2015 Top Digital Marketing Trends for the Hospitality Industry [Webinar Recap]

Published: Jan 15, 2015
2015 digital marketing trends

From social synergy to the impact of mobile search, digital marketing in 2015 is a new landscape of creative engagement, seamless integration and the customer journey.  With our eyes on every algorithm launch and search trend, Milestone has designed innovative strategies for online visibility, content engagement, conversion, ROI tracking and the user experience. Inspire your hotel marketing strategy by looking at these driving forces in digital marketing.

The Milestone team recently hosted a free educational session on 2015 Top Digital Marketing Trends and Strategies For The Hospitality Industry. If you missed the session, don’t worry as you can view the recorded webinar and read the summary below:

Importance of Mobile Presence for Hotels

Mobile search is the star trend of digital marketing. The universe of mobile users is massive – 3 in 5 people use mobile devices to search and 80% of local searches on mobile devices convert to purchase. With Google rolling out a new ranking factor for mobile-friendly sites, it is essential that your hotel website is optimized for mobile search and responsive on all mobile devices. The target is to enhance mobile traffic and ensure a robust and seamless experience with content that can be shared on social media.

Enhancing Your Hotel’s Local Presence

Your website has to tap into the possibilities of enhanced local search.  The goal is to create optimized content and local profiles, manage quality citations and directory listings, and deliver a seamless mobile experience across devices.  It is critical that you manage your local presence across search engines, IYPs, aggregators, business directories, local citations, and maps. Ensuring your hotel’s marketing strategy includes optimizing your content with headers, title tags, metadata, footers with location-based schemas, and image alt-tags will help strengthen the property’s local presence.

Hotel Social Media Marketing

In our connected online community, the synergy of social engagement empowers your digital marketing.  Most of the world uses social media sites, including Google+, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and LinkedIn. Social media is a driver of brand awareness and customer relationships and retention. To be in the social conversation and derive traffic from social platforms, your web content must be interesting, build connections, and inspire conversion. Ensure your site is optimized for mobile and sharing across devices, and make sure to add OG tags and Twitter cards. Be a stand out with robust hotel social media outreach, engaging content and visual media.

Content Marketing – Engagement and the Customer Journey

Content marketing starts with understanding your audience and the customer journey. Content should engage, inspire and enhance the user experience. Empower your audience with engaging content, including local attractions and activities, visuals and trending topics. Your content should be optimized for local and conversational search and saturate diversified channels – from your website to blogs to Facebook. Look at KPI indicators – time spent on page, bounce and click-through rates and engagement patters. Once you determine top converting pages, enhance the content to encourage the path to purchase, and ensure mobile responsiveness.

The User Experience

The user experience is the human path to digital marketing. Audiences want to be engaged, be able to navigate your site, and tap into social influences. Conversion optimization starts with usability factors such as speed and performance, information architecture, legibility, colors and images.  With robust architecture, clear design and navigation, and engaging content, your site will increase conversion. A smart way to see how the user experience relates to the conversion funnel is to implement A/B testing. Track which pages perform better based on simple design and content evolution, including floating buttons, drop-downs, marketing messages, and banners.

Expanding Your Hotel’s Paid Search Presence

The key to a highly successful hotel paid search campaign is to maximize your outreach and diversify your channels, via Facebook, Google, Yelp, and HotelFinder.  Make sure you bid on your brand or hotel name, leverage social channels, and allocate your budget to tap into mobile conversion, which is higher than ever! Customize marketing messages to your specific target audience, and focus on the customer journey.

Attribute Hotel ROI Across All Touch Points

The customer journey is evolving, so businesses need to alter their approach to measuring digital marketing ROI.  With the dramatic spike in mobile search and social signals, the conversion funnel is not linear and the purchase journey can begin at any point along the decision path. It’s important for hotels and businesses to tap into this dynamic, target the audience journey, and personalize the content. With new innovations in digital tracking software, we can attribute ROI to every channel. By understanding the conversion path, attributing ROI, and integrating a dashboard to break down the data, we can see the value of each touch point.

Understanding the Hotel Customer Journey

From travel inspiration and research to booking to post-stay social, understanding the customer journey is paramount to your digital marketing strategy. In hospitality/travel, and just about any industry or business, customers use search, websites, social channels, and reviews to plan a trip or book a room. That’s why your hotel website has to be optimized for organic and paid search, connected to social channels, and designed for conversion. Being present on every layer of the customer journey gives your business the edge.

Google has recently launched a useful tool that helps businesses (small and large) understand what channels they should be focusing on to maximize exposure and encouraging consumers to make a purchase. Check out the customer journey tool here.

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Contributed by:
Benu Aggarwal, Founder and President
Kchitiz Regmi, Sr. VP of Operations and Technology
Mike Supple, Director of Products and Social Media
Tammie Carlisle, Sr. Director of Business Development, West Coast
Teresa Villaruz, Sr. Marketing Manager (Moderator)

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