Hotel Digital Marketing Trends 2018

Some of the hotel digital marketing trends of 2018 are emerging trends, while others, like “mobile-first,” are hard realities. So, what should you be focusing on?  The central hotel digital marketing trends of the year revolve around the most important agent of your business: the guest. Whatever keeps your actual and potential guests happy is a good strategy. Before you go into detail, here’s a quick summary:

 

Google now demands mobile-first sites. Don’t delay the transition because you will soon be losing business if you do not comply. Mobile-first is an imperative – perhaps the most important hotel digital marketing trend of 2018. Mobile-first also implies excellent UX, page speed, and the use of HTTPS among other details.

Video marketing is another significant trend of the year and experts predict that by 2021 IP video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic. There are all kinds of video marketing strategies you could employ to keep ahead of the competition, including live video and bumper ads. Check out our presentation for more.

Social media usage keeps on growing, with Facebook leading the pack. But Statista estimates that in 2019 there will be around 2.77 billion social network users around the globe. This is tremendous marketing potential.

The global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025 – this is a strong indication that chatbots are here to stay. Don’t miss the boat.

Location-based advertising and hyper-personalization are marketing trends of 2018 too, and they’ll continue to grow in the future. Consider this: 70% of consumers find location-based ads and alerts to be valuable and 80% of mobile users who conduct searches want search ads customized to their location (Appleyard Agency).

The Experience matters too because “72% of people would rather spend money on experiences than things (American Express).” Another indication that the “experience” matters is that tours and attraction gross bookings are likely to be $21 billion in 2020 – from $9 billion in 2015. (Phocuswright, 2017). Savvy companies like Airbnb and Booking.com are already meeting the demand for “experiences” with custom programs and local guides. A plethora of technology startups caters to the same demographic.

Social proof may not be new, but it’s still a robust behavioral signal that cannot be ignored. Aim to gain as many reviews as possible. Try to address every single one of them – good or bad – and you will gain credibility and trust. Why? Because 88% of consumers say, they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations (think with Google). We reveal even more statistics in our presentation.

Metasearch is a hot trend too, and consider that Google Hotel Ads has the most qualified traffic of all metasearch providers.

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are emerging trends, and although they appear expensive now, technology to employ them will develop fast.  This is another boat you should not miss.

And then, there’s voice search. This, just like mobile-first, is not a trend, but a reality:

  • 50% of searches will be voice-based by 2020 (ComScore)
  • 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020 and voice interactions will eventually overtake typing a search query. (Gartner, 2016).

There are many other arguments to support every claim in this short summary. So join us in an explorative journey, and you will learn more when you read our presentation.

 

Introduction

In IT companies around the world, engineers are busy creating technologies that change the way we conduct business from year to year. While traditional golden rules still stand, the future of commerce is bold, immersed in these new technologies that influence the lives of millions, who adopt them purportedly overnight.

The digital landscape adapts to new too. In fact, it is hard to envision technology without a digital connection. As of December 2018, there were 4,156,932,140 internet users in the world – that’s over half the population of Earth.

For hoteliers and the travel sector, the Internet drives over half of their bookings according to Statistic Brain. eMarketer surveys revealed that digital travel reached $189.6 billion in 2017 in the US alone with over $218 billion expected in 2021: $110.94 for desktops and $108.75 for smartphones.

Plus: around two-third of worldwide travelers, regardless of generations, book accommodation via online channels (Springer: “Information and Communication Technologies in Tourism 2017” ). Are you familiar with the internet usage statistics in the world? These will help you tailor your marketing message and advertising campaigns.

Worls internet statistics

Sources: Internet World Stats, eMarketer

 

According to data from the Internet World Stats, North America (95%) and Europe (85.2%) are the world’s most connected regions, followed by Oceania/Australia (68.9%), Latin America (67%), Middle East (64.5%), Asia (42.8%), and Africa (35.2%).

These statistics are very relevant for any digital business. They reveal the largest markets and the most connected audiences.

