Regardless if its professional or personal, each of us usually reflect towards the end of the year as to what we learned and where we intend to go from there. With that said, that certainly applies to us at Boca Terry. In order to achieve our goals in 2014, we must examine what the industry experienced in 2013.
According to Hotel Business Review’s Daily Industry New Update, “Hotel Newswire,” the hospitality industry can expect to see bigger gains in 2014 — but where did that projection come from? The mere fact that businesses across the globe are rapidly capitalizing on content marketing as opposed to traditional advertising campaigns allows hospitality consumers to connect with their favorite brands through social media and other applicable platforms, which, in turn, has caused travelers to increase their spending on attractive getaways.
The first upswing or trend that our industry has overtly recognized is the value of personal travel. Many people have put traveling on the backburner in recent years due to a contentious economic climate. Since things are slowly starting to pick up again, people are not resorting to “staycations” or other discounted getaways as much as they used to. According to the MMGY Global/Harrison Group 2012 Portrait of American travelers, “leisure travelers are doing less of the things that characterized the economic hardship of recent years and are now adopting more behaviors that confirm the importance of travel in their emerging lifestyles.” To say the least, it’s reassuring to see that people are beginning to place more emphasis on making quality vacations a priority.
Along the same train of thought, the industry can also expect to see an increase of international visitors in the US. According to Arne Sorenson, president and CEO of Marriot Hotels & Resorts, this is attributed to a heightening leisure demand from abroad, in congruence with the new Discover America campaign, managed by Brand USA. Thanks to globalization, hoteliers and other related companies can expect to see the largest influx of leisure tourists from China, in which approximately 100 million people are entering the international market each year. That alone will add 70 million room nights in the United States, where the market is already faced with growing demand of domestic travel.
As we move into 2014, many companies are determining how to finance their budget for the upcoming year. If your company’s goal is to increase your assets in the long-run, a zero-based budget can help you increase your value by approximately $16, as per capitalization rates. For example, a savings of $60,000 translates into an increase of value of approximately $1M. And for those of you who are wary about taking on debt, realize that interest rates are expected to remain extremely low for the foreseeable future. What gives the hospitality industry its hope is the fact that we already experienced our fourth quarter of recovery.
As mentioned before, content marketing is where it’s at. Simply put, content marketing charges companies with the responsibility of being their own producer of content through a variety of media tools, such as blogs, social media, newsletters, webinars, ebooks, photo-sharing, videos and other forms of shared media. If utilized correctly, your brand will become an interest to a lot of people, and, in turn, will serve as the determining factor in moving your company forward.
Most importantly, this means the hospitality industry must continue to focus on the interdependent relationship of social and mobile devices due to the prevalence of connected devices. This trend directly translates to the fact that photo-sharing sites will continue to be a pivotal form of communication between our targeted customers. As one of the dominating platforms of content curation, these components, whether on social/mobile applications or through the Internet, cannot be ignored.
If you’ve always balked at the idea of creating improvisational marketing videos, time to think again. Rather than trying to develop a “viral” video or a walk-through of your hotel amenities, your video should serve as an informational tool in which you demonstrate or provide unique information to your customers. For instance, tell your prospective customers about the cool activities or attractions taking place near your hotel, and be sure to cover special events, reviews, demos, instructions and interview of important stakeholders. Not only will such videos contribute to your organic SEO efforts, but will give your company its own identity in terms of what it chooses to be important.
Furthermore, the content you produce needs to be displayed on a user-friendly website in order to increase the likelihood of direct bookings, which has the largest impact on your return on investment (ROI) nowadays — thanks to OTA commissions. Since these commissions place a considerable burden on American hotels, coming up with ways to increase direct bookings is more important than ever. Just another reason why rich, engaging media needs to be the epicenter of any hotel’s marketing efforts.
Lastly, this rich content needs to be updated on a consistent basis, considering meeting planners now resort to social media tools to conduct a compare and contrast analysis of hotels and conference centers. In order to monitor what’s been said of your hotel, it’s recommended that hotels charge one of their sales representatives with overseeing the hotel’s LinkedIn profile, as well as requiring the entire sales team to interact with meeting planners each day online.
Other ideas include offering a customer service oriented Twitter account to answer questions and handle problems during conferences, offer webinars to planners to assist them throughout their processes, as well as keeping tabs and answering queries on review sites like TripAdvisor. Since most hotels want to serve as a venue for large-scale conferences, make sure your hotel staff are always catering to a meeting planners needs by blogging about topics that are important to their line of work. Who knows? That might just be the ticket you need to establish recurring conference attendees.
While most of the trends we’ve described above deals with content marketing — you can’t forget one of the most important aspects of offering great amenities — food! With all of the foodies on the prowl these days, it’s no longer enough to recruit celebrity chefs at your hotel. While quality food is still a priority, meeting planners and leisure guests have transitioned their focus to what type of food is being offered. Is it healthy? Are there organic and other diet restriction options? Both groups alike want to know where their food is coming from, rather than who it’s coming from.
At Boca Terry, we want our partners in the hospitality industry to share the same success that we enjoy! Therefore, we find it imperative to share this crucial information with our clients in hopes that they will consider these recommendations!