Industry Update
Opinion Article 2 November 2016

4 Ways Hospitality Marketers Can Use Mobile to Connect with the Weekend Traveler

By Ted Dhanik, Co-founder & CEO

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Mobile advertising's advanced targeting capabilities can be used to engage a lucrative market: the weekend traveler. The weekend getaway is cheaper, easier to plan and requires less time off than a traditional week-long trip. And since 41 percent of Americans reported using none of their vacation days in a recent survey by Skift, a travel industry platform, there is value in focusing on the short-term stay.

With mobile, brands can target based on location, time of day, behavioral profiles and even intent. They can reach prospects when a desire or need is top of mind. These four tactics will help marketers inspire the weekend traveler to take action.

1. Target transportation hubs

There is a reason why airports and train stations are plastered with advertisements for entertainment options, dining choices and hotels. These out-of-home marketers realize their message will be viewed by the right audience. Plus, in many cases, the timing is also right. Travelers are in the appropriate state of mind to think about how they want to spend their time in this destination.

Mobile advertising allows you to recreate this tactic digitally. If you've traveled recently, you have probably noticed that the majority of people are looking down at their phones—not at the surrounding billboards. Advertisers can identify people who have just arrived at an airport and serve them mobile ads for time-sensitive deals, such as last-minute hotel rooms or entertainment experiences. Plus, with mobile advertising, the communication doesn't have to end when the user leaves the station. Once that individual has been identified, you can serve him or her relevant messages in the future, too.

2. Use behavioral data

Inevitably, some people who walk past that airport billboard won't care about the offering. Perhaps they are residents returning home, or they don't fit the customer profile. With mobile targeting capabilities, you can target based on demographic factors such as age, income, profession and region. Then you can overlay behavioral data to target even more precisely. For example, you can identify frequent domestic travelers, frequent weekend travelers, or people who have previously stayed in a particular hotel chain (yours or a competitor's). This level of sophistication allows marketers to spend more wisely, focusing on the people most likely to be interested in their services.

3. Promote the staycation

According to research from MMGY Global, Millennials have been averaging 3.1 staycations a year, and 34 percent plan to take more in 2016. The hospitality industry can drive incremental revenue by targeting local residents with customized messaging. For example, an upscale hotel could use mobile technology to target guests of its day spa. That population is looking for an escape, a way to unwind. If they are enjoying that experience, they may be open to booking an overnight visit, that same weekend or sometime soon. This sort of thoughtful targeting can drive immediate action and help you book unsold rooms or last-minute tables.

4. Try conquesting

Marketers can also drive results with a little virtual poaching. For example, an upscale restaurant could target diners at a competitive eatery with a mobile ad promoting a deal for that weekend. Hotels could target guests at competitive lodging options with an offer to undercut them on price the next time they are in town. A nightclub could even target people waiting on line at a nearby venue with a mobile ad that includes directions to its club and a chance to skip the line.

The strength of the message is as important as finding the right person. Use your knowledge of your target audience to personalize your creative and improve the chances of it resonating. Always include a strong call-to-action. Brands also need to make sure their mobile experience is seamless. If you have done your job, customers will want to book or buy in that moment, on their phone. Be sure this process goes smoothly, and that your ad leads to a responsive, easy-to-navigate mobile landing page.

By harnessing the unprecedented targeting capabilities of mobile advertising, hospitality marketers can reach weekend travelers with the right message, at the right time. That's the formula that drives more immediate action, whether you are trying to get more heads in beds or poach the neighboring nightclub's clientele.

Ted Dhanik

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    Ted Dhanik
    Co-founder & CEO, engage:BDR
    Phone: +1 310-954-0751
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