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  • Post last modified:June 25, 2021

Digital marketing has to be an indispensable part of the marketing strategy for any hotel business in the current technology era. In this article, we have compiled the top digital marketing trends in the hospitality industry in 2021 and beyond. The Covid 19 pandemic has led to a huge reshuffle and the hospitality industry needs these tools and techniques more than ever in the post covid pandemic world.

Without any further ado let’s jump into the topic about hospitality digital marketing and the trends that are going to transform the hospitality industry in 2021 and beyond.

Our earlier article, we have covered some of the best tools and marketing strategies for the hotel industry. Let’s get on with the top hospitality digital marketing trends now.

To begin, here are some of the digital marketing trends that were hot in the past and are hotter in 2021.

In the past years, we have seen a greater prominence of a lot of advanced digital marketing techniques. So, here’s in a nutshell what has been trending in the digital arena in general across industries.

These include:

  • Marketing automation
  • Structured data & semantics
  • Live streaming, chatbots
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Personalised services
  • Mobile-first strategy
  • Greater use of analytics
  • Big Data and the Internet of Things

and more

A lot of these are trending in our hospitality world and are extremely relevant to the hospitality and travel industry.

Let’s now cover the top trends in digital marketing relevant to the hospitality industry in further details.

Automation of Marketing through Digital Marketing Tools

We entered the digital era years ago but the magnanimity of digital marketing was not realised by hospitality businesses until the last decade. From 2018 or even before that, almost every hotel business was investing wisely in digital marketing to gain a competitive advantage over competitors.

Technology has made things simpler for hospitality organisations.

A lot of hotel management software now run most of your Hotel business. A hotel manager relies on technology right from reservations to check out and everything in between.

Apps and robots are being introduced to provide customer delight. So, why not expose your marketing to various automation tools.

Here’s what you can achieve by automating some or most of your marketing activities.

Image Courtesy- Plug Talent

It is, however, crucial to understand that technology is not just to impress. It should definitely add value and thus regular monitoring and evaluation of the automated marketing activities are crucial.

Digital marketing for the hotel industry must include automation as the hotel industry is always tight in terms of staffing.

The below strategy and tools will add a lot of energy and pace to your existing strategy. Most of the hotel businesses now acknowledge the importance of these techniques.

However, these are grossly underutilized in the digital marketing perspective. Even more when we consider the usage of these digital marketing techniques in the hospitality and travel industry.

Google Keyword planners and Google Trends are already quite popular tools to automate a lot of your digital marketing efforts.

You might already be using a lot of these tools involuntarily. The hospitality industry can use more of these highly-rated digital marketing tools in 2021 and beyond.

From Siri to Alexa to Facebook audience insights, there are a lot of digital marketing tools which you can benefit from at no or very low cost.

Let’s quickly run through some of the most useful digital marketing tools relevant to the hospitality industry.

Google Keyword planner

Know about the searched keywords and what’s relevant. Researching the long-tail keywords related to the hospitality industry can help big time. This free tool can help hotel marketers to create content that will receive good organic traffic. More visibility means more business, isn’t it?

Ahref

A very popular digital marketing tool. It has both free and paid services (relevant for content marketing and SEO).

Know the number of backlinks, domain strength, keyword ranking for your business and of your competitors. SEO improvements and a lot more.

Semrush

Much like Ahref, Semrush is another tool which can help the hospitality websites immensely in terms of attracting organic traffic of customers.

Google Adwords

Pay per click advertisement (most popular for digital advertisement). Google Adwords can be a blessing to your effort to gain more customers.

Most of the top 100 hotel chains are already using it. Whether it’s about increased brand visibility or reaching out to more customer looking to travel to your area, this affordable digital marketing solution is a must to have in your digital marketing strategy.

In this post, we have focused on Digital Marketing strategies for the hospitality industry. A focus only on hospitality digital marketing trends was long due.

Why so? Digital marketing would be key to the success of the hotel industry and the hospitality and travel industry on the whole.

Digital marketing would transform the hotel industry with the focus on augmented reality, blockchain and artificial intelligence.

A lot of studies reveal a few crucial things which we can relate to the hospitality and travel industry.

  • Consider the fact that the behaviour of 1 billion people is going to be altered in the coming years. Without a proper digital media strategy, a lot of hospitality businesses may find themselves struggling in a couple of years.
  • Another fact reveals that 100 million people will shop in augmented reality by the end of 2022 and digital media giants will play a key role in shaping consumer behaviour.
  • Blockchain, Internet of Things and Artificial Intelligence are set to gain in prominence and will dictate a lot of digital marketing trends in the hospitality industry and elsewhere.

If these numbers don’t get the hotel managers excited about pumping some fresh energy into their digital media strategy then what will?

Moving on to a few more exciting digital marketing tools extremely relevant to the hospitality industry.

Similarweb

Similar web can compare key statistics of any website. It is extremely important to understand the content strategy of your competitor.

The hotel industry is extremely competitive. A lot of hotels are targeting the same market segment.  This digital marketing tool can help you understand the strategy of your key competitors.

Google Analytics

Most of the digital marketers wouldn’t imagine a content and SEO strategy without the support of Google analytics.

From your top rated pages to top keywords to key demographics, you have it all in your analytics dashboard.

You also have a random collection of page speed and mobile optimisation or error reporting. Along with Google search console, utilising analytics in the most effective way can be a gamechanger in your digital marketing strategy.

You can check demographics and locations to know who are interested in your hospitality business. There might be a huge chunk of potential customers that you might be missing.

