Every industry experiences new trends and fads, some of which are ephemeral, like parachute pants in the 80s. Other trends are more permanent, like exceptional customer service. The hotel industry is no different.
Last year we saw big mergers between hotel brands and the push for direct bookings as two major trends - and those don’t seem to be going out of style anytime soon. From social media to personalization, here are six growing hotel trends to pay attention to this year:
1. The Rise of Mobile Search
According to our latest hotel report, From Search Engine to Booking Engine, mobile makes up 20-30% of hotel searches on any given day, and mobile queries for hotels are experiencing up to 23% year-over-year growth, depending on the hotel segment.
With mobile being key in the hotel guest’s path to purchase, it’s important to have an effective mobile strategy, from a mobile-friendly website to advertising in engaging formats, to ensure these mobile searches turn into bookings.
2. Social Media is the Driver of Travel Inspiration
The increased popularity of social channels has altered travel marketing. In fact, 83% of travelers who are using the internet for trip inspiration turn to social media, and 52% say their friend’s travel photos inspire their travel plans.
Embrace the trends in social media to ensure you are heard above the crowd. Share compelling content alongside beautiful imagery on your Facebook page, and offer recognition to user-generated content by liking, commenting, or reposting.
For more tips, check out Sojern’s Hotelier’s Guide to Social Media.
3. Online Reviews Impact Buying Decisions
From Facebook to TripAdvisor, people seek recommendations and validation from their peers. Nearly 90% of consumers take online reviews into account when making buying decisions. After all, a review can serve as a preview of what the hotel has to offer through the lens of a guest rather than the brand.
So, in a world where a review can make or break a hotel, it’s imperative to not only meet, but also exceed, guests’ expectations before, during, and after their stay. Engage with your guests, and respond quickly to online reviews, whether they are good or bad, to maintain a positive reputation and drive future bookings.
Need help with managing guest expectations? Download our ebook: The Hotelier’s Handbook to Managing Guest Expectations in the Digital Age.
4. Personalization is Key to Guest Retention
In the ultra-competitive hotel industry, a personalized guest experience is key to generating loyal customers and acquiring new ones. According to Skift, the number of travelers who are willing to provide personal details in exchange for a more customized hotel experience is increasing.
A hospitality report by Deloitte said,
“Social networks such as Facebook and Instagram may be the key to achieving true personalization.”
Think about it: people are constantly revealing information about themselves on social media by liking and posting content. Hotels should use this information to better understand their guests’ preferences to create authentic, personalized experiences.
5. Guests Want Experiences Beyond the Hotel
Not only do guests crave a personalized experience inside the hotel, they also want experiences outside of the hotel. According to Skift,
“It’s no longer enough for hospitality brands to just offer a place to lay your head anymore. They have to do that—and much more—if they want a customer’s business today, and years from now.”
As a hotelier, you need to take a holistic approach to the overall guest experience, including how they spend their time outside of your hotel.
A good start is to provide an in-room destination guide, and incorporate an on-site concierge service that can offer suggestions of what to do and where to go.
6. Technology is a Top Priority
Many of today’s guests are tech-savvy travelers who feel comfortable using mobile sites and apps, so hotels need to make sure they are adapting to this trend as well. 54% of hotels will spend more money on technology this year, focusing on payment security, room technology, and mobile engagement.
A simple way to incorporate technology is by using text messages to reach guests in real time to handle their requests, inform them of daily specials, and ensure they are enjoying their experience.
For even more travel trends, download our hotel report.
Marissa is Sojern's Content Marketing Associate. Indulging in her inner bookworm, watching HGTV, and playing with her puggle, Charlie, are among some of her favorite hobbies. Although she loves both, she prefers the beach over the mountains.
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