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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Guest Service: A Culture of YES

In a recent global consumers report, 97% of the participants said that customer service is a major factor in their loyalty to a brand, and 76% said they view customer service as the true test of how much a company values them. And since there is no industry more reliant on customer satisfaction than the hotel industry, managers must be unrelenting in their determination to hire, train and empower the very best people, and to create a culture of exceptional customer service within their organization. Of course, this begins with hiring the right people. There are people who are naturally service-oriented; people who are warm, empathetic, enthusiastic, pleasant, thoughtful and optimistic; people who take pride in their ability to solve problems for the hotel guests they are serving. Then, those same employees must be empowered to solve problems using their own judgment, without having to track down a manager to do it. This is how seamless problem solving and conflict resolution are achieved in guest service. This willingness to empower employees is part of creating a Culture of Yes within an organization.  The goal is to create an environment in which everyone is striving to say “Yes”, rather than figuring out ways to say, “No”. It is essential that this attitude be instilled in all frontline, customer-facing, employees. Finally, in order to ensure that the hotel can generate a consistent level of performance across a wide variety of situations, management must also put in place well-defined systems and standards, and then educate their employees about them. Every employee must be aware of and responsible for every standard that applies in their department. The April issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some leading hotels are doing to cultivate and manage guest satisfaction in their operations.