By Margaret Mastrogiacomo
As Q4 begins and the holidays approach swiftly, it’s time for hotel marketers to kick their digital marketing into high gear. From Google unveiling new search tools (perfect for travel planning) to Facebook adding new, festive holiday design elements to its ad platform, here are the top things you need to know now in hotel digital marketing to take your digital strategy to the next level.
1. SEO: Google announces new search features and discovery tools, including new Activity Cards and Collections.
At their annual Future of Search event, Google unveiled new features focused on the mobile user experience, structured data, and machine learning to personalize the search journey. To accomplish this deeper level of personalization in search results, Google announced Activity Cards and improved Collections.
Activity Cards will appear in search results to show users previous search queries and pages they’ve visited in past Google searches. This is a great way for your hotel brand to stay top of mind throughout the travel planning journey as potential guests search different queries and search terms throughout the dreaming, planning, and booking phases. Activity Cards won’t appear for all search queries, and users can edit or remove results saved in their Activity Card.
On the other hand, Collections, allow users to save and manage content on mobile devices. While Collections are not an entirely new feature, Google will roll out new enhancements related to the new Activity Cards, including the ability to save pages from Activity Cards to a Collection. For instance, if someone is planning a vacation and hasn’t yet narrowed down hotel options, they could save a past hotel website from an Activity Card to a Collection of hotel options. There will also be suggestions for topics related to the search query.
2. SEM: Google adds Smart Bidding for Search Partners.
Smart Bidding will optimize the bid on search partner sites by utilizing data attributes from potential guests. For instance, Smart Bidding will reduce the bid if the potential guest is on an audience list that tends to have a lower conversion rate. Conversely, Smart Bidding can also increase the bid if the potential guest is on an audience list that historically has a higher conversion rate, and so on.
3. Display: Brand Lift measurement is now available for all video buys on Display and Video 360.
Previously limited to YouTube, Brand Lift reporting is now available on the Display and Video 360 Google interface. Brand Lift reporting helps measure brand awareness, ad recall, and lift in consumer brand searches due to ad exposure. Overall, Brand Lift reporting is a great tool to help your hotel brand measure the success of upper-funnel marketing initiatives and justify brand-focused marketing dollars.
4. Social: Facebook launches Video Creation Kit for video ads and offers festive ad overlays for the holidays.
Facebook unveiled a user-friendly Video Creation Kit to help advertisers better engage consumers through the Facebook Ads Platform. With 79% of consumers stating they would rather watch a video than read text to learn more about a product, Facebook is prioritizing video creation across their platform by adding new video templates to accomplish different advertising goals. Advertisers can simply drag and drop images, logos, and more into the preset video templates.
As the holiday season approaches, Facebook is taking their ad creation tools to the next level with holiday-specific templates, ad overlays, and stickers to give ads a festive flair for the busy shopping season ahead. According to Facebook, two major retailers that were given access to the holiday-specific ad features reported a 40% uplift in conversion rate.
5. Design: Spice things up with creative background patterns.
While clean, minimal backgrounds are still a trend, backgrounds that use whimsical icons or custom illustrations (like wallpaper in interior design) are having a resurgence. Backgrounds should be subtle in nature and keep ADA compliance in mind.