Use the bounce rate to understand which pages are getting most and least attention. These can help in improving the design and user experience of pages which gets thumbs down from users.

There are many other interesting and useful features which all hospitality companies can use to ramp up their digital marketing effort using Google analytics.

Buzzsumo

This features in the top 7 growth marketing tools list by Neil Patel, who is a renowned digital marketing expert.

Lots of digital marketing influencers suggest using Buzzsumo in content marketing strategy.

Image Courtesy- Inc

Hotels can use Buzzsumo to find articles and pages similar to their own that are already being shared significantly on Twitter and then ride along by sharing to the same community.

Unsplash

Not many customers can assume a website without engaging images. Customers decide where to travel using images.

A picture is worth a thousand words and that’s so very true. This is even more important for the hospitality industry.

Unsplash is an amazing collection of images both free and paid. This must be a tool in your digital marketing arsenal to ensure your website, emails and more are a visual delight. Always!

Mailchimp

Once a customer, always a customer must be the motto of all hospitality companies.

Customers love to get occasional non-intrusive emails from their favourite hotels and restaurants. And you get more recommendations and get more exposure for your brand.

Thus email marketing is crucial and regular newsletters to subscribers are key to success for hospitality organisations. Tools like Mailchimp automate a lot of this task of creating and sending emails. And it’s not that pricey.

Something all hoteliers must try for sure.

Content Marketing and SEO

Importance of digital marketing is immense for the success of any hospitality organisation. Digital marketing for hotels would hold the key to sustained competitive advantage in 2021 and beyond. 

Content marketing is a key digital marketing strategy for the hotel industry.

As a business, you need to be present on the world wide web and that too in style. Content marketing, thus, is one of the key digital marketing trends in the hospitality industry.

Search engine strategy (SEO) is not a complete technical thing anymore. It’s more about doing things the right way to suit your target audience. 

The key takeaways through content marketing are the longer attention span, greater reach, organic growth and more.

Digital marketing strategy for the hotel industry now relies a lot on carefully created content and its promotion.

The hospitality industry is extremely competitive. Every customer is vying for better deals for them.

It is thus important to engage with customers in a positive manner. Content marketing is one of the most important ways to engage with existing and new customers.

A lot of top hospitality companies use a mix of content, images and videos to leave a long term impact on existing and potential customers.

Well, what they do is backed by a lot of research. 

Mobile-First Strategy

Mobile websites have been important for many years now. No hotel digital marketing strategy is complete without a mobile-first strategy.

With Google promoting AMP and Core web vitals for speed, it is more important than ever to optimise the website for speed and for the mobile users.

However, a fast website is not a delight anymore for customers. Customers expect an extremely interactive and lightning-fast mobile website.

A great mobile website would definitely increase direct bookings of hospitality organisations dramatically. 

A great mobile strategy would also do wonders to your profitability.

Do you know how a lot of websites loose on a slow and irrelevant mobile website?

According to research by ThinkwithGoogle, a slow website can deflect your potential customers to the competitor hospitality business.

How so? Check the increase in bounce or leaving rate of the customer with decreasing mobile website speed.

Moreover, the millennials are on mobile and so are most of the travellers.

Your mobile website is going to be your brand in the future.

Thus the mobile-first strategy is crucial to support your overall digital marketing strategy. Speed of your website is crucial. If your website is built using CMS like WordPress, it is equally important to check website and server speed.

You can check the mobile speed of your website and server speed on tools.pingdom, GT Metrix, Pagespeed developers tools on Google and more similar platforms.  

Importance of digital marketing in the hospitality industry is huge and going mobile is the way forward for success.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning in hospitality

Digital marketing for hotels and all hospitality organisations must be reliant on advanced technology.

Artificial Intelligence in the Hospitality industry will be a game-changer in the coming years for sure.

The use of AI certainly is one of the topmost digital marketing trends in the hospitality industry in 2021 and beyond.

The key to using AI is that it can understand the human context. The computer algorithm can enhance its capabilities as well as update and improve itself.

Machine learning is pretty much similar to AI which is the advanced version.

AI can dramatically change the game of digital marketing in the hospitality industry.

Well, the whole idea of marketing is to attract and retain customers. AI would help automated system target individuals.

The marketing efforts can be extremely personalised and dynamic with the use of AI. Can the hospitality industry ask for more?

Other trends using Big Data/Data Analytics and Internet of Things

The future is exciting for digital marketing for hospitality managers.

Big Data is making big strides in every digital media strategy. Digital marketing in hospitality is becoming more and more important. Big Data and Data analytics are going to help big time in winning a customer through impacting customer touch points

Think of the impact of data analytics in the hotel industry on the digital marketing strategy.

Data analytics can go hand in hand with AI to help understand the customers even better than the customer do themselves. The idea is to provide the service which the customer is about to think of. 

Marketers aim to create delight by changing habits through advanced analytics and machine learning tools. 

We have already moved to a digital age. Impact of IoT on Digital Marketing is going to be huge as well in terms of enhancing customer experience, digital personalisation, connecting the physical and digital world and more.

Conclusion

Here you go. Over to the hospitality superstars now to make your digital marketing strategy shine. Digital marketing is not only a buzzword today. Digital marketing is reshaping the hospitality industry by changing the dynamics of consumer behaviour, revenue management and profitability. 

We mentioned a few of the top digital marketing trends in the hospitality industry in 2021 while quickly touching a few of the tools and techniques.

Your competitors are automating a lot of their digital marketing efforts already to focus on revenue generation and other meaningful tasks.

Its time all hotel businesses embrace technology to raise their digital marketing efforts a notch higher.

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