Content Marketing in Hospitality Creates a Personal Experience

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SEPTEMBER 2017

Content marketing is big business in any industry. Marketing Mag forecasted it to exceed $300 billion in value by 2019, which would double the industry’s size in less than four years. This sector has been gaining ground ever since proving its volatility by around 2010; hotels and others in the travel industry are capitalizing on the trends. Blogging, SEO, social media, and mobile apps are just parts of a complex equation that can get businesses in the hospitality industry on top of their marketing game.

The strength of your content depends on its accessibility and personal touch. Accessibility is important because you want to reach potential customers no matter where they are. If they feel a business understands their needs and what they’re looking for, a digital marketing campaign can yield a higher number of conversions. Here are some key elements of what works for content marketing in hospitality.

Personalization

Hospitality-based businesses have been hard at work personalizing their content in 2017. Every guest needs to feel important, and there are a few ways to tailor content accordingly. Custom fields on the booking engine can let potential guests explain what they intend to get out of their trip. You can use this information to personalize communications, particularly if the getaway is for someone’s birthday, anniversary, honeymoon, or other special occasion.

Mobile Content

A great many hotel guests book their stay at hotels using their smartphones and tablets. Chances are, one will view your website on a mobile device, possibly while making their vacation decision. A mobile optimized website and content are important at every part of the sales process. The booking process should be clear and completed quickly. In short, your hotel website should be able to let customers book a room in one sitting, the content steering them in the right direction all the while.

Micro-Content

In the hospitality field, short-lived content can be worlds of good. It can focus on a local event. Going this route produces highly relevant content that people can use to determine when to book their trip. Local conventions, concerts, and sporting events attract big crowds, and many of those people stay at a hotel. Time-sensitive content can take many forms. A visitor’s guide or short video can work, as can tweets, so long as they pertain to the event, its locality, and provide useful information.

Video

Hotel guests tend to think visually. They want to see what their rooms will look like, see the finer aspects of the property, and what its surroundings are like. Videos enable hospitality business to promote their city, restaurants, and local events. They give people a fast and easy way to acquire information and make a quick decision. After all, potential guests will move on quickly if they don’t see what they’re looking for. Effective video content includes positive testimonials from guests.

Visual appeal is especially important for content marketing in hospitality. Colored visuals, according to researchers at Xerox, can boost someone’s interest to continue reading by 80 percent. Interactive images tend to keep people’s interest. Motion-influenced web design and infographics help keep eyes focused on content for longer. The more information you can communicate in those vital seconds, the more of a connection you can forge with prospective, new, and long-term customers.

At the same time, blog posts should provide one-stop sources of information. You don’t want short, opinionated, and fluffy posts. The content should truly address the guest’s needs. Are they looking for things to do in your city, get married, or find the best shopping destinations?

A Greenlight VR study in 2016 determined that 74 percent of people surveyed liked the idea of virtual reality to advertise in hospitality. They can use a virtual experience to walk in the lobby, view the pool and other facilities, and walk through rooms or the hotel bar. Providing a 360-degree experience creates an innovative research tool, allowing your guests to experience a stay before they set foot in your establishment.

The main challenges are customers’ short attention spans and getting them to feel connected to your brand. Social media is therefore a useful tool in hospitality. It can boost bookings even without a major advertising campaign. A call-to-action on a Facebook page can prompt people to book, or you can add a URL to your site from any social website, blog, or other resource.

Examples of Success

Marriott has succeeded in both its print and digital content. The company’s large marketing division created Marriott Traveler, destination-focused magazine that includes content on various cities. Initially covering just three cities, it drove over 7,000 bookings in just the first few months. It produced short films, including “Two Bellmen”, which demonstrate the brand’s customer service; the one film was viewed on YouTube over 5 million times. The company’s Content Studio has drawn an audience through its films and social media campaigns, which have included celebrity feedback using Snapchat.

Loews Hotels has tapped into the potential of visual imagery. Its “Travel for Real” campaign sources images from over 35,000 pictures of guests, posted on Instagram. By compensating guests for their pictures, the chain provides an incentive to customers and to prospective guests who see others having a genuine experience at one of the company’s properties.

Tips for Better Hospitality Content

The goal for content marketing in hospitality is to be personal, visual, and to tell a story. That is why testimonials and videos work so well. Live broadcasts of events and videos showing your staff at work help advertise the perks of staying at your hotel over a competitor’s.

Websites should be responsive and incorporate a full experience. This includes a virtual look at your property and a way to book and pay online. It also pays to use social media. Look for the influencers who will spread the word about the blogs, images, video, and other content you put on the web. Lastly, always tell your customers a story. Look at the experiences they have offline and move them to the Web for all to see.

Are you working in the hospitality industry? Did you like what you read? You can find out a lot more, plus a few essential tips on how you can increase your firm’s visibility with content from the Iris Content report.

Over the next few days, Iris Content will offer each industry its own specific report in a short blog and for readers who are also interested in growing up with us, a series of larger state of the industry reports will be available for all relevant industries that have an online presence. If you are interested in trends in content marketing and what your specific industry should publish to stay relevant and improve ROI, come back for more professional reports from our team of expert writers. Contact our Chief Content Officer for the full report and a complimentary blog or web page written by our content professionals.

Annie Ianko

Chief Content Officer

Annie has 20 years of experience as an editor and content creator and manager. With work in television and written media, she has dedicated her past 10 years to learning the ropes of online content creation, from writing to editing, from SEO to content management.

Contact Annie for more news about the content marketing world.

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