TravelTweetChat: Hospitality Brand Marketing Trends

I recently had the opportunity to participate in #Travel Tweet Chat, the brainchild of “cool hunter” Ken Herron, who’s ranked the #2 chief marketing officer (CMO) on Twitter worldwide by “Social Media Marketing Magazine.” This post is based on our discussion, which focused on hospitality brand marketing trends.

Ken Herron: You’ve done web design for hospitality and other brands. What’s different about travel design?

Eileen Burick: It’s critical for hospitality brands to have differentiated experiences to connect emotionally with prospective guests. Creating a personalized web experience for every guest is what drives awareness and what differentiates your brand. Hospitality is a high-touch experience, and your communications need to convey that.

KH: Can you give us an example of effective and not-so-effective web design for hospitality brands?

EB: What’s most effective is combining clear messaging with brand-appropriate visuals, interactivity, and motion. It’s all about creating visual design impact.

Least effective for hospitality brands would be muddy messaging, weak visuals, static content, and the lack of a “wow-factor.”

KH: You create incredibly effective microsites for your hospitality clients, why should brands use microsites?

EB: When you look at it, my question for a CMO would be, why wouldn’t you? A microsite lets marketers target niche markets for higher response rates, and do lead generation without involving the IT department. With microsites’ flexibility, you can promote events, run contests, and even educate guests on new amenities and properties. A microsite is ideal for launching new amenities, products and services—plus they can help you maximize campaign conversions with targeted calls to action. And, of course, they’re the perfect hub for your social media campaigns.

KH: What are your best practices for creating great microsites for hospitality and travel brands?

EB: Put mobile first, because that’s how many users are going to be accessing the information. Strategically, you need to incorporate lifecycle marketing, create branded customer experiences, and enable user-generated content. (More on the topic here: “Guide to Microsite Best Practices”)

KH: So every hospitality brand obviously has a website, and you’d obviously say they need to leverage microsites, too. What else must be in their web marketing kit?

EB: What’s most important is content: innovative storytelling, compelling editorial, and engaging media.

KH: What are the latest web design or marketing trends for hospitality and travel brands?

EB: The hot trend I’m seeing is hyperlocal content. Guests want “local knowledge,” which enables them to have more intimate travel experiences.

KH: If a hospitality brand is on a limited budget, what is the one new thing they need to prioritize?

EB: This is related to my comments about content. It’s absolutely critical for hospitality brands to tell their stories visually. To win, you must have great images.

Share your thoughts: What are some of the hospitality brands or travel companies that stand out in your mind from a marketing standpoint, and why?

Find out how Eileen and her team at Burick Communication Design can help savvy marketers like you implement an integrated campaign with stunning digital design that connects your marketing and branding with business results. Download your BCD Fact Sheet here.

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