The danger of hotels losing revenue by not being able to cut through ad blocking is very real. In 2015, according to Pagefair, an estimated £17.37bn was lost in advertising budget due to the fact that people were choosing to restrict the online ads they received. So what can be done to overcome this threat and turn it into an opportunity?
The desire in recent years to turn web pages into cash cows by stuffing them full of as much advertising as possible has left hotels paying the price now that the digital worm has turned. Frustrated by excessive generic advertising that consumers considered intrusive, the rise of the ad blocker enabled them to switch all of this noise off. And often not just the annoying advertising, but all advertising. This means that many travel industry advertisers are finding it nigh on impossible to reach their audiences, but smarter hotel marketers are using this technology strategically to not only connect with the consumer, but to target them more effectively through personalisation.
Getting to Know You
This turn of events means it is now necessary to build a strategy based on getting to know a brand’s existing and potential audience better and then use this information to offer advertising that is relevant to them and their lifestyles. For instance, instead of offering adverts for over-sixties Mediterranean cruises on a website based on youth culture, by knowing the demographics of a site’s visitors and reflecting this, the viewer is more likely to be open to receiving these kinds of messages because they directly relate to them.
Getting to know your customers on every level, from the places they go, the teams they support, the things they buy, the TV shows they watch, etc., means hotel marketers need to build a strategy based on where to get these actionable insights. Furthermore, using customer data management and data brokerage platforms enables them to be sure that they are creating a message that connects with the right people.
Break on Through
The threat posed by ad blocking means hotels are looking for other, more effective means to connect with their audience. One such channel is messenger apps. Because of the wealth of information these apps gather when users are setting up their profile, hotels can use bots within the software to monitor the topics a user is chatting about to deliver a timely message that is relevant to them. Imagine that somebody is discussing holiday destinations with a friend and the app informs them of a hotel in that location that has a special promotion available for that day. The relevance of the message, based on the topic they are chatting about and their social profile, means the hotel is speaking to them at the best possible moment. This is a great example of targeted one-to-one personalisation.
Every Cloud Has a Digital Lining
The smart marketer is the one that is always staying ahead of their game. And while some people perceive ad blocking as a threat, others realise that it is an opportunity to get wiser in the way they target their content. By constantly updating the information they are using to build their customers’ profiles, they are getting one step closer to establishing a relationship with them based on understanding. The lazy practice of bulk, disconnected messaging might have had its day, but in its wake is left a better-educated marketer that is able to push their advertising to a more welcoming and relevant audience. Moreover, by giving the power back to the consumer, this could be the breath of fresh air they have been needing for so long. And, after all that effort, you probably deserve a holiday!
Duncan Hendy, Content Strategy Manager, Kentico Software