Depending on it’s location and industry, some small businesses are dependent on patronage from travelers in order to be successful. Out-of-town customers are interesting deviations from the norm for a bakery, but essential for the survival of a hotel. The demographic of the average American traveler has changed in the past decade, thanks to the internet and the increasing incomes of millennials. This article will discuss how hotels and other travel-related businesses can take advantage of internet marketing to reach their target consumer.
There’s a lot of evidence that shows the internet will be an important factor in the travel industry in the coming year. Toward the end of 2014, Nielsen released a report which found that 42 percent of online consumers worldwide plan to purchase tours or hotel reservations online in the next 6 months. If four out of five online consumers around plan to schedule a trip online in the near future, travel venue owners should make sure their website and internet marketing services are prepared.
The growing purchasing power of millennials is another reason that hotel and businesses who seek travelers should use internet marketing and tech-based solutions to reach customers. According to research from Hotels.com that was cited by the company in an interview with Loyalty360, millennials make up about a third (32%) of US travelers, and are the fastest-growing age segment in travel. As one would suspect, this many in this demographic prefer to use the internet and mobile apps to help them travel. The study noted that one in four (25%) of millennials who book hotels do so via a mobile device. Marketers can expect this percentage to increase with time. As was noted in a recent article, mobile app usage has increased dramatically in the past few years and this trend is expected to continue.
Mobile internet has changed the way people search for available hotel rooms while on the go. In the past, if a person needed a room at the last minute, they would call or visit each hotel until they found one that had a vacancy. More and more, consumers are turning to the mobile internet and apps to find open rooms, instead of jumping on the first opportunity they could find. The study found that 70 percent of hotel bookings by millennials via a mobile device are made for same or next-day check-in.
“We’re seeing an increase in travelers booking within a shorter timeframe before an upcoming stay,” said Taylor Cole of Hotels.com in an interview with Loyalty360. “Mobile is definitely a factor here…. As travelers are looking at those less-traveled destinations and yearn for an authentic experience, we also expect to see an increase in voluntourism and different modes of exploring a city such as biking. Many cities like Quebec City, Kissimmee and Houston are significantly improving their bike trail systems to accommodate this new group of adventure-seekers.”
Many large hotel chains use mobile apps to help their customers. According to a 2014 study from L2, 91 percent of US prestige hotel brands offer apps. However, most don’t let customers do everything through the app. Only 23 percent of US prestige hotel brands allow guests to book in-hotel activities on mobile apps
The L2 study noted a few other ways that hotels haven’t fully updated their marketing to reflect the best practices. The following statistics show that in most cases, half of hotel brands are missing major internet marketing components from their site:
41% of US hotel brands offer mobile websites with tablet-optimized calendars
38% of US hotel brands offer mobile websites with swipe technology
27% of US hotel brands with mobile websites offer reviews
As the travel industry changes, it’s important for business owners and marketers to adapt their strategy so it’s effective on changing demographics. The stats in the article show there are a lot of ways that hotels and other travel venues can improve their websites or mobile sites to be more accommodating to customers. Even if it takes time and effort to get everything worked out, its necessary to reach the growing of consumers who are using the internet to make all their travel decisions.
For more ways local businesses can use the internet to increase their brand awareness, read this article on a few new features recently added to Google Maps that can benefit marketers.