By Victoria Hsia
It’s no secret: Cyber Monday is a huge opportunity for hoteliers to drive bookings. What began as a one-day online shopping holiday has, over the years, extended into Black Friday and Thanksgiving, with some brands promoting deals even earlier. As a result, consumers aren’t just searching for deals earlier, they’re also making more purchases over a longer period of time. According to Adobe Analytics, American consumers spent $19.62 billion online between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday in 2017, a 15% increase year over year.
With the heavy saturation of Cyber Monday deals online, the market has inevitably become more competitive. However, considering the surge in online traffic and spending during this shopping holiday, hoteliers will miss out if they didn’t participate. From our experience launching Cyber Monday campaigns for our hotel clients, we have uncovered five tips to ensure success in this highly competitive market.
- Run your campaign for two weeks, minimum. As more brands and retailers shift their budgets towards digital channels to promote deals earlier, a one-day sale is simply not enough to generate substantial returns. By launching a two-week sale (beginning one week before Cyber Monday) you can remain competitive during the period when the most people are searching for hotel deals. To build the most traction and revenue, create a clear marketing plan with timed initiatives throughout the campaign. For example, you may launch emailers and social media promoted posts before the campaign begins so your target audience keeps your brand top-of-mind. Consider the fact that the average traveler takes about 17 days and visits an average of 18 sites before making a booking (Google Research). In order to capture potential guests who may be in the early stages of the travel planning journey, it’s important to give them ample time to move from discovery to planning, and finally into the booking phase.
- Promote an enticing discount of at least 30%. With many promotions saturating the marketplace during Cyber Monday, it’s crucial to provide a strong special offer of at least 30% off. Hoteliers can also include value adds to make the offer even more enticing, such as a complimentary dining or spa credit. Additionally, you may consider a flash sale during Cyber Monday with a steeper discount of 50% off for a shorter window of time (e.g. one hour only) to make a deeper impact. If you’re already running a special offer that will be bookable during Cyber Monday, we recommend offering a steeper discount from Black Friday through Cyber Monday to capitalize on the increased online traffic. And, if you’re located in New York City, Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, and Chicago, Sojern data reports your city is among the top searched for by North American travelers in Q4. Consider offering as compelling a deal as possible during Cyber Monday.
- Make your offer stand out with interactive content. Another way to make your offer stand out is by launching an interactive application or mini-site. Serving as the hub for your campaign, this destination landing page should match the look and feel of your website and feature dynamic content with a clear call-to-action. To engage users and create a sense of urgency, you can consider featuring a live countdown clock to highlight the exclusivity and scarcity of your special offer. In addition to the campaign landing page, you should also incorporate interactive content throughout your supporting marketing initiatives. According to Google, the average person encounters over 38,983 digital micro-moments and interactions in a 60-day booking window. By offering unique, interactive content, hoteliers can effectively capture the attention of potential guests. For example, you can engage consumers with an Instagram Story Ad featuring stunning video footage of your destination and a direct link to your special offer.
- Double your core marketing budget. To ensure a successful Cyber Monday campaign, we advise hoteliers to double their existing core marketing budget during this period. Due to high competition, the cost of initiatives such as Google paid search (SEM), display advertising, and social media advertising are likely to increase. If brands do not increase their budget, they can expect to see lower impressions and share of voice, which will lead to lost bookings. As with any campaign, it’s essential to take a multi-channel approach: Utilizing a holistic marketing mix that reaches consumers throughout the travel planning journey and across devices. By serving people with the right content, at the right place, and at the right time, brands can guide even more potential guests into the booking funnel.
- Extend the sale for two weeks, with a lower discount. A great way to capitalize on the attention and drive additional revenue is to extend your sale by two weeks with a lower discount (15-25%). Many retailers utilize this strategy, which is an effective way to capture potential guests who were still considering your hotel when the sale ended. By extending the sale, you can also drive bookings by targeting travelers who are searching for last-minute hotel deals for Christmas and New Year’s Eve.
Despite the high competition surrounding Cyber Monday, hoteliers can still take advantage of this online shopping holiday to build brand awareness, increase website traffic, and drive bookings. Doing so simply requires a strategic multi-channel campaign strategy that reaches potential guests throughout the travel planning journey. Before you launch your Cyber Monday campaign, make sure your campaign is set up for success by reviewing the following checklist:
- Your campaign flight is a minimum of 2 weeks, including the timeframe between Thanksgiving and Cyber Monday
- Your discount is at least 30% and is compelling compared to past and other current offers
- Your marketing initiatives include interactive content, with timed initiatives throughout the campaign flight
- You have doubled your core marketing budget to account for increased competition
- You have plans in place to extend your sale for 2 weeks with a lower discount (15-25%)
If your campaign meets all of these criteria, you’re more likely to have a successful Cyber Monday campaign that can help with everything from filling an upcoming need period to building your email list for 2019 and growing your social media following.