The numbers are highly relevant, suggesting that most businesses need digital marketing to thrive. For hotels, the need is imperative, because the Internet drives more than half of the bookings each year (57%).

Travel hotel booking statistics

Source: Statistic Brain

  • Travel bookings on the internet per year: 148.3 million
  • Percent of all travel reservations made on the internet: 57 %
  • Same day hotel reservations by smartphone: 65 %

Top performing hotel booking channels

Knowing which are the booking channels that perform best is essential before planning the digital marketing strategy for any hotel.  SiteMinder studied 72 million hotel reservations that passed through its channel management solution in 2017 and found that Booking.com and Expedia surpassed hotel websites in numbers of bookings. Other channels varied from region to region.

For instance, Ctrip made the top 15 only in Australia, Thailand, and Indonesia. Rakuten only in the USA and Indonesia. Agoda was popular in Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, USA, United Kingdom, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Greece, and the Middle East. Priceline.com only in the USA.

The takeaway from this study is that hotel websites are still relevant and that Booking.com and Expedia have the largest impact on bookings worldwide.

  • According to SiteMinder, Booking.com ranked as the top channel for hotel bookings worldwide, while other channels varied from region to region.
  • Expedia ranked as the second most important booking channel in Australia, Thailand, Indonesia, USA & Canada, Mexico, United Kingdom, Spain, France, Italy, Greece, Middle East, and South Africa.
  • Hotel websites usually ranked as the third most important booking channel, except for Thailand (4th), Germany (6th), Greece (5th), and Middle East (6th).
  • Other channels like Agoda, GTA, Global Distribution Systems, HRS, Priceline, Ctrip, Mr & Mrs Smith, had significant impact on bookings from region to region. (Source: SiteMinder)

Share of hotel bookings by device

Technology changes at a rapid pace and, with its advances, so do users’ behaviors. More than half of the population of the world uses the Internet, and the number of people accessing the web from a mobile device is on the rise. Smartphones and tablets accounted for 40% of the bookings in Q4 2017 according to the Criteo Travel Flash Report Winter 2018. According to the same report, Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) make the most of mobile bookings: 45%. It is also important to note that mobile accounts for nearly 80% of time spent on social media networks (Pew Research Center).

Hotel websites lag behind OTAs, with only 16% bookings from mobile devices: 10% from smartphones, and 6% from tablets.

This means that for hotel websites the desktop remains the main booking device, with a share of 84%.

Bookings by device

Mobile-first is mandatory

  • February 26, 2015: Google announces the intention to display more mobile-friendly search results
  • April 21, 2015: Mobilegeddon. Google rolls out the mobile-friendly update
  • November 04, 2016: Google announces mobile-first Indexing
  • January 31, 2017: Google introduces Mobile-Friendly Test API
  • December 18, 2017: Google reminds webmasters to get ready for mobile-first indexing
  • January 17, 2018: Google announces that page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches starting July 2018
  • March 26, 2018: Google announces rolling out mobile-first indexing globally.

Mobilegheddon

 

The fact that hotels only see 16% of their bookings from mobile devices doesn’t mean that they should not prepare their websites for mobile users. Mobile-first is an imperative – perhaps the most important hotel digital marketing trend of 2018. As shown in the previous infographic, it is a mandatory Google requirement. According to Google data:

  • Over 40% of people say they prefer to complete their entire shopping journey on mobile—from research to purchase.
  • 70% of travelers with smartphones have done travel research on their smartphone.
  • In 2017, after researching on their smartphone, 79% of mobile travelers completed a booking, which is significantly higher than the 70% who did so in 2016.

