The Top 5 Things You Need to Know Now in Hotel Digital Marketing: June Edition

This month, the latest digital innovations include new voice
search and SEM studies presented at SMX Advanced, the rollout of
Instagram branded content ads, and native advertising becoming a
more impactful display format as it gains more traction. From SEO
to design, find out the top five things you need to know now in
hotel digital marketing.

1. SEO: According to a study revealed at SMX Advanced,
voice search optimization is tied to high SERP placement, site
speed, and content readability.

In an SMX Advanced speaker session by SEMrush titled
“Optimizing for Voice Search and Virtual Assistants,” SEMrush
revealed research that suggests the key to voice performance is
high SERP placement, site speed, content readability, and
high-quality backlinks.

  • Eighty percent of voice search results came from the
    top three positions in SERPs.
    SEMrush revealed this
    compelling result from the study, which emphasizes the importance
    of the top three placements in SERPs. For hotels to increase their
    chances of ranking in these top three placements and potentially
    gaining traction in voice search results, it’s important to hone
    in on long-tail keywords that are highly relevant to your hotel

In addition to the top three placements in SERPs being closely
tied to voice search results, SEMrush also found that 60%
of results came from Featured Snippets
. Tracking common
long-tail queries associated with your hotel brand and creating
content that answers these questions is one strategy for appearing
in Featured Snippets. For example, if a common brand search is
“Does Hotel X have a rooftop pool?” you can create valuable,
informational content that answers this top question to potentially
rank in Featured Snippets relevant to your brand and, ultimately,
voice search results.

  • Answer length has an effect on voice search
    The study also recommends that paragraphs
    optimized for voice search be no longer than 45 words. Keep your
    content short, focused, and easily digestible.
  • Site speed and backlinks also make an impact on being
    selected for voice search results
    . SEMrush found that the
    majority of the pages chosen for voice search results load
    significantly faster than the average page in the SERP. In
    addition, backlinks, anchors, and title keywords were more
    prevalent in answers delivered by the voice assistants.

Overall, this SEMrush study provides useful information as
hotels develop voice search strategies and voice search becomes
more and more prevalent. NextGuest Digital keeps a pulse on the
latest SEO studies and consistently incorporates new findings and
strategies into its ongoing SEO services.

2. SEM: Better aligning your marketing with your
customer’s journey can increase success.

In another SEM focused speakership at SMX Advanced, titled
“Aligning Your Marketing With Your Customer’s Journey,” Amy
Bishop and Michelle Morgan spoke on guiding potential customers
through the path to purchase.

  •  Know your market. This
    session covered the importance of understanding your customer
    segments and what motivates them to purchase – and in the case of
    hotels, what motivates them to book. At NextGuest Digital, we
    observe trends across campaigns. For instance, campaigns
    highlighting value tend to resonate best with the family travel
    segment, and packages with “something in it for the kids” tend
    to have a higher conversion rate among this segment.

Understanding what motivates primary and secondary customer
segments to book can help fuel the booking funnel with the right
message in the right phase of the travel planning journey.

How can SEM audience insights play a role in defining
customer segments?
Hotel marketers can look at any
audience they have (must have at least 1,000 users in it) to see
which in-market and affinity audiences their target segment belongs
to and get a better understanding of how these audiences are

3. Display: Native ads can dramatically help engage your
target audience and fuel the booking funnel.

One of the best ways to boost the impact of your overall display
strategy is to use native ads. Native ads appeal to those browsing
web content because they blend into the core user experience. They
do this by matching the look and feel of the content publisher and
website in which they appear, such as in social media or as
recommended content on a web page. According to Sharethrough, a
native advertising network, online users are more apt to read
native ads because they are part of the content experience.

In a study comparing native formats to traditional banner ads,
researchers from Interpublic Group (IPG) and Sharethrough found

  • Consumers viewed native ads 52% more frequently than display
  • Consumers spent the same amount of time viewing native ads as
    they did editorial content.
  • Native ads delivered a 9% increase in brand affinity over
    banner ads.
  • Native ads registered an 18% higher lift in purchase intent
    than banner ads.

For hotels, native advertising is a great way to reach potential
guests in the dreaming phase of the travel planning journey and
fuel the top of the booking funnel with engaging editorial content
or video. For example, native ads can be a great way to promote
editorial blog content or 15-30 second videos that help tell your
brand story. Even cinemagraphs, which are static images with slight
details of movement, can help engage your audience.

For native advertising, make sure that the publisher you choose
provides the ability to select targeting dimensions related to user
intent, profile, and location/device. Real-time, first-party travel
or search intent data featuring well-informed segments and
hyper-relevant keywords is critical for campaign success. Native ad
networks such as Sharethrough and Sojern offer these real-time
intent signals to help ensure your campaign achieves its goal of
fueling new users into the booking funnel for more successful

4. Social: Instagram advertisers can now convert organic
influencer posts into ads.

We covered the announcement of Instagram’s new branded content
ads to promote influencer posts in the
March “Top 5 Things You Need to Know Now” edition
, and
these ads are officially rolling out to all advertisers in the
coming weeks, allowing brands to create ads using organic posts
from influencers. Instagram also announced that branded content ads
for Stories will roll out over the coming months.

Before brands can use influencer posts as ads, the content
creator must grant their business partners (the brands they have
relationships with) access to promote their posts. Once the
influencer has done this via their advanced settings page, brands
will see the influencer’s posts in the Ads Manager under
“existing posts” and can run the content as an ad within the
Instagram newsfeed or Stories format.

With influencer and lifestyle content making a big impact on
travel and hospitality, now hotel brands can achieve greater
success when they partner with influencers and easily expand reach
and engagement with this curated content.

Image result for instagram branded content ads to promote influencer posts

5. Design: Achieve depth in your digital design.

With flat design being a strong trend for some time now, designs
that feature drop shadows and provide a sense of depth are starting
to make a comeback. Where can creating a sense of depth become a
unique element in your hotel’s design strategy? Drop shadows on
overlapping images in broken-grid layouts throughout your website
design can tastefully create depth and interest without disrupting
the user experience.

The post
The Top 5 Things You Need to Know Now in Hotel Digital Marketing:
June Edition
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The Top 5 Things You Need to Know Now in Hotel Digital Marketing: June Edition