Digital marketing has reshaped the hotel industry and how they get customers.

Through new advanced technology and tools customer now has taken control of their own experience. And for hotels, this impacts how they build and nurture relationships with potential and existing customers.

In the past hotels have been measured on customer service and customer satisfaction scores.

And through online travel agencies have been accustomed to compering and price shopping.

Home-sharing has added a new competitive element to the mix.

How can hotels gain a new competitive advantage, drive more direct bookings, with new, innovative digital marketing strategies?

1. Create a micro-moment journey

Today customer spends a lot of time planning their next exciting journey. And they are increasingly turning to their smart devices to assist them through this process.

With new advanced mobile technology customer is making booking decisions faster than ever before.

Hotels must adapt to new customer patterns and behaviors. New innovative hotel marketing plans will need the marketer to install digital marketing strategies that listen, care, and connect at every micro-moment.

To achieve this has to create responsive funnels that reflect how every micro-moment of the customer journey impacts the booking decision.

digital marketing funnelBoth with inbound and outbound marketing hotels need to understand the state of the customer;

  • Cognitive (perception, judgment, reasoning dictated by emotions)
  • Affective (influenced by emotions and rationale)
  • Behavior (actions as results of rationale)

With inbound marketing, we use content in the context of creating;

  • Awareness
  • Attention
  • Interest
  • Desire
  • Action

And with outbound marketing, we use content in context with creating:

  • Community
  • Value
  • Quality
  • Experience
  • Retention

Through inbound marketing, we install digital marketing and social media marketing as drivers for awareness, attention, and interest.

Search engine and social media optimization help us move down the funnel with more specific goals of generating social proofs that will support desire and action in a relevant context for the hotel.

2. Optimize the experience

When we look at responsive digital marketing funnel optimization is what helps us drive the results.

There is no doubt that Search Engine and social media optimization is critical for any brand of online success.

But new digital technology and data have today put hotels in the position where they need to offer more personalized experiences and build quality relationships with the customer.

The customer experience is found in every micro-moment across all channels available today.

Optimize the experienceFinding a hotel brand through search or social networking is one thing, but If the customer finds it hard to engage, they will likely look for other alternatives.

Taking advantage of several digital marketing channels, social media, mobile apps, IoT, SMS, email, and chatbots are some of the alternatives available for hotels today to optimize the customer experience.

As we are moving towards more Artificial Intelligence hotels have to start taking more advantage of machine learning to better understand and respond to valuable micro-moments throughout the customer journey.

3. Search Engine Optimization

Search engines are among the most popular research tool for both business and leisure travelers.

Hotels must put in place search engine strategies that reach their ideal customers.

Now for many hotel competitions on search engines like Google is fierce. Plus, we see that Google’s marketplace Google Hotels plays a key role in comparison shopping for the customer.

Today we see search engine optimization in the context of optimizing the customer experience.

Search Engine OptimizationHotels need to understand who their ideal customer is and what they value.

Relevant content in context with a high-value offer is a success factor today for hotels that want to drive more direct bookings.

Hotels today need to understand the customer is not only searching for the ultimate experience but also research if the brand delivers on its promise.

Search engine optimization is an ongoing process that doesn’t provide results overnight. That is why it is important to start with optimizing the customer experience first.

The customer has shifted from the old-school one-word keyword search to focus on values.

Trustworthiness, humanness, authenticity, relevance, and user-friendly have become key factors when searching for a hotel that best serves their needs.

4. Social Media Marketing

We mustn’t forget the purpose of social media – enabling users to create and share content or to take part in social networking.

This is why it is so important when we look at the outbound marketing funnel that we start with the community and values.

Value innovation is what allows hotels to tap into new uncontested markets.

We already know the importance of listening and care about the customer. Now we connect with them through effective storytelling

Effective storytelling through social media will help hotels transform high-value customer service into the customer experience.

With traditional customer service at a hotel what often starts a good experience something as simple as a smile.

Social media marketing for hotelsHow do hotels install a smile in a digital marketing world?

With new technology and advanced mobile application, the customer now can get notified when their room is ready, checks in, and use their mobile device to enter the room. In this process, there is no human interaction required.

Customers will use a social network location service to share with their network that they have arrived at the hotel. And then they will start taking pictures for their stories they share with their network.

Effective social media marketing is done through storytelling that connects with the customer at the micro-moments they value so much that they share it with their network.

5. Social media optimization

With social media, it is important to understand that the customer journey is a connected one and includes a network of trusted brand ambassadors.

Social media optimizationAt this point, hotels have their social profiles set up in ways that drive likes followers, and connections.

Customers will look at a hotel’s social proofs before they make an educated decision but likes, followers, and connection by themselves don’t drive any bookings for the hotels.

Social proof has to be seen in context with customer patterns and behaviors. Customers will often look to their trusted network and peers to confirm that their actions are reflective of the correct behavior. The customer motive is to become a trusted source and influencer themselves.

Social media optimization is about leveraging influence in a relevant context with likes, followers, and connections.

The digital transformation has shifted the customer experience. Social media has to be optimized to leverage and respond to the customer journey.

Do you know your customer’s name? their booking history or past service option they have considered?

Hotels that listen, care, and connect will gather this data in context with relevant social proofs.

Social media optimization takes advantage of the customer’s trusted network and peers to amplify the booking experience. Relevant data, connections, and social proofs will now support and justify an educated booking decision.

Customers trust authentic peers, and that is transparent in loyalty towards the brand.

6. Responsive website design

Responsive website design today responds to the needs of the customer and the digital device they are using.

