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Redefined marketing trends bring out version 2.0 of the Hospitality Industry

The hotel marketing trends for 2021 reflect that the hospitality business underwent significant changes last year. As a result, it’s easier to foresee what customers want in some aspects, starting with wellness, safety, and peace of mind. Meanwhile, social development has established new criteria for hospitality businesses, owing to shifting values in the aftermath of the pandemic’s most intense period and role to greater customer awareness of all things ecological and meaningful.

What is Hotel Marketing, and why is it so important?

Hotel marketing is an umbrella phrase that refers to the many marketing strategies and approaches hotels use to promote their business and leave a favourable impression on guests. It all comes down to making a hotel as appealing as possible to attract as many visitors as feasible. Hotel marketing takes place online and in-person in the digital age. Therefore, hotel businesses must maximize their visibility through website traffic, social media, email, and a range of other platforms.

Competition is one of the most significant issues that every hotel face in the hospitality industry. Hotel marketing is critical since it allows hotels to promote their properties, emphasize their distinctive qualities, set themselves apart from competitors, and define the benefits of being there. Staying updated with hotel marketing trends and engaging customers through marketing can assist hoteliers in increasing the number of bookings and income they earn.

For the hospitality industry, 2020 was a year unlike any other. While the downturn has substantially impacted the sector, it has also provided hoteliers with the opportunity to rethink and reset their sales and marketing strategy for 2021. The top ten hotel trends to watch in 2021 are as follows:

#1 – Staycations

Travel restrictions in 2020 have encouraged the rise of staycation. Some tourists prefer to stay closer to home for environmental or financial reasons, with a significant increase in holidays spent closer to home this year.

#2 – Digitalized guest experiences & Contactless Technology

Apps, in particular, are becoming increasingly crucial in how hoteliers manage the services they provide to their consumers, and they now influence many areas of the guest cycle and experience. In 2020, the trend toward digital and contactless services was expected to acquire even more traction. , The traditional customer-facing services are redesigned due to the increased usage of technology-assisted choices such as smartphone check-in, contactless payments, voice control, and biometrics. In addition, consumers who have grown accustomed to using facial and fingerprint recognition to open their smartphones and laptops will soon expect the same convenience in their hotel rooms, according to experts. However, these modifications may be costly to instal and maintain for the companies that want to accept them.

#3 – Personalization

Guests today have come to expect to be acknowledged and treated as individuals. While platforms like Mailchimp and Zoho have made customized email marketing accessible to the people, providing highly targeted audience-specific messaging, establishments go the extra mile to greet their guests personally. In addition, data provides insight into past purchase behaviours, allowing hotels to customize offers and promotions and automatically offer similar services to previous stays, much beyond merely adding the customer’s name to email pleasantries.

#4 – Experience economy & essentialism 

Customers expect tremendous personalization and one-of-a-kind experiences, among other things. This could lead to the demise of the travel agency and the growth of the self-guided traveller. 

There is such a thing as travel guilt. Minimalism has breathed new life into the tired adage “less is more.” As a result, travellers are less interested in displaying their money and prefer to spend carefully, meaningfully, and have a beneficial impact on the globe. As a result, niche properties, adventurous vacations, and relaxation retreats are in high demand, as unique experiences give back to local communities in meaningful ways.

#5 – New Hospitality skills & asset management

The asset-light strategy has gained popularity in the industry. The separation of operations and real-estate assets now allows hospitality organizations to concentrate on their primary business, increasing efficiency. 

However, it adds to the complexity and possibility for agency issues, which explains the creation of new types of employment like asset managers.

In addition, as the hospitality business has become more complicated, new job profiles have evolved. Simultaneously, the demand for quantitative skills (for forecasting, budgeting, and so on) has grown.

#6 – Solo Travelers

Many people have embraced the meditative advantages of spending time alone and venturing into the big wide world unafraid, mingling and finding acquaintances to whatever degree suits them in the age of mindfulness. As a result, barriers between hotel personnel and visitors are being removed, interior design decisions made to suggest a sense of homeliness, and an informal atmosphere fostered to help solo travellers feel at ease. This, combined with a less pronounced distinction between guests and locals, promotes a sense of hotel community.

#7 – Generations X and Y

In comparison to previous generations, these new generations have different requirements and needs. Hotels and automobile rentals come to mind for older generations. Airbnb and Uber come to mind for younger generations.

#8 – Sustainability

A modern hospitality trend has been a hallmark in recent years: “sustainability.” More far-reaching ethical and environmental considerations impact decisions made at the hotel management level, as a logical extension of avoiding disposable plastics, eliminating excessive paper consumption due to opt-in receipts, and decreasing food waste. When decisions concerning simple things like which towel rails to place during renovations are made at scale, they have huge ramifications. Replace small toiletries with larger, locally sourced dispensers, use ethically created bedsheets made from organic materials, and reduce energy consumption with smart bulbs, among other simple eco-friendly changes. Vegan and vegetarian choices have well-known environmental benefits. Environmental and social issues are becoming increasingly important to people.

#9 – Virtual & augmented reality 

Following the trend toward aesthetically appealing material, it seems only natural that businesses in the hospitality industry would want to capitalize on features like virtual tours, which allow customers to imagine themselves in a digital environment.

Videos of restaurant ambience, beautiful tiny café terraces surrounded by flora, or beachfront hotel sites, for example, are the ticket to make a business stand out this year.

As always, keeping the entry barrier low is critical to reaching the broadest potential audience with virtual reality content: making content accessible on a range of devices without using a VR headset. 

Once on-site, visitors should be able to use their trusty sidekick – their smartphone – to summon extra information by simply pointing it at real-world artefacts. Augmented reality enhances in-person environments with graphical or informative overlays. Guests can use the app to access restaurant opening times, reviews, interactive tourist information maps, and even produce user-generated content once they have downloaded the app.

#10 – Automation & technology

This comprehensive, overarching category encompasses technology advancements such as those that have reduced wait times, “outsourced” menial labour to robots, and used big data to enhance procedures, among other things. In addition, AI-powered chatbots have proven valuable customer support assets during the booking process and in response to frequently asked inquiries about COVID-19 safety measures.

The use of management systems to monitor and maximize revenues, customer interactions, property, channels, and reputation progressively shapes hotel operations. As a result, solutions that are mobile, cloud-based, and integrated are in high demand. The growing relevance of integrated messaging, predictive analytics, customer profiling, and middleware aims to link diverse systems together.

The hotel industry is incredibly competitive, which is why hotel marketing is so crucial.

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Himanwita Mazumdar
Himanwita Mazumdar
Assistant Editor at Business Review Live. Currently pursuing Masters in Media and Communication Studies (MSc) from Savitribai Phule Pune University, India, with a Bachelors degree in English Literature. She specializes in Feature writing.