2016 is right around the corner, and this past year has seen a slew of changes to the digital marketing landscape. The growth isn’t over, though â€“ mobile is exploding and technology is expanding. That means that digital marketing, still a relatively young and swiftly-growing field, is rapidly growing and changing along with it.
Here’s an what we’re predicting:
- Mobile Dominates: Mobile has contributed over 94% of year-on-year growth in e-commerce traffic. On average, 21% of hotel bookings take place on Mobile devices. Make sure you’re ready for the future. (Learn More)
- Content is the New SEO: With an average of 30-40% of a hotel’s revenue deriving from Organic traffic, having a content strategy that goes beyond typical ‘hotel information’ is extremely valuable. Whether it’s a blog about local events or an innovative social presence now is the time to get creative.
- Relationship Marketing: It’s vital to market to real people, and market to therightpeople. Insights from persona marketing, machine learning, programmatic marketing and Google’s customer match will all help you talk to your guests in 2016. (Learn More)
- The Rise of Ad Blocking: With Ad Blocking on the rise, other methods of driving traffic to your site need to step up. Ad blocking grew globally by 41% in the past 12 months, and is expected to cost the industry $41B globally in 2016. (Learn More)
- Video Everywhere: Video is taking over, with auto-play clips appearing on Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere. It’s no longer restricted to your website and YouTube â€“ in 2016, there will be more channels than ever to promote your hotel’s videos on.
- Buy Buttons Taking Over: Social E-Commerce is on the rise! Buy buttons on Facebook, Pinterest & other social channels will become standard as the line thins between social media and e-commerce sites. (Learn More)
- In-the-Moment Marketing: Being “in the moment” matters for hotels. Showing up at the right place and the right time and having a strong presence on all channels where your personas hang out is crucial, so nail down guest personas and strengthen your strategy.
- New Payment Methods: New ways of completing a payment, particularly on mobile are growing. Companies like Stripe are starting to change the market. 2016 will see fingerprint payment grow, more mobile payments and simplified checkout flows. (Learn More)
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While low cost and minimal fees are an appealing draw, rental websites are a classic example of a scenario in which one gets what one pays for, but in this case, possibly even less since the ownership of the site and what hoteliers are putting funds toward is not theirs at the end of the day. This doesnâ€™t even take into account the additional shortcomings seen from rented hotel websites such as no search engine optimization, little service or support following the initial set-up, a limited number of site pages, photos or content and so on.
The hospitality industry has seen a number of agencies offering hoteliers a low-cost, low-budget website that they can rent. It has been widely noted that these agencies, which promise all of the bells and whistles associated with investing thousands of dollars and development resources, often leave hoteliers in the lurch after the deal is done.
Why? A number of reasons, but perhaps the most important is that agencies that rent hotel websites do not provide hoteliers with true ownership of their content which becomes problematic as explained below.
It should come as no surprise that a hotelâ€™s digital assets should be owned by the property, however, the subject of digital ownership seems to be overlooked by hoteliers doing business with rental agencies. Hoteliersâ€™ ownership should reach past the physical ownership of their property to include their digital content and here is why:
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“At the moment, the complications might be magnified for multi-brand, multi-property operators piloting more than one keyless system from more than one brand/vendor, but sources said that this somewhat disjointed approach may actually be preferable to a universal solution; at least until keyless tech is a little further along in its development cycle.”
As hotel companies across the industry begin to embrace keyless entry technology, they will also need to work out the challenges that go hand in hand with such integration.
Major conglomerates such as Hilton Worldwide Holdings and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide are continuing to conduct pilot testing across multiple properties and brands. Starwood is backing up the technology with a $15-million investment. After launching its SPG Keyless solution at select properties (Aloft Beijing; Aloft Cancun; Aloft Cupertino; Aloft Harlem; W Doha; W Hollywood; W Hong Kong; W New York-Downtown; W Singapore; and Element Times Square), the company is now installing SPG Keyless in 30,000 doors at all of its 150 global W, Aloft and Element hotels.
In the meantime, Hilton is pilot testing its own mobile-enabled room key technology at 10 U.S. properties. By yearâ€™s end, the company expects to offer the digital amenity at all U.S. properties of four brands: Conrad Hotels & Resorts, Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Waldorf Astoria Hotels & Resorts and Canopy by Hilton. Looking ahead to 2016, Hilton will then deploy the technology at scale across 11 brands globally. Similar to the SPG Keyless solution, Hiltonâ€™s keyless entry platform is driven by the companyâ€™s branded mobile app. Hilton hopes the keyless system will drive usage of the app, which hoteliers can then use to drive incremental revenue through mobile devices. Itâ€™s a potentially major revenue source to sway hoteliers who might still be on the fence.
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