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How travel brands plan to unbutton sales via Apple Watch apps

May 06, 2015

Although many top marketers are developing Apple Watch apps, the potential for spontaneity and convenience are two aspects that suggest the travel sector may be one of the best-suited for the wearables space. Hotel brands such as Starwood Hotels and Resorts and Marriott International are bringing their mobile app’s features to the hotly anticipated device, while Expedia and Booking.com are also joining the action with booking capabilities.

“Keyless room entry, like Marriott and Starwood are implementing, is a great use for wearables, though there are countless other opportunities that hotels should explore,” said Stephanie Trunzo, chief operating officer at PointSource, Raleigh, NC. “Imagine a scenario where the room thermostat adjusts to your preference and the lights turn on in the room when you approach the door.

“You walk in and your favorite artist is playing on the sound system while your food and drink preferences are prioritized on an interactive menu. The hotel experience is now unique for each guest.”

Get the full story at Mobile Commerce Daily

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_travel_brands_plan_to_unbutton_sales_via_apple_watch_apps

EU: Deal struck on new online travel sales regulation

May 06, 2015

Members of the European Parliament and the European Council have struck an agreement on how the new Package Travel Directive will bring online ‘click-through’ sales under regulation.

Assisted Travel Arrangements (ATA) are non-package holidays or trips bought as separate components that will remain unregulated under the new directive that will underpin the UK’s Atol scheme.

Click-throughs are trips bought from linked suppliers online that share information like traveller’s name, payments details and email.

Get the full story at Travolution and Travelweekly UK

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/eu_deal_struck_on_new_online_travel_sales_regulation

Global travel on the rise this summer

May 06, 2015

According to TripAdvisor, the top summer destination is Las Vegas, followed by Myrtle Beach, S.C.; Orlando; Cancun; Punta Cana, Dominican Republic; Paris; New York City; London; Playa del Carmen, Mexico; and Rome.

The top destinations by region for American Express Travel are Iceland, Japan, the Czech Republic, eastern Canada, Portugal, Puerto Rico, the Netherlands, western Canada, the northwestern U.S. and the Bahamas.

The top 10 city destinations as reported by American Express Travel are Reykjavik; Incheon, South Korea; Puerto Vallarta; Chicago; Prague; Montreal; Zurich; Milan; Lisbon, and Panama City, Panama.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/global_travel_on_the_rise_this_summer

Hotelbeds enters long term commitments with selected properties

May 06, 2015

This innovative way of growing Hotelbeds' hotel portfolio decreases the financial risk for its hotel partners, breaking from the traditional net or commissionable rate contracting models, and presents an alternative distribution model to hoteliers. It also provides Hotelbeds' customers with real time and translated hotel contents with very attractive margins. On a year-to-date basis, Hotelbeds has signed three times as many preferential and protected deals in comparison with the same period in 2014, reaching over 150 new agreements in the Middle East, Africa and Turkey.

In words of Carlos Munoz, Managing Director of Hotelbeds: "META is one of our fastest growing regions around the world and these agreements are just another proof of our commitment to it. With this new formula for the region we aim to provide our clients with flexible high margin and an exclusive hotel portfolio, while offering a truly long term, consistent and guaranteed revenue stream to property owners, as well as the opportunity to form preferred partnerships with a leading distribution channel like Hotelbeds."

After a very successful 2014, the Middle East and Turkey maintain the upward trend as popular destinations. Turkey stands out as the most visited country in the area, followed by the United Arab Emirates and Qatar. Istanbul, Dubai, the Turkish Coast, Doha and Abu Dhabi are the preferred destinations for travellers.

Related Link: Hotelbeds

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotelbeds_enters_long_term_commitments_with_selected_properties

It’s official: Google says more searches now on mobile than on desktop

May 06, 2015

The company says that “more Google searches take place on mobile devices than on computers in 10 countries including the US and Japan.” The company declined to elaborate further on what the other countries were, how recently this change happened or what the relative volumes of PC and mobile search queries are now.

Google did tell us that mobile queries include mobile browser-based searches and those coming from Google’s mobile search apps. The company didn’t break down the relative shares of each.

Google groups tablets with desktops. So this is just smartphones and does not include tablets.

