By Margaret Mastrogiacomo, VP Strategy
By now, your digital marketing strategy should be in full swing. This month, Google My Business listings are getting an upgrade with the ability to add a property description, Facebook announced a new ad targeting option called Trip Consideration that allows hotel brands to reach potential guests in the early stages of travel planning and reaching people with online display ads based on their TV consumption (yes, Netflix included) is all the rage. From SEO to design, read on for the latest trends in hotel digital marketing.
1. SEO: Google is adding business descriptions to Google My Business.
It appears Google will soon be adding a feature to Google My Business that allows business owners to add a description that will show up in Google’s local knowledge panel. A welcomed blast from the past, Google removed this feature back in 2016 when they dropped the Google+ support, but it seems to have been added back via the Google My Business console. Your hotel will once again have the ability to add a rich description highlighting key accommodations, amenities and what sets your hotel apart in order to enhance your listing in local panel search results. Descriptions will be required to be 750 characters or less and cannot include URLs or HTML code.
2. SEM: Google message reporting metrics will soon be available.
Google rolled out its click-to-message AdWords extension in October 2016. Similar to call extensions, message extensions allow users to message a business directly from the ad. Now Google is announcing formal reporting for messaging available in the next few weeks, which will require users of message extensions to turn on message reporting in account settings.
Three primary metrics will be captured:
- Chat rate: This is similar to CTR (impressions vs. actual messaging interactions).
- Start time: When users tend to interact with you via messaging. Google claims this metric will help with dayparting.
- The number of messages exchanged within a single chat session: Google uses this metric to evaluate which ad creatives are driving the most engagement.
For hotel brands that include a chat feature on the hotel website, click-to-message Adwords extensions can be a nice addition to your customer service strategy now complete with quantitative metrics.
3. Display: Brands can now target people with online display ads based on the TV content they consume.
Technology is rapidly changing the way TV viewers discover and consume content. Smart TV ownership has grown drastically in the past few years from 36% in 2011 to 66% in 2016. A new trend in display bridges the gap between TV and digital by leveraging real-time viewership data for targeting and measurement of online display ads.
Vendors like Samba TV offer several digital ad opportunities including syncing ads with TV promos and competitors’ TV promos, reaching cord-cutters by retargeting streamers across Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon, and aligning with top shows and networks.
For hotels that have a deep understanding of their target segments’ psychographics and show preferences, this could be a great way to reach new users. It is also a great way to reach users who have a passion for travel television as well as steal a share of voice from top competitors by targeting viewers who have seen their ads throughout streaming or TV platforms.
4. Social: Reach potential guests in the early stages of travel planning with Facebook’s new ‘Trip Consideration’ targeting.
Facebook has announced a new advertising optimization option called Trip Consideration, which will target users who are in the early stages of planning a vacation. Unlike Dynamic Ads for Travel, which retarget site visitors, Trip Consideration will reach people who are still narrowing down their travel destination options based on behaviors exhibited on Facebook or Instagram. With Facebook reporting that 68% of millennials found ideas for their most recent trip on Facebook, and 60% found ideas on Instagram, this can help hotel marketers potentially reach more travel-ready millennials in the dreaming phase of travel planning to make an early impact and steal attention away from competitors.
5. Design: Broken grid layouts are trending.
While grid layouts are a key element of fully-responsive website design, broken grid layouts offer website visitors a change of pace with something a little more creative and engaging. Broken grids don’t ditch the concept of the grid altogether — instead, they allow images and text elements to drift into and across the gutters that usually serve as hard stops in more traditional layouts. Throughout this web design trend, you’ll find the usual discreet boxes of images and text begin to overlap and converge, often creating beautifully unexpected juxtapositions of bitmap and letterform.