Data Strategy

Six Ways to Keep Your Tourism and Hospitality Digital Marketing Strategy Flying High

November 17, 2021

How can you tailor and optimize your digital marketing strategy for the changing tourism and hospitality industry?

Covid-19 has permanently changed consumer behavior across verticals, and one of the industries that continues to evolve rapidly is tourism and hospitality. While a number of trends had already made inroads into shaping change, including the “experience” economy, the rise of the digital nomad, digital-first experiences, and sweeping personalization, Covid has changed everything, from the availability of hospitality employees to the willingness and ability of people to travel and enjoy hospitality as freely as they once did.

While the challenges are very real, this moment is also an opportunity to interact with customers and prospects directly, gaining more precise and accurate real-time insight into what they want at an individual level. As digital marketing specialists, companies turn to us with specific questions about adapting to the constantly changing tourism and hospitality industry, wondering how to gather and use the most up-to-date data to attract, convert, and retain customers, drive revenue, and establish lasting connections with customers throughout their journey. In fact, you can hear from us about all of this through our free webinar.

We’ve responded with insight into shifting tourism and hospitality marketing into more responsive digital marketing to weather the uncertainty the industry faces, to use data to tap into the current, and changing, trends, and create better digital experiences for users overall.

and hospitality marketing into more responsive digital marketing

Mapping the current tourism and hospitality landscape

Before Covid-19, the global travel, tourism and hospitality industry was on a near unstoppable growth trajectory, growing at 5% a year according to a BCG/Google travel study. The pandemic immediately halted this growth, cutting air travel, hotel stays, trips to restaurants, and, almost as immediately, jobs across the industry.

and hospitality marketing into more responsive digital marketing

Looking at the big picture

The BCG and Google travel study highlighted a big-picture approach to examining more holistic considerations for the travel and hospitality sector. While the study focused on travel, the principles are applicable more broadly to the entire hospitality industry: 

  • Reassess offerings and value propositions using data about preferences, needs, concerns and rules
  • Reassure consumers about safety and health concerns
  • Raise awareness 
  • Remove barriers to conversion
  • Revive spend

With these guiding principles, it’s possible to start asking the right questions about more specific trends and how to build your digital marketing strategy most effectively and responsively.

and hospitality marketing into more responsive digital marketing

1. Using data to understand shifting tourism and hospitality trends

While the immediate effects on tourism and hospitality performance have been negative, signs of recovery have reappeared in ever-larger pockets. The first step toward reaching and capturing customer attention is to understand in real time what the shifts and trends indicate. For example, in the absence of business as usual, customer preferences and behaviors have changed, according to EHL Insights, which claims the following as examples of countless trends that have resulted from the pandemic:

  • Staycations: What better place to vacation than at home? 
  • Fully digital and contactless guest experiences: Not having to interact with and contact other people became essential during pandemic conditions
  • Automation and technology: Making the fully digital experience possible, automation and other technologies work together
  • Personalization: Using similar technologies and data, relevant and personalized experiences have become increasingly important to consumers and have considerable influence on their behaviors

and hospitality marketing into more responsive digital marketing

How do we know the specifics about the changing habits and preferences of consumers? In part, it’s the data we collect and analyze about what they do. And part of it is how people respond to our digital marketing efforts and the insight we can glean from the analytics these campaigns generate. 

While some part of reviving the tourism and hospitality industry will be out of your control, a good part of it will be about restoring consumer confidence, which you can do by communicating with them where and when they want to engage. Data will help you find out how to do that, and some of the key ways to stand out will emerge through your digital marketing efforts. 

and hospitality marketing into more responsive digital marketing

2. Play to your strengths

As tourism and hospitality recover, one of the best ways to differentiate your offer is to play to your strengths and prioritize value over volume. That is, you need to know your value proposition and whether or not it has changed in the new normal. Shape your digital marketing initiatives accordingly.

and hospitality marketing into more responsive digital marketing

3. Be insights-driven

What does your typical customer look like, and how has that changed in the last two years? What does the customer journey look like, and can you help to shape it to help recover business or forge new business? Capturing intelligence to make your business responsive and insights-driven is one of the only ways to build a complete digital marketing strategy and be responsive enough to change easily in order to achieve greater effectiveness and better results.

and hospitality marketing into more responsive digital marketing

4. Bet on your brand

Brand is a big driver in the tourism and hospitality industry, whether because of name recognition alone or brand loyalty and points programs, such as with airlines, hotels or hospitality outlets. Aligning your brand and its values with your marketing can be a winning strategy as more consumers begin to, for example, demand that companies become more socially responsible, or embrace sustainability as a core priority. These are both brand values and differentiators that may make a difference.

and hospitality marketing into more responsive digital marketing

5. Create real and personal experiences

Restarting the travel and hospitality engine is going to require a complete reset. Customer expectations are flying the plane, so to speak, and this is going to become truer as capacity becomes stretched (having atrophied at the peak of Covid). How can companies deliver these experiences? In part, it will rely on personalization. Luckily, most companies have existing customer data and can collect more first-party data to strategize around data-driven marketing.

and hospitality marketing into more responsive digital marketing

6. Find your way to tourism and hospitality marketing success

Tourism and hospitality has always been a challenging sector, full of competition and a need to stand out in a crowded field for consumers who have exacting demands for exceptional experiences. 

Now it’s more complex and mercurial than ever. We can help. Join us for a free webinar to learn about getting your digital marketing strategy fighting fit and ready for anything as the industry changes at Mach speed. Match changing customer behaviors measure for measure, and attract, convert and retain customers as you continue to build revenue and relationships.

and hospitality marketing into more responsive digital marketing