Get the full story at Search Engine Land

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/its_official_google_says_more_searches_now_on_mobile_than_on_desktop

Google revamps AdWords with a focus on interactive mobile ads

May 06, 2015

Unveiled during an AdWords event today ,these ads are more interactive, based on swiping navigation rather than clicks, and rely heavily on high-res images.

It’s a move that makes obvious sense, given the increasing popularity of mobile for search. Google says that there are more searches on mobile devices than PCs in ten countries, the US and Japan among them.

There are also some new ad categories, including Automible Ads, which leads users towards a swipeable carousel of photos – something Google says acknowledges the fact that most users searching for cars are looking up images rather than links.

Get the full story at The Next Web and Google's Inside AdWords blog

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_revamps_adwords_with_a_focus_on_interactive_mobile_ads

How to sell your boss on mobile optimization

May 06, 2015

This surge in mobile use isn’t some fleeting trend driven by Millennials. In 2014 alone, mobile bookings jumped 80% and globally, 1 in 4 booking transactions occurs on a mobile device.

Travel shoppers of all demographics and segments have made mobile devices a part of their everyday lives. From the corporate executive to adventure seeking groups, travel shoppers are on the go, accessing your hotel website from all over the world and at any time of the day.

Whether they’re watching videos, accessing itinerary information, looking for room tours or a special offer, travel shoppers expect a user experience that’s hassle-free, easy to use and compatible on the device that they choose to use.

The upward growth of mobile doesn’t spell the end of traditional desktops but it does however mean you will need to adapt to consumer behavior in order to remain visible and competitive.

In 2015, a mobile optimized website isn’t an option, it’s a necessity.

Get the full story at Leonardo

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_to_sell_your_boss_on_mobile_optimization

HeBS Digital to host webinar: The smart hotelier’s action plan to digital content marketing

May 06, 2015

HeBS Digital’s Miriam Gross, ReviewPro’s Josiah Mackenzie and Portola Hotel & Spa’s Jackie Olsen will discuss how hoteliers can create a deeper level of engagement and ultimately increase bookings, recommendations and social media shares through enticing content.

Speakers will also cover:

- Why Digital Content Marketing is Critical in Increasing Engagement and Revenues for Hoteliers

- The Most Popular Digital Content Marketing Initiatives in Hospitality

- Actionable Recommendations to follow in your Digital Content Marketing Strategy

The webinar will take place on Wednesday May 20, 2015 at 2:00PM EST/11am PST.

Register for the webinar at HeBS Digital

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hebs_digital_to_host_webinar_the_smart_hoteliers_action_plan_to_digital_con

How TripAdvisor hopes to leave its hotel review rivals in the dust

May 05, 2015

In the process, TripAdvisor will boost its number of reviews from verified guests, making them more useful for consumers trying to pick a place to stay, and likely putting the online travel agencies’ user-review collection efforts further in the rearview mirror.

That’s because TripAdvisor, on several fronts, is placing a higher priority on integrating with hotels’ technology providers at a much faster clip than the vast majority of its peers.

Since 2013, TripAdvisor’s Review Express feature has enabled hotels to partner with TripAdvisor to send cobranded emails after guests’ stays asking them to post hotel reviews on TripAdvisor.

Get the full story at Skift

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_tripadvisors_hopes_to_leave_its_hotel_review_rivals_in_the_dust

DHISCO partners with Nustay.com to Launch next-generation OTA

May 05, 2015

"This start-up is leading the way in developing a new generation of hotel reservation systems, and DHISCO is proud to connect Nustay to hotels around the world," said Toni Portmann, DHISCO CEO. "This partnership underscores our commitment to innovation and support for new ideas and advanced technologies."

Nustay co-founder and CEO Mathias Lundø Nielsen said having the industry's most established and trusted distribution provider as a partner is crucial to its success.

"We are pleased that DHISCO shares our passion for innovation and is able to support us as we disrupt the way people and hotels get to know each other," Nielsen said.

Based in Dubai and Barcelona, Nustay.com matches its members with special discounts at select four- and five-star hotels using algorithms that will predict what they are likely to spend on extras.

Nustay uses big data and personalized profiling to generate the offers, which are determined by the individual hotels. The better the match, the deeper the discount and the greater the experience for the guest as well as the hotel.

