The Top 5 Things You Need to Know Now in Hotel Digital Marketing: January 2020 Edition

A man looking at a mobile phone
The Top 5 Things You Need to Know Now in Hotel Digital Marketing: January 2020 Edition

It’s not just the start of a new year, but a new decade – meaning there are new updates, announcements, and initiatives kicking off around the industry. Read on to discover the top five things you need to know now in hotel digital marketing and make sure you start the new decade off on the right foot.  

1. SEO: Google Assistant now has 500 million monthly users worldwide, 9% of the virtual assistant market. 

Voice search and voice assistants are nothing new. However, their impact is still growing, further solidifying the need to have optimizations for voice queries. People are specifically using Google Assistant, and they’re using it across devices that include smartphones, TVs, home speakers, and other gadgets.  

In addition, the company also announced new features coming to Google Assistant over the next year, including: 

  • Long-Form Reading: Assistants will now be able to read articles out loud with a simple command, such as “Google, read this page.” This will be important for longer website content like blogs and destination guides. When someone searches “things to do in Nashville” and comes across your hotel’s website, having long–form content will be important to capture this audience.
  •  Interpreter Mode: The assistant’s interpreter mode is connecting more people face-to-face, with plans to expand further this year. Google has been piloting interpreter mode at hotel concierges and front desks across the country to provide a seamless guest experience regardless of language barriers. This is now expanding globally to airports, banks, and more, further boosting monthly users and increasing the ease of foreign travel.  

2. SEM: Google changes the look of desktop search results to align with mobile. 

Google announced earlier this month that their search results on desktop would be getting a new look. The latest update to the design would feature a prominent “Ad” label for paid search results, as well as favicons next to organic results. URLs have also been moved above the headline text. 


However, after criticism from politicians, consumers, and the press over the new design arguing that the layout was making it more difficult to discern easily between an Ad and an Organic listing, Google announced on January 24th that they were going to do another redesign. The company acknowledged that they got the new design wrong and issued a statement that noted it will “experiment further” on how it displays results. 

3. Display: Unsplash launches image-based advertising for brands. 

Unsplash is a free, crowd-sourced stock–photo service that has 300 million active users. It recently announced the launch of its new advertising offer, which will give brands access to its massive audience. The platform is still in the early stages, but brands are able to partner with the image platform to publish branded images that will be visible in search results.  

For hotel brands with high-quality, editorial images, this could be a great addition to the marketing mix. Hotels will pay to distribute their images on Unsplash, but they will also have the ability to hire Unsplash contributors to create the authentic, high-quality imagery needed for their campaigns. Brands get impact, contributors get paid for their work, and content creators get more images to play with.  

4. Social: Facebook Messenger gets an upgrade. 

In an effort to help brands communicate better with their customers, Facebook Messenger recently rolled out three new features across the platform. 

  • Icebreakers for Business Profiles: Businesses can add these questions, which are typically common FAQs such as “What are your hours today?” and set an automated response. 
  • Updates to ClicktoMessenger Ads: For businesses that already have multiple Facebook apps connected to the Messenger platform, the company is making it easy to select which app they want to use for their Click–to–Messenger ads. 
  • More Options for Users Replying to Messages From a Business: Users can now use emojis to react to a response from a business, and message replies allow for threaded conversations so that businesses can see exactly which message a user is responding to. 

Hotels should be utilizing Messenger features in 2020 to connect with guests throughout their travel planning journey. Consumers are looking for brands that are available via messaging platforms, and these updates help with automation and create more opportunities to connect with people. 

5. Design: Dominating grids meet cards. 

Over the past few years, the broken grid layout has been popular among website designs. Something we are seeing more of this year is the invisible grid system — already used by many designers — which is becoming more prominent and being used as the primary design aesthetic. Organizing content into cards aligned in grids is visually impactful while also guiding website visitors to the information they need. 


NextGuest Digital uses the latest in digital marketing technology to assist hotel brands in crafting their digital presence. Through the agency’s smartCMS®, Content Personalization Engine, Smart Data Marketing, and other innovative initiatives, hoteliers see a drastic boost in direct bookings, as well as lower distribution costs and an increase the lifetime value of guests. NextGuest Digital is part of NextGuest, an all-encompassing partner that helps hoteliers acquire, engage, and retain their next guest. Based in New York City, the company is comprised of NextGuest Digital, CRM, Labs, and Consulting. | (800) 649-5076 |





Garrick Lee
Brand Marketing Manager
Phone: (212) 752-9425