 

Priorities for mobile-first websites

  • Adhere to Google’s best practices for mobile-first indexing.
  • Mobile SEO is a thing. See mobile SEO configurations from Google here.
  • From July 2018, page speed will be used to rank sites in mobile search rankings: 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load. Check your site with Google’s PageSpeed Insights.
  • Have a website that is optimized for mobile, not just mobile-ready. Do you pass the Google mobile-friendly test?
  • Check your Search Console – Google will notify you when “Mobile-first” verification is available for your site. Verify your site.
  • Beware of interstitials: popups, standalone interstitials, etc. There is a Google intrusive mobile interstitial penalty in effect since January 11, 2017. In 2017, Google penalized hotels (and not only) on the SERPS for using popups! Use action bars instead.

Video marketing is huge

Video marketing is one of the most effective tools to improve visibility for your brand and to drive more visitors directly to your website. 90% of information transmitted to the brain is visual and the human brain processes images and video 60,000 times faster than text. The case for video marketing is supported by powerful statistics too. According to WorldHotels Collection:

  • In 2017, 74% of internet traffic was video content.
  • Online video viewing is increasing by 118% every year.
  • Bookings are 67% more likely when a video tour is included on a website.
  • 65% of business travelers visit a hotel’s website after watching its video.
  • 76% of social media users would share a video if it were entertaining.
  • 52% of marketing professionals value videos as the format with the best ROI.

Video marketing

 

Types of video marketing

The most popular types of video content (relevant for hotels) according to YouTube:

  • How-to videos: 91% of smartphone users watch how-to videos. (How to plan your holiday to…)
  • Travel-related video content is up 118% year over year (YoY)
  • Travel vloggers (engaging with one of these influencers can boost sales and brand reputation)
  • Comedy and sketches
  • Live video
  • Memes
  • Q&A videos
  • Globally, IP video traffic will be 82 percent of all consumer Internet traffic by 2021 (Cisco)
  • Live Internet video will account for 13 percent of Internet video traffic by 2021
    (Cisco)
  • Facebook generates 8 billion video views on average per day (Avi Arya)
  • 60% of US internet users selected Facebook to watch videos online in Dec. 2017. (SproutSocial)
  • Snapchat users watch 10 billion videos per day (Avi Arya)

Depending on your marketing needs there are several types of videos you can create to promote your hotel – some traditional, others trending since Facebook Live was released for everyone in April 2016. The hottest trend of 2018 for video marketers are bumper ads.

  • Brand videos – showcasing your hotel in a traditional advertisement or on your website.
  • Event videos – highlighting e special event at your hotel (conference, wedding, parties, etc.)
  • Destination videos – introducing your hotel in the context of its location.
  • 360-degree videos of your hotel – ideal for hotel websites.
  • Live videos – for example during a special event at your hotel, or just to engage with your followers on
  • Facebook (most popular), Instagram, or Twitter. These are popular and highly effective. They were trending last year and still going strong in 2018.

Here’s why live video is hot right now

Brandlive partnered with IBM to create the 2018 Live Video Streaming Benchmark Report, which shows marketers that live streaming is a lucrative marketing trend right now. 200 businesses participated in the survey. 72% of these companies are already using live streaming in their marketing.

Most of them plan to increase their live video marketing budgets (53%) or keep it the same as in 2017 (41%). Brandlive and IBM also revealed the benefits of using live video as a marketing strategy. Among them: 62.96% of the survey participants saw a more engaged social media audience as a huge ROI factor, as well as deeper audience engagement (52%). Key takeaway from Brandlive and IMB:

“Companies must prioritize live video as a key part of their digital marketing to more fully engage brand ambassadors, and plan ahead to ensure budget and resources are in place.”

 

Top Benefits of Live Video Events

 

Bumper ads: the “little haikus of video ads”

Bumper ads were introduced by YouTube and Google on April 26, 2016. Based on their research,  in the USA, YouTube reaches more 18-49 year olds than any other network.

  • 50% of these people turn their mobile phones on first to watch video.
  • 74% watch brand channels on YouTube weekly.
  • 63% have taken action because of a brand or creator video on YouTube.
  • 50% watch YouTube on a TV screen.

think with Google offers best practices advice for bumper ads here.  Bumper ads may be short, but they are long enough to deliver your message before the YouTube user clicks on the “Skip Ad” button.

