In our 2019 Report on Travel Advertising for Hotel Marketers, we surveyed more than 300 hotel marketers around the world to better understand the challenges and successes they face in navigating the complex, and ever-changing, travel advertising landscape.
Here are some of the key trends we observed:
Trend #1: Facebook and Instagram for Brand Awareness and Direct Response
Social media is the most effective digital channel across all hotel segments for establishing brand presence and keeping a brand top of mind for potential guests.
This social-media-first branding strategy was reflected in all hotel segments, from international luxury hotel chains (79%) to hotel groups (73%) to independent hotels (52%). The percentage of marketers identifying Facebook and Instagram specifically as strong brand drivers was almost identical, ranging from 75% for international luxury chains to 52% for independents.
When asked about the effectiveness of digital advertising for direct response, the rankings differed slightly.
Facebook and Instagram were the top social channels identified for direct response, but notably, independent properties expressed almost equal enthusiasm for paid search (36%) as for Facebook and Instagram (38%). Enthusiasm for paid search was in fact almost equal across all hotel segments (ranging from 34% to 39%), with the sole exception of homeshares, which saw less traction with paid search at 21%.
Trend #2: Digital Video Ads Stay Steady
International luxury hotel chains in particular are utilizing Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and mobile video ads in large numbers (a whopping 71% in this sector utilize YouTube). International mid-tier chains and hotel groups also place video ads across most major social video outlets. Among smaller advertisers, video usage is less prevalent, perhaps because of the increased cost of high-quality video production. Only 29% of homeshares reported using Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or other sites and networks to place video ads. Across the board, the lowest overall usage was seen in connected television (CTV). Video ads took up only 8% of overall hotel marketing budgets in 2018, however, video usage should increase in the coming years, especially as less expensive, higher-quality equipment continues to become more available.
Trend #3: Data-Driven Strategies Are Key for Success
Using travel data and technology to deliver the right message at the right time, regardless of channel or device, is top of mind for travel marketers. Hotel marketers can understand today’s travelers and utilize the best channels for connecting through the use of data.
The top three reasons travel marketers leverage and activate data include:
- The ability to target travelers based on intent and/or where they are in the path to purchase
- Better visibility into traveler behavior across websites and apps
- Understanding where travelers are won or lost across the path to purchase
“The most successful travel brands today are grounding their digital marketing strategy in the world of data, technology, and data-driven insights. Taking this approach has a wide variety of benefits, including a deeper understanding of their customers, smarter media allocation, better campaign targeting, retargeting, and optimization, better overall performance on campaigns, and more efficient use of digital advertising budgets.” – Kurt Weinsheimer, Chief Solutions Officer, Sojern
Data has the ability to offer very effective insights into traveler behavior, path to purchase friction, and methods for making the hotel booking experience convenient, optimally-timed, and informative.
Looking for more detail on the key challenges hotel marketers face, how they’re allocating advertising budget across channels, where they are finding success, and what technologies may impact the future of marketing?
Download our full 2019 Report on Travel Advertising for Hotel Marketers today.