The Transformation of Hotel and Travel Media

By Lorraine Abelow Founder & President, Abelow PR | October 01, 2017

Due to the exponential growth of digital media, how we plan and book our vacations has changed dramatically over the past two decades. The environment is constantly evolving; with an increase in the use of mobile content being amongst the most recent advances. Travel Public Relations firms suc can help you to remain fully informed about this rapidly-changing landscape. Magazines, guidebooks and newspaper supplements were once seen as the ultimate authority on travel. But now the biggest touchstones also include online reviews, travel websites and blogs. Traditional travel print media took a beating due to the fractionation of the media but many managed to stay afloat by diversifying through online content and social media.

What Propelled Changes for Print Media?

Print brands were slow to adapt to changing media landscape and many at first struggled to figure out how to change their business model for the digital age. Despite the print brands having strong brand recognition and influence, free online content from TripAdvisor, Yelp forums, Expedia, YouTube et al sprung up as fierce competition, with real-time reviews competing against static print ones. However, traditional print media companies have come out the other side as Google’s Domain Authorities.

The situation was first complicated by the dramatic drop in advertising sales revenue in the wake of the 2008 global economic crisis, which led to staff cutbacks and content being reduced, and this all in turn exacerbated the drop in circulation. So even the print brands which wanted to create a digital platform found their hands were tied due to budget cuts. Brands slashed their marketing budgets, readers curbed their spending on print media and travelers skipped their vacations.

Travel + Leisure dropped from 1, 481.11 ad pages in 2008 to 967.48 in 2011, according to The Association of Magazine Media. Guidebooks were also hit by the economic downturn, with print sales falling by 50%. This led to Travel + Leisure and The New York Times aggressively creating online content which attracted large readerships and secured their places as Domain Authorities ranking on the first page of Google results. They key to survival seems to have been a combination of doubling up on quality content, and creating a diverse range of additional content online including videos and clickbait articles to attract a wider audience.

It's Not All Bad News: Success Stories

Coming up in January 2018...

Mobile Technology: Relentless Innovation

Technology has become a crucial component in attracting and retaining hotel guests, and the need to enhance a guest’s technology experience is driving a relentless pace of innovation. To meet and exceed guest expectations, 54% of hotels will spend more on technology in 2018, and mobile solutions in particular will top the list of capital investments. Many hotels are integrating mobile booking, mobile keys, mobile payments and mobile check-in into their operations. Other hotels are emphasizing the in-room experience, boosting bandwidth and upgrading flat screen TVs to more easily interface with guest mobile devices. And though not yet mainstream, there are many exciting technology developments on the near horizon. The Internet of Things (loT) is taking form in some places, and can be found in guest room control systems, voice activation systems, and in wearable sensors that can be used for access and payment options. Virtual reality headsets are available at some hotels so guests can enjoy virtual trips to exotic locations or if off-property, preview conference facilities and guest rooms. How long will it be before a hotel employs a fleet of robots for room service, or utilizes a hologram as a concierge, or installs gesture-controlled walls that feature interactive digital displays? Some hotels are already using augmented reality for translation services, or interactive wall maps, or even virtual décor. This pace of innovation is challenging property owners and brands to stay on top of the latest technology trends while still addressing current projects. The January Hotel Business Review will explore what some hotels are doing to maximize their opportunities in the mobile technology space.