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the most important

hotel marketing
trends to watch

in 2015
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Show, Share,
Stand Out

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Table
of Contents

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04

The New Digital


Marketing Era

06 Chapter One

A Year In Review

07
08
09
10
11
12
12
13
16

17

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18

Visual-First Movement
Modern Day Travel Shopping
Mobile Here and Now
Social Footprints
Video, Video, Video
Rise of Local
Bleisure
Content Marketing
Community Marketplace Grows

25
28
30

31 Chapter Three

The Shopping
Journey

32
34

Could It Get More Complicated?


Practical Takeaways

35

Chapter Four

Chapter Two

Content Marketing
Content, But Not for the
Sake of Content

Raise Your Hand If You


Would Like to Increase Prices?
Veni, Vidi, Vici
Practical Takeaways

36
41
44
49

The Power of
Social Media and
Mobile: SoMo

50 Chapter Five

Targeting

52
53
54
56
57

Getting in Bed with Millennials


After You
Bleisures:
Theyre Smart, Not Trendy
Love Thy Neighbors
Practical Takeaways

58 Chapter Six

What The Experts


Are Saying

71

About Leonardo

The Social House that Mark Built


Video = Super Glue
Mobile Takeover
Practical Takeaways

Share this eBook


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Thanks for downloading!


As 2014 comes to a close and we begin to prepare for the next
year, its the perfect time to look back at what made 2014 great
and what will stand out in 2015.
This eBook will recap the biggest trends of 2014 and what we
expect to come in 2015 including the continued importance of
visual storytelling and effective content marketing to guide your
hotels online strategy.
Weve also teamed up with a number of experts who have
provided their predictions for 2015 keep an eye out for their
thoughts throughout the eBook.
Enjoy the eBook and join the discussion on social media using
#LeoeBook.
Regards,
Darlene Rondeau
V.P. Best Practices,
Online Merchandising
Leonardo
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The New
Digital Marketing Era
A wonderful and intriguing characteristic of the
hotel business is that you can find lodging in
leading capital cities, small villages & towns and in
some of the most remote areas of the globe. Now,
accommodations arent necessarily corporately
owned structures, thanks to the likes of Airbnb,
HomeAway and Roomorama.
Whether the accommodations are the time-tested commercial real
estate empires we instantly recognize, or my friend Steves urban
walk up apartment, people are interested in where theyre sleeping
and bathing, where to eat and what to do in and around their
destination.

Though storytelling has always thrived on property, it really hasnt


been until recent years that our marketing tools and technologies
have given us the ability to source, curate, publish and amplify
these stories in todays multi-screen, multi-channel universe.
Now were seeing visual storytelling as a focal point of many
website redesigns, including Yahoo Travel, trivago, Despegar.com,
Intercontinental Hotel Group, your own property website along with
thousands of other progressive hospitality websites.
We are also seeing a rise in the popularity of the online travel
magazine format of Montage Hotels & Resorts or citizenM which
features large, rich photos accompanied by interesting stories,
easily accessed on mobile devices. This fresh approach grabs the
attention of travel shoppers and keeps them hanging around as
they cleverly convert them from potential guests to a loyal lodger.
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Hoteliers continue to rationalize their digital marketing activities


as the pressure to increase direct bookings, improve ROI, find
new customers and balance media buys increases. After all, if
you cant measure something, you cant understand it. If you
cant understand it, you cant control it. As H. James Harrington
famously said, If you cant control it, you cant improve it.
Hotels believe that the most profitable and important
transactions are those that happen directly between hotel
and guest without the middleman. That said, todays consumer
shops easily across many channels, looking for the right
experience at the right price. The savvy hotel marketer
recognizes this behavior, and, as a result, ensures that their
story is aligned with destination and review sites, social
networks, OTAs, and, of course, their brand and property
websites, to provide confidence in their hotel purchase decision.
If you share our passion for excellence in digital hotel
marketing, youre probably already looking ahead to 2015 and
anticipating what the year will bring. Before we spring ahead to
next year, lets take a look at some of the main themes of 2014.

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Chapter One

a year in review

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Visual-First Movement
Good hotel storytellers are moving away from blocks
of boring, standard text towards big, beautiful images,
compelling video and a captivating narrative.
A recent TripAdvisor study shows that photos are so essential
to driving engagement and bookings that just going from having
no photos to photos results in 138% increase in engagement.
Interestingly, YouTube reports that 88% of their travel searches focus
on destinations, attractions/points of interest or general travel ideas,
because video grabs the travelers attention and provides helpful
insights and inspiration during the research phase of the journey.
According to MIT, the human brain can process visual information
in as little as 13 milliseconds, and takes three times as long to
process a single word, so its no wonder that companies around the
globe from major companies like Twitter, Coca-Cola, and Prada to
small businesses like OpenView Labs and Premier Pools and Spas
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have graphically dominated marketing campaigns. All sizes


of companies have moved toward visuals as a fundamental
component of their brand strategy. Then they take it a step further
by matching them with informative and entertaining content which
encourages sharing and improves customer engagement.
The hospitality industry, as a whole, is slowly following suit. In a
recent study by Webmarketing 123,1 we learned that more than
63% of hotel marketers plan to increase spending on content.
This directionally positive action is good news for consumers
because it will give them an experience that provides the
motivation and insight to guide their travel planning, in the same
way they have when buying their latest handbag or a shiny new
car.

Modern Day Travel Shopping


Time is the new currency. Google cites that travelers spend
an average of 55 minutes to book a hotel and flights, visit 17
websites and click four different search ads per travel search,
with 90% of those travelers conducting the booking process over
multiple screens.

People shop for value, which is the combination of anticipated


experience + price. Among the most popular meta-search
channels for hotel rate shopping include Google Hotel Finder,
TripAdvisor, Kayak, Expedia and trivago. What they have in
common is that they all offer real time availability and pricing
from multiple sources to consumers, facilitating practically
effortless comparison shopping. Many of the leading third party
travel channels also have the added benefit of integrated visual
storytelling along with point of purchase reviews.
Visitors will very often disappear from your website if pages
take too long to load. Todays consumer expects a visually rich
experience with your property wherever theyre shopping and
often images and
videos are the culprit
for long load times. This
is particularly true for
those on mobile devices
and for Millennials,
who readily admit that
their biggest pet peeve
is trying to navigate
a non-mobile friendly
site.2 Attention to quality
and performance are
essential.
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A Year In Review

Mobile Here And Now


The multi-screen behavior has taken
hold with hotel shoppers travelling across
screens, like they cross the street, to
uncover your hotels story and to gain
insights into a potential stay. Handing off
the digital experience among devices is

becoming the norm, and is reinforced


with new platforms that are making it
easy to pick up one device and move to
another, with virtually no interruption of
the activity you were doing.
The use of mobile in the travel
shopping journey is growing faster than
expected with 52% of consumers using
smartphones to research trips and 25%
to book accommodations.3
Interestingly, of the estimated
30 billion annual mobile
searches, more than onethird are local. Hotel search,
in destination, is considered
a local search.4 This begs
the question: considering the
time and money spent driving
consumers to your property,
are your hotel stories mobileoptimized throughout the
shopping journey?

Your concierge, front desk staff and the


Where magazine in the guest room may

be overlooked by the immediacy of realtime citizen reporting made possible by


the seamless integration of social media
and the ubiquitous access to mobile
technology. Guests are turning to their
social networks while en route to your
hotel or even while sitting in your lobby to
learn about where to eat, shop, drink or
just plain hang out.

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A Year In Review

Social Footprints
To understand how to engage hotel
guests on your social channels, you first
must understand why theyre there. At
the heart of it, people want to belong to
a community, thats why they join civic
groups, sports teams, churches, and so

on. In todays world, hugely successful


social platforms take that human
characteristic and create a platform
that combines the need to belong with
something of value. Like turning to
LinkedIn to rub elbows with potential
employers, or staying tuned into Twitter
to get breaking news.
Notable hotel brands have
created social relationships
by developing an experience
driven strategy aligned with
the aspirations of their target
guests. Best Western, as an
example, tells video stories
that describe the legacy and
heritage of their independent
owners and operators within
each of their communities
on YouTube. This strategy
smartly creates an emotional
connection to the brand and
Best Western Indie Films on YouTube

to the people running the hotel; giving


shoppers a familiar impression before
ever stepping foot onsite. The consumer
feels trust and therefore their decision
to stay at a BW is an easy one. Creating
these feelings is what excellence in social
interaction is all about.
The growing pervasiveness and surge of
smartphones has made social networking
just a tap away.5 40% of cell phone
owners use a social networking site on
their phone, and 28% do so on a typical
day. Social networking is the place to be
casual and authentic, using engaging
imagery to accent your hotels story
and to promote your experiences in and
around the property in an understated
and entertaining way.

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A Year In Review

Video, Video, Video


In a recent YouTube whitepaper, they
reported a year-over-year increase in the
consumption of branded travel videos,
with views of video up 118%. Additionally,
two out of three U.S. consumers watch
online travel video when theyre thinking
about taking a trip.6 Moving media can
provoke emotions better than still images
and text it can make a connection and
be memorable; no wonder were seeing
consumers go crazy over it.
Millennials (or Gen Y) have grown up
in a digital world and their biggest pet
peeve is trying to navigate non-optimized
mobile sites. They love, love, love
video, particularly short snippets of food
experiences, bar scenes and communal
areas. Social opportunities at every turn
are expected. And by 2018, just three

short years from now, Millennials are


predicted to surpass the spending power
of Boomers.7
In the now economy, consumers want
snackable chunks of visual content,
particularly with video. Best practice
examples include two to three 12
45 second vignettes of your property
experiences presenting guest rooms &
suites, restaurant and lounge facilities
and location of hotel with area attractions.
Production of an overall hotel
video, particularly when narrated
by your concierge or GM offers
consumers an option to visit with
your property and its surroundings
from start to finish when the time
is right. This type of video also has
its place in your media collection.

