This article originally appeared on Tambourine.
Across the U.S., Thanksgiving is a holiday often spent traveling to visit with family, dining on decadent feasts sure to expand our waistlines, and inevitably watching the Detroit Lions and/or Dallas Cowboys toss around the pigskin each year.
God bless America.
It’s also the time of year when we survey hundreds of clients, colleagues and industry experts what they are feeling good about.
Based on the results, here are five things hoteliers are feeling thankful for this Thanksgiving:
1. The continued strong economy and surging KPIs
Hotel marketers have plenty of reasons to be thankful this year that the U.S. economy remains strong, as does overall hotel industry performance, which continues to hover at or near record levels. (See chart below: experts at CBRE forecast ADR and RevPAR growth exceeding 2.5% for 2019.) For one, the hotel industry’s currently robust metrics are helping to make most hospitality marketers look like geniuses— whether deserved or not—by fueling major gains across numerous key marketing KPIs.
The present economic strength also creates a thriving job market, both within the hotel industry and in the larger workforce. This helps keep hotels staffed, brings business travelers through the door and gives leisure travelers more of the disposable income they need to take vacations. It also fosters strong group business, since companies are more willing to spend on corporate events and SMERF groups are typically more active.
Another marketing win enjoyed from the strong economy—and a vital one, at that—is it gives owners confidence to invest more in the hotel product.
As we’ve stated many times before, this is absolutely crucial, since even marketing geniuses can only do so much with a sub-par property.
2. Their growing comfort with all things digital
There may have been a deep learning curve at first, but hotel marketers are getting increasingly comfortable wielding the same digital weapons OTAs have used in recent years to hack off a big chunk of the bookings market. That’s changing now that marketers are adapting to this new competitive landscape, and as more millennial/digital-native employees enter the workforce.
There are now hotel marketers everywhere working to employ more efficient digital marketing and SEO, create streamlined booking experiences, harness CRM and RMS systems, and build better guest personalization, among other innovative pursuits.
Although many of the traditional, old-school hotel marketing basics still apply, the new tech-driven weapons being employed were a desperately needed upgrade in order to remain competitive with the major third-party channels. Hotel marketers are no longer bringing a knife to the proverbial gunfight.
3. The rise of social advertising
Using the advertising capabilities of social media platforms is proving to be a great means of offsetting the rising costs of Google AdWords PPC campaigns, while offering expanded audience targeting capabilities. Now that’s something to truly be thankful for.
More and more serious hotel marketers are embracing these media channels, and for good reason: 30% of Gen Z (18- and 19-year-olds) and 42% of millennials (20- to 36-year-olds) believe social media is the most relevant channel for ads, according to Adobe’s State of Digital Advertising 2018 report. Respondents over the age of 37 still find TV ads are more relevant, according to the report, but they rank social media second. Clearly, that’s a lot of eyeballs that can be garnered through social, and for a relatively inexpensive price when compared with PPC and traditional mass media.
But the benefits of social advertising don’t stop there for hotel marketers.
It’s also great for creating promotions intended to specifically boost business during “low periods,” like those inevitable times when seasonality or the unexpected cancellation of a large group suddenly impacts occupancy projections. Smart hotel marketers are finding great success during these times by working Facebook and Instagram ads in tandem, with clear, timely, specific and hyper-focused pitches that utilize lots of eye-catching graphics and video. The more unique customer groups one can target with these specialized messages, the better.
4. The cornucopia of available guest data
Here in the era of “big data,” hotel marketers are drawing upon more knowledge than ever about guests to craft segmented campaigns and improve the guest service experience, cultivating this vital customer intel from a wide range of sources, including their hotel’s PMS, CRM, POS, RMS, social listening and more.
This burgeoning flood of information is leading to unprecedented consumer insights.
With so much valuable data now in hand, marketers can better understand who their best guests are, by closely looking at who is spending the most, when they spend it and where on property these revenues are generated. Campaigns can now be better customized to attract these big-ticket guests.
Hotel marketers can also monitor guest sentiment through methods such as social listening and on-property guest/relationship management software, which can reveal underlying product or service problems at the hotel and/or opportunities where guests can be delighted with great customer service. From there the hotel staff can analyze these findings, perform the necessary research and devise plans that address areas of improvement in the future.
5. The non-impact of GDPR (so far) in the U.S.
The European Union’s 2018 General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) took effect on May 25, mandating that companies receive customer consent before storing, processing or using personal data from all EU citizens, while also providing a means for those citizens to remove their data from databases. Among U.S. businesses this was particularly noteworthy for hotels, which often serve international guests.
The new GDPR regulation has sent hotel marketers scrambling in recent months to ensure compliance, but six months later it’s proving to be less of a factor here in the U.S. than was originally feared. The immediate result was a flood of permission-seeking emails and cookie requests sent to users by respective sites, which have likely all been read, clicked and deleted by now. Otherwise, there have been relatively few (if any) relevant lawsuits here in the States involving hotels.
Tambourine uses technology and creativity to increase revenue for hotels and destinations worldwide. The firm, now in its 34th year, is located in New York City, Carlsbad, and Fort Lauderdale.
Please visit: www.Tambourine.com
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