FAQs for the Hotel Digital Marketer


We've compiled answers to the most commonly asked questions related to hotel digital marketing in our most recent blog. Whether you're a fellow digital marketer or a hotelier, this list of FAQs will be one that you should bookmark for a later date.

General Hotel Marketing FAQs

Why is booking direct better than letting the OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) do all the work? 

Competing against the OTAs can be a daunting task with their multi-million-dollar budgets, loyalty programs, and great online booking experience, but for all hotels, it is worth the fight. When a guest books through the OTA, not only do you pay a fee upwards of 25% commission, the hotel only has access to a limited amount of data on the guest. So unless you have a front desk that collects email addresses 100% of the time, you lose the ability to truly own the guests’ data and the ability to remarket to them in the future. 

"Acquiring a new customer can cost five times more than retaining an existing customer. Increasing customer retention by 5% can increase profits from 25-95%. The success rate of selling to a customer you already have is 60-70%, while the success rate of selling to a new customer is 5-20%." 

Are hotel loyalty programs important? 

Hotel loyalty programs can definitely play a role in driving conversion. They should be introduced during the booking process and in remarketing to past guests. The loyalty program needs to provide a benefit to joining that means something to the guest such as earning a free night stay or amenities like free breakfast. Providing a loyalty program such as GuestBook or Stash helps hotels compete against the OTAs that have strong loyalty programs. In fact, we've seen clients convert 10% more when they have a loyalty program. 

What is a bounce rate on a hotel’s website? 

Bounce rate refers to the percentage of users who visit the hotel’s website site and then immediately exit without further engaging, or triggering a second request on the site. While we don’t have a “magic percent” that all clients should be hitting, you do want to continually work to make that bounce rate as low as possible.

Does call tracking matter for hotel marketing?

Even in today's digital age there are many times when a customer still prefers to call a business to engage, ask questions, and ultimately book. We see this most often with more complicated or expensive products and it's true no matter what kind of hotel you are. If you don't have call tracking, such as through Navis CRM, you'll be missing out on valuable conversion data that gives a deeper understanding of campaign performance. We've had properties show no online booked revenue through a campaign but thousands in revenue booked over the phone. If you're only able to make decisions based on online booked revenue, you could be missing valuable data that shows the full performance of your hotel’s marketing campaigns.

What is the most important KPI (Key Performance Indicator) by channel for hotel marketing? 

It depends on what your objectives are for each hotel marketing campaign. If you're running a branded paid search campaign, you'll be more interested in conversions and ROAS vs an awareness campaign on Facebook where you’d want to pay more attention to impressions and reach. Campaigns aimed at driving more traffic to the site would want to focus on improving outbound clicks and click-through-rate while lead generation campaigns would measure success by number of leads submitted. KPIs are very subjective, but it’s also important to be seeing the whole picture when measuring success.

How do you define a performance KPI for different types of hotels and marketing channels? Do travel industry benchmarks matter? 

KPIs should measure value to evaluate success across all marketing channels for the hotel. They should be both:

  • Quantifiable Metrics - ones that are representative of the goals of your organization. For hotels, this is often Reservations, RFP Submissions, Newsletter Signups, or Membership Additions, but there can be other, supporting KPIs as well.
  • Leading Indicators - these are useful in marketing as it can show time and effort associated with a certain impact. Perhaps people that spend several minutes on a page that contains an RFP form or people that abandon during the booking process.

KPIs should avoid measurements that you are unable to impact. A good rule of thumb is that if you are unable to change it, then it should not be a KPI.

Like many other goals, KPIs should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound (SMART). Examples of KPIs and Supporting KPIs could be: Impressions, Followers, Engagement, Delivery Rate, Referrals Gained, Engagement, Site Visits, CTR, Open Rate, Bounce Rate, Conversions, Content Shares, Cost per Acquisition and Revenue.  

Why do direct booking tools help hotel website conversion rates? 

You can have the best hotel marketing campaigns in the industry, but if you're sending traffic to a site that doesn't convert then your performance is going to be dismal. Your website is your online storefront and you should be testing functionality to help increase conversion rate. Direct booking tools like The Hotels Network offer a great way to incorporate new features, personalization, and conversion rate optimization tactics to help drive better conversion rates on your hotel’s website.