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts

Most hotels know guests take home the


bath amenities but after researching
their needs, Hyatt Hotels realized that the
toiletries they offered werent satisfying
their customers, especially female ones.
To appeal to more female travelers, Hyatt
Hotels & Resorts created a snackable
video showing prospective guests that
they can expect new high-quality hotel
swag when they book their next stay, and
it went viral, with over 420,000 views to
date.

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Rise of Local
Weve always known this i.e. your
guest doesnt check into their room, lock
the door and never leave until check
out date. Todays hotel consumer is
actually telling us what theyre interested
in by virtue of their clicking behavior. In
Leonardos extensive analysis of over
500 million views of media, we uncovered
a startling discovery. Consumers dont
care about the exterior of your hotel
(unless your building is of historical or
architectural significance). What they
care about is where theyre going to
sleep and shower and what theyre
going to do in and around your property.
Now that we know what consumers pay
attention to when shopping for a place
to stay, it makes sense to craft stories
around these features and amenities to
address their questions and secure their
booking.

Top 10 Viewed Images On Travel Websites

Bleisure
You might have to travel for business,
but it doesnt mean that your vacations
should take a back seat. Nor should
your re-entry back from the beach
be more painful that the sunburn you
earned. Theres a new wanderer in
town and theyre known as the bleisure
traveler.

1. Guest Rooms

2. Restaurant

3. Recreation

4. Lobby

5. Map

6. Business Center

7. Pool

8. Amenity

9. Exterior

10. Bar/Lounge

This new breed thinks nothing of using


their mobile devices to stay in touch
with work while on vacation and is likely
to add days of leisure before or after
their business trip due in large part
of the rise of mobile. With the use of
mobile significantly growing within the
travel industry, it is easier than ever for
vacationers to stay in-touch with their
work while on their trip. As mobile grows
even more, so too will this new trend,
which presents fresh opportunities for
hotels to modify their stories, appealing
more succinctly to this type of traveler.
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A Year In Review

Content Marketing
Contemporary consumers record
programs to skip TV advertising, rarely
focus on magazine ads, and have
become so skilled at online surfing
that they can absorb information without
even a glance at banner ads that were
once a favored format. They are blind to
the conventional world of marketing and
as a result, weve seen a shift in hotel
digital media spending as we watch PPC
(pay per click) budgets overtake display
advertising.8 There must be a better
approach to engage and keep the hotel
shoppers attention.
Enter content marketing. But what exactly
is content marketing?9
Content marketing is a marketing
technique of creating and distributing

valuable, relevant and consistent


content to attract and acquire a clearly
defined audience with the objective
of driving profitable customer action.
Or put another way, its the art
of communicating with your
customers without selling to
them.
If we pay attention, there are
lots of examples of best practice
content marketing focused on
delivering appreciated and
respected information that
resonates with a target group,
drawing them closer to the
company and its products. These
clever marketers use a variety
of channels to syndicate their
content to consumers using
Twitter, YouTube, email, websites, TV,
Pinterest, mobile apps and so on.

What Type of Content


Do Travelers Want To See?
Our eBook, Get in the Know About
SoMo, is filled with content ideas
from former hotelier and digital
marketing expert, Mark Hayward.
Check it out here (we especially point
out page 17 for a weeks worth of
content ideas).

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A Year In Review

Procter and Gamble,


naturally, found a
very inventive way to
integrate their myriad of
home & personal goods
into a content marketing
strategy that is useful
and practical without
being promotional.

about roadside attractions, nearby cultural events and shares


gourmet recipes for dog biscuits, which is their creative way of
telling hotel guests theyre pet friendly. Through inventive content
marketing, Montage has developed an affinity with their audience
through this elegant publication by speaking to the lifestyle
and destinations that they have in common; and in return, their
properties stay top of mind during the consumers search for a
place to relax, a place to have a cocktail, or a place to call home
after a busy day of client meetings.

They created P & G


Everyday, a website that
provides consumers with
beneficial and relevant
information while subtly
embedding their product
solutions into the story.

The magic of great content marketing isnt the platform or


the technology, its the manner in which it is combined that is
helpful to a
community of
customers in
an open and
friendly way
inviting instant
conversation
and feedback.

Montage Hotels & Resorts produces themontagemagazine.


com that informs and delights every step of the way using
classic storytelling techniques combined with big, rich visuals,
and purposeful and local content. Their marketing team takes
readers on an artful journey of their luxury collection, giving tips

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The web is becoming more and more visual as technology


continues to evolve. How do you see this evolving in 2015
and what should hotel marketers be doing in order to stay
ahead of the curve?

Many hotel execs dont appreciate the value of quality


visuals updated consistently, and the definition of quality
has changed. A great Instagram photo or video, for
example, can drive more exposure than the best professional
photography. Hotel execs should engage Millennials to discuss
what make a highly shareable photo. Stock-type photography is
boring. Visuals should be more editorial in style with a lifestyle
flair, communicating the vibe and experience at the property. The
goal is to create imagery thats shareable. The best way a brand
can build exposure in the digital arena is by other people doing
it for them by sharing on
their networks.

Greg Oates
Travel Industry Editor
and Hotel Strategist

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A Year In Review

Community Marketplace
Grows
The genie is out of the bottle. The peerto-peer marketplace is here to stay and
many businesses from powerful taxi
companies to global hotel corporations
are trying to figure out how to either crush
these newcomers or somehow learn to
coexist. The facts are that our world is
now wired to share and this creates an
economy of whats mine is yours.10
Who would have thought that there would
be enough trust between strangers that
people would actually rent an apartment
from some random person rather than
from a trusted established brand? Well,
they are and to the tune of billions.
At a recent ISHC (International Society
of Hospitality Consultants) conference

in Austin, hotel leaders got together to


discuss this very topic and its implications
on hospitality namely, the impact of the
sharing economy by relative newcomers
like Airbnb or Wimdu.11 Intellectually,
these heads of hospitality know they
must do a better
job at telling
stories and
creating content
to retain and
attract hotel
shoppers.
By now, I think
we all know
that Airbnb
is a trusted
community
marketplace for
people to list,
discover, and
book unique

accommodations around the world


online or from a mobile phone. Whether
its an apartment for a night or a villa
for a week, Airbnb connects people
to unique travel experiences, using
stunning imagery, matching descriptions,
integrated
reviews and
an easy to use
booking widget.
Emphasis on
experience!
Its never just
been about the
rate, and it still
isnt; otherwise,
everyone would
stay in the
budget friendly
$49 a night hotel.
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Chapter Two

2015 Predictions:

content marketing

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Content Marketing

In our daily diet of online news


from the likes of HotelNewsNow.
com, Tnooz and Skift, it wouldnt
be surprising to read the
following headlines as we drink
our first cup of joe at home, take
the train to the city, or scan the
news on our smartphone while
were stopped at the red light
enroute to the office (not that we
condone texting while driving ).
Our predictions are organized into the
four main areas we believe will be top
of mind for Hospitality Marketers next
year. Additionally, well share practical
takeaways that will help you prepare for
the next 12 months.

Content, But Not For The


Sake Of Content

1888 Hotel

When visual storytelling works it conveys


impressions and invokes memories; when
it works well, it makes us feel. Thats
what content marketing is: creating and
telling your story online, to reach your
prospective consumer, with an emphasis
on helping (informing), rather than just
selling. And its what smart marketers are
turning to in 2015. In fact, more than half
of B2C marketers plan to increase their

content marketing budget over the next


year.
There are a lot of bright hotel marketers
out there who already have the recipe
for the secret sauce and understand that
people dont want to be sold to any
longer. This is particularly true of the
Millennials, a generation solidly grounded
in the workforce, and they are traveling
a lot. This group can smell a spin from
a mile away so authenticity is essential
to a successful marketing program, but
theyre in good company this sentiment
transcends all demographics in todays
society. Good content is the stimulus
that leads enquiring consumers through
the shopping journey on their road
to purchase, not an afterthought that
surrounds the booking engine.

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Source
Be authentic. Todays on-the-go travelers use their
smartphones to take pictures and post them on
social media sites use this User-Generated Content
(UGC) to your advantage. Thanks to technology,
taking and publishing high-quality photos and videos for your
hotel has never been easier. Todays mobile devices are as much
cameras as they are communication devices. With advanced,
built-in cameras, photo editing software and downloadable social
media apps, anyone can now create, publish and amplify visually
engaging content all from handheld mobile devices.
Compliment your professional photography with
UGC. Theres plenty of it out there on the social
mobile web just waiting to be discovered and once
you do, youll gain new insight on what people love
about your hotel and gain ideas to help you tell your hotel story.
Plus, youll be showing guests stories from many perspectives
to give them a complete picture of the experience theyll have at
your hotel (keep in mind your photos should be royalty-free or
must be accompanied by proper credit information posted in the
photo caption).