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/dhisco_partners_with_nustay.com_to_launch_next_generation_ota

Airlines move toward dynamic pricing of rewards

May 05, 2015

U.S. airlines are changing the rules of their frequent-flyer programs and, befitting air travel, being greeted with a measure of rage.

Amid strong travel demand, Delta and Southwest are now pricing loyalty awards more like all other tickets—“dynamically,” with regular changes in how many miles it takes to buy an award seat. It looks like United is next.

That means the number of miles required for a ticket will vary with sales, destination, cost in dollars, and other factors. “This is likely to become the new norm on the award side of these loyalty programs,” says Tim Winship, editor of FrequentFlier.com.

Get the full story at Bloomberg Business

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/airlines_move_toward_dynamic_pricing_of_rewards

5 social trends hoteliers can capitalize on

May 05, 2015

Here are five social trends hoteliers can capitalize on

1. Guests do it via mobile

“We are entering that mobile decade,” Daniel Levine, director of The Avant-Guide Institute said. “Everyone is going to be doing everything on mobile.”

The uprising of mobile is reducing the amount of time between booking and staying, he said. It’s also affecting everything from research to the experience guests are having in hotels to the information guests are sharing on social media.

“Because people are using their mobile phones for everything, that means that they’re doing their research in advance. They’re looking at Google Maps, for example, and saying, ‘Hey, which hotel should I go to?’ at the last moment.”

That’s why it’s important for hotels to be on Google Maps. But how do hotels get listed?

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/5_social_trends_hoteliers_can_capitalize_on

Google lets you bookmark local places from search results

May 05, 2015

Google spokesperson confirmed to Search Engine Land: “When you click on the star icon, your saved place will appear on your map, in your search and directions suggestions, and under the ‘your places’ tab of Google Maps.”

The change isn’t live for everyone but Search Engine Land has a screenshot on how it looks on desktop results for a Los Angeles hotel.

Get the full story at Search Engine Land

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_lets_you_bookmark_local_places_from_search_results

Google takes on Pinterest with Google+ Collections

May 05, 2015

Collections can be followed and posts within Collections that users follow will appear in their home feeds on Google+. After a user or Page creates a Collection, a Collection tab will appear on given profile.

No doubt the new feature will get some love from marketers as well. Now brands and businesses will finally be able to create topic-based feeds on Google+. To do that previously, marketers would have had to create separate Google+ Pages for each topic or vertical, a step that few social media professionals were willing to commit to, but being able to give fans the ability to follow specific categories is a valuable feature.

Get the full story at Marketing Land

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_takes_on_pinterest_with_google_collections

If there are more links in your hotel emails, will more people click?

May 05, 2015

To find our answer we looked at 1,200 email campaigns sent by 60 resorts to over 7,000,000 recipients during the last six months. We grouped these messages by how many links each contained and found the average click rate and average clicks per clicker (“total clicks” / “unique clicks”) for each group.

For Ryan Solutions sample, more links in an email led to both a higher overall click rate and more total clicks by each person who clicked the email at least once. Click rate jumped from 6.7% for emails with 1-10 links to 8.6% for emails with more than 30 links. Clicks per clicker went from 1.2 to 1.6 across those same groups.
What This Means

More options in an email lead to more clicks, that much seems clear. This increase in links appears to be the proverbial shotgun approach to content: Send enough topics toward your target and you increase the likelihood that at least one will be a hit.

Get the full story at Ryan Solutions

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/if_there_are_more_links_in_your_hotel_emails_will_more_people_click

Travelport and HRG extend partnership

May 05, 2015

Travelport, a leading Travel Commerce Platform providing distribution, technology, payment and other solutions to the for the $8 trillion global travel industry, has today announced a multi-year contract renewal with HRG, the award winning global travel management company. The agreement extends Travelport and HRG's already long-standing partnership of over 40 years which has seen both companies grow together, having recently expanded their co-operation into several new countries including Canada and China, beyond such countries as Australia, Austria, Italy, Singapore, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States. Travelport is now the leading distribution and technology partner to HRG having grown transaction volumes together by 22% over the past 18 months.

