As we enter into the Holiday season, we wanted to look back over the past year, to think of all of the things we are thankful for that help us successfully market hotels. Here are our top 5:
1. The Good Economy: The economy is continually improving, which means business travel is back and consumer/leisure travel is steadily increasing. As economic growth continues here in the US and abroad we will see ADR growth increase. Moreover, STR predicts that in 2015 we will see the highest hotel occupancy rates in years.
2. The Mobile Explosion: 2014 was the year of mobile adoption. According to the 2014 Expedia Mobile Index more than 78% of business travelers have used a smartphone in some travel-planning capacity. With consumers increased use of smartphones, hotel markets have been able to successfully streamline bookings (with fewer clicks to book), provide faster check-ins, communicate in-stay offers, and overall enhance the guest experience.
3. Ambassadors and Evangelical Customers: Evangelical customers are those who spread their love of hotel properties via social media and word of mouth. These repeat visitors have the ability to influence perception, opinions and behavior through tweeting, posting, sharing and sending photos of their favorite places to friends and relatives; all with no cost to the hotels marketing budget.
4. Digital Intelligence: Websites are smarter, ROI tracking is better, we can personalize emails and offers and have a massive amount of data at our finger tips. These insights are a gold mine for marketers and have allowed for better content and communications.
5. TripAdvisor: Consumers have become savvy to most marketing techniques and no longer believe what companies tell them. Now they only truly listen to each other, which is why TripAdvisor has been so successful. This unbiased portal helps consumers validate hotels, while still allowing hotel marketers to direct relevant consumers straight to the property website. While negative reviews can hurt a property, those that are handled properly can also demonstrate honesty and authenticity.