Mobile Marketing Strategies for Hotels
In today's digital era, mobile marketing is rising with rapid pace, grabbing customer's attention via text messages (SMS), 2D Barcodes, location-based social media (LBSM) and proximity bluetooth advertising strategy. Recently, hospitality industry has adopted new methods for improving customer engagement by embracing latest mobile marketing trends to suit customers’ needs. Today, customers are digital savvy and the image of brands depends upon what digital platforms convey to the audience, such as information delivered by the mobile advertising, online stores, gaming and other mobile applications.
Most of the hoteliers make use of real-time video streaming from different parts of the world to diversify their reach and improve online presence. Currently, mobile technologies have drastically taken a leap with 3G, EDGE, GPRS, Wi-Fi, SMS, GPS and USSD. It’s a fact that a huge number of people access Internet through mobile devices, to expose themselves to a wide range of mobile technologies such as applications, advertisements, SMS, and notifications.
As a result of the low rates of surfing online via mobile phone, the number of mobile users has surpassed the traditional users, creating a background for the current market trend through a massive waves of mobile accessories - smartphones, tablets, and touchpads. In hospitality industry, time and delivery is of utmost importance for modern day travelers in terms of booking, arrival & departure of guests and pre-check in process, which can be easily handled through mobile communication.
Firstly, location-based mobile marketing: Create effective location-based mobile marketing strategies to target the potential audience. The location-based mobile service will enable mobile provider to send messages to a large number of customers. It will also focus on providing data/information like directions via geo-fencing, location-awareness and mapping.
Secondly, photo & video sharing will dominate the market: photo & video sharing sites like Pinterest, Instagram, YouTube, Vimu, and Dailymotion, will present as powerful medium for visual communications and showcase various aspects of hotels/restaurants, such as dining area, lawn, rooms and so on.
Thirdly, social media marketing: Social media and mobile devices go hand-in-hand with each other. Smart hoteliers need to keep up with the emerging social media trend to drive traffic and unique visitors to their hotels. Experts recommend that hoteliers should strengthen their professional relationship through social networks.
Lastly, technology challenges: technology is constantly improving at a fast speed, resulting in new and innovative technology of customer engagement. Online hotel managers should keep an eye on the technological advancement to analyze the gap between individuals and communities in the use of new technology.
Social media could capture people’s attention by making them daydreaming a perfect journey. As friends and family like to share photos of a great trip on social media, it can ignite a person’s passion to dream about a trip of his own. More importantly, most of these communications are displayed on mobile: 2.3 billion people around the world use social networks with 1.9 billion of those doing so via mobile.
That’s why it’s critically important for hotels to be present in these channels. Whether it’s Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook or Twitter, hotels need to be there and find a proper time to engage audiences, a time when they’re open to ideas and ready to be inspired.
One way of doing this is to provide guests with memorable moments and encourage them to share experiences through their own social accounts. This approach was adopted by Marriott last year when they handed out GoPro cameras to guests and encouraged them to share their videos and photos using relevant hashtags.
Apart from this promotional approach, social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter also provide an opportunity for hotels to demonstrate exceptional services by answering guests’ questions, which can build a brand image that instills a feeling of trust.
As travelers begin to plan their journey, you can capture their attention by producing and delivering compelling travel content that include the best of your hotel and destination. This is why a regular blog can be helpful to attract potential guests, because inspiring posts would help them plan their trip. But if you don’t have time or resources to maintain and update a blog, producing an advertorial with detailed and compelling content can still be very effective.
A successful content marketing requires something truly valuable, relevant and informative. Unique destination content can be especially effective. If you own a resort in the Maldives, you could produce a series of photos about the best diving spots in the area. For a Napa Valley wine country inn, it’s not a bad idea to publish an interactive wine guide and tour map of the local wineries.
The key is quality content. Try to produce the best possible piece on that topic—something that people are interested enough to read it again. If possible, you could cooperate with experts, specialists, and influencers in the field, which may greatly enrich your content.
Lastly, simply publishing content isn’t enough. You’ll need people to find it, read it, and share it. You can work this out by joining an advertising campaign to promote your content. This could involve some PPC ads for key search terms related to your content, or displaying social media ads based on your hotel’s demographic.
After a person works out where they want to have a vacation, they’ll be likely to Google some related information to make a plan. They tend to do it on a mobile device, and it’s estimated that more than half of all searches now take place via mobile, in which hotel searches account for up to 49% year over year. So at this travel planning phase, it’s essential for your hotel to apply effective SEO tactics to make sure it shows up in these mobile search results. In Google parlance, local search refers specifically to search queries that have something to do with specific places—virtually every hotel search is a local search. Google treats these searches very differently in comparison with regular search queries. For searches about hotels on mobile, for example, the first two in the result list are typically ads, followed by Google’s hotel search map. This is a popular tool for travelers to use to narrow down hotels, so if your hotel isn’t included in Google’s map, a traveler probably won’t find it at all.
When it comes to local SEO, there are a number of relatively simple strategies. Having a Google Business Listing is an important first step, but perhaps one of the easiest strategies is to maintain something called NAP consistency.
NAP consistency helps to make sure that your hotel’s name, address, and phone number are consistently listed across the internet, from your own hotel website to review sites like Yelp, Yahoo and Foursquare. Google ranking is influenced by many factors, for example, your ranking may be higher if your hotel information transmitted across the web could match up with information on your own website. This is why it’s crucial to ensure the name, address and phone number of your hotel are correctly presented on your website, and ideally listed on every page.
4. Invest in local mobile search ads to capture the last-minute customer
With a smartphone in hand, consumers are free to make last-minute booking decisions while they’re sitting at the airport or driving to their destination. In fact, almost 25% of searches on hotel mobile sites take place on the day or the next day customers check in. This represents a great opportunity for hotels to target a significant number of customers when they’re on the move.
Red Roof Inn used mobile advertising to approach American customers whose flights had been canceled. By using canceled flight data and targeting hotel search queries in those areas during those time, the hotel was able to increase their non-brand mobile bookings by 266%.
Another way to attract late bookers is to utilize Google’s new local search ads. Just recently, Google announced that they’re redesigning AdWords to accommodate a “mobile-first world.” One of the new functions they are currently developing is something called “promoted pins.” When a person is driving to his destination and navigating via Google Maps, he’ll see branded pins that display local businesses, including their logos and locations.
After entering a search term like “hotels near me” into the search bar of Google Maps app, advertisers’ boosted information may soon appear at the top of the result list with their location prominently displayed. New business pages will also allow advertisers to promote special deals, so as to drive bookings via mobile.
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