Metasearch, multi-modal and big data – that’s what’s been discussed at today’s PhoCusWright@ITB convention.
Our digital world is growing more and more complex and the above topics illustrate attempts for simplification. A lot of thought is being put into making the customer journey easier – personalisation is the goal but how to acquire, structure and interpret big data?
One challenge for the travel sector is the great variety of peoples’ travel intentions, be it for business or leisure. Travel intentions can even depend on destination. For example, a person may be wanting to gamble while in Las Vegas although they have never done this anywhere else before.
So, how do you profile a traveler with so many factors playing a role? Perhaps through prediction?
Moreover, people travel less often than they purchase consumer goods. This may explain the travel sector lagging behind while retailers such as Amazon have been driving sales through personalized product recommendations for some time already. After all, personalization is not only about delivering the right search results but also about inspiration.
Multi-modal is a European phenomenon, describing a journey from A to B using various modes of transport at once e.g. flight, coach, taxi, train. Again, the challenge is to accommodate everything that’s on offer and making sensible suggestions to the customer who can book the entire trip on one website online.
Metasearch has been around for a while but seems to be taking really off now as the figures in the photo below show. According to studies, the customer does not want to check as many websites anymore before booking and metasearch exactly fulfills this proposition. But metasearch needs to be comprehensive and include brands and individual hotels as well as OTAs. The challenge here, working with third-party booking engine providers for direct bookings, says Malte Siewert, Managing Director of Trivago.
For me the question remains, can these challenges be overcome with technology and how? Or will the customer eventually fall back onto personalization via human interaction?
Mexico is the official partner country at ITB Berlin 2014 and so the opening ceremony was dominated by Mexican music and dancing in between speeches made by Sigmar Gabriel – Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Energy, Dr. Michael Frenzel – President of the German Tourism Industry Federation and Taleb Rifai – Secretary-General of the World Tourism Organization who emphasized that “Tourism is an interactive experience”. H.E. Claudia Ruiz Massieu Salinas – Minister of Tourism Mexico invited everyone to visit her beautiful country and attendees of the ceremony to sample Mexican delicacies as well as the famous Tequila as part of the Mexico – LIVE IT TO BELIEVE IT campaign.
Hotel exterior and panorama view over Monument Valley
The View Hotel is settled on the plateau just next to the entrance to Monument Valley and has stunning views from all rooms. It’s absolutely fantastic to see the sun go down until it is pitch black and wake up to a truly unique sunset.
One of the most memorable hotel experiences ever!
Instagram launched in October 2010. After 2 months, its community was already 1 Million strong. Since then the usage and spread of Instagram has been on the rise and the photo-sharing social media platform has become a major player.
When media started to declare Facebook’s ‘death’ among the younger generation in 2013, Instagram has been named as one of the services taking over.
Now, even though Facebook’s decline may not be as dramatic as we were made to believe, Instagram is a platform to be seriously considered for the hotel online marketing mix.
Instagram currently has:
- 150 Million monthly active users
- more than 60% os users are outside of the U.S.
- 16 Billion photos are shared in total
- 1.2 Billion Likes and 55 Million photos are shared every day
source: Instagram Press Page
“Now is the time for hotels to add Instagram to their social media priority list. Investing time into building an account with compelling visuals of your property and genuine interactions with other users will pay off later as thousands more potential guests join the rapidly growing platform.” says Taylor Short, who writes hotel management product guides for Software Advice.
Instagram’s emphasis on visual messages is perfect for hoteliers wanting to highlight the unique selling points of their properties. Given that 71% of social media users are more likely to purchase from a brand they follow online (source: AllTwitter), attracting new followers with Instagram should result in more bookings.
But simply posting pictures won’t do the trick! In the U.S., hotels are experimenting with ways of sharing photos and promoting specially organized Instagram events.
Organise InstaMeets to Show off Your Hotel
Such events are called InstaMeets and a great way for hotels to schedule events and invite regular Instagram users. For even greater exposure, invite influential local media representatives and bloggers who promote your hotel among their followers.
Taylor Short: “Instagram campaigns for hotels should be proactive in order to attract the most attention to your account and hotel. Invite local influencers who have a strong following for an Instameet, and make sure the campaign’s hashtags and your hotel’s Instagram handle are distributed to everyone.”
For example, the Four Seasons Hotel Miami invited 14 influential attendees, including local food bloggers and reporters, via email to the “The Summer of Ice Cream Love Instameet”. Posters near the hotel restaurant reminded guests of the the Instagram handle, @fsmiami, and the hashtag for the event, #IceCreamLove. Moreover, cards with the hashtags as well as the hotel’s WiFi password were handed out so they could easily get online. The campaign resulted in 75 new followers for the account (and hundreds of “likes”).
You can also use the popularity of a big event to get your campaign and hotel in front of many more potential followers. Hosting public viewings of large sporting events, for instance, and encouraging attendees to post photos, could boost your follower base and expose your property to a whole new world of potential guests.
Use the opportunity to promote special offers or amenities when posting about events on Instagram.
Host a Contest to Make People Talk about Your Hotel
Another way that’s already been tried and tested in the U.S. is hosting contests. It’s important, though to take the contest outside your local area to your potential guests. Encourage them to post photos on a certain topic in order to win a free stay.
The Boca Raton Resort, Florida, took a pink truck for a spin around New York to promote a “Snap the Truck” contest. The truck stopped at several high-traffic locations in Manhattan and encouraged people to post an Instagram photo along with the campaign hashtags for a chance to win a 5-night trip. At the same time, pink sunglasses were distributed to represent the resort which had the hashtags and Instagram handle printed on them as well. The campaign was a major factor in nearly tripling the resort’s follower base.
Use Unique Content and be Authentic
While the strategy of campaigns needs to be carefully thought out and executed, the success comes with carefully selected content that guests find both appealing and authentic.
“Remember that Instagram is a visual medium, so hotels can get creative in using objects for campaigns that inspire photography. …” is Taylor Short’s advice.
Do you know of more examples for hotel Instagram campaigns?
We’d be delighted to find out!
Lobby of Hotel Adlon Kempinski Berlin
Hotel Adlon has a turbulent history and is one of the most luxurious and famous hotels in Germany. In fact, the very building did not exist for a few years – having been torn down by East Germany’s government it was rebuilt from scratch after reunification.
The hotel’s and it’s founder-family’s story has been turned into a movie which was shown on German TV at the beginning of 2013: www.zdf.de