From guest-first websites to virtual reality, there are many hotel marketing trends set to take the industry by storm in 2023.
Zoe, our Senior Marketing Executive, was recently shortlisted for Young Agency Marketer of the Year at the 2022 Hotel Marketing Association Awards. In this blog, she shares her predictions for the year ahead.
The hotel marketing trends for 2023 are:
- Guest-first websites
- Video content on social media
- Influencer marketing
- Loyalty schemes
- Digital hotel technology
- Health and wellbeing tourism
- Extra value
- Customer service
- Virtual reality
What is hotel marketing?
Hotel marketing is a term that refers to the strategies and techniques that hotels use in order to attract prospective guests. Hotels can be marketed through various means, including, but not limited to:
- Social media
- Paid advertising
- Email marketing
- Search engine optimisation (SEO)
As an expert Hospitality Marketing Agency, we have used all of these marketing techniques and more to push our hotel clients towards success.
What are the future hotel marketing trends?
In our Pack A Punch Podcast, Michael De Jongh, Chief Commercial Officer at Avvio commented that “Independent hotels should consider brand advocacy over brand loyalty.” In many ways, this is a hotel marketing trend that is here to stay.
The difference is that people can advocate through word-of-mouth recommendation, which can be done online in reviews, on social media comments and more. It isn’t about people booking again, but people booking again and telling other people to, too.
What is the best hotel marketing trend for 2023?
When choosing a hotel marketing trend to adopt into your 2023 strategy, your goals must be strongly considered. Every hotel is different, so each needs a carefully constructed marketing plan.
Don’t know where to begin? Get in touch with us for some help.
Here we go! I’m about to count down the 10 hotel marketing trends to inform your 2023 strategy.
1. Guest-first websites
One of the biggest hospitality marketing trends of 2023 is websites that are not just user-friendly, but guest-first.
In August 2022, Google announced their ‘helpful content’ update. In order to rank, website content must:
- Be created for a specific audience: Know your audience, and tailor your website content to help them.
- Show expertise: Brands must position themselves as hospitality experts.
- Be trustworthy and credible: Showcasing guest reviews is a great way to show that your hotel is a brilliant place to stay.
- Meet the wants and needs of the researcher: Make sure you’re telling users everything they need to know about your hotel – revisit those FAQs!
To stay ahead of this trend in 2023, hotels need to invest time into making their websites as helpful as possible. This doesn’t just play into content, but also into the design and digital side of your website. Users need to be able to quickly find whatever it is they are looking for, with simple designs and fast loading times being key.
Ian, our hospitality digital marketing agency’s Digital Director commented: “Hotels that put time and care into their websites will always be one step ahead of the game. Optimising your website is a really effective way to drive bookings and appeal to your primary audience.”
To find out more about the new Google update, see their official statement here.
2. Video content on social media
Social media has been around for many years now and it will continue to be integral to every hotel marketing strategy in 2023. According to a survey by WordStream, a third of all online activity is spent watching videos. Therefore, this is a hotel video marketing trend that needs to be jumped on.
Phoebe, our Social Media Strategist commented “Almost every social channel is pushing video right now, making it a real opportunity for growth. We’ve seen firsthand that when our hospitality marketing agency started using video content for our clients, not only did reach and engagement soar, but the performance of static posts improved, too. Short, snappy videos with trending audio work best, and it’s always great to hop on a trend or post something super satisfying (or anti-satisfying to cause a stir).”
Instagram is renowned for its constant algorithm changes, but if you’ve been staying up-to-date you’ll know that it now favours video content over static imagery. In order to stay relevant on this site and be seen by prospective guests, brands need to make sure their hotel marketing strategy incorporates reels.
Since its launch in 2016, TikTok has taken the world by storm. Although this platform was initially just popular with Gen Z, it has surged in popularity with over 1 billion active users. To master this platform and reap the rewards in 2023, hotel marketers will have to follow the trends and post topical and relevant content.
According to YouTube, more than 1.5 billion people use YouTube Shorts – which actually surpasses TikTok’s user base! If a hotel has already built up a following on YouTube (or is planning to), this is the perfect place to generate engagement. What works on TikTok works for YouTube Shorts too, so you should have a presence on both to master the video trend.
3. Influencer marketing
What is influencer marketing? According to the Cambridge Dictionary, an influencer is someone who affects the way people behave. So, influencer marketing is a type of social media marketing where influencers endorse a brand’s product, encouraging their audience to follow suit.
This is one of the new trends in hotel marketing, but when done right you can reach a huge (and specific!) audience. It can also help to build up a reputation for your hotel.
One of the main ways businesses take part in this strategy is by offering a complimentary stay at their hotel, in return for the influencer posting content. We would suggest choosing value-aligned influencers so that the content comes across as authentic and less like an advert.
When working with influencers, it’s important to stick to the ASA guidelines or retain an agency to manage the influencer relationships for you.
For more information about influencers, read the top tips in this blog.