Recruit your staff. Most hotels have a budding photographer on


staff seeking exposure and feedback. Find out who they are and
work out a barter arrangement, or hold an employee contest for
new photos, with prizes for the best entries.
Look around. Connect with the local tourism board and nearby
attractions, restaurants and other vendors and suppliers for
photos that showcase the experience of staying in your area.
Get social. Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest
contests are very popular for a number of reasons.
They help promote the hotel and engage potential
guests, both local and out of town. They also provide
exceptional imagery that hotels can use on their websites, and
they encourage online sharing.
Create a photography lesson package with a local
professional photographer throughout the year then
let guests know that the best photos of the hotel and
destination will be used on the website.
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Curate
Sort your media into stories by connecting all of
the wonderful attributes of your property, but start
by keeping it simple. An easy way to get going is
to create a dedicated page with special upcoming
events in your destination. Update it weekly with interesting
content (perhaps from the local CVB) and photos.
Apply Steve Jobs Think Differently campaign to your hotel
marketing plan as you consider your features and amenities
relative to your competition. Even if you have similar things to
offer your guests, express them more creatively and interestingly
than the hotel across the street using multi-media and entertaining
copy. Once you have their attention, integrate your stories with
special promotions and offers giving them a reason to choose
you.
Consider the season, local attractions or special
events. If its summertime, show off your pool,
outdoor or recreational activities, local parks, beach
or zoo. Does your specialty include weddings and
events, consider a natural flow of photos and videos: happy

newlyweds, the ballroom empty, decorated, and then filled with


guests, a romantic nearby setting, etc.
Staying current with destination information is
extremely important when managing your content,
and we all know things change very quickly.
Fortunately, you dont have to do it all yourself. Take
advantage of up-to-date event calendars from local businesses
and CVBs, city.com and community websites for a heads up on
whats going on in your community. Transportation is always a
top traveler consideration. Be helpful by providing links to local
maps, public carriage options including the nearest subway/train
station, bus stops or limo service.
The idea is to give hotel shoppers an opportunity to see
themselves in your stories, giving them a feeling of what their
experience will be like at your property. Compliment the rich
visuals with engaging descriptive text and think of your image
captions as headlines in a newspaper or magazine: World Class
Golf, Lakefront Dining, Free Internet.
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Publish
Now its time to layout your
curated content or stories. The
most popular and effective way
to do this is to put them into
multi-media galleries divided
into logical subsections.

bartender creating cocktails accompanied


by the drink recipes, or perhaps a 15
second video of the hopping sports bar
during a hometown game.

Your content can go even further, as you


repurpose it for your hotel website, social
media pages, mobile sites, third party
sites or even blog posts the tone and
design of your content should match the
publication for which its intended.

San Juan Water Beach Club


knows how to be unique
online and showcases its
creative dining options, like
its Truffle Butter Popcorn Soup, in its web
gallery. Dont be afraid to replace the
standard Rooms & Suites with PillowTalk or another fun description, like this
hotel does, or create dining options under
a tab like Zest.

Got a hot restaurant


or lounge? Publish a
gallery that features the
entertainment amenities
of your hotel with stories that show the

Of course, you want consumers to be


able to find your carefully created stories
quickly and easily, which makes search
engine optimization (SEO) an important
consideration during this phase. SEOleonardo.com

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Content Marketing

enabled photos and videos will ensure


that consumers can find you as they
search through the pages of choices
available to them across travel websites.
SEO drives them to your
website, but its equally
important to present your
guests with your visual
story above the fold. This is the space
of your web page thats visible on the
initial view without any scrolling. Its your
most valuable real estate. Begin telling
your story the moment the guest walks
through your digital front door; itll keep
them engaged and interested in what you
have to offer.

The publishing stage


should also consider
platforms beyond your
own website such as
mobile optimization, social sites and
online travel sites. 75% of leisure
travelers switch between devices to
conduct the same travel related planning
or booking activity which means your
content should be optimized for desktop,
tablets and smartphones to win their
business.12
Think about how one piece of content
can be re-used and published across
a variety of channels. Although
creating content is so easy using your
smartphone, you dont need to constantly
create and publish brand new content
every time you need fresh content.

For example, start by


shooting a video using
your smartphone camera
and post it to YouTube and
Facebook in its entirety. Then, take still
shots of interesting parts within the video
using the screen capture functionality
on your smartphone. Post the photos to
your hotels Facebook, Twitter, Instagram
or Pinterest pages or even your hotel
website. Once your original content
becomes a few months old, you can post
it to your social media channels again
with a fresh caption to make it more
timely and relevant.

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Amplify
Now that your content is assembled, organized and
designed, its time to amplify it.
There are many wonderful marketplace opportunities
for you to take advantage in todays digital world.
Hotels have unique stories to tell different audiences,
e.g. your story
to a family with kids will be
different than the picture
you paint about hosting a
girls getaway weekend.
Hotel Giraffe tells a unique
story online and targets
its key demographics with
compelling images and
mentions local events
their customers may be
interested in.

First, identify the websites and social channels


your guests are using and ensure your content
is appealing, up-to-date and tablet/smartphone
accessible. Next, match your target demographics
and your unique story to the appropriate travel channel. Do
you cater to corporate travelers? Then your presence should
dominate corporate channels like Concur, GetThere, Corporate
Travel Management, etc. Want to target brides-to-be? OneWed.
com, Apple Vacations, or Tourico Holidays are great sites to share
your hotel story emphasizing features that brides are looking for.
You dont need to limit yourself to one key
demographic, or target audience; however, the point
is that your hotel story can be aimed at different
types of guests, highlighting the experiences that are
most relevant and interesting to them. Once thats done, amplify
your story on the channels being used by your ideal guest.

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Content Marketing

Consistency is the cornerstone of every successful


company or product. One of the most valuable
things you can do for your guests is to give them
the assurance that the property experience will be
the same each and every time, regardless of how the booking is
made. This is only accomplished if you tell the same story from
website to website, including your own.
According to a recent study by Webtrends, leisure
travelers use an average of 6.5 travel sites during the
shopping phase alone. If your guest sees disjointed
views of your hotel as they surf around, their
confidence in your hotels ability to deliver on their expectation is
reduced along with the opportunity that theyll choose you when it
comes time to make a reservation.

Content marketing is part of The Epicurean Hotels digital marketing strategy online and
they do it well. Take a look at how they pick and choose various aspects of their unique hotel
story, and feature them prominently on their website and social media channels. These
personalized aspects make the hotel stand out and seem authentic and friendly.
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Content Marketing

Raise your hand if you would like to


increase prices?

like to get $10 more per night than your competition across the
street, tell a better story.

Did You Know?


Hoteliers, want to raise prices? Travelers will pay more when youre telling a
compelling story online.

Raise prices? Tell a better story. In a world where everything


is rapidly being commoditized, its refreshing to know that an
authentic story, wrapped with rich meaning and visuals can
actually help you substantiate a higher price. In other words,
consumers are willing to pay more for an anticipated
experience and hotel shoppers are no different. So, if youd

This equation holds true for all types of hotel properties, from
budget accommodations up to the luxury category. The challenge
for many hotel marketers is how to best communicate their
value to the consumer. Successful companies are using tried
and true storytelling techniques to capture the attention of their
audiences and create an emotional connection with them. This
approach subsequently leads to a selling environment where the
consumer can see and feel the product and in turn will pay for
the anticipated experience.
Start by creating a framework to capture the value of your
property. Have you ever done something extraordinary for a
guest? Do you provide differentiated service that nobody else
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Content Marketing

offers? Is your location a hidden gem in the


city? Align these attributes with rich multi-media
(photos, videos and virtual tours), together
with snackable descriptions that represent the
reasons why youre worth the extra money.
Once youve created the interpretation that
capitalizes on your hotels best features,
prepare your story to be told everywhere
consumers are searching for hotels. Is your
hotels mobile website optimized? Are your
business pages created for Facebook and
Pinterest? Do you have a modern multi-media
gallery on your hotels website?
And finally, once all the preparation is
complete, be sure youre pushing or amplifying
your stories on all the channels that matter
review sites, corporate and meeting planning
sites, OTAs, and of course, your independent
and brand websites.

How can hotels stand out in 2015?

Try to be visual and tell YOUR story, no


matter on which platform. Every property
has something specific like its location,
history, people on your team, special treats, an
amazing chef, etc. Elaborate around this and
use it, so your potential guests get a glimpse
on who you are and what to expect from a
stay at your hotel. Stock-type photography is
boring. Visuals should be more editorial in style
with a lifestyle flair, communicating the vibe
and experience at the property. The goal is to
create imagery thats shareable. The best way
a brand can build exposure in the digital arena
is by other people doing it for them by sharing
on their networks.

Daniel Zelling
Founder, opensmile
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Content Marketing

What role will visual storytelling play in helping hotels


increase bookings in 2015?

The increased use of image-oriented social


networks such as Pinterest and Instagram reflects
the value guests place on visual content. Facebook
users upload some 200,000 photos every single minute
to the site. And plenty of research shows that improving
image quality and quantity helps guests trust your hotel
product,
and works
Tim Peter
to increase
Digital Marketing Expert conversion rate,
as well. The
Tim Peter & Associates
efforts OTAs
and Google
have made in creating custom image content alone
should underscore the importance they place on images.
The more you can do to keep a fresh supply of highquality images on your sites and on third-party distribution
channels, the greater results you should expect to see.

Visual storytelling is older than spoken and written


language. Of the five bodily senses, sight informs the
majority of our experience in the world. We are visual
creatures. Entertaining, dynamic, humorous, uplifting and
authentic stories always work to communicate a message, no
matter the place or time. Tell an effective story and you have
people hooked, this never fails.

