As we inch closer to summer getaway season, the hospitality industry is bracing itself for the coming months. After the events of the last few years, holidaymakers are making the most of being able to travel again, without worrying about restrictions and health checks.
While the challenges faced by the hospitality industry during the pandemic have waned, there have been fresh issues due to the rising cost of living and soaring inflation rates. However, many people have budgeted for a break, with holidays both abroad and closer to home arranged at the start of the year as something for people to look forward to.
With summer ’23 shaping up to be busy for hospitality businesses, it’s worth thinking about how we got here and what’s making destinations, hotels and holiday parks top of the list again.
The Influence Of Social Media
Social media has long been a key marketing tool for businesses, with celebrity-endorsed locations and VIP venues all making it to the Insta grid. But while the travel and hospitality industries slowed down, major changes took place in the world of social media.
TikTok was already making waves ahead of the arrival of Covid-19, but by the time the pandemic hit, it suddenly shot up in popularity. This was largely down to things like dance trends that people could try while at home and other viral videos that were uploaded to the site. Suddenly, Instagram had to play catchup, launching Reels to lure people into adding more than static images to the platform.
All of this has meant that consumers can watch short clips and decide where the hottest eateries are in the country they’re visiting or whether a new product is worth purchasing. They can see people enjoying themselves in the hotel pool or their kids enjoying onsite facilities. With so much on offer, hospitality providers, from hotels and airlines to bars and restaurants, have been able to use social media to show off their wares.
Additionally, savvy businesses caught on early to the idea that by hiring or sponsoring influencers to promote their business or brand, they could reach a huge number of people effortlessly; creating a worthwhile return on investment.
A great recent example of this can be observed by two of the biggest social media influencers in the US & UK: KSI and Logan Paul. These two influencers teamed up to create their own energy drink known as PRIME and mass market their product themselves, using their various social media platforms, to their millions of loyal followers. Their digital marketing campaigns have certainly paid off as many young fans flock to try out their energy drink instead of other established brands who may still rely on television to advertise their product line.
The Google Effect
As well as social media, hospitality businesses have picked up a lot of interest from customers via Google. Having websites that rank well, making them in the first few search results, goes a very long way toward generating bookings. When looking for help in the SEO realm, be sure to go with specialized travel SEO services (or other companies specialized in doing SEO for your hospitality industry segment).
TripAdvisor and Google reviews are also hugely impactful in introducing holidaymakers to everything from accommodation options to food and drink venues. A quick Google search will bring up comments and feedback, and the higher the number of positive reviews, the more likely a hospitality business will be popular. This is all on top of other features people can see such as photos and business descriptions which can also be found using the Google Maps application.
Google is also the go-to option for those researching how to make their holiday last that little bit longer. For some, buying a holiday home is an ideal opportunity to have a bolthole to escape to, again and again. Holiday lodges for sale and other accommodation options that are available to buy can be researched, viewed, and, in some cases, even bought online – all off the back of a simple Google search.
No need to worry about an agent or a company’s credentials, as you may well have done only a couple of decades ago, as you’ll be able to seamlessly verify whom you are dealing with online in no time. And have the peace of mind that your custom is in good hands.
While there are concerns about how the economic lull will affect the hospitality industry, it looks likely that those who missed out on holidaying during the pandemic are prioritising travel this year. This means that it’s worth businesses making the most of digital resources to promote what’s on offer.
In more positive developments, artificial intelligence may go further than ever before in helping people find the best locations and overseas destinations for their downtime plans. For example, there are apps such as Roamaround.io which are capable of planning a full holiday itinerary for you automatically using artificial intelligence and the data users share with the application.
This is a remarkable development which will no doubt grow in popularity in the coming years once the infrastructure and technology become widely used; and once nations around the world with different laws and regulations approve of these new fast growing technologies.
For the time being the best we can hope for in 2023 is stability in the rising travelling costs or better yet a reduction a flight and accommodation costs, which will in turn allow more people to enjoy the spoils of travelling again.