Bumper ads are a short video ad format, of just 6 seconds or less, designed to allow you to reach more customers and increase brand awareness. You can use them to create video ad campaigns with Google AdWords. In this example, you can see a bumper ad by Road Lodge.

 

Social media still going strong

Social media

 

Statista estimates that in 2019 there will be around 2.77 billion social network users around the globe. Facebook is already claiming to have 2.2 billion active monthly users. If their numbers are correct, Facebook is the most powerful social media platform in the world, followed by Chinese-based WeChat, and Instagram. These are the ones you should be focusing on when you design social media marketing campaigns for your hotel. Facebook, WeChat, and Instagram are also the most engaged social media networks today.

From August 2016, YouTube attempted growth as a social media platform too – with the launch of YouTube Community for YouTube Creators (to allow them to interact with their audiences in new, meaningful ways).

Traditional networks like Facebook, Twitter, and the likes are easy to join and quick to master, but WeChat is more challenging for businesses outside China. An international WeChat official account is not enough, because Chinese users don’t have access to it. To reach the Chinese market with WeChat you need a Chinese Business License obtained by a local company or WFOE (Wholly Foreign Owned Enterprise) and the Chinese ID of a Chinese National with a WeChat payment account. However, keep an eye on this network, as they have already announced plans to expand to Europe.

Top social networks

Types of content for social media marketing

As far as reaching consumers with a variety of content types, almost all social media networks offer similar opportunities. The best networks to reach large audiences are Facebook and Instagram, but all the major players can offer excellent value when used right.

  • Brand videos of all kinds: can be shared with ease on all social media networks. Facebook even allows you to
  • use a brand video as your cover.
  • Sponsored video ads.
  • Live video broadcast.
  • Text updates: company news, quotes, questions, polls.
  • Contests and giveaways.
  • Sponsored image ads (terms and conditions vary from network to network).
  • Sponsored text updates (ads).
  • 1 million businesses use Pinterest
  • 25 million business profiles on Instagram
  • Over 80% of accounts on Instagram follow a business.
  • 78% social media influencers worldwide prefer Instagram to collaborate with brands
  • 65 million business pages on Facebook (as of February 2017)

Chatobots keep trending

Hubspot recommends chatbots as the biggest (digital) AI opportunity for SMB. There are more than 100,000 chatbots on Facebook Messenger. ChatBottle – a chatbots search engine powered by ranking algorithms and full-text search – finds thousands of bots depending on your query.  You can even discover which hotels are already engaging with guests using chatbots with a simple ChatBottle search.  You can also search for brand bots with TopBots.

  • The global chatbot market is expected to reach $1.23 billion by 2025. (Grand View Research)
  • In a survey by Drift, SurveyMonkey Audience, Salesforce, and myclever, 33% of 1000+ respondents said they would use a chatbot to make a reservation (hotel or restaurant).
  • 34% of consumers predicted that they’d use chatbots as a means for getting connected with a human. (Drift)
  • Consumers prefer chatbots for their ability to deliver 24-hour service (64%). (Drift)
  • chatbot interaction is expected to increase from just 20% in 2017 to 93% in 2022. (NativeMsg)
  • NativeMsg also expects more chatbots on websites in 2018.

Chatbots benefits

 

Growth of location-based advertising

Location based advertising is constantly growing and it makes sense for marketers from all industries. On February 25, 2016, Facebook introduced “Canvas,” a “post-click, full-screen, immersive mobile ad experience on Facebook that loads nearly instantaneously.” According to Facebook, Canvas  was “designed to help businesses tell stories and show products on mobile devices in a beautiful way.”

  • 53% of Canvas ad viewers see at least half of the ad.
  • The average view time is 31 seconds.
  • The highest-performing Canvas ads have boasted 70-second view time per user.
  • Marketers can target users based on their offline activities

In 2016, Carnival Cruise Lines was among the first to test a Canvas ad.

