The Madison Melle Agency

Buckle Up: Travel Trends & Hospitality Marketing Strategies for 2021

As we create successful business strategies for 2021, it is important to remember learnings we’ve acquired from 2020. A primary takeaway that The Madison Melle Agency considers routinely is communication and how it affects customer behaviors and buying decisions. Ensuring a brand’s messaging is clear, concise and to the point forms the basis of strategic planning for 2021. For hospitality specifically, hotel guests will be looking for updates regularly across all digital communication platforms. Messaging is encouraged to be easily accessible and cohesive to the brand for a truly powerful experience.

In a recent interview by SiteMinder, compiled with learnings from the field, Founder of The Madison Melle Agency & tech theory group, Cara Federici, highlights emerging trends impacting 2021 travel and marketing strategies below.

What new traveler behaviors & expectations should hotels be ready for in 2021?

While there are a multitude of trends emerging, three key trends below have immediate impact on 2021 business strategy:

  • Educated & researched travelers. Travelers will be more educated and researched than in prior years. With almost a year to plan their next trips, they will be hoping to maximize every dollar they spend. They will also plan to take advantage of any and all opportunities on their vacations safely (think add on options like outside experiences & outdoor excursions!)
  • New destinations to explore. Traveling habits are going to look different pending any travel restrictions to popular places. That means, travelers will be thinking outside the box for their next vacation and once hotspot destinations may be no more. New competition will pop up where it’s least expected, so a focus on refreshing brand identity along with a balanced Search Engine Marketing and Search Engine Optimization plan will be critical to garner attention.
  • Technology advancements. COVID-19 has brought a surge of changes throughout the hospitality industry with one of the biggest priorities being centered on the key word: contactless. Moving into 2021, there will need to be a fine balance maintained between AI (Artificial Intelligence) and HI (Human Intelligence). As such, it will be ever pressing to research, utilize and implement new technology to support this balance. Any way a Hotel can expedite a service or make it easier to be in the guests’ control — do so. Hoteliers should embrace Technology, find the right balance, and let technology do the dirty work, so the staff can focus on serving guests and enriching the travel story.

Do hotels need to market themselves differently next year?

Bottom line, yes.

  • Don’t stop Marketing. Take the time to think through your approach, but do not give up. Perseverance pays. Seek to find ways to maximize reduced spend through A/B testing and plan to put more spend where you are getting the highest and best returns.
  • Deploy fresh digital content and use it wisely. Although content will need to pivot more than once, it affords an opportune moment to take advantage of the ups and downs. Use the highs to optimize and use the lows to re-strategize. Think about your strategy in the way your audience behaves, then apply that lens on what you develop.
  • Promote all assets. If your Hotel offers Food & Beverage, for example, remember that it’s a critical part of the guest experience when traveling. Yet, it needs to be in compliance and it needs to be comfortable for the traveler. Think simple, clean and sustainable. Make this attribute highly visible and compelling, along with any others that are relevant to your brand.
  • Continue to communicate. Use all of your platforms to your advantage; maximize messaging throughout, for a cohesive 360 brand message. Guests are relying now more than ever, on access to information at their fingertips. Continue to exceed their expectations.

Although 2021 will bring unknowns and uncertainties, we can always rely on one of the biggest, yet most simple, habits — communication. As you establish your strategic communications plan, remember to ask yourself and your teams, ”how can we maximize this messaging?” With a comprehensive approach and some grit, you’ll be well equipped to deliver your message loud and clear.

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