5 Digital Marketing Trends Hoteliers Need to Know In 2020

There are a lot of exciting digital marketing trends to be aware of in 2020. It is even more exciting to see how you can incorporate these tactics in your marketing strategy. We are reviewing which online trends hoteliers and marketers as a whole, should stay on top of. We have separated upcoming trends by channel, based on the digital marketing services Blue Magnet Interactive offers:

  • SEO (search engine optimization)
  • Social Media
  • Design & Development
  • Paid Media
  • Strategy

Read on for specific actions hoteliers can take to stay competitive in a market that is constantly changing.

SEO: Featured Snippets

“One of the key trends in SEO is going after Featured Snippets. Featured Snippets are one of the few ways on-page content can vastly improve search visibility, though it is still up-in-the-air if featured snippets lead to increased revenue.”

-Sean Francis, SEO Director at Blue Magnet Interactive

What Are Featured Snippets?

Featured snippets are a search results feature introduced by Google in January, 2014. It is a way to give searchers answers to their questions immediately on the search engine results page, without having to click through to a website. It is often called “position zero” because it is the very top organic result, taking up a large amount of real estate on the page. If you have not noticed this helpful feature, here is an example:

How to pack your suitcase featured snippet

Why Featured Snippets Continue To Grow?

Even though position zero was introduced around six years ago, it is constantly gaining in popularity. This is because the features are convenient and provide a great experience for searchers. Popularity will only continue to grow with the continued rise of voice search. Voice devices like Amazon Echo and Alexa, Google Home, and Apple’s Siri use Featured Snippets to provide people with answers to voice search queries every day.

Marketers may be concerned that they would lose traffic because people are getting the answers to what they are looking for right on the Google results page. However, do not fear! Stats say that featured snippets have a 2X higher click-through rate to websites, further proving the trend that advertisers should always be optimizing to serve the user.

Why Hoteliers Should Optimize Towards Featured Snippets?

Note: Featured Snippets do not appear on every type of search result. Due to this, hoteliers should be prepared, always looking to assist the user with helpful information. The steps to obtaining a Featured Snippet go hand in hand with having your usual, strong SEO strategy in place, which includes:

  • Completing solid keyword research.
  • Going after long tail keywords seen in voice search.
  • Phrasing long tail keywords in the form of a question, beginning with words like “what is,” “what are,” “how do,” etc.
  • Using tools like Google’s “People Also Ask” feature, Google autosuggest, and Answer the Public to find good questions to use as long tail keywords.
  • Ensuring all of your on-page content is lifting up the primary long tail keyword, and doing the best it can to answer the question.
  • Answering the question in a clear way using paragraphs and bulleted and numbered lists.

Overall, keep a strong SEO strategy in place where you are already trying to rank #1 for a specific long-tail keyword. An example of a long-tail keyword for a hotel might be, “what is the best boutique hotel in Wicker Park Chicago?”

Social Media: Instagram Story Highlights

If you are a hotel and you are not on Instagram, there are a myriad of reasons you should be.
According to Hootsuite

  • Instagram is the 2nd most downloaded free app in the Apple store.
  • Instagram will reach 112.5 million U.S. users in 2020.
  • 200 million Instagram users visit at least one business profile daily.
  • 62% of people say they have become more interested in a brand or product after seeing it in Stories.

Instagram Story Highlights are a great way for a hotel to capitalize on this giant platform.

What Are Instagram Story Highlights?

Instagram Story Highlights launched in December 2017 and are growing in popularity. As you may know, Instagram Stories disappear in 24 hours. Instagram Story Highlights allow you to pin these stories to your profile so they are accessible to users for as long as you want. You can even create “Highlight covers” to further brand the topics of these Stories using custom images.

Hotels Should Have Instagram Story Highlights

Story Highlights are the first thing users see on your account, so they provide a vital opportunity for hotels to draw in users, before, during, and after their stay. Hotels can showcase rooms and suites, amenities, testimonials, special rates, events, local area draws, food and drink specials, FAQs, and more! Please see an example of Instagram Story Highlights below.

Instagram Story Highlights screenshot

Contact Blue Magnet’s talented social media team to incorporate this feature onto your hotel’s Instagram account.

Design and Development: Virtual and Augmented Reality

Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) will only continue to rise as a trend in 2020.

What is the Difference Between AR and VR?

Virtual Reality uses equipment like controllers and headsets to block out the real world and to take you into a completely immersive experience.

Augmented Reality can be experienced in the real world without needing the fully immersive headgear. It will often digitally enhance your view on smartphones and tablets using things like your mobile camera. Think Pokemon Go or Snapchat filters.

