There’s no doubt that marketing for the travel industry can be a challenging undertaking, requiring both a resilient mind-set and great adaptability to the changing landscape of both travel and marketing as a whole.
But what are the biggest challenges for travel industry marketers, and how can they be overcome?
Spreading the Word
Whatever the size of hotel, ensuring word gets out about the offering – and more to the point, making sure the right sort of brand is being built – represents an increasingly complex and multi-faceted undertaking for modern hotel marketers. It requires a strong knowledge of both online and offline marketing channels and digital services and a commitment to keeping this knowledge sharp. Channel selection is crucial so knowing which channels work, which don’t work and being able to measure and track impact is vital.
Balancing OTAs and Direct Bookings
Used correctly, an online travel agent can be great for a hotel business of any size, but it is important that hotel marketers don’t spend all their time, budget and energy on this one component of their marketing strategy. Direct bookings almost always generate far greater revenue for hotels as they don’t take a commission (as is almost universally the case with an OTA) so hotel marketers need to ensure they focus equally as carefully on optimising their clients’ website and internal booking engine as they do widening their reach. Investing in GDS systems for hotels can prove a very helpful undertaking by ensuring a higher level of professionalism when approaching OTAs and a vast wealth of potential customers without compromising on time which can be spent on optimising other digital services.
Maintaining Customer Relationship Management
CRM remains vital to hotel marketers as a way of managing customer expectations, interaction and lifecycle. New avenues of customer engagement such as social media and review websites have changed both the way travel marketers do business, and the way customers both form travel preferences and make that all-important booking.
The Rise of Mobile
Mobile is no longer the latest fad, and its dominance only looks set to grow. Mobile search is on the rise, meaning hoteliers must recognise and prepare for mobile by investing in this sector. Key considerations include ensuring a mobile-ready website which doesn’t cause customers to switch off before reaching the booking stage, and an equally mobile friendly, integrated booking engine which inspires customer confidence.
It’s difficult to Distinguish Expertise
There’s no denying the online appetite for travel related content is voracious, with consumers headline online in larger than ever numbers to find out more about their chosen destinations and research the brands and service providers they should trust the trip too. While the certain knowledge that there is a demand for your content is a big boost for any travel marketers, it is a double edged sword as it becomes harder and harder to get your content heard above the noise. In a new thought piece on this very subject, the Content Marketing Institute notes that in such as crowded marketplace, making your content distinguishable as trustworthy, packed with expertise, accuracy and useful is increasingly difficult. So how can you do it? Experiment, go the extra mile and find ways to differentiate your content and marketing from rivals big and small.