Must say that this approach is far superior to the standard OTA method…guessing Google’s dominance in the local search space combined with tons of great underlying data will make this an invaluable feature to the fast evolving Google Hotel Finder “experiment”!
I came across a piece I’d written about 17-18 months ago on the future of hotel internet marketing. The article talked about 5 broad tech trends that I thought would radically alter the way we approached digital / internet marketing for hotels back at the end of 2008. I thought it’d be fun to take a re-look at the article and see how far we’ve actually come in the last year or more and if those predictions still hold water… here goes:
1. Choice is king.
The clear winners of the online distribution race will be suppliers and 3rd parties that provide the most choice to the customer. “Experience building” will become key to the looking and booking process online. This will mean that successful suppliers (hotels) will have to break down elements of their inventory like rooms, dining, sports, spa and supporting services into individual units that can be booked and packaged both internally and externally. The more elements you provide to what I like to call the “Experience Engine”, the better the choice available to customers to personalize and tailor their experiences. This creation of experience units will also allow tourism industry suppliers to collaborate more effectively online, as well as spur the evolution of 3rd party providers who provide superior experience engines, taking destination marketing to a whole new level.
After Blaise Aguera y Arcas offered a tantalizing peek at the world of Microsoft PhotoSynth a couple of years ago, he recently made a return to TED to demo the latest incredible innovation in mapping.
Watch the video as he offers a preview of the incredible mapping advancements Microsoft has made and the augmented reality features to come:
A picture may be worth a thousand words…but most hotel PR & Marketing managers today would be at a loss for words at the plague of user generated photos out on the Internet today. Hoteliers may need to get used to the fact that competing with their ‘official’ previews of what to expect, past guests have provided quite an unflattering visual footprint for those to follow. It’s no secret that hotels pay thousands of dollars for painstakingly taken, doctored photos that would entice even the most hardened globetrotter to positively drool in anticipation…and hit that book button. Great pictures DO sell.
Just as the transparency offered by the Internet in terms of rates has given many a hotel revenue manager gray hair, the ability to easily share rich media on the web promises to do the same for the marketing ilk. One only needs to turn to photos posted on TripAdvisor or Flickr to obtain unflattering photos of virtually every nook and crany of your hotel these days. Plus aesthetic slip-ups and the dreaded ease with which users can now take and publish photos online virtually guarantee that any dirty rooms, dropped drinks, deteriorating facilities and other ‘oops’ moments get their 15 mintues (or perpetuity) of fame on the Internet (as if old high school photos resurfacing on Facebook wasn’t bad enough!).
So is it all bad news?
5 Future Developments that will revolutionize Online Hotel Marketing: “For tomorrow belongs to the people who prepare for it today”, says a famous proverb…and what better fit to apply this than in the world of technology and marketing?
The breakneck speed of tech evolution is inspiring (and often scary) but the two keywords that will set winning developments apart from the ‘also ran’ are ‘love’ and ‘simplicity’. It doesn’t take a degree to understand that people adopt technologies that fuel their imagination & passions…and the rate of adoption is in close sync to the simplicity of its interface and operation. Great technology needs to adapt to the needs of the user and future breakthroughs will bear testament to this.
Search Engines refer a significant percentage of web direct bookings for hotels, both through paid search and natural search. SEO / Search Engine Optimization obviously has the most bang for the buck, as well designed websites ensure great SEO results and produce much better long term results. A lot of hotel companies, especially independent properties and smaller chains also spend a great deal of money on Hotel website SEO, often outsourced to web design or SEO agencies.
I came across a great article by Brandt Dainow on 7 ways SEO consultants rip off their clients…a must read for anyone looking to hire out their SEO efforts. The gist of the matter is that most people don’t understand what SEO truly involves and the actual benefits and practices out there…therefore it is quite easy to exploit this ignorance and charge out large amounts of money for something absolutely useless.
In search of…simplification! An introduction to Search Engine Marketing for Hotel General Managers and Directors of Sales & Marketing
Search Engine Marketing has been a hot topic for quite a while now and there have been a plethora of articles written on the subject, ranging from the tediously academic to those hailing Search Engines to be the be-all and end-all when it comes to selling online. But there still seems to be a lot of confusion surrounding the true value of Search Engines in the hotel industry, especially in the Middle East, and just what hoteliers can do to stay ahead of the curve. This article is an attempt to de-mystify and present the big ‘Search’ picture.