Hotels now have to provide a consistent, personalized experience through every channel. The website has to become part of the story.

The advantage of responsive website design is that it adjusts the layout to any digital device.

Today the majority of hotel bookings come from smartphones. It is so critical to meet the customer where they make their decisions.

Responsive website designHotel brands have 8 seconds to compel the customer to make an educated booking decision.

This is not enough time to provide a high-value offer. This is why we must see everything in context – customer experience optimization, search engine optimization, social media marketing, and social media optimization.

Hotels have to catch the customer before they know what hit them. Listen, care, and connect provide valuable and relevant data points.

Trustworthiness, transparency, humanness, authenticity, and the relationship are the important values that drive direct bookings.

The responsive website is adjusted to the customer’s digital devices, their decisions are adjusted to hotel brands they know, trust, and like.

7. Reputation Management

It is well known that online shoppers read reviews before making a purchase. Reviews have transformed the way customers make their booking decisions.

Digital devices and technology have made information more available to customers. And a lot of this information is available instantaneous.

Reviews have always played an important role in hotels. And the relevance of a review from the customer perspective often depends on the star ratings, the number of reviews, price, and the source of the review.

Reviews from authorities, peers, and the customer are the network is perceived as more credible.

In the past reviews represented a linear path with new digital technology with experience a constant moving path.

We already verified that hotels need to optimize the customer experience, SEO, SMO, have a beautiful website, and understand every micro-moment.

But this doesn’t fix a negative image or if customers continue to provide negative reviews.

Reputation management today is all about listening, care, connect, and building relationships.

Reputation ManagementHotels have to be monitoring social media, search engine results, media, and relevant review platforms.

The data and insight gather will position your hotel to take proactive actions that verify that you listen and care about the customer.

This puts you in a position to connect and build a new unique relationship with the customer and start to promote positive reviews.

8. Service automation and digital technology

Today, customers can browse product and service options on the go through their smartphones, chat with a live human, resolve issues through service automation in chatbots and collaborate with peers to review options in Social Media channels, negotiate and making purchases, and even have items delivered directly to their doorstep.

Digital marketing represents contextual, intuitive, and experimental customer engagement across multiple micro-moments.

Customers are getting savvier and expect service on the go.

Service automation for hotelsWhat we see with new innovative service options for Facebook and Google now provide Hotels have a unique opportunity to keep customers in the dedicated built-In experience loops.

With the built-In experience loopHotels give customers and new uncontested markets lead the opportunity to share their opinions at every interaction.

Service Automation allows for real-time engagement with hotel customers. This provides your team with proactive opportunities to get valuable feedback insight before concerns turn into negative reviews, and also, celebrate when they express delightful and surprising experiences.

Thanks to the rise of intelligent chatbots, anytime a potential customer asks a question, your Hotel can now be there to provide a real-time response 24/7, 365. The same goes for if a potential customer wants a book a room. A hotel experience chatbot can take care of scheduling that anytime, day or night.

Today the real-time engagement and contextual conversations are critical for building and retaining customer loyalty.

9. Artificial Intelligence and digital machine learning

Many hotels today are utilizing LinkedIn to seek out potential members to join their hotel team.

LinkedIn invested in Bright, a company that enables the site to offer better candidate matches for both employers and job seekers. It takes into account the user’s hiring patterns, work experience, and similarities in job descriptions.

The integration of artificial intelligence with digital media has, in turn, increased the accuracy of data and online hotel marketing.

Artificial Intelligence and digital machine learningFrom the perspective of online media services such as Google and Facebook, having AI programs that understand customers’ personal interests and feelings should help improve the hotel’s online experience, as well as enjoyment with technology overall.

From a hotel and digital marketing standpoint, a connected customer network can offer hotels a one-stop-shop for managing their social media marketing such as the community infrastructure, database, listening functionality, profile management, collaboration, content marketing, and management, and of course, the analytics.

10. Digital S.M.A.R.T.E.R. key performance indicators

First hotels have to know what they want out of the digital marketing efforts.

S.M.A.R.T.E.R. goals are Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound, Exciting, and Risky.

Hotels that don’t know what they want from their digital marketing campaigns are guaranteed to miss out on one or more of these elements.

Remember the overall goal is to create a process that enables hotels to listen, care, and connect with the customer.

Digital S.M.A.R.T. key performance indicatorsHotels that focus on S.M.A.R.T.E.R. key performance indicators, value innovation, optimization, web design, content, automation, machine learning, digital marketing, and customer experience are ready for new uncontested markets.

Trilled customer is the key to digital marketing strategies that will produce more positive reviews, referrals, and testimonials.

Setting S.M.A.R.T.E.R. key performance indicators is a great leadership tool for delivering excellent customer experience and performance.


Generating more bookings with digital marketing happens through processes that work in context with each other.

The digital marketing strategies created the need to target customers at all stages of their journey.

At the end of the responsive digital marketing funnel, we strive for retention from customers, their peers. network, groups, and corporate contacts.

A hotel’s digital marketing key performance indicators will tell how much value innovation impacts the results that matter.

With these techniques listen, care, and connect is put in a relevant context with social proofs, and enable your hotel to provide a high-value offer that converts.

Building a responsive digital marketing funnel that converts is a process. Sometimes you need the right team to help you.

We are that team! Let’s talk! Contact us today…

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About Are Morch

Hi, I am Are Morch. Your Digital Marketing Coach and Customer Experience Expert specializes in creating effective digital customer experience offer for hotels while growing and scale customer acquisition and revenue.

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