Part of this growth is due to the adoption in 2014 by HRG of Travelport's ground-breaking point-of-sale solution, Travelport Smartpoint, which since its launch, has been redefining how corporate travel in particular is searched, sold and booked. Specifically, it is allowing HRG travel consultants to sell a wider range of hotel, car and airline content including leading Low Cost Carriers such as EasyJet and Ryanair in real time and on a fully integrated basis. Travelport Smartpoint includes the ability to add key airline ancillary products or merchandised offers which are important for corporate travellers such as seat assignments, fast track security and lounge access. In addition, its Rich Content and Branding features offer HRG consultants the ability to see and inform their customers about the various product and service offerings each airline has. This feature is now live with over 60 major carriers including British Airways, Singapore Airlines, Delta Airlines and United Airlines and approximately 40 more carriers in the process of implementation. HRG has also embraced the Travelport Universal API which means that all of the same content available in Smartpoint is also available through the corporate on-line booking tools and other applications that HRG has developed itself in the service of its corporate clients.

David Radcliffe, Chief Executive of Hogg Robinson Group Plc commented: "Travelport helps to enable our agents to provide the first class service our clients expect from HRG. Travelport Smartpoint provides us with a wealth of relevant information and content, which helps give our clients the flexibility and choice that they require. It has also enabled us to achieve growth through productivity and workflow efficiencies. Travelport has a solid track record with forward-looking plans and it is absolutely the type of partner we need to ensure our continued success."

Gordon Wilson, President and CEO for Travelport commented: "We are immensely proud of our relationship with HRG which is both long term and growing. Travelport and HRG have worked co-operatively together to secure continual improvements in the products, services and content we can offer through our respective technologies and this is a true partnership centred around the sole goal of making the corporate travel experience better for the customers of HRG. We look forward to continual growth and innovation in the years to come."

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travelport_and_hrg_extend_partnership

Travel Consumer 2015: Engaging the empowered holidaymaker

May 04, 2015

More than half (59%) of holidaymakers now use the internet to compare prices as the travel sector becomes a buyer’s market, according to a new study.

As many as 42% use review sites when planning their holiday, compared to 31% using travel company websites and 21% online travel agents. Of those planning with review sites 59% say this was their main influence, as people move from being content consumers to content creators.

The research also suggests travel companies must adapt to fragmented digital channels, as a third of consumers use two or more devices when researching their holiday.

Get the full story at Travolution and download the report at Deloitte (PDF 2.4 MB)

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travel_consumer_2015_engaging_the_empowered_holidaymaker

Top travel mobile experiences almost as good as traditional sites

May 04, 2015

eDigitalResearch measured the digital customer experience - including desktop, mobile sites and mobile apps - for eighteen of the UKs leading travel brands and found that, for some areas of the customer journey, mobile experiences are now as good as traditional websites.

Mobile search and search results have seen a significant increase in overall satisfaction wave on wave. Detailed analysis reveals that higher quality images and better clarity of pricing are the two main drivers behind higher satisfaction rates for search results on a mobile, while a wider range of search options is behind the rise in satisfaction when searching for holidays or flights on a mobile device.

Booking.com continues to lead the multichannel travel experience with a consistently strong score across all three digital touch points. Booking.com offers a well optimised experience across all devices and users particularly liked the site's dynamic pop-up messages with latest price trends or booking information, as well as speedy search results.

Hotel agents continue to dominate the eTravel Benchmark league table, with Hotels.com and Late Rooms claiming second and thirds spots respectively, while Expedia and KLM complete the top five.

For the first time in the benchmark's history, Holiday Inn scored top marks for their app following a recent overhaul and upgrade. With a top score of 81.6%, their new generation app puts them in line with multichannel leaders Booking.com. Users particularly liked the apps new look and feel, as well as the welcome page introducing first time users to new features.

Steve Brockway, Director of Research (UK), comments, "It appears that after several years of trying, travel brands are starting to offer holiday makers as good of an experience on their mobile as they are getting on a more traditional desktop site. Since starting to track the multichannel travel experience in 2012, we've gradually watched the mobile experience improve and improve and now, at some parts of the customer journey, users are getting the same brand experience no matter the device they are using.

"As mobile continues to grow in popularity, there will soon come a time when the mobile customer experience will overtake traditional desktop sites. However, when that day does come (and it could come as soon as this year) digital customer experiences across varying brands will differ only very slightly - we're already seeing minimal differences between top performing brands. Instead, to make experiences really stand out from the competition, brands need to be investing in their service and customer support. With more consumers heading online to book and browse, on and offline support will become the foundation for a fantastic customer experience".

