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8 Fun & Engaging Content Marketing Trends In Hospitality

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8 Fun & Engaging Content Marketing Trends In Hospitality

Throughout the course of the pandemic, hospitality marketing strategies have had to shift dramatically.

Consumer behavior, lockdowns, and travel restrictions have wreaked havoc with hospitality marketing messaging.

Now that the industry is bouncing back, with more and more people itching to travel, it’s time to get creative with your hospitality brand’s content.

Check out some fun and engaging content marketing trends we saw last year and anticipate we’ll see this year as hospitality opens back up:

1. Touchless And Digital Hotel Technology

With COVID still looming around and many safety protocols in place, the importance of digitally-assisted interactions has grown (in other words, no touching the same screens as hundreds of other people).

According to PWC, 81% of travelers were already looking for more digital service options from their hotel brands in 2019 – and the demand has only grown since then.

Naturally, touchless technology was the route to go during a worldwide pandemic, so this is the type of technology that really saw a boom in the industry.

If you’re traveling in the next few months, you may see more and more hotels using technology such as touchless faucets, automated doors, and more.

In the future, you may even be able to control different aspects of your guest room, such as the lights, thermostat, and TV, from an app on your phone.

Not only does technology like this help ensure that everyone – employees and guests alike – are safe and comfortable, it also makes their stay more enjoyable as well!

The pandemic is (hopefully) winding down now, but germs will always exist and guests will always be looking for a way to make traveling easier and more simplified.

It’s never a bad idea to institute some of these touchless additions to your facility.

2. Promoting Safety

Speaking of safety, one of the most popular trends in hospitality marketing in the wake of COVID is the importance of highlighting and advertising a brand’s pandemic protocol and safety procedures.

Examples can be increased cleaning and sanitation, social distancing, enforcing the mask policy, and contactless food and concierge options.

Advertising this on a brand’s website and also upon arrival shows clear communication and commitment to guest safety, which improves customer satisfaction.

You can use attributes and the description field on Google Business Profiles to showcase these efforts in local search results, as well.

3. Encouraging Staycations

With many individuals still hesitant to travel abroad or even domestically, people have turned to traveling locally, or going on a “staycation.”

Supporting your local community has also become more important in recent years, making staycations even more appealing.

Image from The Hotel at Midtown, March 2022

With that being said, brands should be marketing their saunas, gyms, spa/massage services, and food delivery.

The Hotel at Midtown in Chicago does a great job of this by enticing locals to check out their restaurants, world-class fitness center, indoor and outdoor pools, and more.

Not to mention you have the entire city of Chicago at your disposal, so why not skip the plane ticket and vacation in your own city?

4. Highlight Flexible Cancellations

The world is a very uncertain place right now, and many hotels and flights could cancel last minute.

Brands should offer a generous cancellation policy, which allows customers to either rebook or be refunded.

It’s not the guest’s fault that their trip may have been canceled, and you don’t want to place additional stress on the guest for not being able to get a hotel credit or be refunded.

Some airlines, for example, have generous cancellation policies while others do not.

Chances are those with generous cancellation policies have a higher customer satisfaction score vs. those that aren’t so lenient.

While it’s true that many businesses compete on pricing, they also compete on customer experience and reputation.

For many audiences, it won’t matter how affordable your brand is if it comes with poor customer service.

Although Southwest Airlines isn’t considered a “luxury” airline (as they don’t offer first or business class seats), they have one of the highest customer satisfaction ratings in the airline industry.

This could be partly due to the fact that they also have one of the most flexible cancellation policies.

Customers will return to a brand when they are happy with the quality, experience, and customer service.

5. Work From Home… Or A Hotel

Why work from home day after day when you can work from a luxury hotel or resort?

More and more hotels are enticing business professionals to trade in their slippers and Zoom attire for casual wear that they can lounge in while working from a hotel lobby or coffee shop.

Hotels can market to those remote workers by offering free wi-fi or a cup of coffee when visiting their facility.

Some even have designated workspaces that are clean and quiet and perfect for those who can’t go into an office but for whose house may not be the ideal work environment.

It’s always nice to have a change of scenery, and who doesn’t want to get out of their house from time to time anyway?

Market your hospitality business as a great place to work, or even just to meet friends and catch up!

6. Influencer Marketing

The power of social media is incredible; it affects essentially every market worldwide, and so you need to learn to use it to the advantage of your business.

Whether you love them or hate them, influencers have taken over social platforms.

Influencer marketing has become a necessity for hospitability businesses when it comes to keeping up with competitors.

By using influencer marketing, brands can reach a much larger audience (the bigger the influencer, the bigger the audience) and attract more targeted consumers.

If you partner with an influencer in your space, this can be seen as one of the most valuable marketing tools because that influencer has trust with his/her audience and that trust will translate to your brand.

