As we are finally moving to time after Covid-19, the hospitality industry is facing new challenges but also a lot of new opportunities. In this article, we will go through some trends and opportunities for 2023.
1. Taking full advantage of touchless and digital hotel technology
With COVID still teasing us and many safety and health protocols being given new standards, the importance of digitally-assisted interactions has grown (in other words, not using the same screens for all the guests).
According to PWC research done in 2019, 81% of travelers were already looking for more digital service options from their hotel brands 2019 – and the trend has only grown since then.
Naturally, touchless technology was the right path to go through worldwide pandemics, so this is the type of technology that became a new standard in the industry. If you’re traveling in the next few months, you may see more and more hotels using technology such as touchless faucets, automated doors, and more.
In the future, you may even be able to control different aspects of your guest room, such as the lights, thermostat, and TV, from an app on your phone. Not only does technology like this help ensure that everyone – employees and guests alike – are safe and comfortable, but it also makes their stay more enjoyable as well!
Covid-19 will (hopefully) soon be history but germs will always exist and guests will always be looking for a way to make traveling easier and more simplified. It’s never a bad idea to institute some of these touchless additions to your facility.
2. Hospitality Influencer Marketing
Hospitality influencer marketing is a strategy that involves partnering with influencers or social media personalities to promote hotels, resorts, and other hospitality businesses. Influencer marketing can be an effective way for hotels to reach new audiences and drive bookings.
Here are a few ways hotels can use influencer marketing:
Sponsored posts: Partnering with influencers to create sponsored posts on their social media accounts, showcasing the hotel and its amenities.
- Influencer stays: Inviting influencers to stay at the hotel and share their experiences on their social media accounts. Be careful and selective when choosing the right influencers.
- Influencer-led campaigns: Creating campaigns with influencers, such as a social media contest or a photo or video series.
- Influencer-generated content: Encouraging influencers to create content such as photographs, videos, and blog posts about their stay in the hotel.
- Micro-influencer marketing: Utilise micro-influencers who have a smaller but highly engaged following in a specific niche, such as travel bloggers.
- Influencer marketing can be a great way for hotels to showcase their property and services more authentically and build trust with potential customers.
Check The #LetHawaiiHappen Campaign that was a great success when the Hawaii Tourism Authority partnered with a variety of popular Instagram influencers, encouraging them to post photos of themselves in some of Hawaii’s most popular (and beautiful) tourist attractions while using the hashtag on their posts.
3. Promote Hotels Safety
Speaking of safety, one of the most popular trends in hospitality marketing in the wake of COVID is the importance of highlighting and advertising a hotel’s pandemic protocol and safety procedures.
Just to name a few examples, promoting safety can include increased cleaning and sanitation, social distancing, enforcing the mask policy, and contactless food and beverages and concierge options.
Highlighting these things on a hotel’s website and also upon arrival shows clear communication and commitment to guest safety, which improves customer satisfaction.
Remember to take full advantage of Google Business Profile to showcase these efforts in local search results, as well.
With many people still hesitant to travel abroad or even domestically, people have turned to traveling locally, or going on “staycations.”
Supporting your local community and people living nearby your hotel has also become more important in recent years, making staycations even more popular.
With that being said, hotels and lodges should be advertising their saunas, gyms, spa/massage services, and food delivery.
Too often we dream of far-away holiday locations when very often you can find amazingly well-equipped and unique locations nearby if you would just know of them.
5. Highlight Flexible Cancellations
We are living in a very uncertain time right now, and many hotels and flights could cancel at the last minute.
Hotels should offer a generous cancellation policy, which allows customers to either rebook or be refunded.
It’s not the guest’s fault that their trip may have been canceled, and you don’t want to place additional stress on the guest for not being able to get a hotel credit or be refunded. Some hotels have more generous cancellation policies while others do not.
Chances are that those with generous cancellation policies have a higher customer satisfaction score vs. those that aren’t so lenient.
While it’s true that many hotels and hospitality companies compete on pricing, they should compete on customer experience and reputation.
For many audiences, it won’t matter how affordable your brand is if it comes with poor customer service.
6. Work From Home…Or A Hotel
Besides staycations, working daily in hotels is a new trend in the hospitality industry.
Why work from home day after day when you can work from a luxury hotel or resort?
More and more hotels are enticing business professionals to trade slippers and online meeting attire for casual wear that they can wear working from a hotel lobby or coffee shop.
Hotels should target marketing to those remote workers by offering free wi-fi or a cup of coffee when visiting their facility.
Some hotels nowadays have designated workspaces that are clean and quiet and perfect for those who can’t go into an office but for whose house may not be the ideal work environment.
It’s always nice to have a change of scenery, and who doesn’t want to get out of their house from time to time anyway?
Highlight your hospitality business as a great place to work, or even just to meet friends and catch up and have dinner or grab a beer or a few, just to name some ideas.
7. User-Generated Content
User-generated content is content that is created by users themselves instead of employees of the business.
User-generated content includes reviews and testimonials, as well as any time someone comments about a company (an online forum, like Quora, for example).
Potential customers typically value user-generated content because the users have no reason to be dishonest; they’re not being paid or reimbursed for their review of a hotel, so it’s safe to say whatever they write will be truthful. Google Business Profile is once again an important tool as it’s the platform where guests usually write their reviews.
These are the types of reviews that are important for brands to highlight on their website.
So, how can you make it happen?
As a business, try to encourage your past customers to write reviews and share their experiences on social media.
Create a hashtag (or a few) and have customers use them when posting about your business on social media (see the example #LetHawaiiHappen, for example).
I recommend you find influencers whose followers are in the same target group as your target group.
If you have a lot of negative reviews, maybe it’s time to take those into account and start making the changes you need to succeed.
Handling negative reviews is an important part of any hotel’s promotion strategy. Often you can’t erase them but you should always reply to them promptly and generously.
8. Flexible payment options
Similar to the point above about making cancellations easy and avoiding, we’ve seen different companies offer a “buy now, pay later” option to encourage customers to get committed to making a purchase.
This allows the business to not miss out on any urgent appeals or promotions they may be running, and it allows the consumer to feel confident that they got the best deal without having to put any money down.
A great example of this is Uplift, which has partnered with a variety of international travel organizations from cruise lines to airlines to vacation packages in an attempt to ignite the travel industry by allowing patrons to “make thoughtful purchases now and pay over time…”
Hospitality marketing is in an interesting stage right now and will be changing even more throughout the next few years as the world begins to recover from Covid and economic challenges.
Taking advantage of the tips above will help maximize revenue and increase customer retention and satisfaction.
Safe travels and be brave to make changes in your marketing! If you always do things the same way, you will discover new opportunities.
We are here to help if you need advice on building a digital marketing strategy for your hotel.
Lady Luck favors the brave ones!