The travel landscape has changed, and customer behaviours have too. It’s time for hotel marketers to shake up their strategy and adapt accordingly.
But what does this look like in practice? How can marketers optimize campaigns to capitalize on the new ‘diamond age’ of travel? Read on for our top data-led recommendations.
Showcase your bucket list credentials
Customer spending is at an all-time high. After two years of not being able to travel – and therefore realising the enormous value it brings to our lives – guests are keen to make up for lost time. In fact, according to a joint report by the World Travel & Tourism Council and Trip.com, 70% of leisure travelers in major countries including the US, UK, Canada, Japan and Spain plan to spend more on travel in 2022 than they have in the past five years. This is the year of bucket list adventures for many people, and they’re willing to spend big to make these trips extra special.
- Don’t miss this opportunity to upsell! Make sure that your room upgrade options, luxury add-ons and bucket-list experiences are highlighted throughout the booking journey. Think about the new unbranded keywords that might become more relevant for you to appear for if customers are searching for higher-end, more luxurious trips. Reinforce those keywords on your website by building out new landing pages for the kinds of experiences you can offer (or, if editing your website is not possible, use Targeted Messages to highlight the relevant keywords to the right customers).
Reconsider who your ‘business’ travellers are
With hybrid and remote working practices now the norm in many parts of the world the opportunity for hotels is huge. More than half of respondents in Expedia’s 2022 Travel Trends Report who work remotely have plans to take a ‘bleisure’ trip, while Vrbo’s 2022 trend report cited that 44% of families said they were more likely to work remotely from a place that’s not their home. The report also flagged a 68% increase in demand for 21-30 day stays and a 33% increase in undated searches, suggesting that school and company-wide holidays are now less important when booking trips.
- Rethink what your ‘digital nomad’ customers might typically look like: Phocuswright’s recent research report on the new digital nomad highlighted that many of the previously held assumptions about digital nomads are outdated. These customers are no longer simply self-employed or budget travelers. In fact, only one in seven are independently employed and nearly four in five have full-time jobs with an employer. Those jobs are also not entry-level – three in four are in management and more than one in five are executive level. That means more disposable income and likely less of a requirement for budget accommodation. That makes this demographic now a potential key audience for hotels of all types – so give careful consideration to how you target them with offers, prices and content.
- Be sure to highlight your remote working facilities: Free, fast, reliable wi-fi and desk or co-working spaces are features to put front and center when looking to attract a bleisure traveller. If you’re not currently set up for customers who want to work remotely, it might be time to think about what updates you can make to your offering that would attract this type of guest.
Balance domestic vs international
According to the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer, international tourism rebounded moderately during the second half of 2021. That said, international arrivals in December were 65% below 2019 levels. It stands to reason that, for many hotels, the focus they’ve placed on engaging their domestic audience will continue to be a key strategy throughout 2022 – even as they begin to balance this with a broader travel rebound later this year. When we look at the Triptease global hotel database we can already see international travellers returning to the mix for hotels in many parts of the world.
- Regularly review the traffic arriving on your website: Continuously monitor pre-booking data (like which countries are the top bookers and searchers of flights into your region or city) as well as Google Analytics and PMS/CRS data to understand who your audience is and where they’re arriving from. This should inform your website personalization strategy going forward. Download our guide for more tips on how Triptease can help you achieve this.
- Be ready to pivot your traffic acquisition strategy to capture guests with intent to travel: When bidding in metasearch it’s vital that you’re taking into account the location of your customer and lead time of their search. If a customer from a country who can’t currently travel is running a short lead time search for your hotel, you wouldn’t want to bid in that auction because they can’t actually travel and stay with you. However if they’re searching for a stay months into the future, you can safely bid up on the assumption that the border will have opened.
Building brand trust is still crucial
Even with so much industry data showing that customers are ready and willing to spend more, one thing won’t change regardless of the cost of their overall trip: getting the best price will always matter!
Parity is still the key deciding factor, even at higher ADRs – just because people are willing to spend more money on these trips, doesn’t mean they are willing to spend more money than necessary. They’ll lose trust in your brand if your rate is significantly higher than OTAs; assuming it’s a conscious decision overcharge customers during this time.