Five Digital Marketing Strategies You Might Be Overlooking

By Sherry Heyl Founder & Consultant, Amplified Concepts | July 29, 2018

The greatest hurdle to effective digital marketing is that its landscape is always changing. That's its greatest joy too: For people who hate resting on their laurels, digital marketing is a field of endless opportunity to grow, change, and refine your strategies to meet the challenges that lie ahead.

Here's an example: According to a recent survey, 63 percent of travel and hospitality marketers  said they were planning to tailor their communications to individual customers rather than mass marketing in 2018. That sounds great on paper – we know the consumers respond better to marketing messages that are more targeted and relevant to them – but how do we go about actually implementing those tactics?

That answer is simpler than it seems and isn't going to break the bank. It's simply a matter of thinking differently about your marketing strategy.

1. Use User Generated Content at Any Budget

In a world of same-y brands and homogenization – there are only so many poolside photos, tastefully arranged rooms, and sandy beaches that can grab a potential customer's attention before they get bored – developing a relationship and sense of authenticity with your audience is key.

Eighty-three percent of consumers trust recommendations from their peers over advertising, according to Nielsen research. Compare that to the fact that people only trust around 22 percent of brands they use and follow, according to a 2015 Havas study and the value of user-generated content suddenly becomes clear: People don't trust brands, but they trust their peers. By using user-generated content in your marketing you can bridge the gap between brand distrust and peer recommendation.

So how to do this? On Instagram or Facebook, it's simple: Encourage your guests to share their experiences (perhaps with a branded hashtag so they're easier to find), as them to tag you, or use search to reach out and ask permission to use their posts. You can even incentivize user-generated content by having participants entered into a weekly or monthly drawing for room nights or other perks. Also consider creating a dedicated landing page to show off this content to interested travelers. Let your guests tell your story with your curation and you'll deliver a more authentic picture to your target audience – plus inspire a little FOMO for when they're getting ready to book their next stay.

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Eco-Friendly Practices: Corporate Social Responsibility

The hotel industry has undertaken a long-term effort to build more responsible and socially conscious businesses. What began with small efforts to reduce waste - such as paperless checkouts and refillable soap dispensers - has evolved into an international movement toward implementing sustainable development practices. In addition to establishing themselves as good corporate citizens, adopting eco-friendly practices is sound business for hotels. According to a recent report from Deloitte, 95% of business travelers believe the hotel industry should be undertaking “green” initiatives, and Millennials are twice as likely to support brands with strong management of environmental and social issues. Given these conclusions, hotels are continuing to innovate in the areas of environmental sustainability. For example, one leading hotel chain has designed special elevators that collect kinetic energy from the moving lift and in the process, they have reduced their energy consumption by 50%  over conventional elevators. Also, they installed an advanced air conditioning system which employs a magnetic mechanical system that makes them more energy efficient. Other hotels are installing Intelligent Building Systems which monitor and control temperatures in rooms, common areas and swimming pools, as well as ventilation and cold water systems. Some hotels are installing Electric Vehicle charging stations, planting rooftop gardens, implementing stringent recycling programs, and insisting on the use of biodegradable materials. Another trend is the creation of Green Teams within a hotel's operation that are tasked to implement earth-friendly practices and manage budgets for green projects. Some hotels have even gone so far as to curtail or eliminate room service, believing that keeping the kitchen open 24/7 isn't terribly sustainable. The May issue of the Hotel Business Review will document what some hotels are doing to integrate sustainable practices into their operations and how they are benefiting from them.