Friday is here and you know what that means – It’s time for Friday Fuel. We’ve got hotel stats from the latest Facebook purge, an update on Amazon travel, and much more.
Here are this week’s top travel and tech news stories:
We all know how visual the internet is, particularly in the travel niche. Given this obvious statement, it goes without saying that your hotel website (and all other forms of digital marketing, for that matter) needs to have kickass visual content. The pictures that you present can make or break a potential guest’s purchase decision. Despite this well known best practice, there are still several downfalls that hoteliers often suffer from. Are your images too small? Do you have enough visual content? Or even worse – are your photos outdated? According to Google, photos are among the top three features that travelers look at and consider when doing initial research. Does your hotel website stack up?
Open Me…. Please?
Email marketing is an integral part of any hotel’s digital marketing strategy. Are you using yours effectively? Once you nail down basics like email marketing “best practices” and more advanced strategies like email shopping cart abandonment retargeting it’s time to really focus on optimizing the metrics that matter. Surely you’ve heard of “open rate” as an important metric, but do you know what types of hotel emails have the highest open rate? A recent email study indicates that (not surprisingly) pre-arrival emails are opened the most with 3.5 opens on average. Interestingly, though, in-resort emails were trailing right behind with an average of 2.5 opens. Are you hitting your guests at the right time with the right message?
RIP (Fake) Fans
“The Great Purge”, as it is being dramatically referred to, came to a close last week, impacting millions of accounts across Facebook. The social media giant performed a site-wide audit and deleted vast numbers of inactive and fake accounts. Total damage to fan count? Ryan Solutions conducted a study of over 9,000 hotel and resort pages and data suggests that the average loss was approximately -2.7% across the board. Surprisingly, the biggest drops occurred on pages with the least amount of followers. The silver lining? Quality is key. Though having a large fan base sounds great in theory, in reality, it means nothing if those fans aren’t actively engaging with your content and genuinely interested in your brand and what you have to say. Ideally, the “purge” will increase engagement rates and help boost organic reach. How big of an impact did this change have on your hotel’s Facebook page?
Amazon Travel Update
Fuel first reported the Amazon Travel announcement a few months ago when the rumor mill began to spin on the specific details of what this new OTA venture would offer. The program has officially rolled out and is in the process of recruiting hotels and fine tuning their marketing messages. As reported earlier, the selling strategy is not one of massive discounts but instead charges a 15% (or so) commission and then compensates properties in two payments for the prepaid rooms. There are also rumors of a platform overhaul that will completely change the interface of the Amazon Local website (which the travel portion is located under) but Amazon has yet to confirm these allegations. What impact do you think Amazon will have on the already crowded OTA space?
Staycations Are All The Rage
“Staycation” – a recently coined term that describes staying home (or close to home) for a vacation, is all the rage this travel season. Searches for the term are up 10% year over year and “drive markets” are seeing a huge boom. Atlanta natives, for example, are skipping the ritzy abroad or tropical vacations and are opting for more affordable destinations like Savannah or Charleston. Other smaller and less well-known destinations are quickly rising to the top of the list, like Asheville, NC and Breckenridge, CO. Want to know more? Check out this handy travel infographic via Google.
Thinking Outside of the Weather Box
No snow? No Problem! A few Lake Tahoe ski resorts are thinking outside of the box on how they can continue to attract visitors while many of their competitors are closing their doors for the season. Squaw Valley Resort didn’t let the cancellation of the World Cup ski and snowboarding event melt their spirit; instead, they planned and hosted a hugely successful bluegrass music and beer festival. These ski-centric hotels are realizing that they have a lot more to offer than just slopes and snow bunnies. How can your hotel think outside of the box to appeal to a broader audience?