Best Western, Late Rooms and Booking.com currently top the customer support league table. Users look favourably on brands when their customer service contact details are simple and easy to find. Best Western prominently display their customer service phone number on the homepage while Booking.com use searchable FAQ's and localised contact details for their international customer base.

Download the report at eDigitalResearch (free registration)

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/top_travel_mobile_experiences_almost_as_good_as_traditional_sites

Mideast online travel bookings set to take off

May 04, 2015

Online travel bookings, which represent 25 per cent of all bookings in the Middle East today, are forecast to grow in 2015 and 2016, with revenue from online sales expected to reach $35 billion.

Offline sales are forecast to continue to grow from $54 billion in 2014 to $63 billion in 2017.

The research revealed the emergence of hybrid travel agents — those whose transactions take place both online and offline — in the coming years, fuelled by a young, middle class, affluent population with a high tendency to travel.

Rabih Saab, Travelport’s president and managing director for Africa, Middle East and South Asia, said: “This research on the future of the Middle East travel industry coincides with the theme of this year’s Arabian Travel Market (ATM), which is technological innovation. The Middle East travel industry is buoyant and poised for growth.”

Get the full story at Khaalej Times

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/mideast_online_travel_bookings_set_to_take_off

Growth at Expedia’s Agent Program

May 04, 2015

For Expedia, the program is a way to align with a resurgent travel agency community and for agents, it offers access to Expedia’s global inventory along with TAAP-only deals and tools.

Travel Market Report spoke with Lossing about TAAP, its relationship with agents, and recent developments in the program.

Why would an agent want to register with TAAP?
Lossing: For one, agents have access to our global inventory. If a customer comes to an agent and says they can get a hotel cheaper on Expedia, the agent can offer those same rates.

We offer an itinerary builder that agents can easily use through the GDS. We recently introduced TAAP-only deals. As soon as agents log in they see these deals. Those deals are in addition to our In The Know program where we send out eblasts to TAAP partners alerting them to promotions. If a client finds a better rate for any booking within 24 hours, we will match it.

We attend agent conferences and partner with ASTA, NACTA and other agency groups to sponsor seminars and other educational programs.

Get the full story at Travel Market Report

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/growth_at_expedias_agent_program

Ritz-Carlton eases event planning with mobile app

May 04, 2015

The app gives meeting planners a way to communicate with the Ritz-Carlton while organizing the fine details such as food and beverage choices, audio visual requests, in-room temperature and more. The ease of throwing an event through this app will likely entice more companies to hold conferences and meetings at Ritz-Carlton properties.

“Whether a wedding, corporate meeting or incentive event, ((Chime)) will increase communication efficiency with our clients,” said Steven Holt, regional director of public relations at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company. “The Ladies and Gentlemen will be better able to anticipate and fulfill our guests’ needs.”

While running a meeting or event, leaving the room to find venue staff is sometimes nearly impossible. The app allows organizers an opportunity to request needs immediately and efficiently from their phones or tablets.

Get the full story at Luxury Daily

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/ritz_carlton_eases_event_planning_with_mobile_app

Millennials vs. The Millennial Mindset

May 04, 2015

Call it the Millennial Mindset, a better way to filter ideas for your hotel. Technology is changing all of us, it’s just younger people, with their millennial aged spongy brains, soak up learning easier. That makes them adapt newer technologies quicker even as they continue to have the same inherent needs as everyone else.

That’s why younger folks are called ‘digital natives’, they grew up in a world where the internet was omnipresent. So naturally they relate to technology in a way older ‘digital immigrants’ do not. Folks born before the internet had to learn how to use it rather than it just being the norm.

Get the full story at Hotel Interactive

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/millennials_vs._the_millennial_mindset

The first all-in-one small hotel business solution launches in the U.S.

May 04, 2015

Powered by SiteMinder, the global hotel industry’s leading cloud platform, Little Hotelier says its clear focus on the small accommodation industry makes it an ideal system solution for small hotel businesses.