Different attribution models - why is position based better than last click? What is the best attribution model for hotel marketing campaigns? Why is it important to look at data through different attribution models? 

If we think about a user that interacts with multiple platforms prior to booking (Display, Video, Facebook, Paid Search, Organic, Direct, etc.), how do we attribute revenue? In other words, which channel should get credit for the booking? If we only choose one, then we are essentially saying that a single source of traffic gets all the credit and the others are not as valuable.

Each platform needs to have its own attribution model in order to accurately describe how users are interacting with that source prior to booking. Attribution models often reflect where in the booking funnel a user is targeted and the relative success of that targeting. This becomes especially important as we use 3rd party automation tools in Display, Social Advertising, Video Advertising and Paid Search in order to automate bids, budgets and targeting for our potential audience. An attribution model that best analyzes the entirety of a users interaction through a specific traffic source is often most efficient when paired with automated tools.

A good highlight for us is the Default Position-Based Model that we use for Paid Search. Almost all of our accounts are targeting both Brand (bidding on your own name/brand terms) and Non-Brand (bidding on terms that are not associated with your name/brand). The Default Position-Based Model is as follows:

  • 40% of Revenue is attributed to the first click
  • 40% of Revenue is attributed to the last click
  • 20% of Revenue is split between all other interactions as measured by the system

If we were to only use a last click attribution model, the model would attribute more Revenue to the last clicks before booking, which are generally Brand Terms. As Brand Terms typically have lower search volume and lower CPC, we generally have difficulty spending our entire budget. We also are not representative to people who are searching in the market outside of the Brand Terms and overall Revenue typically decreases since we aren't growing our market share to potential new customers.

Using only a first click interaction has an opposite impact; we typically spend our budget very quickly, we are less representative to people who are searching for your specific brand, and we have a similar impact of overall Revenue declining as we are not representative to the people who are more likely to reserve through a Brand Term.

We find the best balance with a Default Attribution Model where we are targeting people at the top of the funnel, outside of Brand Terms, while also allowing for Revenue to be equally attributed to the bottom of the funnel where people are more likely to book. For this reason, we have found the best results in using this attribution model for Paid Search.

Each advertising platform uses a unique attribution model specific to that source in the hopes of best targeting the entirety of the funnel that users might be experiencing prior to making a reservation.

Hotel Digital Marketing FAQs

How often should I change our hotel’s display advertising creative? 

We recommend changing your hotel’s display advertising creative quarterly (every 90 days). This will ensure that our ad platforms have enough time to optimize your ads while also preventing what is called "ad fatigue." Ad fatigue happens when users are used to seeing the same ads over and over and thus stop engaging with them. Even a simple image change or text update would do the trick if the content or offer needs to stay the same. When it comes to the minimum amount of time ads can run we suggest two weeks to a month, as it could take two weeks for the ads to optimize and for us to have any sufficient data.

How often should I change our hotel’s  Facebook advertising campaign?

Similar to display advertising, we recommend that new Facebook campaigns go through a 90-day flight. This gives Facebook enough time to finish the "learning process" and really optimize the ads. The learning process is important because Facebook will analyze performance over the select period of time and then use its machine-learning functionality to better serve your ads to the correct audience.

Existing Facebook campaigns that go through ad refreshes or new ad creation should run for at least two weeks to a month. Short promotions or flash sales can be better utilized with the "offer" functionality in the adset level.

How can you show a return for our hotel’s prospecting (brand awareness) campaign? 

The best way to show a return for your hotel’s prospecting campaign is to run it alongside retargeting. Although you won't see the revenue being attributed directly to prospecting, you will know that those campaigns bring in the audience who will eventually book through retargeting ads.

Alternatively you could use more niche targeting (using keywords on display rather than geo-targeting or narrowing your audience by interests and demographics on Facebook).

The important thing to remember is that hotel prospecting or brand awareness marketing campaigns are not meant to show a return. They are meant to bring in new audiences to the booking funnel which works directly with your retargeting campaigns to provide a return.

