Following on from my broader 6 Digital and Marketing trends for 2019 post here are my more specific top 5 hospitality marketing and digital trends for 2019:
1/ CX and Context
A/ More emphasis will be placed on understanding consumer product evaluation and the influencing factors that drive purchase decisions. Making sense of this Qualitative data coupled with Big Data sets around booking preferences will then create better hospitality CRM, loyalty and conversion opportunities.
B/ Even more focus will be placed on Millennials; primarily as a higher %, measured against other demographics) value experiences over material goods (whether that be bespoke travel packages or extending business trips for additional personal leisure time). This will in turn impact delivery platform(s) of the marketing and experience chosen by hospitality companies targeting this demographic (more below).
C/ Empowering travellers to have a great time whilst they stay with you will be stepped up further (more on how + channel mix shortly). Even more focus will be placed on destination context e.g the majority of leisure travellers decide on activities only after they’ve arrived, and so more targeted package & general activity recommendations will be made with particular focus on mobile, email and social platforms.
2/ CRM & Content engagement
Linked with the above; there will be increasing focus on imagery & video; particular user generation of creative content (more on that in point 3).
In regards to content produced in house though; we will see more video engagement for ‘content design’ Vs ‘content marketing’ = that being content that users truly want Vs what marketers want to produce.
…That will likely include content such as a walk-through of their hotel room (to a balcony view or beautiful fireplace ideally or at least showing the reality of the ‘ambience’!), amenities (if a casino hotel then a video perhaps on the games offered or if joined to a theme park then a focus on guests going on the rides and having fun), events (conference, wedding, parties), destination (location context showcase) > live videos if there is a particularly special event taking place that is in turn enveloped by an audience targeted paid social media campaign.
CRM & Personalisation of video will become wider spread, by sending tailored videos in email for example, that will in turn aid conversion and engagement metrics. As a result of this trend automation will be key to ensure CRM & CMS processes are set up to take different actions based on user interaction (everything from personalised interest based follow up emails > adaptive site design).
3/ Social & Word Of Mouth
Heightened Social Media engagement can truly drive engagement > sales; the likes of KLM and Easyjet with Inspire Me are great travel case studies and we will see more of this type of activity in 2019.
User Generated Content (UGC) will be key to aid social proof and whilst the likes of influencers will grow for travel brands in 2019, the importance of truly real content creators (as with KLM and Easyjet above) will be focused upon.
And as ‘social proof 101’ reviews and ratings will still be key to aid partner site rankings to on site conversion.
4/ Digital Marketing ‘traditional’ channels
Whilst social media has been the focus for many hospitality marketers in the last few years we must not forget the impact more ‘traditional’ digital channels have; in particular affiliate/aggregators/OTA’s, PPC, SEO, programmatic display that should in turn be underpinned by CRO (conversion rate optimisation).
5/ Tech & ‘smart hospitality’
And finally within my top 5; tech and ‘smart hospitality’ will be key to aid engagement, marketing reach/ impact and ultimately sales from 2019>
Whilst the future gazing of robot receptionists, robot butlers and robotic luggage handling are some way off for the vast majority; during 2019 we will see increasing movement towards the adoption of Alexa in hospitality, chatbots, apps that control lights to heating, ipads to facilitate guest interactions, interactive digital signage, mobile phone mini bar ordering > unlocking doors, smart showers and advanced streaming services (KVIHotel being a leading example).