“We are excited to be able to satisfy the increasing demand we have been receiving from U.S. hotels, inns and lodges, particularly as hotel occupancy within the U.S. market is forecast to hit a record high in 2015[1] and automation technology will be crucial for small hotels. Little Hotelier is specifically designed to enable small accommodation providers around the world to manage their online presence and compete on the global stage – and now properties in the U.S. can join our customers around the world to benefit from exactly this,” says Bronwyn Karaoglu, Little Hotelier evangelist.

Little Hotelier’s solution aims to empower small hoteliers through award-winning, best-in-class technology. Taking a three-pronged approach to small hotel management, the system includes a front desk system, an online reservation system and a channel manager that connects small hotels to more than 250 of the world’s leading online distribution channels.

Using a ‘pooled inventory’ model, Little Hotelier allows small hoteliers to have all their rooms online at the same time, and also manage all their inventory from one place to drastically reduce the risks of overbookings and double bookings that come with manual inventory management.

The system’s complete automation capability also enables hoteliers to work more efficiently by eliminating otherwise manual administrative work.

In its recent survey of U.S. hotels and inns with less than 50 rooms, Little Hotelier found that time spent on manual administrative work was a major frustration, with 65 percent of respondents saying that time wasted on managing reservations across multiple reservation sites was their biggest challenge.

Ms Karaoglu says: “By consolidating the three systems into one, we’re solving a very significant problem that small hotels in the U.S. are facing. Updating inventory across distribution channels, in particular, is a painful task, with a large number of innkeepers saying overbooking and double booking is a constant risk.”

The Little Hotelier system is now live and innkeepers can sign up instantly by visiting http://www.littlehotelier.com.

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_first_all_in_one_small_hotel_business_solution_launches_in_the_u.s

The rising cost PPC for hoteliers

May 04, 2015

Most of the cost increases we’ve seen have been associated with brand-related keywords. Things that can affect cost per click like keyword quality score and average ad position have remained the same year over, yet the cost per click has been dramatically higher. This leads us to believe that stronger competition from OTAs and other booking sites are to blame.

Some suggestions on how to maximize the impact of your PPC campaign include in the midst of OTA competition include:

- Making sure include an offer or promotion to help you stand out.
- Including language like “Official Site” to let users know that you’re not an OTA.
- Using sitelink and callout extensions to capture more search real estate.

Get the full stoy at O'Rourke Hospitality

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_rising_cost_ppc_for_hoteliers

Expedia’s revenue rises more than expected

May 01, 2015

Revenue increased 14% to $1.37 billion, topping the $1.35 billion projected by analysts polled by Thomson Reuters.

The results come as Expedia seeks approval of its purchase of rival Orbitz Worldwide Inc., which was unveiled in February. Regulators, however, are expected to take a hard look at the deal, and Expedia's shareholders are eager for information about that review. Expedia didn't address the regulatory process in Thursday's news release.

Over the past year, Expedia has been buying more brands to add new customers. The company in November closed a deal for Australia's Wotif Holdings Ltd. In the U.S., the company recently agreed to buy Sabre Corp.'s Travelocity brand.

Get the full story at Reuters

Read also "Expedia's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi on Q1 2015 Results" at Seeking Alpha and Expedia

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/expedias_revenue_rises_more_than_expected

Booking.com getting even tighter with hotels

May 01, 2015

Booking.com, like players around the industry from Alibaba to TripAdvisor, is looking to become more of an all-around service provider to hotels, but the ironies are many.

European regulators, in particular, are trying to rein in Booking.com’s power to entice greater competition in terms of giving hoteliers more freedom to offer diverse room rates to online travel agencies and other players.

Booking.com, the largest online hotel provider in the world, currently has the power to greatly influence hotels’ performance, and now through the launch of BookingSuite there is the prospect that some hoteliers could become even more dependent on Booking.com.

Get the full story at Skift

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/booking.com_getting_even_tighter_with_hotels

IHG and Amadeus to create next generation reservation system

May 01, 2015

As launch partner, IHG will work with Amadeus on the design, functionality and evolution of the system, which will ultimately replace HOLIDEX, IHG's proprietary reservation system. This follows the completion of a successful engineering study by IHG and Amadeus to scope out potential technologies and solutions to drive innovation in the industry for the long-term benefit of owners and guests. GRS can be operated alongside HOLIDEX and the transition to GRS, which is due to be rolled out globally in 2017, will be undertaken in phases to minimise risks.