Why is video advertising important for hotels?

Video advertising is important for hotels for a number of reasons, but mainly because it's THE trend in the digital marketplace right now. Display platforms and Facebook prioritize video ads over regular images and it's proven to provide more user engagement and higher ad recall rates. 

Why is email marketing important for hotels?

Contrary to popular belief, email marketing for hotels is not dead, but rather one of the best channels for directly engaging with your present and past customers. In fact, on average email returns $44 for every $1 spent. 92% of adults use email so if you aren't sending segmented and relevant emails to your lists then you are missing out on some serious revenue. Learn more about email marketing today! 

Hotel Paid Search FAQs

Why is hotel metasearch important? 

Google's domination of the search engine market share and hyper-focus on expanding its travel planning products, including hotel search, means that hotels need to optimize their exposure in this area to capture people throughout the consumer buyer journey. Optimizing your GMB listing, increasing and responding to guest reviews, and metasearch all have a great impact on exposure here. The OTAs are present and competitive on metasearch and your hotel needs to be to if they want to capture more direct bookings.

Why do I need to pay for my hotel’s own name in paid search terms? 

There are many reasons proven to support purchasing your hotel’s branded name terms within paid search. Here’s a list of the top ones:

  • Control the top position of search results for your brand
  • Be more in control of the messaging that your potential visitors might see
  • Provide users with more information through ad extensions
  • Possibly minimize negative content impacts such as poor reviews
  • Better highlight promotions, specific landing pages or need periods through extensions
  • Be present on more of the "real estate" of the Search Engine Result Page (SERP) for your brand terms by appearing both in paid results and organic, this has shown to have an impact on overall (paid plus organic) traffic and revenue
  • Increase your CTR - "89% of traffic generated by search ads is not replaced by organic clicks" 
  • Take opportunities away from your competitors and Online Travel Agencies (OTAs)
  • Increase your PPC Account performance and overall quality score
  • Brand Name bidding is relatively cheaper than other forms of referral traffic, like OTA's, which might take as much as 30% of the final purchase
  • Users searching for your brand are often your most qualified audiences, helping to possibly uncover new customer segments
  • Can help with poor performance through organic, often getting a site to rank well organically is a more long-term strategy while branded PPC bidding can be a faster strategy to gain exposure in the SERP

Should I run a hotel paid search campaign targeting a competitor?

"Conquest" or competitor paid search campaigns for hotels can be a great tool to gain exposure to consumers who are already interested in a similar brand or product. These can be a great tactic for new hotels entering a market that need to grow their brand voice among consumers already looking to travel to the area. Conversely, these competitor campaigns are targeting branded keywords of other hotels so it is likely that people searching for these keywords have already done a lot of research and decided they want to stay at that particular hotel, so the chances of swaying them to book at your hotel are slim. 

If you do decide to target these keywords, we recommend not using the competitor's name in the ad copy but instead focus on key competitive advantages and present reasons why they should stay at your hotel instead. Historically, we do not see high ROAS for these campaigns. Success should be directed at awareness metrics such as impressions.

Hotel Website Development FAQs

What makes a good hotel booking engine?

First and foremost, a good hotel booking engine needs to be mobile-friendly. The hotel’s booking engine also needs to have the same look and feel as the hotel website so that once the guest is in the booking engine, they do not notice that they are on a new website. It should also be easy for a user to get back to the main website. Booking engines should also have high-resolution room images and the ability to easily book and access packages.

Why do hotel websites break? 

Hotel websites generally break for one of three reasons:

  1. A software update goes wrong. Sometimes it's the software sitting on your server (WordPress, a plugin, etc.) and sometimes it's the server software itself (PHP, Apache, etc.). Generally, someone clicked on an upgrade button and boom, the site breaks.
  2. A user breaks something important in the CMS. An accidental file deletion, removal of a critical plugin, or the wrong settings in a plugin can all cause a site to crash and fail.
  3. A bill goes unpaid. A lot of different pieces work together to keep a website working, from keeping the domain name registered to making sure the hosting account is paid. As employees and owners change over time, occasionally the person with the right access to the right service leaves, then when the time comes to pay the relevant fee, no one can get in to pay it. In the worst-case scenario, you might even lose control of your site completely!

