TripAdvisor surveys online hotel marketing trends
By Hotel Marketing
According to a new TripAdvisor survey, most hotel marketers use their property website to market deals to potential guests. Email and social media were the next most commonly used methods for marketing deals, followed by user-generated review sites and online travel agencies.
TripAdvisor announced the results of its latest Accommodation Owners Survey, a poll of U.S. hoteliers, B&B owners and innkeepers that offers a rare inside look at their marketing strategies. Owners cited online marketing: SEO, SEM and banner advertising (63 percent); social media (39 percent); mobile (27 percent); email marketing (22 percent); and paid listings on user-generated review sites (17 percent) as the top areas in which they would prefer to increase spending.
With mobile marketing a major focus for owners, 84 percent of survey respondents said it is important to offer a program that allows travelers to book their inventory using mobile devices. However, the results varied by property type: 92 percent of hotel owners, 77 percent of B&B owners and 77 percent of innkeepers said a mobile marketing program is important.
Marketing Budgets Stable or Growing
Of the survey respondents with a marketing budget, 34 percent said their overall marketing budgets have increased this year, 49 percent said their budgets have stayed the same and 17 percent said their budgets have decreased.
What are accommodation owners’ greatest marketing expenses? Online marketing: SEO, SEM and banner advertising (31 percent); dues and subscriptions (16 percent); and online travel agency (OTA) commissions (12 percent) were lodging businesses’ top expenses, according to the survey.
Owners Use Social Media to Reach Travelers
Of the survey respondents with a social media program, the majority (60 percent) said that TripAdvisor is the most effective social media site for marketing their properties. Facebook (22 percent) and Twitter (16 percent) were the next most effective sites for marketing their properties, according to owners taking the poll.
The top reasons owners cited for using social media were posting deals/special offers (54 percent), answering customer care questions (48 percent), promoting events (40 percent), sharing general industry news (26 percent) and promoting contests (18 percent).
Survey respondents cited industry research/reports (46 percent), competition (30 percent) and marketing from social media sites (24 percent) as the top three factors in their decision to use social media as a marketing tool.
Top Deals and Distribution Tactics
According to survey respondents, most owners (76 percent) use their property website to market deals to potential guests. Email (52 percent) and social media (44 percent) were the next most commonly used methods for marketing deals, followed by user-generated review sites (25 percent) and online travel agencies (21 percent).
During this summer travel season, the top five deals owners are planning to offer travelers are discounts on rooms (56 percent), special amenities (43 percent), free parking (33 percent), rewards points (26 percent) and deals on nearby attractions (23 percent).
“The latest TripAdvisor Accommodation Owners Survey reveals that, whatever the future may hold, owners’ marketing budgets have for now generally increased or stayed the same, which is an encouraging economic indicator,” said Christine Petersen, president of TripAdvisor for Business. “Lodging owners are placing great importance on online marketing, social media and mobile marketing, as these strategies become increasingly important for reaching discerning travelers online or on-the-go.”
The TripAdvisor Accommodation Owners Survey was sent by email to a random sample of U.S. accommodation businesses. The survey was conducted from May 18 to June 3, 2011 and generated 770 completed responses. Several questions were offered in a “select all that apply” format and therefore result in responses that yield percentages totaling a number greater than 100 percent.
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