Joshua Johnson
Freelance Digital Media
Producer

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Content Marketing

Veni, Vidi, Vici


This quote from Julius Caesar, I came, I saw, I conquered can be
appropriately translated into todays digital marketing vernacular.
Your search engine marketing efforts lured the hotel shopper
to your website, Facebook page or brand site so they came.
What was waiting for them when they arrived: a visually driven
website that engages the senses while succinctly describing the
experience? They saw. Finally, did this experience captivate
them enough that your property stayed top of mind as they went
down the shopping and decision path? Did you conquer or
secure the sale?
While the web clearly wasnt around in 47 B.C., the battle for
hotels to attract and retain customers may be just as challenging
as Caesars conflict, oh so long ago, near the coast of Asia Minor.
Look around the internet and its quite apparent that visuallydriven websites are becoming the norm. More and more hotel
websites, developed by both brands and properties are creating
platforms to publish their visual stories, providing a compelling
and engaging experience for its visitors. The text-heavy designs
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Content Marketing

of the early 2000s are going by the wayside and image-driven


web interfaces are emerging fast in large part due to quicker
broadband speeds, cellular networks, and high resolution
screens. Consumers want to be informed and entertained, and
when the time comes, make their purchase decisions on whatever
device they happen to be using at the time. Are you prepared?
According to Deloitte, the most successful brands in 2015 will be
those that are able to most efficiently engage with consumers
and clearly differentiate what they offer.13 Delivering their brand
experience consistently will be vital.
uu Keep content snackable and as seen through the eyes of
your guests. Having bite-sized stories doesnt mean a
series of photos that the consumer can zip through, but rather
its the art and science of presenting short vignettes about the
key elements of your property. This is accomplished through
12-45 second videos, bulleted or bolded text descriptions,
and photos that conjure up emotions with insights into your
environment.

uu Include video in your visual story: One of three leisure


travelers and 56% of business travelers engaged in travelrelated YouTube activities within the last six months,
according to the Google 2014 Traveler Study. As video
becomes a larger consideration during the shopping journey,
its increasingly important for hotel marketers to get ahead
of the curve. A strong visual presence, particularly with short
video snippets telling your story will hook your audience and
endear you to them.
uu Include reviews in your story. Reviews used to be just words
now theyre often more than that, with images and video
added. Take advantage of these guest stories because they
provide you with rich insights into how the hotel guest sees
you, which in turn you can use to fine tune your marketing
messages.
According to Cornell, consumers believe the review when there
is more of it, so drive up interaction and contribution of photos and
videos along with commentary.14 Reviews are the most powerful
value indicator for consumers. Shoppers also use reviews to draw
conclusions about value and quality, which is why competing
solely on price is rarely a good idea.
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Practical Takeaways: Content Marketing


Todays consumers dont just want to hear about what your hotel offers - they want a story they can envision
themselves being a part of. Use these practical tips to make the most of content marketing.

1 2 3
1. Create. Use. Reuse. Repeat.
2. Think about what makes your hotel unique: What are the key
features and amenities that make a guest choose you over a
competitor? These features should be a key part of the hotel
story youre creating and sharing.

3. The most successful hotels will be ones who can create a


consistent story across all channels and devices so the
travel shopper understands your story and brand whether
theyre researching on their smartphone, booking on their
tablet or checking out your social media page.

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Chapter Three

2015 predictions:

the shopping
journey

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Could It Get More Complicated?


Yes, and it probably will, but there is a light in this tunnel, and its
called visual storytelling. In 2015, visual storytelling will become
even more important for hoteliers who want to navigate the
complex shopping journey and stand out online.
Lets review the stages of the shopping journey which by most
travel marketing standards consists of five steps. What theyre
labelled varies from company to company, but the approach
is consistent: Inspiration & Awareness, Consideration, Intent,
Decision, and Post-Purchase (reviews & sharing).
Now, look at the growing list of options consumers have to wade
through just to figure out the right choice for their travel needs.
Property websites, hotel brands, corporate booking tools, GDSs,
airlines, holiday and destination planning sites, review sites, metasearch, and mobile and social channels top the list. There are
literally hundreds of thousands of travel channels.

Whats most interesting about the combination of the shopping


phases with the complex digital landscape is the important role
visual storytelling plays. It wasnt that long ago when a travel
site (pick one, any one), had a listing of hotels, with a large price
point and a thumbnail image of the property, usually the exterior.
Increasingly, wise marketers have moved from the boring textheavy presentations at the turn of the century to websites that are
dominated with rich media, like big, bold images, short, snackable
videos and descriptive text. This approach transports viewers to
their place by showing what its really like and according to MDG
Advertising, content with images gains 94% more total views than
non-visual content.15
The right picture can go further than just telling your story
visually, it can make you feel emotions, evoke memories and even
make you act differently, which is an essential motivator to move
people along the path to purchase.161

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How can hotels stand out from the competition on multiple


travel channels in 2015?

This is a fantastic question and the answer can be


summed up by what I like to call C Squared, which
represents consistency and caring! Hoteliers, of course,
can have profiles on every single travel channel thats available
online. However, they must be willing to show up day in and
day out over the long-term. It seems clich to emphasize
this but many, many properties are still using social media
solely as advertising and distribution channels. Yet, in order
to see real success
it must become a
Mark Hayward
conversation and
communication
Former Hotelier
channel akin to a
& Digital Marketer
digital concierge.

How did the shopping journey change in 2014 and what


changes do you expect for 2015?

As opposed to identifying a market segment and focusing


marketing efforts against it, Big Data has turned the
process upside down. Organizations are now looking at
the actual purchases and then looking for patterns to identify
micro-segments of guests to target. To oversimplify, travel
sellers will evaluate converted bookings and then trace paths
and data points back up the funnel to identify the combination
of signals that created the greatest probability for conversion.
They may identify that the best time to advertise an all-inclusive
beach destination is the weekend following a major snowstorm,
but that the less expensive properties sell better on Friday
night, while the luxury
properties sell best
on Sunday morning
Robert Cole
(a totally fictional
Founder, RockCheetah
example).

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Practical Takeaways: The Shopping Journey

17

1 2 3 4 5 6 7

1. Make an early impression in the consumers purchase path


with video. 67% of leisure travelers watch videos when
thinking about taking a trip and 61% tune in when they are
choosing a destination

2. Consumers want to recognize a brand when theyre in the


awareness and consideration stage, making it important for
hotels to have a consistent story across all of the sites being
used
3. 45% of travelers plan to research or use peer-to-peer sharing
accommodations like Airbnb, so now is the time to step up
your visual storytelling to help level the playing field
4. Value is indifferent to property type. Focus on the story to
communicate the experience in a way that justifies spending

5. Mobile is important throughout the entire shopping journey


with 75% of leisure travelers switching between devices
to complete planning and booking. Being optimized for
smartphones and tablets shouldnt be a back burner initiative
any longer
6. Be optimized for the multi-screen world. More than half
of leisure hotel bookers who use their smartphone for
inspiration, ultimately book another way
7. 80% of hotel bookers watch online videos to make a decision
regarding their accommodations. Video production isnt as
expensive as it used to be and there is an option for every
budget

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Chapter Four

2015 Predictions:

the power of
social media and
mobile (somo)
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The Power Of Social Media and Mobile

The Social House That Mark Built


Sure, Mark Zuckerberg wasnt the first to
build a social network, but he took it to an
entirely new level 10 years ago when he
initially developed Facebook to give fellow
students a visual of their classmates and a
way to connect with each other. Today, social
marketing is used by hundreds of thousands
of companies to build customer relationships
in a nuanced and sophisticated way.
Consumer behavior has dictated what,
how, and when they want to interact with
companies, and with each other. Its pretty clear that people are
looking for good storytelling on hotels social channels. Humans
are curious creatures. We love conversation and comments. We
want to be heard and understood.
Our definition of social networking has expanded over the last
several years, whereas it may have started with Facebook, now
it includes platforms that support video or image only sharing,

location based services, conversations with the suits, news


aggregators, group buying and selling, along with micro-and
blogging sites. And multi-media is the common denominator
for the leading social marketing companies. Its woven into the
experience whether its your bio picture or company graphic
on LinkedIn or a video on how to carve a Halloween pumpkin on
Pinterest, todays social communication is dominated by visuals.
And thats a good thing because in our busy,
busy world, where time is the new currency,
visuals are processed much, much faster
than words. In fact, people have drawn for
32,000 years, while weve only written for
5,000; and in todays society, pictures help
pull us out of our noisy surroundings to
provide transparency and context.
Though storytelling has always thrived
on property, it really hasnt been until
recent years that our marketing tools and
technologies have given us the ability to source, curate, publish
and amplify these stories in todays multi-screen, multi-channel
universe.
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Its also hard to talk about social without including mobile in the
same discussion, because people dont distinguish between
the two as perhaps marketers do. They just know that whatever
and whomever theyre engaging with at the time needs to be
authentic, amusing, helpful and visual.
There is much (and growing) research that tells us about the
critical role Social + Mobile, a.k.a. SoMo, plays in the daily lives of
consumers.
Did You Know?
In todays society, pictures help pull us out of our noisy surroundings to
provide transparency and context.

uu Social networking has passed gaming to become the #1


mobile app activity18
uu 60% of time spent on the mobile internet is devoted to social
networking19

What opportunity will the rise of SoMo present to hoteliers?

Probably the most interesting development for me to


monitor closely is Twitter with their Buy Button for
e-commerce tested in the U.S. right now. Imagine to have
the full booking process for your hotels promotions covered on
Twitter including the payment for a small transaction fee! We
also have Facebook on the path to become a Social Search
Engine. You might want to try entries such as Hotels visited
by my friends or more specifically Hotels visited by my friends
in Los Angeles. Question is: what would we rather trust when
looking for a hotel in Miami for our next trip? The results we get
from Google, the results on TripAdvisor OR the comments and
check-ins from our Facebook friends at hotels in Miami? I am
really curious about how much effort Facebook will push into this
functionality and when
this will be available
as well for additional
Daniel Zelling
languages, as the data
Founder, opensmile
they have in their hands
is extremely powerful!

uu Approximately 400 million of Facebook users are mobile


only20
uu Adding a photo to your tweet can boost retweets by 35%21
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The Power Of Social Media and Mobile

The 2014 summer marketing phenomenon can be


summed up in 3 words: Ice. Bucket. Challenge.
In a little less than 1 month, the ALS marketing team generated
about $90 million compared with $2.6 million over the same
period last summer. The SoMo of this is that ALS engaged
people, encouraged them to tell their ice bucket story simply by
taking a video with their smartphone or tablet and posting it to
YouTube or Facebook. People went out of their way to script the
story, film and share!

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The four components of their well- orchestrated campaign


were fairly simple. Here are some ways you can learn from this
marketing campaign and incorporate the elements into your
hotels visual story:
1. Create personalized content
Not everyone will engage the same way, so they offered
two ways to participate: Donate money directly or voluntarily
dump ice water on your head.
Hotels: Mimic a similar tactic by
reaching out to guests in different
ways depending on the content and
platform. Create an instant chat
about a featured menu your chef
has prepared on your website to
engage people onsite, celebrate a
guests birthday on your Facebook
page or Instagram with photos
or a short video, or celebrate a
sporting event with pictures and a
corresponding hashtag on Twitter.
Lets go #dallascowboys @
hiltongardeninntimessquare. Its not
just one thing.

