Six hotel marketing trends for 2022
If 2021 was the year we waited for pent-up demand to find its release, 2022 is the year we can be (almost) certain of growing stability in the travel industry. While we can’t claim to be on the other side of the pandemic, vaccines are allowing hoteliers and their industry peers to finally focus on turning consideration into action.
It’s said to take 66 days to form a new habit. So for all of us who have been living in a vastly different world since our last carefree holiday, what new behaviours will influence the way we book? Will we be more cautious? More considerate? More anxious about the Wi-Fi speed? Here are six trends for hotel marketers to watch as travellers get ready to dive back in.
TikTok was downloaded 656 million times last year, making it the most downloaded app in the world. Extraordinarily, in late 2021, it also replaced Google as the most popular domain. To ignore it is to give your competitors the upper hand. Despite the high volume of content creation, TikTok excels at engagement by delivering hyper-relevant content to fully plugged-in audiences. The key is to play to its strengths. Don’t simply repurpose what has worked well on Instagram and Facebook; travel brands will need to explore ways to be creative, immersive, authentic and fresh to avoid getting lost in the melee.
Travel for wellbeing
For those fortunate enough to do it, travel can satisfy not just a whim for nice hotels and pretty views, but more fundamental needs like connection, time in nature, and wellbeing. Its now quite-lengthy absence in our lives has made clear to us how restorative time away can be. It will come as little surprise that the Global Wellness Institute has forecasted a strong year for wellness tourism, predicting that it will outpace the growth of every other sector of the wellness economy, but the trend has relevance for hospitality businesses of all kinds. Most travellers will sample wellness experiences as part of their broader travel plans (as opposed to more immersive and niche journeys) – it’s really about embracing the wellbeing benefits of new surroundings and quality time.
Travel marketing has been awash with the term ‘sustainability’ in recent years, but 2021 saw it change from a nice-to-have to an essential commitment for brands, with ABTA reporting that 54% of people factor a company's eco credentials. Greenwash at your peril – consumers are looking for clear, transparent and demonstrable efforts to limit impact on the planet and even regenerate tourism-hit environments. The increasingly influential Gen Z cohort, expected to throw themselves into travel with greater gusto than other generations this year, are conscious spenders, drawn to brands with purpose, so doing good is simply good for business.
While lead times might be compressed, consumers are still thinking about their next trip long in advance. When travel has been impossible, would-be travellers have done the next-best thing: hours and hours of dreaming and research so that when circumstances permit, they are ready to book. Inspirational content doesn’t only stir wanderlust; it tells your audience that you’re connected to the experience you sell and gives fullness to the picture in your audience’s minds. Assist those in the consideration stage with thorough information, uplifting editorial, well-timed CRM and clear flexibility messaging.
It’s sage advice to say don’t try to be all things to all people – usually. But this year hoteliers face the challenge of making spaces work-friendly for workcationers, while also catering to those who want to unplug. Laptops in lounges aren’t great for ambience so brands will need to keep work-from-anywhere campaigns targeted, and consider how to balance differing needs.
Often complicated travel requirements, combined with the desire to make up for lost time, means that many travellers intend to book a long getaway in 2022 – a change from the frequent short trips of previous years. The emerging trend for ‘slow’, mindful travel means taking things down a gear, perhaps journeying by rail instead of air, cramming less into an itinerary, or exploring a city on foot to absorb more. Hotel brands can tap into this with longer-stay campaigns, walking guides and loose, week-plus itineraries that leave space for rest and spontaneity.
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