What Hotel Marketers Are Doing to Connect With and Convert Online Travel Shoppers

By Paolo Boni President & Chief Executive Officer, VFM Leonardo, Inc. | March 27, 2011

Co-authored by John McAuliffe, Chief Marketing Officer, VFM Leonardo

Today's travel consumers continue to use the online space to research, shop, buy hotel accommodations as well as share their experiences. But their demands are undeniably and dynamically changing. This leaves many of us wondering what they're thinking and doing, but most significantly, how to really connect with them and win their business.

Dramatic surges in video viewership and social media usage across the board are testaments to changing consumer demands. These trends present many opportunities for hotel marketers to connect with and convert travel shoppers.

Success involves more than having hotel listings out on the web. It requires hotels to present engaging, informative multimedia content on multiple channels, devices and platforms.
Here are some of the things that hotel marketers are doing to connect with and convert online travel shoppers.

Taking on visual merchandising best practices

Visual merchandising practices come from the retail world which has known for eons that product presentation impacts sales. For hotels in the online space, visual merchandising entails presenting the property in its most flattering light in all of the online 'stores' that travel consumers enter. What online retailers, and now hotels, are realizing is that visual merchandising in the online space is most effective when video is in play.

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Coming up in June 2019...

Sales & Marketing: Selling Experiences

There are innumerable strategies that Hotel Sales and Marketing Directors employ to find, engage and entice guests to their property, and those strategies are constantly evolving. A breakthrough technology, pioneering platform, or even a simple algorithm update can cause new trends to emerge and upend the best laid plans. Sales and marketing departments must remain agile so they can adapt to the ever changing digital landscape. As an example, the popularity of virtual reality is on the rise, as 360 interactive technologies become more mainstream. Chatbots and artificial intelligence are also poised to become the next big things, as they take guest personalization to a whole new level. But one sales and marketing trend that is currently resulting in major benefits for hotels is experiential marketing - the effort to deliver an experience to potential guests. Mainly this is accomplished through the creative use of video and images, and by utilizing what has become known as User Generated Content. By sharing actual personal content (videos and pictures) from satisfied guests who have experienced the delights of a property, prospective guests can more easily imagine themselves having the same experience. Similarly, Hotel Generated Content is equally important. Hotels are more than beds and effective video presentations can tell a compelling story - a story about what makes the hotel appealing and unique. A video walk-through of rooms is essential, as are video tours in different areas of a hotel. The goal is to highlight what makes the property exceptional, but also to show real people having real fun - an experience that prospective guests can have too. The June Hotel Business Review will report on some of these issues and strategies, and examine how some sales and marketing professionals are integrating them into their operations.