As we reach the home stretch of 2015, we’re taking a look back at our 15 trends for 2015 infographic (you can see it either below or on the original post). We said that the year was set for an explosion of new marketing tools to deal with a rapidly changing, exciting environment.

Have these predictions held up or fallen through? Which trends have taken off the most?

We’ve put together the answers.

  1. Personalisation:

We’ve got more access to data than ever before, and tools like segmented mailing lists, retargeting campaigns divided by demographic and offers tailored to specific groups are continuing their strong streak of popularity.

Trend’s Future: Growing Trend

  1. Mobile Isn’t a Trend

Criteo’s Travel Flash report shows that overall, the share of mobile hotel bookings have increased from 12% to 23% of all bookings from the first quarter of 2014 to the first quarter of 2015. It’s worth noting, however, that many of these bookings are though OTAs, with only 7% of hotel bookings coming through smartphones. For last minute bookings, 30% of guests rely on their phones.

Trend’s Future: Major Growth

  1. Booking Abandonment

With an average of 98% of users not completing a booking but 87% saying they would return to book later (source: Sales Cycle), techniques for alleviating booking abandonments are on the rise. From retargeting ads to emails to guests who started the booking process, hotels are becoming more innovative in the ways they bring users back to book.

Trend’s Future: Growing Trend

  1. Metasearch

We predicted that Metasearch had its work cut out for it—this has held up, with metasearch increasing participation prices and stampeding to put bookings on their own sites, which makes it difficult for consumers to differentiate them from OTAs.

Trend’s Future: Continuing Trend

  1. Mobile Payment

The world of mobile payments is evolving rapidly, with mobile accounting for 27% of all digital spend in the travel industry. That said, while smartphones are catching up, payments on tablets are much more common for hotels ($35 spent by phone for every $100 spent via desktop, versus $85 for tablet), possibly due to larger screens and multi-site comparisons often used by those booking.

Trend’s Future: Growing Trend

  1. Owning Your Real Estate

As search results grow ever more congested, particularly with ‘above the fold’ paid content, it’s more important than ever to own your brand. As this article on the importance of brand terms demonstrates, you must take ownership and control of your brand real estate to stop other channels from claiming your traffic.

Trend’s Future: Continuing Trend

  1. Pay to Play Social Media

It’s official: Pay to Play is the new reality on social media. As the amount of content on Facebook and other sites explodes, it’s harder and harder to achieve significant organic reach for your hotel, no matter how good your content is. Small businesses spend from $5 to $50 a day for exposure on Facebook, while organic reach hit an all-time low of 6% of fans for brand pages’ posts. On the positive side, the social context Facebook provides in its ads means the benefit of fans isn’t being lost, but repurposed.

Trend’s Future: Major Growth

  1. Persona-Driven Content

With 30% of B2B content ignored because it’s irrelevant, knowing who your audience is is vital. Fortunately, guides and how-to’s are popping up all over the web this year to help you turn your data and insights into workable marketing strategies based on what your guests want to see.

Trend’s Future: Growing Trend

  1. New SEO

Google’s complete ‘above the fold’ monetization has forced marketers to get more creative with SEO in order to push organic traffic. Some popular new and evolving strategies: vertical search, social media (yes, even Google+), aligning your content marketing with your SEO, and additional focus on mobile.

Trend’s Future: Continuing Trend

  1. Programmatic Marketing

Programmatic – automated – marketing is on track for a leap of nearly $5 billion in spending this year (source: eMarketer). Programmatic technologies let hotels evaluate their ads mid-campaign, without the need to wait. Businesses are bringing these technologies in house, and they’re going beyond traditional ads to bring in social networks. Things to watch: how programmatic marketing deals with the lack of cookies on mobile.

Trend’s Future: Major Growth

  1. Audio-Visual Content

For reasons similar to those causing the growth of experiential marketing, the importance of audio and visual content is on the rise. Facebook and LinkedIn now let you add custom images to link posts, and Cisco predicts that around 70% of online consumer traffic will be video by 2017. On hotel websites, visual carousels are increasingly popular, as are videos and virtual tours.

Trend’s Future: Growing Trend

  1. Experience-Driven Strategies

Described as “critical” for engagement, making your hotel all about the experience will see guests flocking to your site and your hotel. If guests see you as offering a unique stay, being connected to the local environment and having an immersive story behind you, they’ll be much more inclined to choose you over competitors.

Trend’s Future: Growing Trend

  1. Proximity Technology

The right place at the right time: with phones constantly on hand and the increase in last-minute bookings, largely via mobile, hoteliers can take advantage of this technology to show guests their properties just when guests are most likely to engage. It can also deepen connections with guests and grow loyalty, by seamlessly engaging guests when they stay at your hotel.

Trend’s Future: Growing Trend

  1. Baby Boomers

They have the money, the time and the inclination to travel. Combine that with their rising digital engagement, and they become an essential component of hotels’ digital marketing strategies this year. The Boomers appreciate personalised, direct communication, while experiential marketing isn’t as important to them.

Trend’s Future: Continuing Trend

  1. Holistic Approach to Revenue Management

The way revenue management is approached has been make-or-break in the past, and now, with the rapid shifts in consumer behaviour, it’s more important than ever before. Revenue management should be integrated in a hotel’s sales and marketing from start to finish. Hotels’ content strategies and ad monetization plans should be combined throughout in order to maximize ROI.

Trend’s Future: Growing Trend

 

There you have it—on the whole, 2015 has seen radical growth in terms of mobile usage and mobile payment, and continued structural changes to SEO and social media best practices. These shifts in the landscape have led to shifts in the vehicles we use to navigate, from the role of revenue management to proximity technology and experience-driven technology.

Many of these trends are either undergoing huge growth or huge changes, and we can expect the playing field to continue to change in the immediate future. Keep an eye on these trends and others like them to stay ahead of the game.

What trends are you experiencing? Which one is affecting your hotel the most?

15 trends for 2015 infographic

15 trends for 2015 infographic