With 2018 just around the corner, tech trends present an exploding array of innovation-driven options to delight visitors and guests. Right now, hotel operators should be thinking now about some of the trends they could try before the new year rolls around. Here’s just a sampling of some trends that are creating some buzz in hospitality circles.
Bots, or chatbots, represent a way for hotel operators to easily interact with audiences in conversational ways that don’t involve real people. Instead, the bots are set up to respond to commonly asked questions and to interact with audiences as if controlled by real people. Facebook Messenger has been behind the trend and how has more than 100,000 bots to help business keep up with customers looking for answers. Amazon and Google are working hard to catch up. Unlike apps, which consumers need to proactively access, bots can drive content to them based on their interests, questions, interactions, and more.
Facebook Deep Targeting
Eric Elins with WideFoc.us Social Media suggests: “Hotel marketing and sales pros should use Facebook’s deep ad and post boost targeting, especially in creating lookalike audiences who will be more responsive to their messaging.” Hoteliers can simply upload their own email database and pub a Facebook pixel on the website to create new audiences similar to these profiles, says Elkins. The benefit of deep targeting? Offering your audience a unified brand experience while offering the amount of care and attention they expect. Strategic targeting like this allows hotels and brands to expedite and uphold extensive content themes through posts, responses, and real-time conversations with planners and prospects alike.
Piggyback Your Promos
Zack Reboletti with Web Focused suggests a digital tech hack for New Year’s Eve events that can be applied to other events throughout the year. There’s a lot of search engine traffic around “new year’s eve [city name]” and similar search queries, he says. Hotel operators can take advantage tech trends like this by creating an event page or blog post on their website with the details of an event, plus a URL like /new-years-eve-city-name (replacing ‘city-name’ with your city), says Reboletti. Another option: Do a Google search for “new year’s eve [city name]” to find other events in your location. Then reach out to these sites with a short description of your event and link and ask to be added to their list. “Land two of these, wait a week or two, then do a Google search again and there’s a good chance your event page will be there,” he adds.
360 Degree Video
What better way to give potential guests a realistic feel for your venue than to put them right in the middle of your facility through the use of 360 video? Also commonly referred to as virtual reality, or VR, 360 video provides an “in the setting” experience for consumers allowing hotel operators the opportunity to show off their guest rooms, meetings rooms, recreation areas, restaurants, lounges, etc., in a very impactful way. This Travel+Leisure piece talks about how 360 degree video is changing the future of travel. Not unlike chatbots or strategic promos, 360 degree video is all about providing guests with experiences that feel authentic and give them a genuine picture of the venue and what it can provide.
More Mobility in Tech Trends
According to Hospitality Technology, 84 percent of hotel operators plan to have mobile technologies in place within the next 18 months. These types of technology will aid in everything from mobile bookings, to check in, to room access, and more. With so many guests and visitors tied to their phones 24/7, it’s a convenience that can’t be overlooked or underestimated.
How many of these trends will you explore for 2018? Are there other tech options on your radar?