 

Location-based stats you need to know

Canvas is powerful because it’s a Facebook tool, but it’s not the only resource available for location-based marketing. Sure, Google AdWords supports location targeting too (they secured a patent in 2010).  Snapchat bets on location-based marketing too, (SocialMediaToday) and most social networks follow suite.

By default, location-based marketing is particularly relevant to travel and hospitality businesses, but also to shops and healthcare.

“Adoption of LBM will give your company actionable insights now, as well as prepare you for future growth. Marketers who currently optimize this trend will be at the forefront of this competitive landscape,” says Sitepoint, encouraging early adoption.

It is “a critical element of a brand’s marketing strategy,” according to The Drum.

  • Location-based advertising is most effective when the geographic target range is somewhere between 500 meters and 5 kilometers. (Advance Travel & Tourism)
  • 70% of consumers find location-based ads and alerts to be valuable. (Appleyard Agency)
  • 80% of mobile users who conduct searches want search ads customized to their location. (Appleyard Agency)
  • By 2020, there will be 5.5 billion mobile users, representing 70% of the global population. (Cisco)
  • 75% of marketers believe location-based marketing is important for their business. (Location Based Marketing Association)
  • 76 % of web users “expect to see a personalized website screen on just about every brand site they visit.” (VentureBeat)

Hyper-Personalization is in. Big time.

Hotels should be focused on the individual at all levels of their business. This statement makes even more sense today when hyper-personalization is a digital marketing trend of 2018.

“Personalization of the guest experience is the next frontier,” Gretchen Hartley, senior director, global design at Marriott International.

IBM’s “Hotel 2020: The personalization paradox” study reveals:

  • Commoditization, fragmentation, competition and guest expectations – are among the catalysts that will drive increased guest personalization over the next decade.
  • While implementing more personalized guest service, hotels will also be pressured to adopt standardized methods for managing hotel operations.
  • More than one in two consumers (56%) are more likely to shop at a retailer in store or online that recognizes them by name. (accenture)
  • Two in three (65%) are more likely to shop at a retailer in store or online that knows their purchase history. (accenture)

Time for “Experience”

The “Experience” emerges as the biggest trend of 2018, with many powerful brands focusing on delivering what travelers truly seek with every journey. 

  • 72% of people would rather spend money on experiences than things. (American Express)
  • Online tours and attraction gross bookings are likely to be $21 billion in 2020 (from $9 billion in 2015). (Phocuswright, 2017).
  • Eco-friendly tours are in. Intrepid Travel offers more than 1,000 group tours a year that are fully carbon neutral. (NY Times, 2017)
  • 36% of US travelers (over 1 in 3) would pay more for more tailored information and experiences at a hotel (Google/Phocuswright Travel Study 2017)

Airbnb Experiences: activities hosted by locals – like expert surfers, seasoned chefs, and other local connoisseurs.

airbnb experiences

The quest for experiences led to the rise of the experiential traveler. A survey by Peak + Skift reveals that “With the boom in experiential travel, hotels are more and more acting like community portals by introducing guests to popular local experiences.

With this, hotels should be focusing on experiences in their marketing strategies too. Some experiences take place outside the walls of the hotel, but many experiences can be prepared in house: wine tastings and pairings, themed activities, convert the lobby into a peaceful library, deliver experiences for the connected traveler, etc.

  • Experiential purchases (money spent on doing) tend to provide more enduring happiness than material purchases (money spent on having). (Waiting for Merlot, 2014)
  • Experiences are a vital part of destination marketing. (TrekkSoft Destination Report, 2017)


Booking.com Experiences: 
first-of-its-kind, highly curated, mobile-led experience that will eventually harness AI for recommendations at a destination.