IHG’s history of innovation in technology, in addition to its global scale, provides Amadeus with the critical mass and complementary skills to develop this next generation community model. Amadeus has an excellent track record of leadership in this area, most recently with the airline industry. The community model is a highly innovative and cost-effective approach for IHG and the hospitality industry, with Amadeus taking responsibility for funding and maintaining the reservation system and each member paying for usage on a transaction fee basis. IHG will continue to work with Amadeus to evolve and future-proof the system over time.

Today’s announcement marks a significant step forward for IHG as we continue to make strong progress in developing industry leading technology solutions. The next-generation GRS gives IHG a foundation to continue to invest smartly in technology through system funded capital investments and evolve our own bespoke systems, which will be connected to GRS and hotels directly through a separate, state of the art interface. This will result in a first of its kind, standardised, scalable and flexible global technology eco-system, which will provide significant value to our guest and owners.

Richard Solomons, Chief Executive Officer of IHG commented when announcing the partnership: “Technology is fundamental to driving superior experiences for our guests before, during and after they stay with us. IHG has a long track record of innovating through technology to ensure we meet the needs of current and future guests, starting with being the first company to offer online bookings, having the highest rated app in the hotel and travel industry, and offering Mobile Check-In and Check-Out. Our collaboration with Amadeus will build on this heritage and will enable IHG to shape the future technological foundations of our industry. The next-generation guest reservation system we will create with Amadeus will deliver a powerful global platform for hotels to manage guest interaction, will be intuitive for hotel teams, and will help us accelerate our work to revolutionise and personalise the guest experience through technology."

Luis Maroto, President & Chief Executive Officer of Amadeus in his response answered: “Travellers today expect a great experience wherever they are and technology can play a key role in delivering that. IHG has exciting ambitions for its hotels and guests and Amadeus is proud that our innovative technology will play a key role in delivering them. Our technology partnership with IHG is a watershed moment for the industry. It will provide a huge leap forward in the flexibility and functionality available to hoteliers, and marks an important step in our journey to deliver our established community technology model into a new industry segment.”

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/ihg_and_amadeus_to_create_next_generation_reservation_system

Online hotel booking agents accused of ‘bullying’ practices

May 01, 2015

Hotel booking agents that are partners on comparison websites such as TripAdvisor, have become increasingly powerful but take a hefty commission from every room they sell – up to 30 per cent.

While doing so, they expose a property to a wide audience of potential guests but are accused of becoming more controlling about how a hotel should market itself, while also advertising savings that don’t actually exist.

“There is no doubt as to the positive power and influence of online travel agents (OTAs) but it is getting to the point where they are dictating what we put on our own websites and how we communicate with our guests and future guests,” said Dan Visser, director of sales and marketing at the Langdale Hotel & Spa in Cumbria.

“If we actively encourage our guests to book direct with us, we are pulled up on this and it’s bordering on the line of bullying.”

Get the full story at the Telegraph

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/online_hotel_booking_agents_accused_of_bullying_practices

SEO: Expedia tests adding Emoji characters to page titles

May 01, 2015

Expedia seems to be testing the Emoji on select pages, as I can’t get them to show up for all queries and clicking through to the site, only select pages have Emoji added to their title tags.

Get the full story at Search Engine Land

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/seo_expedia_tests_adding_emoji_characters_to_page_titles

The digital revolution is only just beginning

May 01, 2015

This is one of the insights we drew from the research that went into our new book, When Millennials Take Over: Preparing for the Ridiculously Optimistic Future of Business. We identified four key capacities that we found inside organizations with unusually strong organizational cultures that aligned with the approach of the Millennial generation to leadership and management:

- Digital

- Clear

- Fluid, and

- Fast.

We figured digital would be the least surprising of the four, but we like to draw attention to it, because it may not be what you’re thinking. Organizations embracing digital technology is not a new idea, of course, but the bar continues to be raised on this one. Millennials are not only expecting your organization to provide decent equipment and have a respectable presence on social media, they also expect you to be using the right tools for the right purpose. Don’t email when you should be instant messaging. If that clunky content management system becomes frustrating for the team, don’t continue to use it just because you invested two years learning how to use it.