Forbes says Augmented Reality will become the more popular experience in 2020 and The Verge recently shared that Apple says AR tech could overthrow the iPhone in the next decade!

AR And VR For Hotels

As AR and VR are integrated into various industries, hoteliers should look to capitalize on this sooner rather than later, as they are great features to help improve the booking experience.

According to Hospitality Technology, some of the ways hotels can use AR/VR include:

  • Add AR/VR to your site for local area experiences to help potential guests picture themselves in a new location.
  • Set up virtual tours on your site so planners can visualize event space and patrons can view amenities.
  • Use AR/VR to highlight room features like size and fun facts about the artwork on the walls and historical information.

Blue Magnet’s award-winning Design & Development team has been leading the way in AR/VR implementation on websites and can help you stay on the forefront of these trends. For example, our team helped SKY Room Atlanta increase their RFPs by creating a fully immersive virtual reality tour on their website for the event space. Unsurprisingly, we found that when people looked at the event space with VR, it increased the likelihood of them submitting an RFP or calling the event team immediately following.

SKY Room Atlanta VR page

Paid Media and Voice Search

Voice search is everywhere. On your phone you might be saying, “OK Google,” or chatting it up with Siri. Or maybe your home is decked out with Amazon Echo/Alexa or Google Home. Voice search makes our lives easier and will only dominate the digital landscape looking ahead.

Note: Experts predict that at least 50% of all searches will be voice searches by 2020.

We already talked about how this will affect SEO, but it is sure to play a part on paid search as well. Our Paid Media Strategist, Kevin Malloy states that “Voice search is a growing trend and it is only a matter of time before paid ads are introduced.” So if you want to do well on your paid search campaigns, it is time to start keeping voice searches in mind.

How Hotels Can Start To Take Action With Paid Media And Voice Search?

One way hotel paid search campaigns can hop on the voice search trend is to continually keep long-tail keywords in mind that have a more conversational tone. This again focuses on questions beginning with “what are, what is, how do” etc. Example: “What are the best pet-friendly hotels in Tucson, AZ near Reid-Park?”
Voice Search Screenshot

Ensure your campaign landing pages accurately answer voice search questions in easily digestible ways, i.e. incorporating numbered and bulleted lists. Content on landing pages for paid campaigns should answer questions clearly.

Our PPC Strategist Kevin Malloy also notes, “In the context of hotels, what we will want to see before making any big moves on that front is if voice search generates revenue dollars, or does it just generate visits? It may be an avenue to capture visitors partway into the sales funnel, but we will want to be sure we can track those visitors from that stage into a booking.”

Hotels need to be mindful of where they place their bids concerning voice search. That is because people are asking questions about your hotel or local area, but may not be ready or able to book when they hear the results from an Alexa speaker. You will want to be sure you can track users through different stages of booking in order to capitalize on this traffic. Blue Magnet recommends you capture this traffic via retargeting methods like remarketing for search ads.

Bringing It All Together: A Holistic Digital Strategy

Perhaps the biggest trend hoteliers should be paying attention to in 2020 is how their digital strategy as a whole needs to change. Our Director of Accounts, Nicole Poggensee says the following:

“As we move into 2020, doing the minimal for your digital marketing strategy is not going to cut it anymore. Once a hotelier lays down the foundation (i.e. website, social, etc.), more layers need to be added. This includes paid search, metasearch, paid social, and connecting with local partnerships. The strategies that succeed most have a holistic approach and incorporate channels from every direction.”

All channels work together to lift overall traffic and revenue and our account managers have seen this play out across the board for our hotels.

A Comprehensive Approach Makes All The Difference

One of our hotel clients launched a new website and SEO services with us. When they added paid search and paid social services on top of that, they saw a 754% increase in visits to the vanity site month-over-month and a 575% increase in booked revenue. Check out a visual of this from their Google Analytics account:

Google Analytics screenshot

This trend will only increase in 2020 as more channels come into play.

As recently discussed in a Blue Magnet Interactive blog post, because PPC and Google Hotel Ads are more and more prevalent, the real estate of a search engine results page has drastically changed. If you want to appear on search, it is now a necessity to have a good organic strategy, along with paid search and metasearch.

The same goes for other channels like social media. Your competitors do not merely have an organic presence on social, which is paramount for engaging current fans and for reputation management. But rest assured your competition is also running remarketing ads on social along with highly targeted campaigns to capture your guests.

A holistic approach to your digital strategy, encompassing all the current and upcoming trends is the new bare minimum. Contact Blue Magnet Interactive for a smart, cutting edge, integrated strategy to reach your hotel’s potential.

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