Reimagining the $9 trillion tourism economy—what will it take?
Hey everyone, I recently read an article that McKinsey published on the future or the tourism industry following this
Several articles have come out recently with trend predictions for 2016. They range from travel, to hospitality, to SEO, to general marketing. Here is a recap of some of the findings and predictions.
What trends do you see emerging in your market or for hostels in general?
TripAdvisor recently released their TripBarometer survey results, analyzing more than 44,000 responses from travelers and hoteliers around the world to determine travel trends for the coming year. (599 hostel operators were included in this survey, which is approximately 5-6% of the accommodation providers) Here are the trends they reported:
Travel spending is expected to go up
Going somewhere new influences 75% of travel plans
The top five influences when making travel plans are:
When picking a specific destination, 30% of Millennials made their choice because of a cheap flight!
The effect of mass media
One in five travelers have visited a destination that they saw on a TV show.
7 in 10 travelers want to try something new
Of all respondents wanting “something new” 17% want to try solo travel and 15% want to try adventure travel in 2016.
Broken down by demographic, the desire for adventure and solo travel look like this:
More travelers won’t leave home without their smartphones than their toiletries. :)
Prices are going up
The majority of hoteliers around the globe are planning to raise prices in 2016.
Top 5 factors hoteliers consider important for the future of their business
Don’t underestimate special offers
Only 45% of hoteliers think that special offers are important to guests, while 54% of the guests themselves say special offers are an important factor in their booking decision.
CloudBeds also put out a list of Hospitality Marketing Trends for 2016.
It doesn’t read so much like a list of trends, but rather a How-To for marketing your hostel in the coming year.
Video Will Continue to Dominate
Video is the best way to grab potential guests’ attention in this media heavy world. If you haven’t already, you need to craft a video marketing strategy for your property.
Before the new year, create a video content calendar for 2016.
Revisit Your Branding and Make Refinements
Revisit the story your property is trying to tell. Your story and branding will drive the content you produce and the social media strategy you create.
Identify Your Consumer Base
The New Year is a good time to create or revisit your guest profiles. Take the time to see if you existing customer profiles match the type of people who came to your property in 2015. Make the necessary changes and add as many profiles as you see fit.
Email is still one of the best ways to market to potential guests. There are many ways you can get creative to engage your guests and even cross-promote on other channels.
Here are some examples:
- Offer an upgrade or some other low-cost swag when someone shares a piece of content via their social channels
- Send a pre-arrival package
- Send a post-stay checkup email
- Share guest stories
- Notify past guests of upcoming seasonal events
- Share owner, manager, or employee stories to humanize your property
- Share your regular blog content
- Gather and share interesting articles
You probably already use Google Adwords to market your property, but the new year is a great time to revisit your keywords.
With display ads, you can also implement what is called retargeting or remarketing. This form of online advertising targets Internet users based on their previous web interactions. For example, you have probably experienced this when you are online shopping and then leave the website only to see an ad for that exact product on say, Facebook, for example.
Before the new year, make sure that you do a thorough search for any online review, and respond when appropriate. It is best to respond to all reviews, but the negative ones are especially important.
Add Marketing Channels
Make it a goal to experiment with at least two new marketing channels to your property in 2016.
Add a marketing channel that caters to a niche market. A niche marketing channel is one that appeals to a smaller, more targeted group of people. One example includes Bud and Breakfast, which helps cannabis loving travelers find friendly accommodations.
Reduce Operating Costs
In general, the largest cost contributors include labor, energy, marketing, and software.
Here are a few things you can do to reduce your operating costs:
- Avoid overheating bedrooms and hallways
- Adjust the settings on your TVs so that they don’t remain in “quick start” mode even when they appear to be off
- Use LED lights
- Reduce labor costs by cross-training employees
- Use free online software to manage email and social media when possible.
Add a New Social Media Network
Consider adding Pinterest or Instagram to your social media strategy. If you’re a superstar and already on both platforms, consider Snapchat or Periscope.
Mobile Optimize Your Website
If you don’t have a mobile website yet, create one. But, if you do have one, take the time to go through all of the pages and make sure everything displays correctly.
