In my view, the right way of doing digital marketing is leaning towards data in hand and proceeding to create successful strategies. For an effective digital marketing engine in the hospitality industry, hotel marketers must focus on a mix of: 

scientifical and art,  

personalised rather than one-size-fits-all approach and  

interactive rather than one-sided strategy.   

The year 2023 brings digitalisation to its peak with numerous trending innovations. Anticipated top 2023 digital and marketing resolutions that will ensure a successful year are discussed in the preceding paragraphs.   

Post-pandemic, industries are focused on aligning their strategies to accommodate the new normal. Digital marketing follows suit as well. Understanding the latest economic dynamics has become vital to ensure successful positioning in the market. As people restart travel, understanding guest pain points and new audiences are significant. However, it is vital that brand awareness must be re-created in a non-salesy manner; a strategy which is most suitable to an economically sensitive industry. According to research by Headstream, if people love a brand story, 55% are more likely to buy the product in future, 44% will share the story, and 15% will buy the product immediately.   

In August 2022, Google updated their "helpful content", stating that in order to rank better, website content must: be created for a specific audience, show expertise, be trustworthy and credible.  Publishing quality and related content have also been gaining momentum in the recent past. Optimising websites to rank higher in search results by working on search engine optimisation (SEO) strategies (locally and internationally) and utilising the appropriate keywords will attract high volumes to hotel websites with customers searching hotels for travel and leisure. Additionally, websites need to provide value to guests with FAQ pages, reviews display, and valuable insights to travellers.    

Offering interactive digital experiences, including metaverse, augmented reality, and artificial intelligence, has topped today's digital marketing resolutions for successful branding. According to Mckinsey research, metaverse investments in 2022 have surpassed $120 billion—more than double the 2021 level. Promoting live versions of services and products, known as "gamevertising" on metaverse, like NASCAR's interactive gaming platform Roblox facilitates users to create their own avatars and allows them to "feel" experiences without actually buying them. Blended shopping experiences integrated with augmented reality are also being used widely by retail frontier brands.   

Investing in social media marketing (SMM) by utilising strategies like advertising, boosting posts and applying the appropriate hashtags will also top a marketer's resolution charts this year. Influencer marketing on these platforms is also gaining traction; partnerships with celebrities and social media public figures are building brand awareness and bringing more guests as credible testimonials and reviews are trending on such platforms for user experience marketing. These platforms also provide excellent analytical tools that help hotel marketers identify the different demographics and create more audience-geared content in each platform.   

Data has been the gold of every business. Leveraging data and analytics can revolutionise the effectiveness of digital marketing and help personalise the guest experiences for hotels to improve the overall ROI. Particularly, predictive and prescriptive analytics are essential data strategies for small and large businesses. Predictive analytics helps to find potential outcomes, while prescriptive analytics looks at those outcomes and finds more options. These analytics will significantly help marketers to formulate and optimise a successful business strategy.   

In a contactless era, mobile optimisation has been vital as more and more individuals are shifting to mobile platforms to accomplish multiple tasks. Mobile-friendly websites and applications which are user-friendly, faster and give better access, along with mobile-based promotional campaigns (SMS and WhatsApp campaigns), will significantly improve the response rates from the audiences.   

Exploring the top digital marketing trends for the year, it can be perceived that hotel marketers are left with numerous options to strategise their marketing plans and improve their hotel revenues. According to McKinsey, digital marketing can help companies win customers over and boost revenue by up to 8%. However, it is vital to implement them with great cautions.  

Major technological changes in the marketing department can cause internal conflicts amongst employees. Hence appropriate change management strategies and training must be implemented. Communication is key for a great change management cycle with the purpose, timing, and method of engagement for each interaction being informed to all respective employees. Additionally, targeting localised content will require a barrier set as to how much local reach can the digital marketing team of each region can get for international chains, as this can lead to the detachment of a globalised theme and uniformity in which international chains are trying to achieve.   

A combination of a good non-forced brand awareness, quality content with better search visibility, integration with latest technologies, investing in social media marketing, mobile optimisation and, comprehending data and analytics will be the top digital marketing resolutions for hotel marketers' of today. This can only help implement a successful marketing strategy. After all, the new year is the perfect time for hoteliers and marketers to focus on their digital marketing activities and make strategic, data-driven decisions to help increase their bottom line.