2. The Positive Power of Peer Pressure


ALS used Facebooks tagging feature to challenge a friend as
the next target. Videos went wild how else to best illustrate
the emotional and physical shock of pouring ice water on
yourself or allowing others to dunk you? And lastly, there was
accountability because the posts & videos were tagged back
to your wall.
Hotels: Launch a referral programs using
Facebook like refer a friend and win a
chance to enter the drawing for two free
cocktails at your trendy bar. Create a
mutual sharing program with your local
hotel partners e.g. florists, caterers, etc.,
inviting them to participate in your content
creation and vice versa.
The Hampton Inn & Suites Phoenix Surprise
entices travelers on Facebook by letting them know
theyre close to popular sporting events.
3. Celebs
Its an old trick, but it works Kermit the
Frog, Robert Downey Jr. and Martha
Stewart all took the plunge.
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The Power Of Social Media and Mobile

Hotels: You may not need Taylor Swift or Emma Stone to make
your campaign, but perhaps there are well known community
personalities that you can snag. Think local chefs, and
mixologists, or someone else who would hold some significance
with your guests even the newest furry arrival at the local zoo!
4. Fun
ALS launched the marketing event in the hottest part of year,
everyone wanted to cool off and we saw that people got really,
really creative, both with the ice bucket activity and donation
contributions.
Hotels: Have a good time relative to your property and its
surroundings. If the hotel is snowbound, have a snow people
making contest. Give prizes, encourage sharing. Halloween?
Have your employees do reverse trick or treating with guests and
hand out sweets. Ask your staff for other ideas based on these
examples.
The Sol Wave House calls themselves the First
Tweet Experience Hotel, and judging by the way they
use this popular social media channel with unique
hashtags, contests and more, they truly are!
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The Power Of Social Media and Mobile

Video = Super Glue


If pictures are the glue, then online videos are the super glue
of stickiness and long lasting effects, particularly as a growing
consideration in the travel shopping journey. Heres what the
2014 YouTube whitepaper and the 2014 Google Traveler Study
revealed about online video activity:
uu According to the 2014 Google Traveler study, search engines
are used as their first step in trip planning, coming at the
expense of apps, so your multi-media (photos, videos and
virtual tours) should have the appropriate meta tags to
maximize your presence in search results

uu Travelers are engaging with brands and content creators


more and more. So far this year, subscriptions to top travel
channels increased 106% YOY. Check out what DoubleTree
does with this storytelling opportunity!22
uu People view content across all of YouTubes travel categories
such as destination & attraction related videos which tells
us that guests interest is not reserved for the inside of your
property, but rather whats in and around the hotel
uu Travel shoppers are watching video in adjacent content
areas like restaurants, spas/fitness, sports and cooking
demonstrating that the travel category is lifestyle-oriented
uu Travel vlogs (i.e. video blogs), receive 4x more social
engagement than other types of travel content. People tend
to find them more engaging on a per view basis and often
more authentic, particularly with the younger audience (ages
18 24)
uu The older audience (ages 25 64) tend to view a wider
range of online video content further along the purchase path
extending to brand information, reviews and tips. Creating
short video snippets (12 45 seconds) is a smart way to
cover your bases
DoubleTree by Hilton on YouTube

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The Power Of Social Media and Mobile

Be discerning with your content on social channels, the mantra


less is more should be applied to posts. A Facebook post on
Instagram isnt going to have the same cache as an image or
video.
Practice good writing techniques using bulleted or bolded text that
describes your features and amenities in an amusing and subtle
way.
A solid social video strategy helps properties stimulate and
influence hotel shopping decisions more than ever before. Create
a plan and start simply by asking some basic questions. Who will
be responsible? What stories will you tell? Where will you find
them? How often will you post the video content?
Learning how to repurpose content will be critical to a hotel
marketers efficiency because its increasingly challenging to
keep up with the demand for fresh content. And after all, social
marketing should be fun for everyone involved, not a chore that
always seems to take a back seat.

Video is an important tool to reach and engage travel


shoppers, yet it seems hoteliers are hesitant to adapt. How
might this change in 2015 and why?

The cost associated with creating good video content


is a challenge for hotels. The ROI potential is there if
videos are engaging from a consumer standpoint, versus
designed solely
as push marketing
Greg Oates
vehicles. Too many
videos feel like
Travel Industry Editor
generic sales tools.
& Hotel Strategist
Videos with hotel
staff, local small
businesses, behind-the-scenes vignettes at hotels, insider
perspectives, etc. are popular and drive traffic. This is a huge
trend and hotels should start experimenting. User-generated
videos are potentially another option, depending on the
property.

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The Power Of Social Media and Mobile

How can hotels stand out in 2015?

Sights, sound and motion get attention and inspires.


A product manager for a prominent OTA told me that
despite all the conversion testing they run, the one
universal truth is pretty pictures sell hotels. Hoteliers with
source imagery and websites that offer small, technically
inferior and poorly composed content are doing themselves a
disservice. Why would a guest have the slightest interest in
seeing the hotels
porte-cochere as
the lead image
Robert Cole
on the website?
Founder, RockCheetah
Or a stylistically lit
nighttime shot of an
empty bar? True, it
may be more complicated or expensive to get signed releases,
use models, or hire a professional photographer for important
shots, but when well executes, it makes a huge difference in the
final product.

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The Power Of Social Media and Mobile

Mobile Takeover
In 2010, Steve Jobs predicted that
tablets would eventually takeover PCs.
His prophecy will become true in 2015.
Gartner predicts a total of 320 million
tablet sales, versus just 316 million PC
sales (desktops and laptops).23 However,
this is small potatoes compared to
mobile. Next year, Gartner predicts ~
1.95 billion mobile phone sales around
70% of which be smartphones.
Now, imagine this scenario. Friends are
sitting around, talking about where to
take their next vacation. Everyone in
the discussion pulls out their tablet or
phone and someone grabs the laptop
that is already on the table. Ideas are
starting to flow and the group decides
to head to San Francisco for a long
weekend. The million dollar question:

where to stay? Nob Hill, North Beach or


the Mission District? So many choices,
where do I start? 57% of leisure travelers
and 64% of business travelers will start
the shopping and booking process with
search and then go from there.
Eventually this crowd converges on the
Mission District because of its nightlife,
cuisine and coolness. Now they need a
place to stay. Fingers are flying over the
keyboards. Jennifer, on the laptop, is the
first to come up with a great selection of
options and directs the rest of the group
to the website to continue shopping.
Uh, oh. Of the three hotel choices she
can clearly see on her device, two of
them are not optimized for mobile and
therefore Jessica and Rachel, who are
using their tablet and smartphone, cant
see the entire picture the way Jennifer
does. 61% of mobile users abandon nonmobile optimized websites. From here,
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The Power Of Social Media and Mobile

you can probably figure out the rest of the story.


Consumers expect to see great visuals, even on the smaller
screens of their smartphones and tablets because it helps them
imagine the experience they could have at your property.

watching movies on their tablets. This double-pronged solution


for the mobile traveler provides a good shopping experience
and gives their target audience an effective and impactful visual
presentation of the anticipated experience.

The mobile market is booming as travelers are turning to their


smartphones and tablets throughout the shopping journey. Mobile
traffic has grown 125% in the last year,24 and this growth is
expected to continue. This increase drives the need for your hotel
to create an optimized mobile website that offers an easy-to-use
shopping experience. Additionally, Googles 2014 research shows
that only 23% of those who have encountered a mobile site that
wasnt optimized actually pushed through. Thats a lot of money
left sitting on the table. Its time to ramp up your mobile marketing
strategies.
Savvy hotel marketer citizenM is totally mobile optimized for
hotel shoppers, but what is also notably clever is that they
accentuate the I get the mobile message in their marketing
strategy by showing their guests in a variety of situations using
their portable electronic devices; lying on the bed checking texts,
sitting in the lounge updating presentations on their laptops, and
citizenM Hotels

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The Power Of Social Media and Mobile

Make sure your hotel story is told on all the devices travel
shoppers use to search for travel by having smartphone and
tablet optimized websites that automatically reformat to fit the
users screen. Alternatively, you could create a single responsive
website using the same CSS files. You can also develop an
adaptive website using the same CSS, giving you the ability to
choose which content goes where (this comes in handy if you
want to create special offers unique to shoppers searching for
travel via their mobile devices).
To respond to the mobile trend, eCommerce marketers are
adopting responsive design implementations which automatically
render and function appropriately according to the device being
used. This may be more time consuming in development, but
ultimately gives the consumer the best experience as they travel
across screens and increasingly shop, book and interact with
your hotel throughout their day. The multi-device movement will
increase in the coming years. According to a Hudson Crossing
study, by 2018, 91% of travelers will own a smartphone and 89%
will own a tablet.25
Consumers are uber mobile pun intended. People on mobile
devices have a much shorter attention span compared to desktop

(or even tablet), so its important that videos be snackable and in


mobile-friendly formats.
According to HeBS, the majority of mobile bookings in 2014
are coming from the voice channel, so a key element of your
mobile website design should be a clearly visible call button.26
Also, embed a map of your location with easy to access contact
information.
How has the cross-device, multi-screen behavior impacted
hoteliers and what can they do to ensure that their hotel is
telling a consistent story across all devices?

We all know that customers are using multiple devices,


at different times and stages of inspiration, shopping and
booking. The trick is to 1. Be everywhere throughout
the process
and 2. Where
Adam Anderson
possible, make the
Director, Industry Relations transition between
screens easy for
Expedia
your shopper.
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The Power Of Social Media and Mobile

Whats the most important thing hotel marketers need to


know about mobile in 2015?

