Guide to Future Internet Marketing Trends

By Peter Brooke Founder, Blue Interactive Agency | November 23, 2014

Chances are you've got some pretty robust forecasting software and resources at play to ensure the success of your hotel operation. Chances are you read up on industry trends and attend key trade conferences. Chances are you create detailed plans and objectives from these reconnaissance missions. You do the same for your internet marketing strategies, right? From my experience in the business, hoteliers fire up a website, get a few ads going with Google, partner a bit with some OTAs, throw a few social media posts or blogs around and call it a day. You may have had success with this in the past, but this may come to a screeching halt based on some internet marketing trends I've been watching. The good news is that if you stay informed and responsive, you'll be that much further ahead of your competition.

1. Internet Versus Web Marketing

Are you a web or internet marketer? There is a difference! When most hotel marketers think of the internet, they typically think about people coming to their website. It's time to wake up and realize that "internet" and "web" are not synonymous, and using these terms interchangeably moving forward will be suicide for your operation. Websites are just part of the internet. As an example, if I play X-box, listen to digital radio, send an email or open an app, I am on the internet without even going near your website.

In terms of hotel marketing, you've got to now think past traditional web marketing strategies and start to look at marketing on the internet as a whole and not just one aspect of it.

Mobile Madness

There are certain times when time just stops and everybody stands up and takes notice. The two biggest such moments in the marketing world I can think of are when Martin Cooper of Motorola made the first publicized handheld mobile phone call and the second when Sir Timothy John "Tim" Berners-Lee invented the world wide web. Not much else has created such a global technological game changer than the fusion of these two inventions (save the invention of electricity perhaps).

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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.