Content marketing has been a hot phrase in the digital marketing world for a while now. In spite of always hearing how influential this method is, a lot of brands still struggle to identify the areas of content to focus on, and how to make the task of content creation more manageable.
But first, what is content marketing?
Simply put, content marketing is the creation and distribution of educational resources that attract and retain customers. These resources can include videos, blog posts, and e-newsletters, and more.
For hotels and hotel chains, these assets showcase your brand’s unique story, help establish brand recognition, and help build relationships with potential guests.
Now that we’ve established exactly what content marketing is, let’s explore the three trends that can make a difference for your brand.
Content Marketing Trend #1 – Personalized Content
Personalized content is a strategy that relies on visitor data to deliver relevant content based on audience interests and motivation. Research by CMO found that one third of marketers say that personalization is the most important capability of marketing in the future.
Most hotel brands know the basic profile of guests through standard demographic information. Demographics tell us where guests are from, their gender, age, location etc. This allows us to create more personalized and targeted content for them.
Demographic information can help you create a buyer persona, and from there you can begin to tell a compelling story. For hotels, it’s not uncommon to have multiple buying personas (e.g. families, couples, singles, business travelers).
When you understand who your target demographic is, you can create content that resonates more specifically with them. Build a connection to your brand, and you’ll achieve increased brand loyalty thanks to personalized content.
How to get started with personalized content: Think about your brand’s typical guest segments (families, couples, business travelers) and experiment with creating content that will appeal specifically to them. It’s ok to start small! Try posting some social media content targeted at your selected buyer personas, and monitor how it performs.
For example, say you know local guests tend to book either on weekends or on public holiday long-weekends. You could create a brand-wide “stay-cation” offer for these travel periods that includes an attractive discount. You can measure its success by looking at the number of clicks, views, bounce rates and bookings it drove. You could even run an A/B test of the promo on your website to give you greater insight into the effectiveness of this offer.
Content Marketing Trend #2 – User Generated Content
Another noteworthy content trend is the increase of user-generated content (UGC). While not exactly new, a lot of brands are paying attention to UGC and using it in their digital marketing.
UGC can be defined as any form of content (posts, tweets, podcasts, pictures, video, etc.) that are created by hotel guests and often made available via social media. UGC is more trustworthy and believable than any other form of advertising, it acts as social proof. According to Stackla, 76% of people say that “online reviews from fellow travelers give them inside knowledge” about a place, and 40% of Millennials say that they depend solely on it to inform their purchase decision.
UGC provides greater organic reach and free advertising through social networks, but there’s an added bonus, it uncovers insights about your property (what guests like/don’t like) so you can better understand your unique value proposition.
How to get started with user generated content: It’s easier than you may think! Start by encouraging guests to use a particular hashtag when they post on social media from your hotels.
Loews Hotels is doing just that with their #TravelForReal campaign. The brand encourages guests to share images of their stay by using the hashtag #TravelForReal. Chosen images are shared on their social media and website (with permission of course).
Content Marketing Trend #3 – Curate the Right Content
Curated content is a simple, effective way to engage with travel shoppers by offering them interesting content. Content curation involves sorting through online content, selecting the most relevant information and presenting it in an appealing way.
According to Curate, over 50% of marketers that curate content indicate that it has increased their brand visibility, thought leadership, SEO, web traffic and buyer engagement.
Curating content can take many different forms. It can be a retweet or social share, mentioning an article in a blog post, putting together city guides for popular destinations, or sharing travel tips. Curation gives your brand the opportunity to leverage quality content and stand out to travel shoppers online.
How to get started with curating content: Take to Twitter to find and share content that will appeal to your target audience. Start small with retweets and sharing and watch how the content performs with your followers.
Hilton does a beautiful job of curating interesting, fun, and relevant content through their twitter feed. Take a look at some of these posts promoting curated content.
Go forth and content market!
Content marketing is a powerful strategy for hotel properties and brands alike. When a brand engages with travel shoppers through relevant content, you gain more loyalty and positive brand association.