By Margaret Mastrogiacomo
As hotel marketers embark on 2021, it’s important to stay ahead of the curve with the latest digital trends.
This month, Yelp launches a new rating feature for COVID-19 compliance measures, YouTube launches audio ads, and web design takes inspiration from nature. From Search to Social Media and Design, here are the top 5 things you need to know now in hotel digital marketing.
1. Search: Yelp launches new rating feature for community to leave feedback on local business social distancing and mask compliance.
Yelp now lets users leave feedback on local businesses’ health and safety compliance around COVID-19 pandemic precautions. This new feature solicits customer feedback about how well businesses are adhering to safety measures like social distancing and mask-wearing, similar to how users on Yelp can provide feedback on whether a business is kid-friendly or great for groups. The launch also features new options for businesses to promote their COVID-19 safety precautions.
New service offerings may include the following:
- heated outdoor seating
- 1:1 session available
- disposable or contactless menu
Hoteliers should maximize the opportunities on their onsite restaurant’s Yelp listing to ensure they are promoting any contactless menus or heated outdoor seating to put patrons’ minds at ease.
2. CRM: Launch a birthday celebration campaign focused on a “personal reset” for guests.
Even with the vaccine rollout, 2021 is a stressful time for many. Consider revamping your automated email campaigns focused on birthday celebrations to highlight a hotel package that gives past guests the opportunity to destress, become more mindful, and embrace a mental reset. The package can include spa services, meditation, and outdoor activities. Be sure to make stay dates for the package flexible to reflect travel demand trends in your destination.
3. Social Media: YouTube tests new audio ads.
YouTube’s 15-second audio ads are accompanied by an image or simple animation and include a link to the advertiser’s website. They are largely aimed at driving brand awareness and are available to advertisers now in Google Ads and Display & Video 360 on a CPM basis.
With many YouTube users leveraging the platform to listen to music in the background while they multi-task and work online (there are more than 2 billion monthly music listeners on YouTube), there is a great opportunity for hotel marketers to reach this audience with a focus on audio rather than visual video. Hotel marketers can get creative creating audio with sounds distinct to the destination like the sound of the ocean or local music to capture users’ attention paired with engaging voice-over.
4. Display: Consider Connected TV for your 2021 digital strategy.
As you continue to ramp up 2021 digital marketing, consider adding Connected TV to your marketing mix. With total viewing time on Connected TV devices growing 81% year-over-year, millions of shoppers will be spending more time streaming television than ever before. Ad-supported Connected TV is getting a large percentage of viewership according to research from the IAB:
- 73% of streaming viewers watch ad-supported CTV content.
- 45% of streaming viewers watch ad-supported CTV the most.
Connected TV is a great way to get in front of online shoppers and fuel daydreaming about beginning to travel again.
5. Design: Web design shows off its natural side.
Organic, softer design trends that embrace natural light, earthy colors and tones, natural gradients in color schemes, and flowing lines are back in fashion. These budding trends fit right in with other trends including minimalism, muted color palettes, and illustrations. Consider capturing the natural and organic elements of your destination in your hotel’s design palette to create a sense of calm throughout your hotel brand’s web design.