No matter how much focus youve given mobile to this


point, you can still do more. Data from Google suggests
that 100% of all the growth in search volume now comes
from mobile. More than half of all smartphone users sleep with
their devices, for fear of missing out on emails, calls, texts,
and Tweets. As a
result, mobile often
Tim Peter
represents the first
Digital Marketing Expert experience guests
will have with your
Tim Peter & Associates
property. And for
most hotels, that
mobile experience from discovery, research, and booking,
through on-property and loyalty has plenty of room for
improvement to attract and retain guests.

In 2014, mobile Internet usage for the first time exceeded


desktop usage! For me, mobile is and will be all about
the experience and conversion. Speed, easy navigation,
intuitive handling - not
available on your site?
You just lost me and
Daniel Zelling
potentially the majority
Founder, opensmile
of all the other guys out
there researching your
information via mobile.

Did You Know?


Only 23% of those who have encountered a mobile site that wasnt
optimized actually pushed through.

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Staybridge Suites Oakvilles mobileoptimized website provides the contact


information travel shoppers need, making
it easy for them to call with one click.
Imagery creates messages & stories that
are not lost in translation and instantly
inspires a reaction which is why theyre
such a natural fit on mobile devices.
Since there is less room for stuff on the
screen, and it has an immediate impact.
Say hello to the Silent Traveler.
These are consumers who dont
just use their mobile devices
to research and book hotels,
but they also turn to them first
to solve any problems they
encounter when they travel,
instead of getting in touch with
the hotels customer service
staff. These travelers are
predominately Millennials and
we know they love technology;
in fact, it practically defines
them.
Staybridge Suites Oakville

These guests are not waiting for hotels


to answer their questions or solve their
dilemmas theyre turning to mobile
and reaching out to hotels on social
media for information, possibly without
even contacting your hotel directly.
Theyre looking for highly personalized
experiences on-site and off they want
hotels to tell a unique story about the
type of experience theyll have when
they book their stay. Highlight features
that really appeal to this group like your

free smartphone and tablet chargers (for


both Android and iPhone). Of course,
your complimentary Wi-Fi is easy to
communicate with the right visuals and a
short caption.
This new Silent Mobile Traveler, as
documented recently by Skift, can be
summed up in just a few words: selfreliant but extremely mobile-dependent.
An optimized mobile experience makes
it super easy for travel
shoppers to learn about
your property and book
when the time is right.
Dont be swiped off the
consideration list because
of a bad or non-existent
experience. Good stories
arent told once, theyre
told over and over again,
so enable sharing via
email, texting and across
your most popular social
sites.
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Practical Takeaways: SoMo (Social + Mobile)


Making the most of SoMo can help you tell a better hotel story - and reach more travel shoppers, plus save you time and money by
repurposing the content you already have! Follow these ten tips to add SoMo to your hotel digital marketing strategy.

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
1. Include engaging rich visual media created by you, your staff
or your guests in your hotel story
2. Embed links to your social media channels prominently on
your website
3. Make both your visual content and the supporting text
descriptions snackable (short and sweet)
4. Encourage guests to share photos and videos during their
stay
5. Actively monitor and engage on social media

6. Make sure your visual content is optimized for mobile


(mobile-optimized visuals so travel shoppers dont need to
scroll through images on their mobile phones)46
7. Ask questions and include calls to action to boost interaction
and exposure47
8. Select hashtags that are relevant to your brand and
encourage guests to use them48
9. Make photos stand out by editing them using filters and
enhancers within social apps49
10. Reuse and publish content to multiple social networks50

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Chapter Five

2015 Predictions:

targeting

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Targeting

The web is moving to a very


personalized medium. More
and more, youre going to see
content tailored to your interests
its already happening on
social sites and across the web
(notice that ad for a shoe sale

pops up, just after youve visited


the shoe stores website), but
we predict it will continue to
evolve further as companies
learn to better personalize their
content to the right consumer
and this is especially true for
hotels.
To stand out in 2015,
hoteliers need to deliver
the message appropriately
for your market. To tell a
story that impacts your
ideal travel shoppers,
first you must understand
what stories resonate with
them. Millennials, business
travelers, leisure travelers
and event planners are all
The Four Seasons and Resort

searching for the right hotel property,


but their requirements are very different.
This type of targeting gets more
complicated as you expand this definition
to include the variety of growing travel
markets around the globe like Asia.
Understanding the characteristics,
preferences and behaviors of your ideal
audience, backed by reputable data, will
help you efficiently expand your reach.

Did You Know?


The web will continue to evolve further as
companies learn to better personalize their
content to the right consumer.

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Targeting

Getting In Bed With Millennials


The Millennial Generation (Gen Y) has grown up. Born between
1980 and the early 2000s, this generation is one of the largest
since the Baby Boom. According to ComScore, there are
79 million Millennials in the US. This
generation has now established itself in the
workforce, and they are traveling a lot for
work. Worldwide, business travelers age 30
and under are going on trips 4.7 times per
year and 30-45 year olds are only going 3.6
times per year.
There is a huge potential market to be
tapped, but the Millennials have a set of
expectations that are vastly different than
previous generations and understanding
them is crucial to telling visual stories that
resonate with them.

to guest reviews goes a long way with this crowd. Of the top
purchases Millennials wont complete without user generated
content, hotels rank #3 at 39%.27
The Gen Y-ers also love to compare prices across different sites
before purchasing online; in fact, on average they will check 10.2
sources before making a reservation.28
What this behavior is telling us is that
hotels should emphasize offering a unique
experience for a good price, if these are
your guests.
How much do Millennials love their
phones? Well, 80% of them sleep next
to these devices29 and they really, really
dislike a non-mobile friendly site, so you
wont be developing any relationships
here unless youre aligned with their digital
habits.

For starters, Millennials thrive on


authenticity, so giving them a clear path
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After You
Pinterest is worth more than $5,000,000,000 because its 70
million users are rich, female and like to spend. This is the
headline from Business Insider summing up what todays wellinformed marketer already knows: one of the most sought
after consumer targets, women, account for more than 85%
of all household purchases and in particular, 92% of vacation
decisions.30 Consider this as well: 47% of all women who travel
do so for business! In fact, the Clute Institute, a business journal
publication, found that females represent around 40% of all
business travel worldwide! Its time to take notice and focus these
powerful spenders in a more concentrated and effective way.
Women dont buy with the objective of collecting more things: they
want the experience to go along with it, which is why, as we look
to hospitality, combining the appropriate visual media along with
rich descriptive text to create a compelling story, makes all the
sense in the world.
Modern day marketing begins with the sellers story, i.e. your
hotels story, accomplished by using a blend of pictures and
narration, and, of course, the audience. In this case, were after
the female traveler, a.k.a., the travel decision maker, and they
want to be informed, entertained and inspired.

Consumers of both genders scan for information online so use


visual writing techniques like bolding, italics, bullets and short
paragraphs, making it easy for them to select your hotel based on
their requirements. Here are a couple of examples:
Caption: Peace & Quiet
Short Description: Dads got the
kiddos, now its Mommy time! Onsite
spas, pools and more

Caption: In the Hood


Short Description: Exit lobby. Turn
right, drugstore and coffee. Turn left,
quick lunch & adorable boutiques

When you deliver on these essentials the ladies will choose you
and your brand, and importantly, be loyal. Interestingly, women
are more likely to join loyalty programs and stick with the brands
that they most like, according to a new Skift report called The
Rise of Female Business Travelers.

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Targeting

Bleisures:
Theyre Smart, Not Trendy
A bleisure traveler is someone who is
carrying out both business and leisure
activities while on their trip.

Who wants to come back from vacation


with an overflowing email box, when for
15 minutes a day, I can swift through the
messages and quickly address the most
pressing or keep them moving along the
food chain. Re-entry is a whole lot easier.
Conversely, Im meeting
important clients on the
coast on Friday, so why
not take advantage of
the opportunity to extend
a day or two, and visit
friends or family or just
chill for the weekend. This
is the Bleisure traveler.
As the lines between
business and leisure
travelers blur, it presents
an opportunity for
hoteliers to ensure their
hotel story is appealing
Somerset Inn

to these new types of travelers, who are


becoming a bigger player in the travel
industry.
With mobile, its easier than ever for
vacationers to stay in-touch with their
work while on their trip. In fact, 37%
of managers expect their employees
to check email while on vacation and
43% of international travelers have
also admitted to taking their mobile
professional devices with them on
holidays or on weekend trips.31
As the number of travelers mixing
business and leisure continue to rise, it
presents fresh opportunities for hotels
to incorporate bleisure travelers in your
hotels visual story. Highlight features and
amenities that would resonate with them
most, and in turn expand your reach to a
broader audience.
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Targeting

Lets not forget about the lucrative Convention Business.


According to a recent report by Hotwire and Egencia, just under
half (49%) of convention go-ers (ages 35-44) will tack on leisure
time onto their work trip. This number increases to 56% when
we look at younger business travelers (ages 18-34). Keep them
at your property and in your city with cant refuse promotions
bookending the convention dates.
Pullman Hotels & Resorts, which has over 80 four and five star
properties around the world, targets the Bleisure traveler with their
Time for Pleasure by Pullman promotion, designed to encourage
business travelers to extend trips for leisure.

This year, we saw the blurring lines between business and


leisure travelers. How will these blurring lines affect the
way hotels market to specific target demographics?

It gets harder and harder to target some demographics


because they are so blurred, but in general the business
and leisure guests still want the same thing a great
experience. We will continue to focus on the experiences that
we offer as even a guest coming for a leisure trip can see the
benefits of a
Lyn Kienholz
great experience
from a corporate
Director of Sales
perspective.