Clearly there are many other factors involved, but over the years these are the most common reasons hotel websites break.

Why does hotel website tracking break? 

In our experience, the number one issue that tends to reliably break or disrupt our hotel’s tracking configuration is site updates with no notification to your analytics implementation staff. Often when enterprises are updating a hotel’s website, they're so concerned with how it will look and function as a front-facing product that they either forget to notify their analytics staff, don't think that the changes will have any effect on tracking, or in the case of full rebuilds forget to carry over key elements of tracking all-together. These can and do derail tracking on just about every level and can be easily avoided.

The second most common issue is not providing analytics staff with access to a testing area leading up to when major site changes do occur and then depending on them to change things on the fly as problems present themselves. Depending on the complexity of the hotel’s website, it can take weeks or even months to determine how your tracking platform interacts with a site update so running tests and QA measures should be exercised when pushing major site updates. This issue is less obvious and requires a more significant commitment but making that transition smooth goes a long way towards assuring that tracking is consistent.

Hotel Digital Marketing Acronym Translator

There are many different acronyms to try to keep straight between the hotel industry and the digital marketing industry. Here’s a quick reference guide to the most frequently used ones. 

CTR: Click-Through Rate

CPM: Cost Per Thousand

CPC: Cost Per Click

CPA: Cost Per Acquisition

CPL: Cost Per Lead

CPE: Cost Per Engagement

ROAS: Return on Ad Spend

CTA: Call To Action

SEO: Search Engine Optimization

SEM: Search Engine Marketing

UX: User Experience

CMS: Content Management System

CRM: Customer Relationship Management

GA: Google Analytics

PPC: Pay Per Click

SERPS: Search Engine Result Pages

Do you have a question we missed or do you need more information about any of the topics above? Submit an inquiry and reach out to GCommerce today! 

How To Choose Marketing KPIs


Key Performance Indicators, or KPIs, are the backbone of your hotel’s digital marketing. They inform decisions about marketing channels, help with campaign optimization, and, most importantly, let you measure the success of your marketing efforts. 

But how do you choose the right marketing KPIs for your hotel? 

If you focus on too many KPIs, your digital marketing campaigns start to get muddy. You can’t optimize for everything simultaneously, especially if your KPIs relate to multiple goals. Revenue and awareness are in direct opposition to each other since a high-revenue campaign requires a highly qualified audience. Broader reach means less qualified traffic, so you can’t have it both ways. 

Instead of trying to perform well across the board, determine your hotel’s main goal and choose your marketing KPIs from there. Below, we’ve listed some suggested KPIs based on your primary digital marketing goal. 

Revenue-Focused Marketing KPIs

If your hotel wants to increase cash flow with your digital marketing, choose KPIs that relate directly to bookings. 

Conversions and Revenue

Looking at the raw amount of conversions, along with their value, is a great way to determine how much money is being generated by your digital marketing campaigns. 

Conversion rate (CVR)

A high conversion rate usually indicates a high number of bookings per ad, also suggesting a high revenue for your campaign.

Return On Ad Spend (ROAS)

ROAS is arguably the best measure of a campaign’s profitability, giving you the best reference point for your bottom line. 

Awareness-Focused Marketing KPIs

If you are looking to target as many people as possible with your digital marketing, choose KPIs that measure reach.


Impressions are awareness in their purest form, referring to the potential number of eyeballs on your ad. This KPI doesn’t tell you anything about follow-through, but it does give you a general sense of brand reach.


Driving people to your site is a step above showing them your ad. Actively engaging with your content makes your hotel more memorable, making clicks a slightly more accurate representation of awareness than impressions.

Impression Share/Market Share

Part of building awareness is cutting through the noise; impression share can help determine if you’re doing so successfully. While this KPI is not available for all campaigns, high impression share suggests that you’re being shown more than competing hotels and online travel agencies, creating recognition for your own brand.

