As hoteliers step into a new year with new challenges, digital marketing continues to evolve and grows as the lead driver to increase revenue opportunities. HOTELS reached out to a few hotel marketing executives to find out how they are managing these efforts through a pandemic.
Staying visible and being transparent should be the focus, according to Christopher Robinson, CHDM, director, customer success, Marriott International, Bethesda, Maryland.
“The search landscape is often changing, keeping on top of the new features, processes and content opportunities is critical,” Robinson said. “In 2022, hotels have to focus on their SEO strategy, ensuring they leave absolutely no stone unturned in the quest to capture people who are searching for destinations.”
Website content should be clean, updated and fuss-free, but also not so generic that guests can’t find answers, Robinson added. “FAQ pages are great to help answer nuanced questions, perhaps about pets or masks. Plus, good news, they help with your SEO visibility too,” he added.
Although hotels have been focusing on domestic markets for almost two years, Robinson said he is bullish about the revival of international travel. “Hotels have to focus on how they drive visibility not just domestically but also internationally,” he added.
While online searches aren’t a new tactic, the strategy behind conquering the search engine results page (SERP) has definitely changed over the past year and its optimization will be the key to success in 2022, said Jennifer Jost, director of marketing strategy at Charlestowne Hotels, Charleston, South Carolina.
“As Google Hotel Finder continues to gain traction and OTAs battle for the top spot, a hotel’s search engine strategy is as important as ever,” Jost said. “In 2022, it is all about SERP real estate, and how much space and attention you can capture. The best step to do this is by leveraging site extensions — promoting the property’s best attributes, running promotional ad extensions, and most importantly, utilizing the new Google Ad image extensions. Doing so will result in higher engagement and in-turn a better position among related searches.”
Digital meets physical
In 2022, the “dysical” (digital meets physical) world is set to become more pervasive with more digital keys, bolt-on offerings outside of the hotel, and on-property messaging with automation, said Jessica Davidson, senior vice president, digital and brand marketing, Wyndham Hotels & Resorts, Parsippany, New Jersey.
“During the pandemic, we have seen the digital and physical worlds blend significantly. Curbside delivery, QR codes to access information, contactless payments, and wayfinding are now a part of our day-to-day,” Davidson explained.