EyeforTravel, a business intelligence company specializing in the travel and tourism industry, said 2011 was the year for CVB, resort and hotel online marketing. Hoteliers and other travel entities focused on ways to increase their search engine ranking by:
- Updating their website
- Improving their blog and website content
- Understanding the relevance of online business, such as individuals booking business from mobile devices
- Looking at online reviews
- Saturating search categories
However, according to Optify, an inbound marketing software suite that focuses on SEO and Social Media, they have come up with 4 predictions for 2012 that will supersede the efforts of hospitality marketing listed above, especially in the digital world.
TREND #1: Social CRM will Become the Norm.
What is Social Customer Relationship Management (CRM)? It is easily explained in the following diagrams by the Chess Media Group.
In a nutshell, it means the customer is going to drive the process, hours, channels and interaction you have with them and YOU ARE NOT. So a traditional sales, service and marketing department can be pitched out the window. Here are some interesting statistics to back up this trend.
According to a 2008 Social Media Study by Cone Business:
- 93% of Americans want brands to have a presence on social media sites
- 60% of Americans regularly interact with companies on a social media site
- 43% of consumers say that companies should use social networks to solve the customers’ problems
- 41% of customers believe that companies should use social media tools to solicit feedback on products and services
According to a 2010 Online Influence Trend Tracker, before consumers decide whether or not to purchase a product or service:
- 81% will go online to verify recommendations
- 61% will specifically research product/service information
- 55% will read user reviews
- 43% will search ratings on websites
According to American Express, consumers will spend 9% more with companies that provide excellent service.
TREND #2: Social Media Will Play into Search Algorithms.
Optify fully expects social media to be a key component of Search Engine Result Page or SERP algorithms. What does this mean, in layman's terms, to a destination travel marketing staff? Search Engines display 3 kinds of listings on their SERPs.
- Ones that are indexed by the search engine's spider (this is where social media will play)
- Listings that have been indexed into the search engine's directory by a human
- Listings that are paid to be listed by the search engine
In order to keep rankings high, the hospitality industry will have no choice but to continue to update their social media sites. It won't be an option because it will affect their ranking if they don't. (This post has great tips for getting started with social media for hospitality marketing!)
TREND #3: Customers and Employees will do the Marketing.
2012 will be the year of transparency. Employees will know more about the company's social media branding and take part in the conversation. They will monitor positive and negative comments. Customers will help organizations define and refine their brands through social networks. All of this will happen at lightening speed...so hold onto your hats and be prepared to take action!
TREND #4: More People will Access Travel Choices on Their Mobile Devices.
More individuals will make travel, dining and shopping decisions on their smartphones or tablets. Having the apps that will allow the traveler to book business from these devices will be key in 2012. This will also have an effect on booking hotel group business as more and more planners implement this technology into their daily business lives.
What trends are you seeing in 2012?