Mixed-Focus Marketing KPIs

If you truly can’t decide on just one goal, choose KPIs that measure a little bit of both. Neither revenue nor awareness will be as strong without a focused goal, but these are great middle-of-the-road KPIs for an overall balanced performance.

Cost Per Click (CPC)

A low cost per click suggests high efficiency in your campaigns, squeezing your budget for max awareness without sacrificing profitability.

Cost Per Conversion

Cost per conversion is similar, giving you the best bang for your buck by increasing revenue and ROAS without the inherent need for a small audience. 

Clickthrough Rate (CTR)

CTR, like conversion rate, suggests a qualified audience with a decent number of interactions per ad. However, CTR allows a bit more breathing room, letting a few non-converters through for the sake of more clicks. It’s an effective middle ground between engagement and eyeballs. 


Choosing a KPI for your hotel’s digital marketing comes down to prioritizing one goal for your campaigns. The real trick is understanding that you can’t have everything at once and deciding which elements of your business’ success to focus on. 

If you’d like more help with KPIs or want to get started with digital marketing, contact GCommerce Solutions using this link.

Hotel Marketing in an Economic Downturn Webinar


Past is prologue. Economic downturns create hardship for a majority of the hospitality industry, but a select few operators use these periods and targeted, smart marketing to create long-term value for their hotels.

As a result, these sophisticated operators experience less negative impact during the downturn, they recover far quicker than their competitors, and they sustain those gains for years to come.

In this webinar we will cover:

  • Is an economic downturn imminent?
  • The 3 paths for combating this cycle
  • The 2 trends dictating the future
  • A step-by-step digital marketing playbook so your property comes out on top

Watch the replay by submitting the form below.

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[E-Book] 6 Big Travel Trends for 2023


We are excited to share our E-Book, 6 Big Travel Trends for 2023. It's filled with insights on the current state of the hospitality industry and where it's headed in the future.

With this knowledge, you can make the most informed decisions and have an advantage in the ever-evolving hospitality industry.

Download E-Book

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Hotel Digital Marketing in a Down Economy- Part 2


5 Must-Have Hotel Marketing Channels

Last week, in “Hotel Marketing in a Down Economy,” GCommerce’s Founder, Scott van Hartesvelt, shared some important hotel booking pattern signals, what history has taught us about navigating a challenging economy, and how properties can come out stronger on the other side. This week, let’s dig into the specific marketing channels every hotel should leverage in an economic downturn.

But first, a really important reminder. Do not lose sight of what makes your hotel special!

In challenging times, it’s natural to want to promote special offers to your hotel’s audience. There certainly is a time and a place for that, but the audience your hotel has been nurturing for years (oftentimes decades) isn’t following you for discounts. There is something about your hotel’s brand, your identity, that resonates with them. Make sure your digital messaging stays true to your brand platform.

Must-Have Hotel Marketing Channels in an Economic Downturn:

Metasearch (Google Hotel Ads, TripAdvisor, Kayak, Trivago, etc.)

We continue to see metasearch adoption growing amongst hotels and resorts. Online Travel Agent sites (OTAs) compete heavily on these channels to steal market share. With the current economic climate, we have seen significant increases in the average cost-per-click (CPC) on hotel metasearch channels. In January 2023, the average CPC for hotel metasearch campaigns increased 12% versus January 2022. While we are seeing decreases in CPCs on other channels (more on that later), metasearch is holding strong for a couple of key reasons:

1.      The demand for this type of media has not decreased. In fact, the competition has only grown. Google, specifically, launched their Free Booking Links back in 2021 to get more properties to participate and ultimately get them to spend on media. 

2.      OTAs are pushing hard to regain their footing. In 2020 and 2021, most properties were able to surpass OTA bookings with direct bookings. In these uncertain economic times, OTAs are going to be fiercely seeking ways to make up for their losses.

But if the cost of media is going up, why would I put my money here?”

This is a fantastic question! The answer is not about “why” but about “how”. There are ways to lower your financial risk while participating on hotel metasearch channels. Look for a partner who offers a pay-on-performance or pay-per-stay model, so you only pay for bookings that actualize. This type of model covers the up-front media required to run campaigns and you pay a commission net revenue (after cancellations).

