Tourism Panel Breaks Down Social Marketing Trends

Last week’s AZIMA presentation featured an interactive media panel discussing the latest trends and habits of customers in the hospitality and tourism industries. Below are 10 highlights in no particular order.

  1. Hotel occupancy is trending back up to 2007 pre-recession levels.
  2. Despite rampant offers and frequent flyer or guest incentive programs, value for the stay, experience or trip and price sensitivity remain most important factors across the purchasing power spectrum in purchasing decisions for travel booking and hotel reservations.
  3. Many properties and agencies are developing their own smart phone applications to include in-service communications instead of just post-visit surveys and coupons.
  4. Twitter has proven to be a great asset for concierge and customer service responses before guest arrivals [Where do I park? Is there a certain restaurant nearby?]
  5. Email capture is still king for developing targeted promotional offers and engaging with VIP guests and frequent travelers.
  6. There is a difference between mobile and tablet-optimized websites – as the larger screen dictates a more visual “experience” and sell for hotels and resorts.
  7. Airlines are working on developing smart phone applications, but travel booking remains such a different purchasing experience than real-time offers or in-stay hotel deals through messaging alerts and check-ins.
  8. Hotels have incorporated customer reviews and ratings into their own websites, seemingly to keep customers engaged on their home pages and less distracted from third-party review sites like City Search and Trip Advisor.
  9. Post-purchase survey data remains nearly as important as word-of-mouth marketing and customer referrals.
  10. It is a good idea to respond to 100% of the negative comments and posts and 50% of the positive ones.

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