Question for Our Hotel Marketing Expert Panel

What are the top hotel marketing trends we can expect to see in 2022?

Industry Expert Panel

Our Industry Expert Panel exists out of professionals within the hospitality & travel Industry. They have comprehensive and detailed knowledge, experience in practice or management and are forward-thinking. They are answering questions about the state of the industry. They share their insights on topics like revenue management, marketing, operations, technology and discuss the latest trends.

Tim Kolman
Tim KolmanCommercial Strategy Expert, three&six

“In order to look forward, sometimes we need to reflect back on the past. One positive trend that came out of the lack of in-hotel resources on during the pandemic was the convergence of Revenue Management and Digital Marketing. These two disciplines have often been siloed within a hotel, and quite frankly sometimes deploying strategies contradictory to each other.

2022 will see a much more integrated relationship between digital demand generation and revenue management. Perhaps these 2 functions will now fall under the same person, or within the same team/department. At the very least, these two disciplines need to have one common strategy of increased revenue and decreased costs through improved direct bookings.

So if you’re having digital marketing meetings today without revenue management’s involvement (or vice versa), invite them! Ask them to share some data. Allow them to discuss their strategy for the next 30, 60 or 90 days. Now is the time to take a holistic revenue strategy approach, to set yourself up for success in 2022 and beyond!”

Thomas Dieben
Thomas DiebenFounder, Becurious

“As we’re hopefully seeing an end to the Covid pandemic and the resulting travel restrictions, the trend towards reserving via a hotel’s own website will continue. The complex relationship between OTA’s and hotels is therefore not likely to be eased. In particular, the fight for the guest data will be more relevant, with PMS providers adding tools for getting this information upon check-in. A player that will interfere in the hotel distribution playing field is Google. With its metasearch/Hotel Ads and Book on Google initiatives, it is developing itself as a force to be reckoned with.

In terms of SEO, hotels should investigate the correct configuration of structured data. For instance, adding an FAQ module with questions and answers implemented as structured data will help search engines to easily show relevant information to potential guests. This data will also be used for the results of voice searches.

In terms of the booking process of a hotel’s own website, we will see more and more integration between websites and booking engines for a seamless booking flow, including easy payment methods like Apple and Google pay.

We expect the importance and benefits of having a marketing strategy where the hotel website is the centrepiece and major source of reservations will further continue.”

Adele Gutman
Adele GutmanCulture and Guest Experience Expert, Hospitality Reputation Marketing Podcast

“Because of the labour issues, there is a lot of chatter about corporate culture, working with purpose, and using technology to make work more efficient and more rewarding by allowing teams to focus more on making guests feel welcome instead of doing rote tasks that can be done faster and more accurately with assistance from AI.

Used correctly, this could bring a Renaissance for hospitality professionals who could raise the bar on hospitality and enjoy elevating their craft of serving others. Used solely to replace human workers, and coupled with reduced amenities, this could degrade service so much that I wonder if we could still consider these businesses in the “hospitality” industry.

My prediction is that both of these scenarios, and everything in between, will play out in 2022 and the years to come. There will be winners and losers. I, as always, will be looking at reviews to let me know the truth about which way each business is going and I will stick with those properties that demonstrate, by their actions, that their priority is taking care of guests.”

Jolien Alferink
Jolien AlferinkHotel Marketing Consultant, Orange Hotel Marketing

“During the pandemic, there was a surge in direct bookings. However, we are now seeing that OTAs are advertising and growing market share. Therefore, it is key to invest in SEO/SEA campaigns to drive direct business and to stay ahead of the competition. We have been keeping a very close eye on ever-changing trends and travel restrictions per geographic target market.

Mostly driving markets when borders initially opened up, and more recently expanding focus to flying markets. We predict the pie of traditional key feeder markets will probably look different for the remainder of 2021 and into 2022.”

