Fueligans tend to be nerdy about data and we’re always looking to find new insights that can help shape the marketing strategy for our hotel clients. In this episode of the Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast, we take a look at 5 recent facts that we’ve stumbled upon and that are influencing our decision making. We look at the data, discuss what it means, and tell you how you can apply this new found knowledge to help drive more direct bookings for your hotel.
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Fact 1: Experience, not price, drives early travel plans
According to Expedia Media Solutions, the travel experience itself matters more early in the decision-making process. 65% of consumers are influenced by content published by brands and destinations when they are making travel plans. In the 45 days leading up to booking, the average American visits travel sites 140 times (source). That is a LOT of opportunity to get your message about your brand to them.
Consumers are looking for inspiration. Most know what they want to do, but not necessarily where to do it. Thirty-eight percent of travel bookers in Canada and 30 percent of travel bookers in the U.K. were influenced by advertising when considering more than one destination (source).
- Use social media targeting/retargeting/look-alike audiences to reach consumers in your target market
- Possible use of display advertising
- Make sure you have kick-ass content on your website that showcases what makes your property unique, and stands apart from competitor destinations and properties
Fact 2: 95% of travelers read reviews before booking
Leisure travelers read an average of 6-7 reviews before booking. Business travelers read an average of 5.
- Make sure you are actively managing reviews on sites like TripAdvisor. Responding to both positive and negative reviews gives the consumer more confidence that someone is paying attention to feedback, and doing their best to rectify potentially bad experiences.
- Provide recent, real reviews on your website. You’ve got a captive audience ready to book. Don’t lose them because they decide to go to a review site to get this information. Not only do you potentially now have to pay an OTA 15% commission on a consumer that was ready to book with you, but you might lose the consumer completely to another property.
Fact 3: Millennials are more likely to book via a smartphone
66% of millennial travelers say they can find the same hotel information on a mobile device as a desktop computer. 64% say they typically book a hotel room on a smartphone after shopping on one. Two-thirds of these travelers are comfortable planning an entire trip on a smartphone.
- No-brainer here: mobile friendly website
- Extra no-brainer: mobile-first booking engine
Fact 4: AR/VR and wearables are emerging travel disruptors
According to an Adobe Digital Insights analysis of 321 million social engagements, at least eight of the largest hotels have tested some kind of VR experience during the past six months. Most of these were paired experiences with the consumers’ mobile devices.
- This technology is still in the early adoption phase. It may not make sense for every hotelier to jump on the bandwagon right now.
- However, start thinking about how it could enhance your consumer experience. Can you provide a VR property tour? How about a tour of some specific area attractions? See fact number one – could your tour convince a consumer to come to your destination and property vs. somewhere else?
Fact 5: Travel brands can’t ace experience without a single customer view
Only 5% of travel companies have their data integrated across all channels and leveraging the opportunities there. Most companies have data managed in silos, which creates an inconsistent experience across channels.
As a hotelier, you have access to a plethora of data on your consumers: PMS, email database, website analytics, booking engine data, surveys, reviews, etc. Imagine you could harness the power of matching up all of the data you had for every consumer and guest to market to them in the most efficient, cost-effective way.
- Start small, and build gradually
- Integrate your email database with your PMS.
- Start customizing email marketing based on previous booking behavior
- At the very least, filter out guests that already have reservations made BEFORE you send them an email for the same time they are already booked
- Start utilizing your email database as a true CRM system
- Build profile data on things you can easily obtain: booking history, demographics (Kids? Spouse? Geography? On-site purchases?), post-stay survey, pre-stay survey, etc.
- Use post-stay or other types of surveys to obtain further information: hobbies, travel frequency and patterns
Bottom line on all of these facts: the consumer experience always comes first. Make that your priority, and let technology aide you in serving your guest the best experience.
THE 3 TECH MAXIMS
THAT WILL MAKE OR BREAK
YOUR HOTEL IN 2018
Time: 10am EDT | 7am PDT | 3pm GMT
In The News
Google Testing Rooms Carousel
The online review sites every hotel needs on their radarhttp://www.traveltripper.com/blog/beyond-tripadvisor-the-online-review-sites-every-hotel-needs-on-their-radar/ (not so much as news as a good perspective on non-TripAdvisor reviews from our friends at Travel Tripper)
HotelTonight.com To Offer Advance Bookings – Up to 100 Days
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