Paid Search

For the last 2 decades, paid search has been the leading digital marketing channel for hotels and resorts and over that time Cost-Per-Clicks (CPCs) have had peaks and valleys. Right now, we are in a valley with CPCs at a 22.5% decrease YoY.  That decrease is not reflective of the impact this channel can have on overall hotel revenue production.  In fact, paid search remains an essential and profitable element to a successful digital footprint.  As some hotels pull back their budgets on paid search, there is a real opportunity to win market share.  Work with your internal team or digital marketing agency to refine your target markets, keywords, and messaging to get the biggest bang for your buck.

In 2020, GCommerce worked with a southern California property to keep their paid search campaigns running while most of the world shut down their digital marketing and the results were staggering. The property achieved a 180X ROAS during one of the most challenging times in the history of travel

Social Media Advertising

If you’re thinking that if paid search media costs are going down then Facebook/Instagram media costs should also be going down, you are right!

In January 2023, we saw CPCs on these sites decrease by a whopping 65% YoY. If there was ever a time to double down your efforts on social media advertising, the time is now. Your dollar is going to take you 65% farther than last year.

If you’re looking to do more with your hotel’s social media ads, take a look at our recent A/B test on using Collection ads versus static ads here.

Also, on the group side of the hotel business, don’t overlook the power of Facebook lead gen ads and LinkedIn lead gen campaigns. Group business is forecasted to grow in 2023 so put your digital marketing channels to good use in generating qualified leads. If you want more information on how to generate group business leads, see here.

Your Hotel’s Website

Your hotel’s website, which is the most important vehicle to generate direct bookings, needs to be nimble, fast (both in load time as well as ability to make content changes), and really show off what makes your brand special.  It’s the epicenter of your digital storytelling, and the best channel to remind your loyal guests about their memories at the property.  

One of the fastest, easiest ways in improving your hotel website conversion rate is partnering with The Hotels Network and leveraging all of their optimization and personalization tools. You can personalize the user experience, tailoring messages and offers to each individual to boost conversion rates.

And in the era of collecting as much 1st party data as possible, personalized messaging is critical. Recently I was introduced to the hashtag #smykm on LinkedIn. The hashtag stands for “Show Me You Know Me”. It means don’t immediately reach out to your prospect (in our case guests) completely cold and without any shared context. (Side note: Anyone looking for B2B sales advice, definitely give Samantha McKenna a follow.) 

The “Show Me You Know Me” methodology is so incredibly pertinent to the hospitality space.  As hoteliers, it’s our job to know as much as possible about our guests and deliver an experience that will be remembered forever. Your website is the platform in which you can deliver on that when they are not on property. Don’t wait for your guests to be at your property to show them how well you know them. 

You’ve already spent valuable marketing dollars on converting your (past) guests. Make sure to continue nurturing that relationship beyond the point of conversion. Every hotel should be prioritizing their past guests and learning as much about them as possible to find new ways to enhance your communication and deliver on that unforgettable experience.

Email Marketing and CRM

Last but not least, your most personalized communication to your loyal guests is delivered through email marketing and eCRM communications. Once you’ve gathered information about your guests (which should be stored in a CRM, like Revinate), you can activate that data in more ways than one:

  • Maintain and nurture brand loyalty through personalized email communications to past guests. Remember, #SMYKM. Example: If you know you have a segment of guests interested in events happening on property and around the area, keep them informed with frequent updates. You get extra bonus points if you drill down to specific types of events and happenings, i.e. music concerts, foodie events, etc.
  • Curate special experiences for segments of your guests. Example: You are seeing more and more bleisure business at your property. Put together specific amenities and packages that support this segment, like a length of stay offer with WiFi (wait, WiFI isn’t free?).
  • Maximize on-property spend with pre-arrival messaging. We talked about showing off what makes you special - now is the time to drive home those points. Guests are generally the MOST excited about their trip after the point of booking and before they arrive. Take advantage of this and suggest personalized experiences and generate even more revenue.

Whether you have automated communications in place or are sending ad hoc emails, always begin by understanding your audience and what matters to them.