Country Inn & Suites Chanhassen

Pullman Hotels & Resorts

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Love Thy Neighbors


Creating your local marketing storytelling strategy is vital to
attracting more customers by being a helpful and trusted resource
before, during and after their visit. Start by expanding your
definition of
local. Yes,
your out-oftowners want
information
about
neighborhood
restaurants,
coffee shops,
shopping and
attractions, but
dont stop there. Extend your reach to your community those
that walk or drive by your property each day. What story are you
telling them? Where do you start?
As the lodging industry grapples with Airbnb, TripAdvisor and
other locally oriented services, major hotel brands are increasingly
taking a back seat to the surrounding neighborhoods. Our facility
is no longer the destination, said one hotel executive. Now we
are a portal to the community around us.32

About half of travelers want to explore the local area while on a


business trip, according to a 2013 survey released by Millward
Brown. For business travelers, discovery now ranks higher than
escape or indulgence, per the survey.
Is there a lovely place for afternoon tea, or a mellow after
work piano bar in the area? Share these activity ideas with
your guests; theyll thank you for it by telling others about your
recommendations. Partner on promotions with local businesses
and stand out from your competition. It pays to be first in your
comp set to be a unique and helpful host. We see brands like
Red Lion Hotels offering distinctive settings and stimulating local
experiences, which cater to middle-America travelers.

Think about the activities


going around your hotel for
inspiration, the Hotel Galvez
showcases local events on
their hotels Facebook page.

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Practical Takeaways: Targeting

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
1. Identify the local demographics and map the details to your
ideal potential customer base: families, singles, old, young,
professional or tradesperson
2. Prepare a list of local businesses whose clients have the
same profile; target them for online cross-promotional
opportunities
3. Research your competitors. What are they doing to attract
locals? One-up them with more interesting posts and offers
and by making a deeper emotional connection using visuals
and captivating headlines
4. Develop a property website that emphasizes the value and
experiences you offer

5. Take advantage of destination sites and social sites like


Facebook and Instagram to target travelers.
6. Link to area business websites and blogs with photos and
anecdotes of a sporting event or celebration you hosted.
7. Promote special offers like half-price wine night in your
lounge along with weekend specials to attract the staycation
crowd
8. Double duty syndication with local CVBs + third party
channels. Locals also search across the web while planning
their staycation
9. Prepare for 2015s convention season by offering promotions
to keep visitors in your town and importantly at your property
before/after events

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Chapter Six

what the experts


are saying

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In 1938, Aldo Gucci said, The story and


experience is remembered long after price is
forgotten, and 76 years later, that adage still holds
true. Each day, as hotel staff walk through the
lobby & hallways, and back-of-the-house alcoves
and hideouts, they come across anecdotes told by
guests and fellow teammates.
Take these stories and stitch them together with the hard-wired
elements of your property like your clean and comfortable
breakfast area, lively sports bar or proximity to the theatre district.
Use the Lopez family reunion last fall as the backdrop to describe
the hotels ability to host and cater special occasions for large
groups. Perhaps you have the ideal location to mix business
with pleasure. Walk through the neighborhood, pretend youre
your own guest, and notice the little things like the park across
the street, a nearby subway station or dinner theatre. All of the
content ideas you need are right at your doorstep and inside your
building.

Most hotel marketers will readily say that things are changing so
rapidly, its hard to stay on top of it all. Keeping current will help
you focus on the actions that are right for you to make things
more manageable.
Attend a 45 minute educational webinar that promises practical
tips you can put into action, download an eBook and read a
section each morning with your coffee, take 60 seconds to read
that infographic that just arrived in your inbox. Of course, you
also have the support of your brand, management companies,
technology partners and industry associations at your disposal.
Todays travel consumer is in charge. They choose how and
when they will shop for hotels. They decide what device is most
convenient to conduct their research. They often prefer to solicit
input from strangers on social channels rather than taking the
brands word for it. The booking decision rests squarely on
their shoulders and their selection is based on how well we can
engage, inspire, and inform.
Lets prepare for a terrific 2015 together.

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What The Experts Have To Say

What are your top three hotel marketing predictions for 2015?

Expect to see more and better hotel blogs. Hotels are


understanding the value of quality content to drive
consumers to their websites, build SEO and increase direct
bookings. Websites should have an editorial space that can be
updated consistently.
User generated content continues to increase exponentially every
year and hotels should incorporate that as much as possible in all
brand communication platforms.
Event/experiential marketing is growing in usage, and its a great
way to engage consumers. Hotels should create on-property
experiences or partner with local events to create storytelling
marketing thats shareable.

Greg Oates
Travel Industry Editor
& Hotel Strategist

Were looking at trends like the importance of mobile for


shopping and booking. In terms of functionality and UI,
at Expedia we are firm believers in the A/B test. We try
something out,
compare it to the
Adam Anderson
status quo and
Director, Industry Relations consumer behavior
then dictates our
Expedia
decision.

Social media analytics & campaigns will play a bigger


role in 2015. So far, most hospitality businesses focus on
Facebook media campaigns and statistics (if any), but
now with the new reporting and campaigns provided by Twitter,
Pinterest and Instagram (partly in the U.S. only) there are new
ways to test what works for your business specifically. In 2015,
we should see a bigger split on where different businesses
concentrate their
marketing efforts
depending on their
Daniel Zelling
customer base,
Founder, opensmjle
location, property
type and story.
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What The Experts Have To Say

What are your top three hotel


marketing predictions for 2015?

Multi-screen booking Proactive


hoteliers must place emphasis on
the seamless integration of the
multi-screen booking trend that is currently
taking place. I predict an increased
integration of user generated content
across all touch points. Finally, hoteliers
should pay close attention to Google over
the next couple of months. Meta-search
will of course continue to play a pivotal
role in how potential guests search out
and book their accommodations.

Mark Hayward
Former Hotelier
& Digital Marketer

Mobile-first Is Mandatory
Responsive Design and mobileoptimized websites are now a
necessity for most hoteliers. Of particular
focus will be providing a rich, branded
experience, complete with quality imagery
and multimedia. Travelers now expect
the same experience on a phone as they
do on a desktop and they are currently
disappointed that will change.
Rate Parity Gets Undermined
Hoteliers have relied on rate parity as a
foundational element, not only in their
customer value proposition but in their
revenue management strategies and in
simplifying their distribution processes.
The ability to provide discounted rates
on password protected sites has been
around for years, but was the exception,
now it will become the norm. With every
major entity online possessing profiles
of its users (Google, Facebook, Apple,

Microsoft, Amazon, etc.) a practice that


allowed tactical rates to target small, welldefined constituencies may become an
expectation of the mainstream traveler.
Customization & Personalization
Enable unique online and in-destination
experiences.

Robert Cole
Founder, RockCheetah

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What The Experts Have To Say

What are your top three


hotel marketing predictions
for 2015?

Well see an increased


focus on the profitability
of marketing activities.
Now that RevPAR is growing,
its time to focus not just on
filling rooms, but on whether
youre filling those rooms
profitably.
Google, Facebook, and
at least some OTAs will
introduce new products
to capitalize on this profitfocused approach. Google

is rumored to be working on
a captive demand platform
to funnel more hotel activity
within paid search, and away
from OTAs and meta search.
Pricelines acquisitions of
Buuteeq, Hotel Ninjas, and
OpenTable show a desire
to get deeper in the hotel
value chain, and its success
will depend entirely on how
profitably hotels can adopt its
platforms.

Finally, hotel companies


that help their guests
manage discovery, research,
booking, and loyalty across
all channels web,
mobile, social, voice
Tim Peter
stand to win in
Digital Marketing Expert
what looks to be a
sellers market for the
Tim Peter & Associates
coming year.

In 2015 I anticipate
brands embracing
user-generated
content on larger scales
and incorporating UGC
more significantly into their
corporate image. The brands
that empower their marketing
departments as mini digital
media production houses
and engage professional
content creators, influencers
and tastemakers will create
the biggest buzz, get the
most eyeballs and position
themselves on the cutting
edge of online marketing.

Joshua Johnson
Freelance Digital
Media Producer

The web is about to get a


whole lot more visual. 4K
capable screens have arrived
and will be the norm as
time passes. I anticipate VR
technology, such as Oculus,
to graduate from video games
and begin to play a major role
in how we consume media
and navigate the web. The
future is very, very visual.
More so than you or I can
imagine.
The time for thinking creatively
about communication and
boldly crafting compelling
visual stories is now so
that when the tech of the
near future comes roaring
into the room, you are
ready to embrace the
possibilities and innovate
your message.
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What The Experts Have To Say

What is the biggest opportunity you


see for hoteliers at the property level in
2015?

The biggest opportunities I would


say are maximizing rates limited
the faded rate that all hotels tend
to do. Furthermore, for hotel renovating,
a big opportunity is to create more
usable public space so that guests are
not locked in their guest rooms. Lastly,
mobile advertising and rich media. Making
sure that your presence on the mobile
platform is efficient will also help capture
more business from both corporate and
leisure travelers.

Rupesh Patel
President & COO
Zenique Hotels

What are your top three hotel


marketing predictions for 2015?

Reality Marketing. The era of


fairytale descriptions and fantasy
photography is giving way to reality
marketing. Travelers want to know exactly
what to expect, and if theyre misled,
theyll share their disappointment on
social networks, damaging the hotels
reputation. When hotels manage the
guest experience with precision by setting
realistic expectations through sales and
marketing imagery and messaging and
training and empowering staff to meet and
exceed expectations, their guests will do
the marketing for them.
Integration of user-generated content with
brand marketing content. Increasingly,
weve been seeing user-generated content
integrated on brand websites in the form
of social feeds, review widgets and share

buttons. The next wave is the integration


of visual user-generated content, as
Starwood and 1888 Hotel Sydney have
done with Instagram integration.
Lots more video. As video technology
evolves, well see even more of it on
social networks and brand websites. More
than any other medium, video tells the
real story. Stay tuned for video that can be
fast-forwarded and searched by keyword,
video view counts on Facebook, and the
next big craze: video selfies.

Daniel E. Craig
Founder, Reknown

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What The Experts Have To Say

What are your top three digital


marketing goals for 2015?

In general, to have more of


a presence on social media,
Facebook specifically (plan out
my schedule better & utilize Revinate to
plan out the social media). 2. To update
photos & look for ways to be creative in
our photography. 3. Research brands from
all over the world and find photographs
that speak to me as different, engaging,
etc. and look for ways to incorporate those
types of photos on our site.