Tamie Matthews
Tamie MatthewsRevenue, Sales & Marketing Consultant, RevenYou

“The hotels that are now working on their databases and their marketing are the ones who will succeed. If you are not staying on top of your website and how guests are buying you will lose out. Stay top of mind even if you are not operating. Continue to build your brand and tell your story.”

Reshan Jayamanne
Reshan JayamanneDigital Marketing & Sales Strategist, Bnb Optimized

“There are a lot of hypotheses, but some of the more viable are as follows:

1. There will be such a thing as “revenge travel”. As people are frustrated with being locked up indoors and unable ot able to leave their immediate surroundings, we’ve noticed a short, strong spike in travel in areas where lockdowns were prevalent, as the population sought to escape their home and return to the ‘old normal’.

2. We are also seeing a large spike in staycations where travellers are deciding to spend time in their own country or state and support the local communities who are struggling due to the shortage of international tourism. Positioning your business as an expert in your local area will certainly benefit you as now more than ever, as people are looking for unique experiences and locations that separate them from the masses.

3. Multi-generational travel and groups travelling with friends will be on the rise. Due to this, businesses that are secluded, away from the masses, and can contain guests in 4+ bedrooms will become highly desirable as people will seek to create new experiences with those closest to them due to being separated for so long. Think of unique ways to win over your competition when looking to attract this niche target market.

4. Business travel will return (slowly but surely) with more companies realizing that remote workers are a highly profitable option as there are near zero overheads. You will find the rise of managers, executives, CEOs solopreneurs, and entrepreneurs taking advantage of the ‘work from anywhere’ culture to truly satisfy their need for a work-life balance that rewards their wanderlust. You will find this target market will typically look for longer stays, often 2-4 weeks at a time in a single location.

5. And finally, the heightened appreciation by travellers for what was once unnoticed. For example, the desire to travel by train across a country rather than by air or spending an extra day in a location to truly appreciate its local culture. It is the innate desire for unique experiences that money simply can’t buy. You will find a rise in popularity for locations that are unique accommodations such as tree houses, mountain lodges, beachfront RVs, and the like. Along with this, a desire to experience the finer things in life, such as sharing a secluded luxury villa with friends to create lasting memories that are ‘Instagram worthy’.

If COVID19 has done one thing, it’s given us a perspective of how good things were. Because of this, it is a heightened level of appreciation that travellers have obtained. As a business, the best thing you can do is to feed this curiosity for appreciation by highlighting your uniqueness front and centrewhile creating a level of mystery that piques your prospect’s curiosity to the point that they simply can’t see any other option as viable to satisfy their needs.”

Luminata Mardale
Luminata MardaleDirector of Marketing and Business Development, Vienna House

“In 2022, being able to capture the guest imagination and offer positive emotions will be very important. Influencer marketing and crowd sponsored content would be able to embody the spirit of the brand culture. Virtual tours and videos, sustainability programs implemented, and personalized offers will also become a decision-making factor for guests choosing a hotel. Easier is better. Apps and chatbots, mobile check-in, mobile concierge or booking directly on social media platforms will gain popularity.

We see already that guests are starting to request reservations and communicate their requests on social media platforms. Personally, I receive requests and questions from guests daily via Facebook – from new reservation requests to enquiring about personal items that they’ve forgotten in their room.”

Amy Draheim
Amy DraheimOwner, ABD Creative

“When it comes to marketing hotels, the floodgates of travel have reopened, but along with that, comes a post-pandemic hangover. Travellers are eager to see smiles from across the bar, but cleanliness and sanitation are still important, if not at the forefront of messaging. We’re removing the COVID-related disclaimers from our websites and are including a less prominent link in pre-arrival messages instead.

From a marketing campaign standpoint, it’s time to book the trip. It’s time to splurge on the vacation that got cancelled. Including upsell opportunities (e.g., from better rooms to add-on amenities, spa appointments, dinner reservations and adventures/itineraries), is wise right now, as many travellers are looking to treat themselves after being grounded for so long.”