By now, content marketing should be an integral part of your marketing strategy. Whether you rely on email campaigns, blog posts, industry articles or social media posts, content marketing increases your brand awareness, informs your customers and leads to more business for your hotel.

Establishing a fixed content marketing strategy can be difficult, however. With new technology and changing consumer habits, content marketing seems to be an ever changing business platform. To help you succeed with your annual marketing goals, we've summarized what hotels need to know about content marketing in 2016.

Content marketing must be mobile

To stay relevant in 2016, your content must be mobile. Almost two-thirds of Americans own a smartphone, and the majority of those who do are a promising marketing demographic; smartphone ownership soars among the educated and those who have relatively high incomes. Google now reports that the majority of its searches are made on a mobile device, and more and more people are searching within apps. On top of that, more than 87 percent of smart phone users report checking their email on their phones at least once a week.

For hotel marketers, that means all of your marketing content — emails, blogs, social media posts and webpages — must be smartphone and tablet friendly. When you create content, pull it up on different phones and tablets to make sure it is visually appealing, and that the most important portion of the content appears prominently on mobile screens. You also must consider mobile navigation when creating content. Will it be easy for mobile users to follow links from you content to your desired end point, whether that is your bookings page or your email newsletter signup?

Video content will grow

An ever growing component of content marketing, successful video content will become crucial in 2016. The statistics for online videos are staggering: online video accounts for 50 percent of mobile traffic; 78 percent of people say they watch video online at least once a week, and 55 percent say they watch online video at least once a day. That traffic is bolstered by popular social media sites pushing video. This year alone, Twitter began allowing autoplay in user feeds, and Facebook began selling video ads. Livestreaming apps Meerkat and Periscope also launched in 2015. With that in mind, online videos are projected to make up 69 percent of online traffic by 2017.

Video content in 2016 isn't just about the volume of video; it's also about the type of video. The consumption of virtual reality videos and 360-degree videos are projected to explode this year. Last year, Facebook and YouTube began allowing the posting of 360-degree videos, and the Samsung Gear and Google Cardboard allowed smartphone owners to use their devices for virtual reality and 360-degree viewing. This year, several tech companies, including Facebook-owned Oculus and Sony, are set to release virtual reality headsets. Hotel marketers, especially, should consider these new types of video content, as they can transport and immerse users in an environment, allowing marketers to share their hotel experience with potential guests looking to book a room or event venue.

Social media still matters

Social media marketing is nothing new. In fact, it can seem tired and routine, but it shouldn't be overlooked or underestimated. In 2016, social media marketing still matters. Social media marketing allows you to direct consumers to your other content marketing, to your website, and to points of sale. It can grow brand recognition and help build relationships with consumers. Also of value, social media marketing allows for instant feedback. "Likes," comments and especially shares can help you gauge the success of your social media posts and marketing content they direct consumers to.

Quality content reigns supreme

More than anything else, the quality of your content will make or break your 2106 content marketing strategy. Quality content engages, entertains and informs your customer base. Quality content gives consumers a reason to return to your website, read your emails or follow you on social media sites. More than ever, Google search results rely on having quality, informative content rather than a high volume of content.

So in 2016, as you plan out your content marketing strategy, keep in mind your mobile, video and social media options, but make sure that the content you are providing is of value to your customers. Without quality, your hotel brand will be lost in the deluge of marketing content. With quality, your brand will stand out and lead customers to you for information, and ultimately, bookings and sales.

David Cross
Content Manager