This week’s edition of Friday Fuel discusses several travel brands that are kicking ass when it comes to content marketing, the impact of keyless entry technology on hotel operations, and several interesting travel studies.
Damn Girl… Your Content Marketing Is On Point
Content marketing is a buzzword that has been floating around for quite a few years now, though the importance still remains relevant. Does your hotel truly have a well though out content marketing strategy? Several travel brands are kicking ass and taking names when it comes to thinking outside of the box and putting out creative, unique content that users love. Our favorite disruptor, Airbnb, happens to be one of them, with their branded city travel guides that are knocking it out of the park with search volume and website traffic. Other notable brands include Oyster.com with their “photo fakeout” page and Marriott with their in-house content studio. How can your hotel get more creative and strategic with online content?
Google As An OTA or Nah?
Skift recently sat down with Oliver Heckmann, the Google Vice President of Travel, to discuss the massive changes that the search engine has made with regard to the travel space. The rollout of services like Google Flights and Google Hotel Ads indicates a strong interest to monetize the search end of the travel equation, though Oliver expressed the move as an “industry partnership”. He also vocalized that Google has “ no plans to become an online travel agency or an airline or a hotel” but rather wants to serve as a brand searchers can trust and then bring them directly to reliable search partners. What are your thoughts on Google’s position in the travel space?
Micro-Moments Making Huge Impact
Google has been pushing the concept of “micro-moments” for quite some town now and recently released a study on how this concept applies to travel, particularly with mobile in mind. Here are a few impressive stats:
- 37% of vacation travelers in the US think about taking a vacation at least once a month
- 17% of US travelers think about taking a vacation at least once a week
- Among travelers who watched travel-related videos, 64% watched when thinking about taking a trip and 37% watched when deciding which website to use for a booking
- Only 10% of leisure travelers book with the first hotel brand that came to mind when they started their research
Be sure to check out the full Google Travel Report for more impressive stats.
Promo Code? Why Not Just Flush Money Down The Toilet?
Dramatic? Perhaps. But the truth is, promo codes are costing hotels millions and it is time to replace this distracting step in the booking process. Searchers are all too familiar with this box and are now inclined to search for “[hotel name] promo code” before they even get to the site. Search volume trends for these terms indicated a huge shift in user behavior as budget-savvy travelers make the most of the web. What can you do to combat this trend? Switch to a smarter discount strategy that uses specific links for lower rates and integrates data from the PMS and other sources to better manage messaging.
RIP Room Keys
Keyless entry was a big story for 2014/2015 and we are just now beginning to understand the long-term benefit of this previously nonexistent technology. The effect on operations in undeniable; soon, the front desk experience will be minimal which will save hotels on labor and will streamline the check-in process as a whole. And, front a guest perspective, keyless and personalized room keys provide an added layer of security and convenience. Will your hotel look into adopting this type of technology?
Funnels, OTAs, and Stats – Oh My!
A recent study conducted by Millward Brown Digital and Phocuswright revealed some interesting data on how consumers move between different travel related websites throughout the purchase funnel. Specifically, the study looked into three phases – point of inspiration, influential touch point, and downstream touch point. Interesting takeaways include:
- 8/10 consumers use an OTA site at some point during the purchase process
- Travelers visit OTA sites for research and consideration more than any other category for hotels (49%)
- 51% of bookings occur on a supplier website, followed by OTAs with 40% and metasearch sites with 10%
Be sure to check out the full Travel Report for details.