2023 Digital Marketing Trends from the GCommerce Marketing Experts


Trend #1 - Short Form Video to Rule Them All

By Erin Fischer, Marketing Manager

Short form video really took off in 2022 due in large part to TikTok and Instagram Reels, but 2023 will be the year that short form dominates over all other digital marketing ad types. Otherwise known as “snackable” content, short-form videos meet the needs of consumers by providing relevant content in a more digestible format that only needs to be about 15-60 seconds in length. These videos are more authentic than previous forms of video advertising, often being shot from the creator’s phone and including subtitles to be more inclusive.

One platform to focus on in particular is YouTube Shorts. According to Google, YouTube Shorts has over 1.5 billion active monthly users and are already being dropped in search engine results, making this a massive opportunity to reach new and current consumers. The best part is that like TikTok and Instagram Reels, these videos can be shot, edited, and put into a template all from the convenience of your phone.

Trend #2 - A More Visual Search Experience

By Lisa McGivney, Director of Marketing

Call it the “TikTok effect” but in 2022 Google announced changes to make it’s search results experience more visual, and I think this will continue to impact things like organic and paid search in 2023. In recent years Google has also released products like Google web stories to help brands focus on more visual story-type and content creation for it to use in search results. We even saw Google test adding story content from sources around the web to destination knowledge panels. I think adoption of this product has been slower but there are also features like image extensions for paid search and new search layouts that include more visual elements that brands need to really think about in 2023. 

How can your hotel prepare for a more visual search engine experience? Make sure your hotel’s digital marketing budget includes line items for new image and video assets quarterly or at least annually. Visual content is going to continue to be important in 2023, and this extends beyond the channels you typically associate visual assets with like social media - it will expand to be even more important in search results too.

Trend #3 - A Shift To Engagement & Community Marketing

By Alex Scharpf, Search Marketing Strategist

As the next generation takes over, the marketing landscape is moving towards more personal and individualized audience interactions. Consumers are shifting away from feature-based transactions, instead craving authentic connections with unique and creative brands. Data tools are reflecting a similar change, deprioritizing quantitative metrics like website sessions in favor of engagement metrics such as click through rate and customer lifetime value. As we move forward, shallow marketing designed for maximum volume will no longer work. Instead, marketers will need to focus on creating deep, meaningful connections with their audience. 

To make these connections, brand communities will become a vital tool for effective marketing. Building these communities will require creative storytelling, comprehensive first-party data, and a strong understanding of personal brand. To get started, drop the generic ad language, focus on your most loyal audiences, and set up a GA4 account. Check out our community marketing guide for more tips.

Trend #4 - TikTok Continues to Drive Authentic Advertising

By Stephanie Lutz, Digital Marketing Specialist

Formalized TikTok advertising really began to take off in 2022 and it doesn’t look like it’ll be slowing down in 2023. TikTok is beginning to reach the older audience with almost 37% of TikTok users being 35 and older, according to marketer Ayan Chakraborty. It opens many doors for reaching consumers as users typically spend an average of 45 minutes on the app per day and it is one of the only apps where users have to have their volume on to use it, and don’t mind!

In terms of advertising, TikTok generated $4 Billion in advertising revenue in 2021 and it is expected to double by 2024 and is now outperforming all other social media platforms. Because of how engaged TikTok users are due to the nature of the platform, advertising on TikTok is increasing consumer spending. Advertising on TikTok is less expensive in comparison to more traditional types of digital advertising.

Trend #5 - Increased Usage of LinkedIn Advertising

By Kristina Moon, Digital Marketing Specialist

As we shift into 2023, LinkedIn will be the platform that businesses will turn to for their specific business-travel goals. Properties will need to move away from pushing constant sales ads and shift to creating ads that engage and create connections. There is a big shift happening on LinkedIn where users want to see new and thoughtful content. As businesses shift to using LinkedIn more often, using content that is informative and insightful will be a powerful tool to gain the audience's trust. 