  • Allows travelers to discover the best a destination has to offer, all through a mobile device.
  • Creates a convenient, personalized in-destination experience—all on demand, with hassle-free payment and priority queueing.
  • Pilot Booking Experiences available in Paris, London, Amsterdam, Rome, and Dubai.
  • Booking Experiences eliminates the need to book in advance or wait in lines to buy tickets via a QR code that can be scanned and automatically linked to the user’s credit card of choice.
  • With AI, Booking Experiences technology will eventually learn over time to provide a traveler with increasingly
  • personalized, relevant and timely suggestions to personalize the in-destination experience.

 

Social proof Is a must

Social proof

 

Here’s why reviews matter for marketing in 2018

  • 83% SEOs say that reviews and reputation management “absolutely” deliver good ROI.
  • Onsite customer reviews can increase conversions by 74%. (TrustPilot)
  • 88% of consumers say they trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. (think with Google)
  • 77% of people take the time to read product reviews before making a purchase.
  • 76% of travelers are willing to pay more for a hotel with higher review scores (TrustYou)
  • 28.7% of business travelers considered ratings and reviews most important when deciding between properties. (Koddi)
  • Reviews are a part of Google’s hotel SERP ranking algorithm. (Confirmed by Google in 2017)
  • TrustYou is the world’s most trusted guest feedback software (Google is licensing its review summaries from TrustYou).
  • 52% of travelers say summarized review content is the easiest way to consume travel reviews

Here‘s Why You Should Use the TrustYou Platform

  • TrustYou is the world’s largest feedback platform, collecting and analyzing over 3 million traveler reviews, surveys, and social posts from all across the web, every week, for 500,000 hotels.
  • TrustYou powers Google hotel scores for search and maps since 2016.
  • 81% of travelers prefer using Google during their travel/accommodation search process
  • TrustYou is used by the world’s largest travel sites.
  • 95% of customers make their booking decisions based on online feedback
  • TrustYou helps hotels leverage guest feedback to impact the entire guest journey: search and booking, onsite experience, post-stay feedback.

Metasearch Remains Relevant

  • Google Hotel Ads has the most qualified traffic of all metasearch providers.
  • TripAdvisor remains one of the best performing platforms for metasearch.
  • Hotels Combined is an important metasearch platform for Asia-Pacific.
  • Trivago is very efficient for inbound travelers from Europe.
  • Since 2016 Metasearch has grown to become the most important advertising channel for hotels outpacing even AdWords (Fastbooking)
  • Starting in Q4 2016, metasearch has surpassed AdWords and Bing Ads (Fastbooking)
  • Metasearch will continue to grow delivering 30%-40% of the traffic. (Koddi)
  • Mobile traffic from metasearch continues to grow too, representing nearly 40% of all searches. (Koddi)
  • All metasearch hotel websites use reviews to rank properties.
  • Half of the traffic that feeds into metasearch is non-brand. (80 DAYS Digital)

AR and VR – emerging trends to strongly consider

Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are not even close to be widely adopted by businesses – simply because costs of production are very high. At best, we can consider them the most likely to succeed emerging trends of 2018. They have tremendous value for travel, hospitality, and hotels, in general.

  • Airnbnb is already “testing the waters” to see how AR and VR can benefit guests:
    “With augmented reality, we’re looking at ways to make travel more seamless, reducing obstacles to having a transformative experience (…) Capabilities like 360 photos and 3D scans allow a person to step inside a home or city and understand what to expect and how to orient themselves before they leave the comfort of their own home.”
  • 360° video tours of hotels and other hospitality businesses are particularly popular now, beyond Google’s “step inside” feature on Google Maps. Many hotels are already engaging guests with (mostly poor quality) VR video tours. The trend will get stronger, but for now, VR requires expensive custom gear and hardware.
  • VR is already popular in the gaming industry, but its potential for travel uses is limitless. “VR has clear cut ramifications for the gaming, leisure, and healthcare industry.” (HubSpot)
  • By 2020, 100 million consumers will shop in augmented reality. (Gartner)

Voice Search: The New SEO Paradigm

Voice Search goes beyond Google and is one of the biggest trends that will shape SEO in the following years, as users rely more on vocal commands and personal digital assistants to handle their search queries. (Forbes, 2018)

