By Margaret Mastrogiacomo, EVP Strategy
The world of hospitality digital marketing is always changing, and the only way to win is by staying ahead of the pack. This month, the latest digital innovations include updates to Google My Business hotel listings, new upgrades to Instagram story formats, and textured design. From SEO to design, find out the top five things you need to know now in hotel digital marketing, and make sure your hotel is ready to reach tomorrow’s customers.
1. SEO: Hoteliers can now customize services and amenities in Google My Business listings.
Hoteliers now have the ability to customize the services and amenities in Google My Business listings through the new Hotel Attributes section. By default, Google provides a summary of a hotel’s amenities, which is pulled in automatically. Now, if any of the information is incorrect, owners of the listings can edit them accordingly. Audit your hotel listing to ensure your most important amenities are included. For instance, if your hotel is pet-friendly, be sure this hotel attribute is prominently displayed.
2. SEM: YouTube opens homepage masthead ad to all advertisers.
Up until now, the only way to buy YouTube masthead ads was to commit to a full-day takeover. That meant everyone who visited YouTube on a particular day would see the ad, but honing in on your audience with strategic targeting was not available. Now, all advertisers have the option to purchase the YouTube masthead placement on a cost-per-thousand-impression (CPM) basis and use advanced audience solutions to reach a highly qualified audience. Google notes that the masthead will remain as a reserved placement, even when buying on a CPM basis, and there will be minimum advertising spends depending on market, length of campaign, and targeting parameters. Impressions will be guaranteed across campaign flights, which can range from one to seven days. This initiative is best suited for multi-property hotel brands with extensive upper-funnel budgets. The YouTube masthead ads should be considered when trying to drive awareness of a new hotel opening, omni-channel campaign, or brand-level buzzworthy news.
3. Display: Podcast listening continues to grow, with 25% of listeners buying products discovered through podcast advertising.
Podcast mobile app usage has risen 60% since January 2018, and the sector’s growth is expected to continue. According to a study conducted by Adobe Analytics, 45% of listeners said they plan on tuning into more podcasts in the future. Millennials are the most avid listeners of podcasts, with one-third of millennials listening to five or more podcasts per week. The most popular genres are comedy, education, history, and true-crime/documentary.
Spotify has also launched an analytics dashboard that gives creators and advertisers more audience insights, allowing them to launch more strategic podcast advertising through their platform. Hotel brands should consider podcast advertising as an upper-funnel initiative to reach potential guests in the dreaming phase of the travel planning journey, increasing brand awareness on podcasts that their key customer segments listen to frequently.
4. Social Media: Instagram is currently testing upgrades to stories.
Instagram has been testing several upgrades to stories, including a layout mode, new boomerangs, and redesigned icons. The new layout mode for stories works similar to Instagram’s Layouts app, which allows users to create photo collages either utilizing the stories camera or uploading photos from their feed. It is also rumored that there will be five more options when creating boomerangs for stories. For instance, after recording a boomerang, users can set it to do different things at the end of each loop, like pause or wiggle. There are also options to make the recording move faster or slower. There is no official release date for these updated features, however, it is important to keep these updates on the radar when considering future content in order to keep your stories fresh and engaging. For instance, the new collage feature for stories could be a great way for a hotel to showcase different room types or create itineraries showcasing different experiences within one story frame.
5. Design: Utilizing texture in design graphics.
Utilizing texture in design graphics is becoming more and more popular as brands aim to make their online presence stand out. Depending on what your image or digital design is trying to convey, consider adding texture to designs to help showcase unique characteristics of the property. For instance, if your hotel lobby has a rustic feel, consider adding tasteful texture to certain elements of your website design to capture the rustic aesthetic, or if there is a unique fabric featured throughout the hotel, consider adding this patterned texture subtly to elements of the design.