Awareness of digital marketing in the hospitality industry
The hospitality and tourism industry in India largely contributes to the Indian economy. It has managed to capture the interest of people within and outside the Country. The World Travel and Tourism Council calculated that tourism generated ₹16.91 lakh crore (US$240 billion) or 9.2% of India's GDP in 2018 and supported 42.673 million jobs. With its geographical variations and rich cultural heritage, India has a lot to offer with regards to the tourism industry.
India has a diverse portfolio supporting niche tourism products.
Over 10 million foreign tourists arrived in India in 2017 compared to 8.89 million in 2016, representing a growth of 15.6% (ibef. org)
Travelling for leisure was restricted to select few in the past. Hence the potential of large scale marketing was not explored. However, the past few decades is marked by the growth of the middle class which actively seeks out travelling for leisure.
This has called for a shift in the hospitality management industry, especially hotel management and tourism to reach out to a greater audience and greater potential consumer base. The tourism industry has expanded to include and cater to various interests. Niche tourism has expanded into a multitude of sectors such as wildlife and eco-tourism, sustainable tourism, cruise tourism etc.
Various projects such as the “Make in India” and “Incredible India” are proactively working towards the development of the hospitality and tourism industry. The ultimate idea being presenting the diversity of India at its best.
Thankfully with the developments in technological fields discovering and more importantly recording information is made possible.
The way the information is viewed has also underwent a major change. Easy accessibility across platforms is aided by tech and internet availability penetrating various parts of the country. However, the unprecedented growth is not restricted to within the country, on the contrary foreign investment within the hospitality and tourism sector has also witnessed growth.
The major changes in both the above mentioned fields, namely information generation and consumption has created a need for how information is presented. Amidst scores of content that is available on the internet that is accessed through search engines, there is a high chance that your hospitality management service goes unrecognized.
Being attuned to the changes in the industry, the surrounding and adapting accordingly helps the industry to stay ahead of the curve.
This is where digital marketing steps in.
The exponential rate at which people use digital media services is one of the main reasons as to why the hospitality industry needs to step into digital marketing arena.
The hospitality industry holds a wide range of services under its wing such as hotel, food and dining, drinking , entertainment, tourism, transportation etc each service with its own mega-trends and challenges. Understanding these trends allow for better marketing.
- Changing cultural paradigms.
Hotel Management industry
Millenial culture and their practices which mainly includes multitasking causes a change in the paradigms of travel and tourism. The mega- trends observed with regards to the hotel management industry mainly revolve around the idea of fluidity of spaces and ideas.
Understanding that the target audience can no longer just be classified into the binaries of business or leisure and families or working professionals is key to discern the changing demographic. There is rise in trends such as hostels, Airbnb, etc. catering to solo travelers. Therefore targeting the fluid needs.
Combining business and leisure is on the rise. Targeted at people who seek out leisure and other relaxing activities during their downtime, this has created a need for a hotel that can accommodate both these activities. It also calls for management to be adept with skills other than just providing service.
Being on the lookout for such spaces the millennial culture, that tends to focus on experiences over material objects, calls for a change in the way information is provided. Hotels are not just reviewed and ranked by the facilities they provide but also by how enriching the experience was. The consumer expectation from the industry is mainly centered around leisure and their delightful experiences, the industry therefore receives extensive amount of criticism.
At the same time, access to data has reshaped behavior, with more and more customers seeking out data in advance, researching everything from menus and prices to neighborhoods and wait times. What’s more, many are willing to share information, when they are getting a fair exchange! (Medium.com)
In September 2018, the Indian government launched the ‘Incredible India Mobile App’ to assist the traveller to India and showcase major experiences for travelling.
Information or rather content is generated through a plethora of mediums, with the rise in visual media and as said previously the easy accessibility of these content on these platforms manages to give precise information to consumers.
Regardless of how much above mentioned features you’ve incorporated in your hotel if the advertisement does not emphasize and highlight the key features of your service, there is a chance of it remaining inappreciable.
Therefore, without the proper marketing strategies and techniques there is a higher chance of your business going unnoticed or being buried amidst your competitors.
Consumers who are willing to invest their time and money into a specific service have to be convinced on why your brand is the best bet among other offers. Getting the message of your brand across to potential consumer and more importantly to the right demography sets the stage for a sustainable growth of your business.
Therefore, while placing an advertisement on a digital platform, you have to be mindful of the process of translating the vision of the service provider into powerful and engaging content that the consumer will not refuse to acknowledge.
3. Niche tourism
Niche tourism is targeted at a specific audience also holds a lot of scope. Service provided under this sector tends to be targeted, tailored and personalized especially when it comes to eco-tourism, cruise and polo tourism etc
The rising awareness surrounding climate change and environmental change has led to growth of eco-tourism and agro-tourism. Travelers are increasingly aware of how they should contribute to not only their environment but also the organic community of the places they visit. Since the shift in travel and tourism is towards experiences, projects that allow travellers to meet new people, communicate with locals, be a part of a community or a cultural experience is on the rise. E-bike tours for eco-tourists is one such example of how it works.
Discerning the growth of technology and the influence it has on consumers and their decisions is vital. Visual media especially tends have a major influence. The plethora of options within the realm of visual media, such as images, videos, vlogs etc. have proved to be effective.
The content that is created has to be correctly processed and advertised. It needs to be displayed across multiple platforms. Social media platforms are one of the fastest way to reach people. Post on Instagram followed by quirky has tags, tweets, Facebook messages etc. prove to effective enough to garner interest.
Social media has also proved to be one of the most effective ways to reach your target demograph
Various studies show that people tend to be influenced by their social media peers. Social media influences have a number of people following them based on their shared interest. Timely social media posts by either the hotels or the people visiting the hotels prove to be effective in the brand name being circulated and staying relevant. The platform therefore proves to be an effective place for market your brand
From not being able to update hotel websites to unavailability and infrequent or uninteresting posts on social media, there are a lot of areas within the digital marketing sector if left unchecked can cause hotel and tourism brands to lag behind. The brand’s ultimate goal which is catering to the customer and aiming to convert them into loyal customers tends to get affected by not focusing on digital marketing trends.
For the hospitality industry, marketing on the digital platform shouldn’t end with just making and managing your website but by putting the message across various platforms where it gains considerable attention and attract the right customers.
The brand’s message when delivered has to be accepted and understood. The content either visuals, written or both have to uphold the integrity of your idea. The advertisements need to convey the focal points of your service in all its splendor without any of it being lost in the process. An advertisement that calls out to the right people is essential.