  • 50% of searches will be voice-based by 2020 (ComScore)
  • 30% of searches will be done without a screen by 2020 and voice interactions will eventually overtake typing a search query. (Gartner, 2016).
  • Eco-friendly tours are in. Intrepid Travel offers more than 1,000 group tours a year that are fully carbon neutral. (NY Times, 2017)
  • 36% of US travelers (over 1 in 3) would pay more for more tailored information and experiences at a hotel (Google/Phocuswright Travel Study 2017)

Voice search statistics

 

Rise of the Tech Travel Startups

An ever-changing industry leads to innovation and ideas that shape the digital marketing trends of the future. The number of technology-based travel startups launching every year is astounding – literally, there are too many startups to mention here – the Israeli travel tech ecosystem alone counts over 300.

Startup Spotlight: VDroom

Video is a strong digital marketing trend. Hoteliers can already benefit from it in a variety of ways.

VDroom is a cost-effective solution for hoteliers who want to step ahead of competitors by adding 360° virtual tours to their websites or by creating functional VR sites that drive conversions. VDroom allows hoteliers to:

  • Easily create 3D landing pages for all your online marketing channels
  • Increase engagement and gain higher conversion rates
  • Search engine optimized media URLs both in 360° and in VR, each dynamically indexed separately in the search engines.
  • Patented ‘Look-To-Book’ technology tracks conversion rates and prove ROI.
  • Catch up with the trends: demonstrate your property quickly and easily.
  • Affordable solution, starting at €49 monthly, with 3D web hosting.

 

Startup Spotlight: SeeVoov

Another startup with  a strong focus on video, SeeVoov has a unique approach to travel-planning.  It has a unique machine learning system (Deep Learning) that automatically tags videos based on image analysis.

What the startup offers is essentially a trip planning experience based on videos watching. Users select their destinations,  refine the travel plans based on their preferences (like with kids, gastronomy, shopping), add videos to their trip,  select travel dates, then SeeVoov locates flights and hotels to book.


Startup Spotlight: Splitit

Splitit enables installment payments for businesses of all sizes and type.

  • It allows consumers to charge any purchase on their existing credit card and pay it back in monthly no-fee interest free installments.
  • It integrates with all major credit card processors and gateways around the world, and is PCI DSS compliant.
  • Businesses worldwide can offer Splitit installment plans to consumers from any country.
  • By offering customers affordable monthly payment options that fit any budget, businesses instantly increase their purchasing power.
  • Integration with Splitit is made simple and can be done directly via API or using a platform plugin.

 

Startup Spotlight: Txtrider

Txtrider is an online review-based native advertising platform. It allows Blogs and other online media to enrich content with information their readers truly appreciate,  boosting ad revenue and time on site.

For brands, Txtrider applies the brand’s ratings and reviews from select review indexes to content where the brand is mentioned. It offers a link-builder widget for Amazon associates, and an WordPress plugin for other publishers.

 

Startup Spotlight: Travel Maker

Travel Maker is a mobile app that allows users to find  travel partners close to the places they want to visit or based on common interests like s: hiking, yoga, shopping, gastronomy, and much more.

The app allows users to chat, recommended equipment lists for all kind of trips, buy and sell, find local events, and find Facebook travelers nearby.

Travel Maker is suitable for all types of travelers and trips.

 

Startup Spotlight: Roomer

Roomer is an online marketplace where users can sell pre-paid, nonrefundable hotel reservations to other users who go to the same place at the same time.

Sellers can upload some details about their reservations, then Roomer uploads pictures and details about the hotels. When buyers purchase through Roomer, the system contacts the hotel or booking agency and transfers the name on the reservation. Buyers pay the seller directly trough Roomer when they book a seller’s reservation. The concept creates win-win for both buyers and sellers, but also for hotels that are not left with an empty hotel room.