The #LetHawaiiHappen Campaign was a huge success when the Hawaii Tourism Authority partnered with a variety of popular Instagram influencers, encouraging them to post photos of themselves in some of Hawaii’s most popular (and beautiful) tourist attractions while using the aforementioned hashtag.

7. User-Generated Content

User-generated content is content that is created by users themselves as opposed to employees of the business.

This includes reviews and testimonials, as well as any time someone comments about a company (an online forum, like Quora, for example).

Potential customers typically value user-generated content because the users have no reason to be dishonest; they’re not being paid or reimbursed for their review of a brand, so it’s safe to say whatever they write will be truthful.

These are the types of reviews that are important for brands to highlight on their website.

So, how can you make it happen?

As a business, always encourage past customers to write reviews and share their experiences on social media.

Create a hashtag (or a few) and have customers use them when posting about your business on social media (see the example #LetHawaiiHappen, for example).

You could even reach out to the influencers we mentioned in the paragraph above and encourage them to check out your business and leave an honest review!

If you’re a solid business, this will only help you in the end.

If you find yourself with a lot of negative reviews, perhaps it’s time to take those into account and start making the changes you need to succeed.

8. Buy Now, Pay Later

Similar to the point above about making cancellations easy and avoiding change fees, many are still feeling uneasy about their financial situation.

Lately, we’ve seen different companies offer a “buy now, pay later” option to help hook customers and get them committed to making a purchase.

This allows the business to not miss out on any urgent appeals or promotions they may be running, and it allows the consumer to feel confident that they got the best deal without having to put any money down.

A great example of this is Uplift, which has partnered with a variety of international travel organizations from cruise lines to airlines to vacation packages in an attempt to ignite the travel industry by allowing patrons to “make thoughtful purchases now and pay over time…”

Final Thoughts

Hospitality marketing is hot right now and will only pick up more sizzle throughout the next few years as the world begins to open back up.

Using the tips above will help maximize revenue and increase customer retention and satisfaction. Safe travels and happy marketing!

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Google Hints At Improving Site Rankings In Next Update

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Google Hints At Improving Site Rankings In Next Update

Google’s John Mueller says the Search team is “explicitly evaluating” how to reward sites that produce helpful, high-quality content when the next core update rolls out.

The comments came in response to a discussion on X about the impact of March’s core update and September’s helpful content update.

In a series of tweets, Mueller acknowledged the concerns, stating:

“I imagine for most sites strongly affected, the effects will be site-wide for the time being, and it will take until the next update to see similar strong effects (assuming the new state of the site is significantly better than before).”

He added:

“I can’t make any promises, but the team working on this is explicitly evaluating how sites can / will improve in Search for the next update. It would be great to show more users the content that folks have worked hard on, and where sites have taken helpfulness to heart.”

What Does This Mean For SEO Professionals & Site Owners?

Mueller’s comments confirm Google is aware of critiques about the March core update and is refining its ability to identify high-quality sites and reward them appropriately in the next core update.

For websites, clearly demonstrating an authentic commitment to producing helpful and high-quality content remains the best strategy for improving search performance under Google’s evolving systems.

The Aftermath Of Google’s Core Updates

Google’s algorithm updates, including the September “Helpful Content Update” and the March 2024 update, have far-reaching impacts on rankings across industries.

While some sites experienced surges in traffic, others faced substantial declines, with some reporting visibility losses of up to 90%.

As website owners implement changes to align with Google’s guidelines, many question whether their efforts will be rewarded.

There’s genuine concern about the potential for long-term or permanent demotions for affected sites.

Recovery Pathway Outlined, But Challenges Remain

In a previous statement, Mueller acknowledged the complexity of the recovery process, stating that:

“some things take much longer to be reassessed (sometimes months, at the moment), and some bigger effects require another update cycle.”

Mueller clarified that not all changes would require a new update cycle but cautioned that “stronger effects will require another update.”

While affirming that permanent changes are “not very useful in a dynamic world,” Mueller adds that “recovery” implies a return to previous levels, which may be unrealistic given evolving user expectations.

“It’s never ‘just-as-before’,” Mueller stated.

Improved Rankings On The Horizon?

Despite the challenges, Mueller has offered glimmers of hope for impacted sites, stating:

“Yes, sites can grow again after being affected by the ‘HCU’ (well, core update now). This isn’t permanent. It can take a lot of work, time, and perhaps update cycles, and/but a different – updated – site will be different in search too.”

He says the process may require “deep analysis to understand how to make a website relevant in a modern world, and significant work to implement those changes — assuming that it’s something that aligns with what the website even wants.”

Looking Ahead

Google’s search team is actively working on improving site rankings and addressing concerns with the next core update.

However, recovery requires patience, thorough analysis, and persistent effort.

