The Latest Hotel Industry Trends, Hospitality News, and Robots.

Welcome to our first roundup of hotel industry trends and hospitality news! In these posts, we’ll bring you interesting news and resources for hotel and travel marketers, with just the right amount of commentary. In this round up, we look at recent changes to Instagram, share some news and marketing advice, take a peek at the weird world of CGI influencer marketing, and meet the robots working in hotels.

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Instagram, Now With Even More #Hashtags

For anyone who has ever wondered, “how many hashtags is too many hashtags?”, Instagram has answered, “there’s no such thing!!!!!@ #love #instagram #cute #photooftheday…”. The platform’s most recent update now allows you to add searchable hashtags to your bio, as well as links to other Instagram profiles. As Hebs Digital has pointed out, hotels can benefit from this new feature by including destination hashtags and brand hashtags in their bios, as well as links to other brand profiles. We just hope that Instagram users will resist the urge to pack their bio’s 150-character limit with every hashtag they can think of, and limit themselves to two or three #wishfulthinking.

Millennial Focused Travel Site Culture Trip Looks to Monetize

Speaking of hashtags, Culture Trip casually dropped #bleisure in a recent Tweet. Targeted at millennial travelers, Culture Trip hosts travel writing that seeks to “go beyond the obvious”, such as this man’s journey to understand his aunt’s murder in Colombia a decade earlier. Having built an audience of 1.5 million unique visitors per month, the site has recently raised $80 million in funding and is now turning its attention to monetizing with plans to incorporate branded content, bookable experiences, and travel services through partnerships with providers like Airbnb and Hotels.com. If Culture Trip is successful in monetizing they will be a powerful example of the value in building strong content as an integral part of your business model.

Leverage Your Location

The Crescent Hotel from the East Mountain Overlook - Eureka Springs, Arkansas
The Crescent Hotel from the East Mountain Overlook - Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Hotel price comparison website Trivago recently posted an article with some advice on how to market your hotel for summer. All of their suggestions are good, but there’s one point in particular we’d like to highlight, put in bold, and underline in red pen: “Engage with the local scene.” In our experience, producing content (especially video) that shows off what there is to love about your community can have a massive payoff, in any season. If you want to know why we’re such big believers in the power of marketing that promotes your location as a destination, check out our recent blog post on the topic.

“It doesn’t get more 2018 than this” 

Thought that influencer marketing was already pretty 2018? Try influencer marketing using CGI people. As in, digital people that were made on and live inside a computer, and are kind of indistinguishable from real people. It’s like a character from The Sims discovered Instagram and now they have more than a million followers and are trying to sell you Prada. “It doesn’t get more 2018 than this” are the opening words from a Wired article on the topic, and we couldn’t agree more. If you’re still getting your head around influencer marketing with regular people, take a look at our tips for launching an influencer marketing strategy for hotels.

Hotels continue to invest in robots

After looking at images of the creepily human-like CGI influencers we mentioned above, robots that look like real robots are a refreshing reminder that we’re still a long way from going full Westworld. The Courtyard by Marriott on Murray Place in Lynchburg, Virginia, has just introduced a robot called Murray, which can bring guests snacks, towels, coffee, and menu items from the hotel’s café. Murray is a Relay robot, created by California based company Savioke, and there are about 70 more of the same model in hotels across the world. The Relay isn’t the only robot option for hotels however. There’s also Pepper, created by SoftBank Robotics America, the recently announced CLOi by LG, or a Watson-enabled robot like the Hilton’s concierge “Connie”.

IBM and Hilton Connie the Watson-Enabled Hotel Concierge