Founded in 2012 by Gon Ben David and Ben Froumine, both Zell alumni’s, currently employees 20 people with offices in Tel Aviv and New York.

Startup Spotlight: RoutePerfect

RoutePerfect is a trip-planning tool that allows travelers to create a customized itinerary based on their interests, travel preferences, vacation type, transportation method and budget. They serve over 55 countries and with more than 50000 destinations worldwide.

Trips can then be priced and booked as a custom package, saving up to 20% over booking the pieces separately.

Startup Spotlight: Gooster

Gooster is a digital concierge service, helping hotels increase engagement, revenue, and guest satisfaction. The hotel guests access the service via Facebook Messenger and get recommendations of what to see and do in the city, as well as discounted and skip-the line tickets for tours, attractions and events. The chatbot has relevant information about the hotel too.

 

Startup Spotlight: HO[S]TELOFFER.ONLINE

HO[S]TELOFFER.ONLINE is an innovative hotel sales proposal platform with a built-in CRM module.

Featuring PMS integrations for easier offers’ generation and reservations’ processing. It features:

  • PMS integrations for easier rates & availability access.
  • SaaS business model – no binding contracts.
  • Full customization, following brand identity.
  • Seamless integration with hotel’s website and booking engine.

Is a cloud based solution offering users easy access from anywhere at any time. It also offers a white-label version for resellers.

Startup Spotlight: Arbitrip

Arbitrip is an online booking tool for business travelers of all kinds. It offers tailored room recommendations, savings and activity reports.  Arbitrip scans the market, learns the traveler’s preferences and combines it with the organization’s travel policy, resulting in a curated list of hotels for each Trip.

 

Hotel Digital Marketing Trends: Best Practices Roundup

  • Have visually stunning websites: travelers prefer to see what your hotel looks like before they book. Images are fine (Leonardo research informs that visitors review at least ten images before they book), video and virtual tours perform better.
  • Add a wealth of photos to your TripAdvisor and metasearch listings. Travelers are 150% more engaged on listings with 20+ photos (TripAdvisor). Use high-quality images; preferably horizontal (landscape), larger than 2048 pixels wide.
  • Enrich your social media profiles and postings (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Google My Business, etc.) with quality images.
  • Virtual or 360° tours allow the visitors to see what your hotel really looks like. They also serve great for your Google Maps listing with the Google see inside feature.
  • Video matters: 66% of consumers report watching video when planning travel and 43% when reserving accommodations. (Vizzly)
  • Keep the videos short to avoid consumer boredom, but also because short videos are more marketable, more straightforward, and less costly to produce.
  • Captions for both images and video help improve the user experience by providing concise and relevant information to travel shoppers.
  • Have Focus on mobile-first and optimize your website to be findable by Google and other mobile search engines. Mobile-first is an imperative – the most important digital marketing trend of 2018.
  • Optimize page speed: 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load.
  • Beware of interstitials: popups, standalone interstitials, etc. There is a Google intrusive mobile interstitial penalty in effect since January 11, 2017. In 2017, Google penalized hotels (and not only) on the SERPS for using popups! Use action bars instead.
  • Encourage your guests to write post-stay reviews. See the benefits of offering social proof discussed in the previous chapters.
  • Add reviews to your website. Rather than displaying every review ever written about your hotel, offer TrustYou meta reviews which are an aggregate of all verified reviews. Google uses TrustYou meta reviews too.
  • Social media is a powerful marketing channel and Facebook is the most popular social network in the world and it offers a wealth of tools for travelers, from a feature that allows them to ask for recommendations, to city guides, and travel reviews. Instagram, Twitter, and others can be used for beautiful travel stories too.
  • Have a metasearch strategy. Metasearch is now the best performing marketing channel for hotels.
  • Keep in the look with AI and VR trends that will shape the future of marketing. Adopt and adapt. Cost-effective solutions are already available. Consider chatbots for your marketing strategy too.
  • Don’t ignore the power of hyper-personalization for highly-tailored marketing messages that speak to individual consumers.

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