Planning for 2022 is well underway and your marketing strategy should be a big part of this planning too. Getting your hotel in front of the right audience can help you to achieve your 2022 goals. With the emergence of new technologies and platforms, it’s crucial to keep up with these changes and be where your guests are. To understand where hotels should be spending their efforts, we’ve taken a deep dive into 7 hotel marketing trends for 2022.
1. Video content and emerging social media platforms
Your hotel’s online presence is already so important. This only continues to be more and more important as the world shifts to digital. Social media has been around for many years and most hotels now have a social media presence of some form. In 2022, social media continues to be important for hotels but there are some specific platforms that should be taken into consideration.
A great source of inspiration for many travellers is TikTok. TikTok is a newer platform that initially was popular with Gen-Z audiences but its reach continues to grow further. TikTok has skyrocketed with the shift towards video content and a lot of viral TikTok content also ends up on Instagram too. This is a great platform to use to showcase your fun, quirky and creative side! TikTok allows you to showcase your best side with short clips and is the modern way of engaging with Next-Gen audiences. In 2022, expect to see more brands experimenting with TikTok, including more traditional brands that are looking to reach a new segment. Many hotels and hostels will start using TikTok and could create partnerships with popular TikTok creators to get more reach.
Instagram is a great platform for posting visually appealing content and engaging with your audience. It focuses primarily on the visual aspect of your offering, whilst also allowing you to create a conversation around your hotel and the services you offer. As well as stunning imagery, video is getting an increasingly large reach on Instagram. Instagram Reels are 45-second videos that can be used to create inspirational videos that show potential guests all the good things about your hotel. If you’re not already incorporating Reels into your Instagram strategy, this is super important in 2022.
Many travellers are now using Pinterest when they kick off their travel planning—and the audience is huge. In 2020, Pinterest had more monthly active users than Twitter and Snapchat combined. This trend towards using Pinterest to plan trips will continue to grow in 2022 and more hotels should start taking note. Being early to this can help to increase the impact. When creating content for Pinterest, hotels are using blog and guide content with eye-catching visuals with bold text, such as “10 hidden secrets in Amsterdam”. The important thing here is to ensure that your imagery and videos are all as high-resolution as possible as it really is quality over quantity here. Pinterest content links directly through to your website and is easily repinned and reshared to get further reach.
2. The changing world of Influencers
The word “Influencer” can often have a negative connotation, especially in the travel sphere. However, there are advantages to working with influencers, if they are the right ones. In 2022, the way in which hotels work with influencers will change.
Content creation vs. reviews
The value exchange in the past was traditionally free room nights for content shown to the influencer's audience. With the emergence of platforms such as TikTok, content creators are changing and the traditional influencers with YouTube channels, blogs and Instagram accounts aren’t the only players in the market now. Rather than just exchanging room nights for a one-off review, hotels can build an ongoing paid relationship with influencers who can create content that can be used on the hotel’s social channels. This levels the power balance and can ensure a stream of high-quality content that can be shared across the hotel’s own channels. Many other industries are already seeing this shift to influencers becoming an extension of their content teams, rather than a one-off ad or trade.
Macro vs. micro-influencers
Influencers can be defined by their number of followers into macro-influencers or micro-influencers. Macro-influencers typically have 100K to 1M followers. Micro-influencers have a smaller but hyper-engaged following. Macro-influencers have the benefit of a larger reach but they can have a bit of a diluted pool of followers and therefore a less targeted and captive audience. Especially as hotels and consumers become warier of the authenticity of macro-influencers, this is where the micro-influencer comes in for hotels in 2022. Whilst micro-influencers may have fewer followers, they are known to have a very loyal and clearly defined follower base—especially with travel trends changing and people travelling closer to home, this targeted segment is important for influence and results.
3. Guest-centered website design
A great website is massively important and of course, this continues in 2022 too. Your website is often the first point of contact and the first impression that your guests have of your hotel, so you don’t want to be left behind. We’ve detailed all of the website design trends in 2022 in this article, but here are a few key trends to be aware of:
- Simplified but stunning website templates with more white (or negative) space.
- Load time and page speed optimised sites that don’t compromise on image quality.
- Gender-neutral design that accommodates pronoun choices and rejects stereotypical gender styles.
- Inclusive design and language that takes into consideration accessibility and diversity.
4. Live chat and chatbots
While not a new phenomenon, as people get used to having information right at their fingertips, and an instant answer to their question, more hotels will need to adopt this technology to keep up. Live chat and chatbots allow guests to get into direct contact with your hotel, at the click of a button, 24/7. This technology has continued to develop and in 2022, with many hotels facing staff shortages, it will become even more important to implement. Using chatbots for initial questions helps answer common questions without people power. For more specific enquiries, the online visitor can then be passed on to your actual team of online helpers who can continue the conversation and be helpful, without the need for time-consuming phone calls.
5. The growing importance of Metasearch
Direct bookings, or just bookings in general, will most likely come through Metasearch engines in 2022. The best way to increase your visibility and therefore gain more traction with potential customers is to ensure that your guests can find you on Metasearch, not just the OTAs. But the work doesn’t stop there—once they come through to your website, you need to be able to convert them. This means that you need to ensure that your offering is clear on your booking engine, using words that suit your brand image and convey a positive and welcoming tone of voice for potential guests.
If you would like to know more about converting Metasearch traffic, get our guide on ‘7 Strategies to Convert Hotel Metasearch Traffic’ here.
6. Updated Hotel Loyalty Programs
Gone are the days of old-school loyalty programs that only allow guests to actually use their rewards at odd and often inconvenient times. Guests want to benefit from their loyalty program NOW and it is every hotel’s marketing team's job to create incentives around how to do this. Especially with upcoming cookie changes, owning your own database is so important, and a loyalty program is a great way to get more access to more data. With this in mind, more hotels will start adapting their loyalty programs, so you’ll need to curate your offering to stand out from your competition.
In 2022, expect a shift away from the traditional points-based systems, and a move towards instant rewards, like giving loyalty members the option to exchange a housekeeping visit during their stay for a free drink at the bar at sunset. Or creating a partnership with nearby restaurants so that loyalty members receive discounts. Think about what people are experiencing now—many people are working from home, so why not create a perk package in your loyalty program where members can use your spa facilities when they hire out your hotel's conference room for their business meetings. There are a million creative things that you can do to get more visits to your hotel, either as overnight guests or day visitors, and having an updated loyalty program will only increase your chances of getting more guests.
7. Reaching the Next-Gen Traveller
In 2022, hotels need to start marketing to Next-Gen travellers. The Next-Gen demographic is made up of Millennials and Gen-Z. They’re important now as not only are they eager to travel, but they also have the time and money resources to do so. The most important thing to understand about this demographic is that they want authenticity, flexibility and engage best digitally. Next-Gen travellers seek adventure and comfort and they want an experience that is unique and sustainable at the same time. They do almost everything digitally and enjoy using the power of the internet and social media platforms to help plan their trips. They are very clued up with reviews and anything that your hotel shows online. When making decisions they rely on influencers, blogs and your website to make their final decision.
2022 will continue to be a year of change and opportunity for hotels. Although there might be more challenges ahead, being aware of these trends can help you adapt and put your best foot forward. Hotel marketing in 2022 will continue to focus on the digital space, so it is important to have a clear strategy here. This will ensure your hotel marketing stays in tune with your messaging and brand while reaching new and existing guest segments.