2016 has arrived, and this past year has seen a slew of changes to the digital marketing landscape. The growth isn’t over, though – mobile is exploding and technology is expanding. That means that digital marketing, still a relatively young and swiftly-growing field, is rapidly growing and changing along with it.
As digital marketers on the cutting edge of new and effective ways to grow business for hoteliers, we at Net Affinity have put some serious thought into what the New Year has brought to the online landscape.
Here’s what we’re predicting:
- Mobile Dominates: Mobile has contributed over 94% of year-on-year growth in e-commerce traffic. On average, 21% of hotel bookings take place on Mobile devices. Make sure you’re ready for the future. (Learn More)
- Content is the New SEO: With an average of 30-40% of a hotel’s revenue deriving from Organic traffic, having a content strategy that goes beyond typical ‘hotel information’ is extremely valuable. Whether it’s a blog about local events or an innovative social presence now is the time to get creative.
- Relationship Marketing: It’s vital to market to real people, and market to the right people. Insights from persona marketing, machine learning, programmatic marketing and Google’s customer match will all help you talk to your guests in 2016. (Learn More)
- The Rise of Ad Blocking: With Ad Blocking on the rise, other methods of driving traffic to your site need to step up. Ad blocking grew globally by 41% in the past 12 months, and is expected to cost the industry $41B globally in 2016. (Learn More)
- Video Everywhere: Video is taking over, with auto-play clips appearing on Facebook, Instagram and elsewhere. It’s no longer restricted to your website and YouTube – in 2016, there will be more channels than ever to promote your hotel’s videos on.
- Buy Buttons Taking Over: Social E-Commerce is on the rise! Buy buttons on Facebook, Pinterest & other social channels will become standard as the line thins between social media and e-commerce sites. (Learn More)
- In-the-Moment Marketing: Being “in the moment” matters for hotels. Showing up at the right place and the right time and having a strong presence on all channels where your personas hang out is crucial, so nail down guest personas and strengthen your strategy.
- New Payment Methods: New ways of completing a payment, particularly on mobile are growing. Companies like Stripe are starting to change the market. 2016 will see fingerprint payment grow, more mobile payments and simplified checkout flows. (Learn More)
- Meta Search Evolving: Meta Search continues to grow its market share in the hotel industry. With updates such as TripInstant and Trivago’s Facilitated bookings, the Meta Search landscape is still evolving and changing the way consumers book.
- Cross-Device Data: Cross device tracking will make major advancements in our multiscreen world, even as it raises privacy concerns. Google, along with a host of start-ups, are investing significant time and money into developing stronger cross-device results.
- Dynamic Content Emails: Get personal with emails! Personalising email content can lift conversion rates by 12% (Choi, 2015) People act twice as fast if they are asked to do something and their name appears on it.
- Instagram to be new ecommerce channel for hotels: Instagram, with its heavy focus on visuals and 400 million+ users, can be a very strong platform for hotels. Hotels today are creating “selfie stations” and brand hashtags – how will you use Instagram to connect in 2016? (Learn More)
- User Generated Content: Your online reputation is key to success. There are more tools than ever to leverage UGC, and you need to take advantage in 2016. Respond to reviews, run contests on Twitter and Instagram. Use your current guests to drive future bookings. (Learn More)
- Booking Retargeting: Making retargeting part of the booking funnel gives you a second chance to capture a guest’s interest. Strategies such as on-site, off-site and email retargeting are growing in popularity, used by hotels to increase direct revenue and deflect traffic from OTAs. (Learn More)
- Holistic Marketing Budgets: Traditional marketing budgets are no longer effective: it’s all about performance. If your cost per acquisition on one channel is less than other booking channels, like OTAs, why restrict your budget and risk losing business at a lower cost?
- Marketing Landing Pages: Marketing landing pages can directly improve E-commerce conversion rates for hotels. They provide a single focus point for each campaign in a way a homepage can’t – usage of them will only increase in 2016. (Learn More)
Those are our experts’ top predictions for trends in 2016 – which do you think will take off? Let us know in the comments.