The best way to spend your time until the next update is to remain consistent and produce the most exceptional content in your niche.


FAQ

How long does it generally take for a website to recover from the impact of a core update?

Recovery timelines can vary and depend on the extent and type of updates made to align with Google’s guidelines.

Google’s John Mueller noted that some changes might be reassessed quickly, while more substantial effects could take months and require additional update cycles.

Google acknowledges the complexity of the recovery process, indicating that significant improvements aligned with Google’s quality signals might be necessary for a more pronounced recovery.

What impact did the March and September updates have on websites, and what steps should site owners take?

The March and September updates had widespread effects on website rankings, with some sites experiencing traffic surges while others faced up to 90% visibility losses.

Publishing genuinely useful, high-quality content is key for website owners who want to bounce back from a ranking drop or maintain strong rankings. Stick to Google’s recommendations and adapt as they keep updating their systems.

To minimize future disruptions from algorithm changes, it’s a good idea to review your whole site thoroughly and build a content plan centered on what your users want and need.

Is it possible for sites affected by core updates to regain their previous ranking positions?

Sites can recover from the impact of core updates, but it requires significant effort and time.

Mueller suggested that recovery might happen over multiple update cycles and involves a deep analysis to align the site with current user expectations and modern search criteria.

While a return to previous levels isn’t guaranteed, sites can improve and grow by continually enhancing the quality and relevance of their content.


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Google Reveals Two New Web Crawlers

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Google Reveals Two New Web Crawlers

Google revealed details of two new crawlers that are optimized for scraping image and video content for “research and development” purposes. Although the documentation doesn’t explicitly say so, it’s presumed that there is no impact in ranking should publishers decide to block the new crawlers.

It should be noted that the data scraped by these crawlers are not explicitly for AI training data, that’s what the Google-Extended crawler is for.

GoogleOther Crawlers

The two new crawlers are versions of Google’s GoogleOther crawler that was launched in April 2023. The original GoogleOther crawler was also designated for use by Google product teams for research and development in what is described as one-off crawls, the description of which offers clues about what the new GoogleOther variants will be used for.

The purpose of the original GoogleOther crawler is officially described as:

“GoogleOther is the generic crawler that may be used by various product teams for fetching publicly accessible content from sites. For example, it may be used for one-off crawls for internal research and development.”

Two GoogleOther Variants

There are two new GoogleOther crawlers:

  • GoogleOther-Image
  • GoogleOther-Video

The new variants are for crawling binary data, which is data that’s not text. HTML data is generally referred to as text files, ASCII or Unicode files. If it can be viewed in a text file then it’s a text file/ASCII/Unicode file. Binary files are files that can’t be open in a text viewer app, files like image, audio, and video.

The new GoogleOther variants are for image and video content. Google lists user agent tokens for both of the new crawlers which can be used in a robots.txt for blocking the new crawlers.

1. GoogleOther-Image

User agent tokens:

  • GoogleOther-Image
  • GoogleOther

Full user agent string:

GoogleOther-Image/1.0

2. GoogleOther-Video

User agent tokens:

  • GoogleOther-Video
  • GoogleOther

Full user agent string:

GoogleOther-Video/1.0

Newly Updated GoogleOther User Agent Strings

Google also updated the GoogleOther user agent strings for the regular GoogleOther crawler. For blocking purposes you can continue using the same user agent token as before (GoogleOther). The new Users Agent Strings are just the data sent to servers to identify the full description of the crawlers, in particular the technology used. In this case the technology used is Chrome, with the model number periodically updated to reflect which version is used (W.X.Y.Z is a Chrome version number placeholder in the example listed below)

The full list of GoogleOther user agent strings:

  • Mozilla/5.0 (Linux; Android 6.0.1; Nexus 5X Build/MMB29P) AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko) Chrome/W.X.Y.Z Mobile Safari/537.36 (compatible; GoogleOther)
  • Mozilla/5.0 AppleWebKit/537.36 (KHTML, like Gecko; compatible; GoogleOther) Chrome/W.X.Y.Z Safari/537.36

GoogleOther Family Of Bots

These new bots may from time to time show up in your server logs and this information will help in identifying them as genuine Google crawlers and will help publishers who may want to opt out of having their images and videos scraped for research and development purposes.

Read the updated Google crawler documentation

GoogleOther-Image

GoogleOther-Video

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ChatGPT To Surface Reddit Content Via Partnership With OpenAI

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ChatGPT artificial intelligence chatbot app on smartphone screen with large shadow giving the feeling of floating on top of the background. White background.

Reddit partners with OpenAI to integrate content into ChatGPT.

  • Reddit and OpenAI announce a partnership.
  • Reddit content will be used in ChatGPT.
  • Concerns about accuracy of Reddit user-generated content.

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