8 Fun and Engaging Content Marketing Trends in Hospitality
Throughout the pandemic, hotel marketing strategies have had to change dramatically.
Consumer behavior, closures and travel restrictions have taken their toll on hotel marketing messages.
Now that the industry is rebounding, with more people eager to travel, it’s time to get creative with your hotel brand content.
Check out some fun and engaging content marketing trends we saw last year and anticipate we’ll see this year with the reopening of hospitality:
1. Contactless and digital hotel technology
With COVID still looming and many safety protocols in place, the importance of digitally assisted interactions has increased (in other words, not touching the same screens as hundreds of other people).
According to PWC, 81% of travelers were already looking for more digital service options from their hotel brands in 2019 – and demand has only increased since then.
Naturally, contactless technology was the way to go during a global pandemic, so it was the type of technology that really boomed in the industry.
If you’re traveling in the next few months, you may see more and more hotels using technology like touchless taps, automated doors, and more.
In the future, you may even be able to control different aspects of your roomlike lights, thermostat and TV, from an app on your phone.
Not only does technology like this help ensure that everyone – employees and guests – is safe and comfortable, it also makes their stay more enjoyable!
The pandemic is (hopefully) over now, but the germs will still exist and customers will still be looking for a way to make travel easier and more streamlined.
It’s never a bad idea to institute some of these touchless additions to your setup.
2. Promote Safety
Speaking of safety, one of the most popular trends in hotel marketing in the wake of COVID is the importance of highlighting and advertising a brand’s pandemic protocol and safety procedures.
Examples may be increased cleaning and sanitizing, social distancing, mask policy enforcement, and contactless food and concierge options.
Advertising on a brand’s website and also on arrival shows clear communication and a commitment to customer safety, which improves customer satisfaction.
You can also use the Google Business Profiles attributes and description field to showcase these efforts in local search results.
3. Encourage staycations
While many people are still hesitant to travel abroad or even within the country, people have turned to local trips or “holidays”.
Supporting your local community has also become more important in recent years, making staycations even more appealing.
That being said, brands should market their saunas, gyms, spa/massage services, and food delivery.
The hotel in Midtown Chicago does a great job of getting locals to experience their restaurants, world-class fitness center, and outdoor pools, and more.
Not to mention, you have the whole city of Chicago at your fingertips, so why not skip the plane ticket and vacation in your own city?
4. Highlight flexible cancellations
The world is a very uncertain place right now, and many hotels and flights could cancel at the last minute.
Brands should offer a generous cancellation policy, which allows customers to rebook or receive a refund.
It’s not the customer’s fault that their trip may have been canceled, and you don’t want to further stress the customer if they can’t get a resort credit or refund.
Some airlines, for example, have generous cancellation policies, while others do not.
Chances are those with generous cancellation policies will have a higher customer satisfaction score than those who aren’t so forgiving.
While it’s true that many companies compete on price, they also compete on customer experience and reputation.
For many audiences, it doesn’t matter how affordable your brand is if it comes with poor customer service.
Although Southwest Airlines is not considered a “luxury” airline (because it does not offer first or business class seating), it does offer one of highest customer satisfaction rates in the airline industry.
Part of that could be because they also have one of the most flexible cancellation policies.
Customers will return to a brand when they are satisfied with the quality, experience and customer service.
5. Work from home… or in a hotel
Why work from home day in and day out when you can work from a luxury hotel or resort?
More and more hotels are encouraging professionals to trade in their slippers and Zoom clothes for casual clothes they can relax in while working in a hotel lobby or coffee shop.
Hotels can market these remote workers by offering free Wi-Fi or a cup of coffee when visiting their facilities.
Some even have designated workspaces that are clean and quiet and perfect for those who can’t fit into an office but for whom home may not be the ideal work environment.
It’s always nice to get a change of scenery, and who doesn’t want to get out of the house once in a while anyway?
Showcase your hospitality business as a great place to work, or even just to meet friends and chat!
6. Influencer Marketing
The power of social media is incredible; it affects virtually every market in the world, so you need to learn how to use it to your business’ advantage.
Love them or hate them, influencers have taken over social platforms.
Influencer marketing has become a necessity for hospitality businesses when it comes to keeping up with the competition.
By using influencer marketing, brands can reach a much larger audience (the bigger the influencer, the bigger the audience) and attract more targeted consumers.
If you partner with an influencer in your space, it can be considered one of the most valuable marketing tools because that influencer has trust in their audience and that trust will translate into your brand.
The #LetHawaiiHappen campaign was a huge success when the Hawaii Tourism Authority partnered with a variety of popular Instagram influencers, encouraging them to post photos of themselves at some of the most popular tourist attractions. (and prettiest) from Hawaii while using the aforementioned hashtag.
7. User Generated Content
User-generated content is content created by users themselves, as opposed to company employees.
This includes reviews and testimonials, as well as whenever someone comments on a company (an online forum, like Quora, for example).
Potential customers generally value user-generated content because users have no reason to be dishonest; they don’t get paid or reimbursed for their review of a brand, so it’s safe to say that everything they write will be truthful.
These are the types of reviews that are important for brands to feature on their website.
So how can you get there?
As a business, always encourage past customers to write reviews and share their experiences on social media.
Create a hashtag (or a few) and ask your customers to use them when posting about your business on social media (see example #LetHawaiiHappenfor example).
You can even reach out to the influencers we mentioned in the paragraph above and encourage them to check out your business and leave an honest review!
If you are a solid company, it will only help you in the end.
If you find yourself with a lot of negative reviews, it might be time to take notice and start making the changes you need to be successful.
8. Buy now, pay later
Similar to the point above about making cancellations easy and avoiding change fees, many still feel uneasy about their financial situation.
Lately, we’ve seen different companies offer a “buy now, pay later” option to help engage customers and entice them to make a purchase.
This allows the business to not miss any urgent calls or promotions it may run, and it allows the consumer to be sure that they got the best deal without having to pay any money.
A good example of this is Uprisingwhich has partnered with a variety of international travel organizations, from cruise lines to airlines to vacation packages, in an effort to ignite the travel industry by empowering customers to “make thoughtful purchases now and to pay over time…”
Hotel marketing is all the rage right now and will only get more intense over the next few years as the world begins to reopen.
Using the tips above will help you maximize revenue and increase customer retention and satisfaction. Happy travels and happy marketing!
Featured image: vichie81/Shutterstock