Then, go through the booking process on multiple different mobile devices such as an iPhone, an Android phone, and a tablet.
The Economic Times put out their list of general Travel trends to watch out for in 2016. Here are some of the trends they saw in 2015 and what they expect in the coming year.
By 2020, two out of every five travellers are expected to be Asian and will account for nearly half the global tourism expenditure.
Travelers now look for “Bleisure”
Travelers are expecting the same experience for their business travel as they do for their leisure travel.
When experience trumps money
Brands are now looking at offering unique experiences that money can’t buy. Hotels, for instance, created personalized experiences for long-standing members as part of their loyalty programmes.
Virtual finally becomes a reality
…new technology is allowing travellers to experience their potential destination before deciding if they want to go.
Rail will go high speed and cross-border
High speed trains projects are under development in Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia, India, and China.
Airports as a destination
Airports are building their own hotel complexes in an effort to transform themselves from travel hubs into standalone destinations.
The demise of seat-back entertainment
After years of big investment, airlines have started talking about the plan to toss seatback entertainment & instead stream to travellers’ devices. Passengers may end up with a better entertainment experience & a lower cost to the airline.
Robots take over traditional service roles
It’s not about robots taking over the world, but the use of AI to bring about new levels of automation, while allowing “real” people to deliver a personalized service & that human touch.
And here is a look at what is expected to change regaring SEO marketing for websites.
SEO trends in 2016: What do the experts predict?
Movine towards the ‘no-search’ future
Mobile will overtake desktop, where it hasn’t already, in 2016 and that means more voice searches and smart assistants.
In SEO terms this “no search” future means audience engagement strategies that include proxies like smart assistants.
For example, it might mean making sure your content is preferred by Facebook M (Facebook's virtual assistant) so it’s the match suggested by that smart assistant.
Integrated SEO more important than ever
As the SEO sphere of influence mushrooms to include new technologies and platforms, it will be increasingly important not to run the channel in an isolated silo.
…while SEO makes heavy use of data, the very best SEO is also, in part, instinctive – just as a good headline writer or artist is.
Page one to transform through AI
Interactivity and guidance built on what others have been searching for combined with a greater understanding of intent and acquired knowledge will see Google itself becoming the expert rather than the sites it gathers its knowledge from.
This in turn will change our relationship with Google as it continues its transition from a collection of doorways into more of a helpful intermediary on our journey through life; there for us whenever we want, acting in part as an algorithmic gatekeeper, only sending us on to websites when it has either completed its work or exhausted its knowledge.
Machine learning diversifies search
On both desktop and mobile, we expect to see natural language and machine-learning-driven search continue to grow in prominence.
As a result, we expect to see marketers using split-testing more and more for SEO purposes as ranking factors continue to diversify.
Penguin to become real-time
Google’s Penguin algorithm is likely to also create a fair amount of chatter in early 2016 – so brace yourselves!
The algorithm was first introduced in 2012 to combat black-hat link building tactics, however it received much criticism due to the large time gaps between updates, which meant that sites that had been penalised but had subsequently cleaned-up their acts had to wait many months before experiencing any kind of recovery.
The reason why the SEO community has so eagerly awaited the forthcoming update is because it will see the Penguin algorithm transition into becoming ‘real-time’.
Blurred lines between web and app
The introduction of app streaming by Google (well in advance of when we expected that to happen) blurs the line between mobile web and app and will enable it to continue blurring the line in the search results.
Competition between platforms, not search engines
The battles between Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Google are likely to influence market share more than direct search-on-search competition.
Schema to go from strength to strength
I’m still surprised at the number of big brands and websites that are not utilising this type of mark-up. In fact, I’m surprised by the number of people who still ask “What is it?”.
It’s all about making your content stand out from the crowd – and, Schema is an essential part of fulfilling that objective.
Don't forget, Google can and will mix it up
Lastly, in 2016 we should remind ourselves that Google crunches numbers and trends. What worked in the past might not work in the future if that’s the decision Google’s number crunching comes to.
For example, if Google or Bing starts to algorithmically detect that the majority of beauty bloggers publish too much advertorial content with too little disclosure, then links from those blogs might become a negative quality signal rather than a positive one.
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