Lyn Kienholz
Director of Sales
Country Inn & Suites,
Chanhassen

Our three goals in a broad sense


are mobile presence, social media,
and online reviews. We are
looking to enhance each of our hotels
mobile presence with mobile sites and
other mobile features that will make the
guests experience more tech-friendly. For
social media, we are running in-house
campaigns to encourage guests to follow/
like our social pages. With a growing
follower base, we will start offering
discounts exclusively to each social
site. For online reviews, we again will be
continuing to encourage guests to write
reviews. We have also been responding
to all reviews on a few sites (positive and
negative).

Our digital marketing goals for 2015


are:

1. Multi-channel communications: linking


messages to make the booking
process easy, consistency in look and
feel of all channel communications.
2. Increase reach: piggyback destination
#hashtag promotions
3. Continue to improve e-newsletters
and ensure theyre mobile and tablet
optimized.

Elizabeth Vance
Director of Sales & Marketing
Stella Maris Resort Club

Rupesh Patel
President & COO
Zenique Hotels
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What The Experts Have To Say

What are your top three digital marketing goals for 2015?

What should hoteliers focus on as they move into 2015?

2015 is about relevant content and one-to-one marketing.


In 2015 we should try to find out who this customer really is
and how he/she behaves at that moment (intent). Knowing
this we can help make the next step easier and make it a joyful
journey. Our target for 2015 is:
1. Have a fully integrated/automated system in the entire customer
journey.
2. Make better use of the social power/value of each customer
3. Be able to predict a website users next step and automate
content/visuals based on that and learn from it.

Lennert de Jong
Commercial Director
CitizenM Hotels

With all the OTAs, meta-search engines and social media


sites, hoteliers tend to forget their main online business
asset: their own website! We see huge efforts to keep
up with all those other
networks and platforms,
but at the same time their
Daniel Zelling
own website still is not
Founder, opensmjle
mobile optimized, has
old content or not even a
booking engine in place.

Consistent and more varied content delivery across all


channels. Understanding the Millennial traveler. Creating
deeper connections among the hotel, consumers and local
community.

Greg Oates
Travel Industry Editor &
Hotel Strategist
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What The Experts Have To Say

What should hoteliers focus on as they move into 2015?

Part of me just wants to say mobile, mobile, and mobile.


Mobile is becoming the first impression guests have your
property.

Of course, no matter
how important it may
Tim Peter
be, mobile isnt the
Digital Marketing Expert
only area you should
focus on. Youve also
Tim Peter & Associates
got to increase and
improve your teams use of guest data and analytics. This isnt
about Big Data. Its about Meaningful Data. Use your data to
more effectively target customers in email marketing campaigns.
Monitor social media chatter to uncover key areas for improvement
in your propertys operations and marketing. No one should be
able to know more about whats important to your guests than you.
And that knowledge provides you a distinct competitive advantage
over other properties in your market, and over OTAs as well.

information at hand who work to gain a deeper understanding of


your guests behavior can make all the difference in the world.
That will help ensure that your property remains competitive.
How can hoteliers reach travel shoppers on multiple screens,
across multiple devices?

Tag everything Every customer touch point should be


tracked like it was a campaign. Even links off of social
media should have tags to identify the source & nature
of the action. Establish cross-domain tracking through universal
analytics and associate the universal IDs with customer profiles.
Finally, try A/B testing people vote with their behavior. Use
a robust testing platform that can handle multivariate tests to
figure out what works best and continually refine the offers and
processes to improve
conversion, maximize
Robert Cole
consumer value and
Founder
build customer lifetime
value.
RockCheetah

Finally, but most importantly, now is the time to invest in your team.
Having people who know how to use and apply the tools and
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What The Experts Have To Say

What hotel marketing trend are


hoteliers not spending enough time
and resources on?

Due to the often short-sighted


nature of considering time and
resources as expenses vs.
investments, the following are what are
too often being neglected and/or ignored:
uu Current photography (budget)
uu Social media (human resources +
budget)

Monica Rafter
Owner
Write On Marketing

Social Media. Being able to


interactively engage with guests
and potential guests through social
networks has been more of a challenge
especially due to the 24-hour nature
of both hotels and social networks.
Measuring ROI has been difficult. The
simple things, like including campaign
tags on links posted to Twitter, Facebook
or Pinterest, are still not very common.
Hoteliers need to be smart pick the
social networks where potential guests are
active, contribute to those communities
in a manner that helps the guests have
better trips. The relevant relationships
need to be established before bookings,
referrals and ancillary sales will start
flowing.

Hotels must spend more time


Googling themselves. Seriously.
The best way to stay on top of the
latest trends, tools and channels is to
audit your online presence regularly. Put
yourself in the shoes of the travel shopper
and search your brand name, your hotel
type and your top three competitors.
Then do the same for three hotels whose
marketing you admire. Dig deep, and
make a list of things you want to change
to enhance your online presence. Then
work through that list one item at a time.

Daniel E. Craig
Founder, Reknown

Robert Cole
Founder, RockCheetah
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What The Experts Have To Say

What hotel marketing trend surprised


you in 2014?

A continued surprising (and not-ina-good way) occurrence has been


the ongoing lack of understanding/
acceptance by many hotel owners,
property-level managers and, to a
lesser degree, brands - regarding these
three social media components: online
reputation management, overall online
monitoring and engagement, development
and use of current, professional imagery
across all platforms.

Monica Rafter
Owner
Write On Marketing

The web is becoming more and more


visual as technology continues to
evolve. How do you see this evolving in
2015 and what should hotel marketers
be doing in order to stay ahead of the
curve?

To optimize their online presence,


hotels now need three types of
imagery: a portfolio of professional
imagery to showcase products and
services; a steady stream of social
imagery to keep social networks alive; and
traveler-generated imagery to leverage
the most powerful form of marketing:
consumer-to-consumer sharing on social
networks.

to place themselves into the story too by


encouraging guests to take selfies onsite
and to tag them with the hotels name.
Where is the selfie space in your hotel?

Daniel E. Craig
Founder, Reknown

One of the biggest trends in usergenerated content is selfies. They


are wildly popular because they allow
travelers to place themselves into the
visual story. Hotels have the opportunity
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What The Experts Have To Say

What are your top three hotel


marketing predictions for 2015?

1. More mobile bookings: With


bigger phones and consumers
being comfortable using their
phones, they will book more hotel stays on
their phones. 2. More research via mobile:
Consumers are spending more time
looking up ratings and reviews, looking
for discounts than even before. And they
claim to be expecting that this will go up
in next 6 months. 3. Re-Targeting: Hotels
can leverage location and multi-platform
re-targeting to drive conversions and
more bookings. There are more options
available to them than ever before.

Jed Schneiderman
Co-Founder & President
Tapped Mobile

What are your top three digital


marketing goals for 2015 and how will
you reach those goals?

Better engagement on the web


through our website, social media
and blogs. Well reach our goals by
redesigning sites as needed to better suit
our travel shoppers ever changing needs.
We place greater and greater importance
on good visuals. We would like to get
our hotel staff more involved in social encouraging our GMs to post fun pictures
of staff events and things going on in
the area to entice more travel shoppers
to come stay. If you see that the staff is
having a good time working - wouldnt it
make you want to stay as well?

Kristi Hawkins
Assistant E-Commerce
Manager, Naman Hotels

How can hotels stand out from the


competition on multiple travel channels
in 2015?

Content! To go along with rate and


availability, engaging descriptions,
enticing visual content and user
reviews should be the focus for 2015.
Personalization of content is then going
to be the next frontier. We should see
good progress in content personalization
on hotel direct channels in 2015 but to
make this a successful strategy, extending
this to indirect channels, or third party
intermediaries, will be vital for longer term
success.

Paolo Torchio
Vice President, Product
Management and
Consulting, Sabre
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What The Experts Have To Say

What opportunity will the rise of SoMo (social media and


mobile) present to hoteliers to help them reach travel
shoppers?

When you consider todays mobile conscious traveler, it


is truly an exciting time to be in the hospitality industry.
The rise of SoMo presents tremendous opportunities for
hoteliers to reach travel shoppers. With the power of the mobile
device, anyone can now be a publishing company, as everyone
now has the ability to create a never-ending stream of content
and upload it immediately to share with the world. Whether its
Facebook, Twitter, or other social platform(s), hoteliers can best
use SoMo as part of their comprehensive visual storytelling
strategy. This will assist in building trust, familiarity, and likeability
amongst those who are
considering a stay or will
Mark Hayward
help to develop stronger
Former Hotelier
brand loyalty with current
and former guests.
& Digital Marketer

We know that guests dont lock themselves in their rooms


after check-in. They care about whats in and around your
property. How do you craft and tell that local story?

Todays travelers are true explorers they want to discover


new places, meet local people, and have an authentic
experience, so telling the local story can set your property
apart. Ten years ago, we probably couldnt have convinced people
to open up their homes to strangers but thats the new reality today
because this community marketplace is giving travelers a new
win-win reality: they get
Chip Conley
to discover and have an
experience, rather than
Head of Global
just a vacation.

Hospitality & Strategy


Airbnb

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About Leonardo
Leonardo is a technology and online media company for the global hospitality industry. We
provide e-marketers at hotel brands, management companies and hotel properties with technology,
sales conversion tools and a global travel media network that enables them to better visually
merchandise their hotels to millions of in-market travel shoppers monthly.
Our core products, the VScape Digital Asset Management System and VBrochure Online
Merchandising System, leverage the VNetwork - the largest media syndication network in the
industry. It includes all major search engines, Global Distribution Systems, online travel agencies,
travel research and supplier websites, search portals, review, travel editorial, local directories and
major social media and video sharing sites.
Taking advantage of VBrochures mobile and social media platforms, hotels can ensure that their
rich visual presentations reach consumers on their mobile devices and through their social graphs.
For more information about Leonardo, visit www.leonardo.com.

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