To make these ads effective and less about sales, businesses will have to create their own unique content and find their brand voice. Users are wanting to see more authenticity on the platform and personality. Utilizing curated content will be big going into the new year because that shows customers that you are connected and paying attention to trends happening. This also shows potential customers that you are part of the community and have value to offer. Businesses will have to think outside the box when it comes to reaching users on how their products or services align with their audience’s values.

Trend #6 - First Party Data Taking Center Stage

By Jael Dugdale, Search Marketing Strategist

As we say goodbye to 2022, we welcome 2023 and all its upcoming or impending changes. The clock is ticking on third-party cookies, with the concern of privacy regulations such as GDPR, CCPA, and iOS14, data is now being muted and we see the impact throughout our marketing efforts:

  • Ad campaign performance 
  • Facebook event match quality 
  • Custom audience match rates 
  • ROAS 

With third-party cookies being deprecated, first-party data will be stepping up in the form of surveys, forms, questionnaires, and email collections. They will play a more prominent role on your website and in your marketing strategy. It will be critical to cultivate this data to analyze consumer interactions rather than through third parties. This goes hand in hand with Google's push for authentic experiences. This data collection will allow us to connect with existing consumers and build relationships to drive revenue growth. For 2023 investing in first-party data should be on your agenda so you are ready for the change in the second half of 2024.

Trend #7 - Give Before Take - The Growth of Education Content

By Morgan Tuohy, Digital Marketing Specialist

2022 was one of the first years we saw widespread education content promoted by brands. With the prevalence of short form video, what once took the form of carousel ads on Instagram can now become viral content on Instagram reels or TikTok. 

Travel and hospitality brands have long been pioneers in this genre of content; top 10 attraction blog posts, emails containing local’s secrets, and more. However, few hospitality brands are taking advantage of their travel expertise through the short-form video format. As short-form video platforms become search engines, this content becomes more and more valuable. 2023 will be the year that educational content becomes a primary way to reach new customers interested in traveling to your destination.

Trend #8 - The Shift To GA4 & How It’ll Help Grow Your Brands Reach

By Moses Centeno, Search Marketing Specialist

As web browsing and Social Media evolve into a less intrusive, more privacy-focused experience, the use of third-party cookies and hyper-specific retargeting comes to an end. As previously mentioned, the next generation of digital consumers holds brands to a higher standard, not only in data protection, but they expect a more personalized brand experience and values that align with their own. With the sunsetting of Google Analytics 3 and forcing website owners to embrace Google Analytics 4, Google’s answer to a more privacy-centric data collection tool. GA4 offers more interactive-based reports or metrics that can help marketers develop a better understanding of the type of content their consumers want. 

For example, engagement rate is one of the new GA4 metrics enabling you to identify how your customers are interacting with your content. By analyzing your organic traffic landing page report, you’ll gain insight into the first impression users have of your website. This helps you to understand what areas (the type of content) they pay more attention to, which helps us find opportunities to grow traffic. Now, we can go one step deeper by analyzing the engagement rate of these pages & determine the type of content our consumers are actually interested in and continue to build on what’s working, and discontinue what isn’t - even influencing the type of ads we create. 

Trend #9 - How Microsoft’s Investment In AI May Lead To Greater Competition For Google

By Patrick Buckner, Search Marketing Strategist

By now many of us have heard of OpenAI’s Chat GPT, an advanced chatbot that can write speeches, create poetry, and even help kickstart marketing copy. What you may not have heard is that Microsoft is considering investing $10 Billion in the company in an attempt to help them even the playing field with Google. The hope is that by incorporating the latest AI technology into their search engine, the results will be more accurate, more engaging, and more helpful to the searcher. 

Given that Google has already begun to lose some market share to competitors (they still capture 28.8% of all U.S. digital ad revenue, but that is down from their peak of 34.7%), it’s possible that with the implementation of the OpenAI technology Microsoft could become a bigger player in the advertising game. Will Microsoft’s early adopter strategy pay off long term? It’s tough to say, but it’s something that we’ll be watching closely throughout the 2023 and beyond.

So, what now?

Armed with the knowledge to set you forth into an ever-evolving world, GCommerce is here to help you reach your goals in 2023! Contact us today to learn more about our marketing services.