Hotel Marketing Podcast Episode 209 – TravelBoom’s 2022 Hotel Marketing Forecast

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2021 is coming to a close and if anything, this year has been wild. Today on the Hotel Marketing Podcast, Pete and Phil share their lessons from 2021 and what’s coming down the pike in 2022. The only rule is you can’t reference COVID!

Pete is thankful for…

I’m thankful for the amazing growth we have seen in 2021 for nearly every single client.  Yes, there have been staffing issues and uncertainty, but as we end the year, our clients are seeing occupancy levels, conversion rates, and revenues that are setting records. This was an amazing blessing, and I’m very thankful for being able to help our clients get there.

Pete has learned…

I’ve learned, or should I say, been reminded, to be nimble and ready to adapt.  Here at TravelBoom, we started the year as Fuel Travel.  Since that time we have evolved into a much different, and better, agency.  However, things came at us fast and furious.  Taking a fighter’s stance and rolling with the punches have given us some incredible opportunities.  This is something I think every hotelier has, or should have, learned this year. 

Pete’s Forecast for 2022:

The competitive landscape is going to be interesting heading into 2022.  The travel forecasts are looking good and we’re seeing very positive pace reports for clients.  What does this mean for hotel marketers?  In my opinion, that means the competition is going to be stiff and there’s not going to be any room for half-hearted efforts.  If you are one of the forward-thinking hoteliers who stayed aggressive in 2021, you’re off to a great start.  However, I expect to see the more timid hoteliers jumping back in the game, thus increasing the cost of marketing efforts and crowding the travelers’ decision set.

On top of more competitors, you’re going to be seeing a big push from Google (and the OTAs) to continue to keep users in their own ecosystems.  Google’s zero-click results, GHA, and their booking options are going to make moving a guest from their conversion funnel to yours even more difficult.

What do you need to do about that?  Make sure you’re using the momentum you created in 2021 to keep you ahead of the pack:

  • Don’t let “good” cut it.  Optimize your site’s conversion rate, optimize your marketing efforts, and find the hidden fractions of a percent growth in your conversion funnel.
  • Make sure your book-direct value proposition beats anything the OTAs could offer.  Guarantee the best rate, offer incentives to book directly, and make it known that it only makes sense to book directly with you.
  • We’ve already said it a million times, but your mobile experience is what drives revenue.  Are you proud of your mobile conversion rate compared to desktop? If not, get on it!

Phil is thankful for…

  • Thankful for all of our survey respondents to the consumer sentiment study.  
    • Their responses gave us great insight into what to expect in terms of travel this year and leading into 2022.
    • As we continued to see our geographic and demographic data match up with what we saw in the responses, we knew we could put more stock in the answers to questions about future travel, which helped us budget for 2022 after coming off of two very strange years for travel. 
    • Selfishly, this also helped us create content to pass along to all of you listeners. 

Phil has learned…

  • I learned that giving up control to automation and machine learning isn’t always a bad thing. 
    • This year we tested some of Google’s more automated offerings like Target ROAS and Target CPA as well as automated betas like Performance Max.
    • In most instances where we tested Target ROAS and portfolio bidding strategies in our PPC accounts, we saw the campaigns meet or exceed our goals. Feeling confident that we could hit our ROAS goals allowed us to use additional budget to identify new non-brand opportunities. 
    • While Smart campaigns and Performance Max don’t really give us a lot of insight into what we should do with non-AI-based campaigns, they have shown that for some clients that they perform very well. At the end of the day, that’s what we want for our clients, more direct bookings. 

Phil’s Forecast for 2022:

  • I anticipate the state of travel in 2022 to be very similar to 2021. Based on the data we’ve seen, the majority of people are looking to take the same number of trips or more in 2022. 
  • From the paid digital landscape, I predict we will see more AI-Driven & Machine Learning marketing automations coming from Google & Microsoft. 
  • From the organic digital landscape I predict more of the same from Google. Create a great user experience that is super fast and thoroughly answers consumers queries. We will also likely see more zero-click search options as Google will push to keep users in their own mousetrap. 

What to do?

  • Be aggressive with your marketing and try to reach new audiences. 
  • Embrace AI & Machine Learning, but continue manual advertising as you will need a baseline for performance comparisons
  • Continue to make your hotel’s website fast, visually appealing and effective at moving users down the funnel. 

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Newsaroos:

Hyatt Rolls Out Keyless Entry Via Apple Wallet:

https://www.hotelnewsresource.com/article118712.html 

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60 Seconds To Success:

Book a stay at your closest competitor and take really good notes.  

  • Start like you were new to your location and search, find your competitor and find a great room.  
  • But don’t book, give them your email and then wait… 
  • Then, after a few days go through and make a booking just like a real person with a real credit card for a date a bit way in the future.  
  • After a few days, go ahead and cancel the stay.  

Now, look at your notes: What’s their search presence? What’s their site experience? How is their email automation? How’s their cancellation/recapture process?  Are you better than your competition? 

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Stat of the Week:

Stat of the Week:

Check back for new and exciting stats that will shock the hotel world!

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Submit your questions and topic ideas on Twitter to @_travelboom or [email protected]

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