Hospitality Marketing Trends You Need to Know to Thrive in a Volatile Travel Year

Diverse guests enjoying a warm hospitality experience in a vibrant hotel lobby.

Top Travel Marketing Trends for Success: Going Direct-to-Consumer, Influencers, Data Analytics and Full Funnel Marketing

2024 promises to be a pivotal year in hospitality marketing as hoteliers navigate a volatile economy, rising inflation and an election year. . Let’s explore what we expect to be the key marketing drivers for this coming year, focusing on the potential of Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) bookings, the impactful role of influencers, the benefits of full-funnel marketing and leveraging data analytics for informed decision-making

Direct-to-Consumer (D2C) Gains Importance:

The hospitality industry is witnessing a paradigm shift with brands increasingly adopting D2C models. Statistics reveal that by 2024, D2C sales are expected to contribute north of 30% of total hospitality revenue.

Rebecca Hausen, Senior Director of Account Services at Roar Media emphasizes how these business models can help travel and leisure brands boost bottom line profitability, drive direct-to-consumer bookings and outperform their competition. : “D2C not only drives incremental booking revenue and higher margins, but also provides brands with valuable data insights, fostering personalized experiences and enhanced customer relationships.

Hospitality companies which are shifting away from OTAs and investing in D2C strategies are handsomely rewarded:

  • Higher margins: When executed properly, D2C advertising can generate returns-on-investment of 1:10 or higher resulting in less than a 10% acquisition cost. This is signficialty lower than the standard 20% commissions charged by OTA’s and travel agents.
  • Customer loyalty and repeat business: When guests book you directly, you capture their contact information enabling you to remarket to them and encourage membership into your loyalty programs. The end result is a higher lifetime value of each guest and booking.
  • Awareness and visibility: When you market directly to end customers, you are expanding your reach and elevating your profile. In turn, this increased awareness and visibility differentiates your property and encourages customers to book you directly- creating a consistent pattern of direct booking.

The Authentic Side of Social Media:

In 2024, organic, natural-looking content is taking center stage on social media platforms. With the rise of influencer marketing, brands are capitalizing on authentic storytelling. According to a recent study by Social Trends Institute, 78% of consumers trust peer recommendations, emphasizing the importance influencers have on building trust and loyalty.

Travel and leisure suppliers can benefit from influencers in a number of important ways:

  • Content creation: Content is still king and reputable influencers create valuable, engaging and compelling content. Their content can help populate and fuel your social media, email and website channels.
  • Increased bookings: Influencers who advocate for and showcase your property can prompt their followers to book you directly. In addition, they can offer special booking codes, giving their followers an incentive to book you directly.
  • Enhanced reputation and credibility: Influencers are a trusted source of information and recommendations for their followers. In turn, their advocacy helps establish trust and credibility in your brand and offering.

Mastering the Full-Funnel Approach:

In the pursuit of comprehensive marketing strategies, hospitality brands are embracing a full-funnel approach, integrating earned, owned, and paid media. PR, social, and search marketing collaboratively work to create a cohesive brand narrative. Industry trends show that brands implementing a full-funnel approach witness a substantial increase in customer engagement.

“In the age of consumer empowerment, the full-funnel approach is our compass, guiding us from awareness to advocacy,” says Hausen. “It’s not just a strategy; it’s an evolution—a commitment to delivering narratives that captivate, resonate, and foster enduring connections with our audience.”

Deploying an integrated, multi-channel, multi-funnel approach offers significant benefits:

  • Increased reach and resonance: By leveraging additional channels- from advertising in Google and Meta to social media marketing to email marketing, you can increase your reach and engagement across the entire customer journey.
  • Capturing, converting and cultivating customers at all stages: Potential guests may simply be researching a destination at the top of the funnel, considering different hotel options in the middle of the funnel or booking the hotel of their choice at the bottom of the funnel. Having a presence and channeling potential guests to your offering in all stages of the funnel ensures that you will capture the greatest potential market share.
  • Economies of scale: Deploying a full-funnel approach is easier than you might think considering that if you produce campaign assets in one stage, they can be repurposed and modified to work in the other stages. You can get the biggest bang for your buck on your production investments by distributing your campaign assets across all stages of the funnel.

Data-Driven Decision-Making:

Data analytics is the backbone of effective marketing strategies. Brands are investing heavily in refining their analytics to gain a competitive edge. Statista predicts a 25% increase in marketing budgets allocated to data analytics tools by 2024. Rebecca Hausen emphasizes, “Accurate data allows us to understand consumer behavior, tailor campaigns, and measure success, ensuring every marketing dollar is well spent.”

These insights are goldmines for hoteliers. By understanding guest patterns, you can unlock a trifecta of benefits:

  1. Optimized marketing through targeted and customized ads based on guest preferences
  2. Create a personalized guest journey with features like promotions upon cart abandonment, email discounts and delivering offers during in-app browsing
  3. Streamlined operations with data-driven staffing adjustments based on peak booking times.

For more information on how data and predictive analytics can impact the efficacy of your marketing efforts, read our piece: Cracking the Code in Hospitality Marketing: Learn How to Leverage Data Analytics to Increase Booking Performance and Guest Engagement.

Supercharging Your 2024 Strategy

Ready to seize the power of 2024 trends and capture, covert and culture more travel guests? Our savvy team is here to craft tailored solutions that align with your goals. Visit our hospitality marketing page here to learn more.


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