospitalitynet.org