Affluent travel consumers seek a quality product, exceptional service and added value to their travel experience. Marketers need to attract, connect and create a unique experience that stands above their competitors.
Luxury Hotel brands have increased their dependency on digital strategies to tell the story of their exclusive product and drive more online bookings. The digital platforms offered in today’s ever growing digital world, allows marketers to create and manage digital content across multiple integrated marketing channels to help connect the pieces of brand positioning and digital strategies.
These are the 4 key digital strategies for luxury hotel brands:
1. Website (Transaction Hub)
Your website is the place consumers go to gather information or make a purchase. Make it easy for people interested in your brand to convert into paying customers. Websites must load quickly, have socially sharable content and provide a visual story alongside useful, relevant information. Write copy so it is SEO friendly but doesn’t sound generic. 50% of hotel bookings are booked through digital channels so it is important luxury hotel brands optimize their website for desktop, mobile and tablet through responsive design. Flash sites are not visible on apple devices so it is necessary brands don’t use flash moving forward. High quality photographs and videos are beneficial and provide the consumer with relevant insights.
2. Social Media
Social media marketing can help generate highly targeted traffic and brand awareness, while giving hoteliers a tool to communicate information and engage their target audience.
Facebook: Affluent consumers are very active and vocal and love to share their favorite experiences with their friends. Luxury brands are all about affiliation and offering an experience that not everyone has the means to experience. Engage fans with interesting information, informative videos and beautiful imagery. Invite the luxury traveler in and inspire them, in-turn they will convert into brand-advocates.
Social Events: A social media resource gaining in popularity is Klout, a tool that measures your social influence in the world. Many luxury hotel brands will partner with Klout to gain access to top influencers in the luxury travel industry and provide an exclusive opportunity for those top influencers to experience what the brand has to offer. This gives brands a way to target the exact people that can influence their consumers to take action and create buzz around their brand.
Twitter: Travel marketers use twitter to find top journalists in the travel industry and build a relationship with them online by retweeting their articles and starting a conversation. Having a voice on this platform can position you as an influencer and authority in the travel industry. It gives insight into how people think, what they find interesting and who they follow.
Pinterest: This platform has been the go-to when it comes to inspiration for everything from planning a trip to finding a hotel room, booking excursions or finding a place to dine. It is the perfect platform to showcase luxury property amenities, the history and all the things that make a particular property special. Travelers and marketers can both pin on Pinterest which gives the consumer a variety of images to view.
YouTube: Luxury brands need to be cutting edge as the affluent traveler is demanding and always up on the latest technology. They possess the newest “have to have” devices including the new iphone and ipad. Luxury brands need to create engaging content for these devices with inspiring videos, useful apps and how to’s on experiencing the hotel property to the fullest.
Blog: Companies that post new and interesting content on their blog and website at least every other day get 30% more traffic. More traffic has a strong positive correlation to increased engagement, bookings and loyalty. A blog gives luxury hotels an opportunity to tell a story and give their viewers an inside look.
3. Embracing Onsite User Reviews
Consumer buying decisions are highly influenced by online ratings and reviews. Hoteliers need to be engaged with and respond to online customer feedback making sure they improve their products and services to shape their hotels reputation in a positive way to help drive online traffic. Transparency is becoming increasingly important to travelers so monitoring and responding to positive and negative reviews with sincere, honest responses is imperative.
4. Email Marketing
Successful email marketing is timely, relevant, informative and targeted. Providing an opportunity for your subscribers to visit a “preference gathering” page where they can choose their email communication interests is a best practice. This will help cut down the sending of irrelevant information to customers that are not interested in a particular subject. Monitoring opt-outs, complaint rates and positive responses will help in creating an engagement score for your program. Frequency of messaging is important to monitor, before blasting out a message to your entire audience, consider the cost of losing subscribers in the process. Segmentation of email lists is essential to an email marketing’s success. It’s important to segment your database and conduct A/B tests, evaluate the results and make changes to messages according to what the data is saying.
Digital advertising is the future for luxury brands because it is actionable, trackable and measurable. Digital strategies will seamlessly blend and compliment your marketing mix and allow luxury brands to effectively promote but still keep their elegance and high end status.