4. Loyalty schemes
Loyalty schemes are a hotel marketing strategy that is used to attract guests and keep them coming back. Some benefits of loyalty schemes are:
- Repeat business
- Important insights and data
- Better guest experience
Points schemes are so last year! Guests prefer rewards for their loyalty that they can gain immediately – not 1,000 points and 50 stays later. In a survey by Oracle, 78% of people prefer immediate benefits, instead of accumulating loyalty points.
Knowing your customer base and understanding what’s important to them is crucial for an effective loyalty scheme. Hotels can then offer a personalised experience for their guests, which in turn creates brand loyalty.
For example, if your customer base is incentivised by offers, you could give them a percentage off a stay for sharing a review. Or, you could allow the customer base to be the first to know about any hotel updates, in return for them giving you their data.
5. Digital hotel technology
Brands need to stay on top of their hotel marketing strategy in order to keep up with the quick progression of technology. One emerging hotel marketing trend is the implementation of hands-free tech.
One way that this is shown is through voice control. According to Microsoft and Bing, over 50% of consumers expect to be able to make purchases through voice-activated digital assistants (eg. Siri, Alexa) in the next five years. For hotels, this would mean that people can make a booking without having to click any buttons at all.
In 2023, we can also expect to see a rise in in-hotel voice control. Brands could allow guests to control their room’s lights, music and TV, just by speaking. Not only is this very cool, but it will also help to make hotel stays a memorable experience.
Touchfree technology will also be shown through automated doors, QR code food service and hands-free check-in. This hotel marketing trend started in 2020, when the pandemic created an increased focus on hygiene. Although the future will hopefully see us less and less impacted by COVID-19, this trend is here to stay in 2023. Talking about these measures when marketing your hotel can also be a pull to your guests.
6. Health and wellness tourism
As we see hotels becoming increasingly more of an experience in 2023, health and wellness tourism is one emerging luxury hotel marketing trend expected to soar.
The pandemic encouraged more people to focus on their personal health, and since then the health and wellness tourism market has boomed. In fact, a study by McKinsey and Company found that almost 50% of people believe wellness is a top priority. We can only expect this figure to rise further in 2023.
If you choose to take a step towards health and wellness tourism, pause before you go and spend millions on an in-hotel spa. Instead, smaller things can be done, like supplying healthy options in the mini-bar or putting face masks on the bedside table. These little things can go a long way, making a hugely positive impact on the guest experience.
7. Extra value
Although many hotels compete on pricing, there is another comparative factor to consider: value. As a hotel marketing 2023 trend, hotels will put an increased focus on value and the guest experience. Brands will need to ask themselves what they are offering that other hotels do not.
A study which was shown at the third International Scientific Conference ToSEE (Tourism in Southern and Eastern Europe) by Sonja Brlečić and Lidija Bagaric found that value in the hotel industry is co-created by the customer and the hotel itself. Therefore, hotels really need to think about the perks that their guests would appreciate.
An example of one of our clients that sells extra value well is Bike & Boot Inns. When guests book with them, they can access a free Film Club, enjoy complimentary hot drinks and even grab a toy for their dog.
To read the full case study on our work with Bike & Boot, click here.
8. Customer service
Customer service is vital to gain brand loyalty, especially in the hospitality industry which is incredibly customer-focused. One ignored message can be the difference between a returning customer, and one that never comes back to your hotel again.
Chatbots are one emerging trend, but communicating with them can be incredibly frustrating. A CGS survey published in Forbes found that 86% of consumers prefer to interact with a human. Therefore, the option that many brands will use in 2023 is human community management. Hotels should invest in a designated team, who can reply and manage any customer service queries.
Social media community management is one of our hospitality marketing agency’s offerings. Read our case study about how we implement this strategy and more for Splendid Hospitality Group.
The concern over environmental issues will continue to grow in 2023, as sustainability also falls into focus. The hospitality industry has seen a huge push towards going green, which is great for the planet and for business too.
Research from YouGov found that consumers are willing to pay more for something that addresses their environmental concerns. However, if a business chooses to be sustainable they need to fully commit, so as not to take advantage of this statistic.
Many companies try to profit from the increased environmental concern. In fact, research carried out in Europe found that 42% of green claims were exaggerated, false, or deceptive. Therefore, businesses must be completely on board with sustainability, for the right reasons.
This article published in the Harvard Business Review by London Business School Professor, Ioannis Ioannou, University of Cyprus Professor, George Kassinis and University of Peloponnese professor, Giorgos Papagiannakis, explains more about the danger of greenwashing.
10. Virtual Reality
Virtual reality is one of the biggest emerging hotel marketing trends and is sure to make an impact in 2023. According to Oculus, virtual reality is “artistically rendered experiences” that “create a computer-simulated environment.” This is the height of current technology and should be on every hotel marketer’s wishlist.
Static images can only show a limited side of a hotel, whereas some guests like to see as much of the hotel as they can before they book. Step forward, virtual reality tours!
Virtual reality tours can be implemented onto a hotel’s website, allowing users to fully explore a room from their phone. This lets users know exactly what they can expect when they book a room at your hotel.
For advice on how to make 2023 the best year ever for your hotel, contact our expert hospitality marketing agency today.