Get the full story at Brian Solis

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_digital_revolution_is_only_just_beginning

The meta search conundrum

May 01, 2015

1. How would you describe the current state of Meta Search, and how would you prioritize Meta Search marketing?

Meta Search marketing is not a new frontier in digital marketing and has existed in the industry for over 12 years with original players such as Trip.com, SideStep and Kayak.com.

When talking about meta search as a marketing platform, it’s also important to note that the term meta search is industry jargon and is not known to the traveling public when referencing top travel planning resources. In fact, many travel consumers use OTAs like Expedia or Booking.com as their price comparison tool with only about 5-10% of travel consumers utilizing “true” meta search channels like Kayak.com, TripAdvisor Meta, etc. to conduct their travel planning research.

When planning for meta search marketing in your digital marketing budget, keep in mind that meta search is just one dynamic rate marketing (DRM) format. With DRM, real-time availability and pricing is projected onto various advertising initiatives such as dynamic rate display advertising, dynamic rate paid search, email marketing, dynamic promos on the hotel website, etc. DRM satisfies the consumer’s desire to receive accurate hotel information such as location, reviews, and rate and availability.

The bottom line when planning for meta search is that it should not be viewed as a standalone marketing channel and should be a part of a larger marketing mix, of the multi-channel marketing strategy of the hotel. 

Get the full story at HeBS Digital

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_meta_search_conundrum

Facebook: What’s changed (again) and how it affects you

May 01, 2015

According to a study conducted by social@Ogilvy, organic reach only accounted for 6% of brands’ total reach, a 50% decline from just six months earlier. And it is projected that this will eventually hit 0%. Welcome to the brave new world of Facebook.

This change in the social climate may best be described as the new pay-to-play era. Marketers everywhere are scrambling to acclimatize to this revolution while wondering what it will mean for their 2015 digital marketing strategy. There’s no need to worry! It just means you have to adapt and adjust to the new social regulations.

Unfortunately, the days of gaining social media reach completely organically may be moving into the rear-view mirror, simply because the massive influx of content being produced every day. Facebook still plays an integral role in any organization’s digital marketing strategy, it just can be more difficult to fight for visibility when there is a sea of content being produced everyday. Instead of dwelling on the better days of the past, here are some great ways you can look to the future and still harness the power of this social giant.

Get the full story at Leonardo

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/facebook_whats_changed_again_and_how_it_affects_you

Booking.com enters corporate travel market

April 30, 2015

Company managers or administrators can create Booking.com for Business accounts for free, book rooms for their employees, or send their staff invitations and they can book the travel on their own. The administrators can coordinate company bookings and review reports by department, team or individual employees.

Employees using Booking.com for Business can also book their leisure travel there, although only their business travel bookings will feed into company reports, officials said.

Similar to the Booking.com leisure site, Booking.com for Business customers can filter the hotels they view by amenities important to business travelers, can enter an address/area they are interested in staying, and can read user reviews from other business travelers.

Get the full story at Skift

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/booking.com_enters_corporate_travel_business

Are mobile hotel bookings not living up to the hype?

April 30, 2015

“While many marketers focus their efforts on mobile, it is important to know that most travelers are using other methods to make their reservations including a large majority who still make reservations in more traditional ways,” notes Chris Klauda, Vice President at D.K. Shifflet & Associates.

When developing hotel marketing plans it is critical to understand the type of traveler using each method and how your hotel brand is positioned. Profiles of reservation methods used for specific hotel brands and/or traveler segments are available through D.K. Shifflet & Associates.

Get the full story at D.K. Shifflet and Associates (PDF 434 KB)

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/are_mobile_hotel_bookings_not_living_up_to_the_hype

Why booking hotels through sites like Kayak, Expedia isn’t smart

April 30, 2015

“If you are loyal and you know that you are going to stay at a specific hotel, usually you can find a comparable rate on the hotel website. And that is where I decide, if that rate is $12 or $13 more than when I book through Hilton, then I think that I am getting my points, so I am willing to pay a little extra,” says Scott Mackenzie, whose website Travel Codex, compares the differences between loyalty programs and gives tips on travel hacking.

Another bonus of booking directly through a hotel chain? Perks.

“Hotels earn more from you when booking direct - they don’t have to pay an [online travel agency] commission fee - they are more inclined to offer you upgrades, better perks or complimentary add-ons,” explains Gautam Lulla, president of Travel Tripper.

Get the full story at Forbes

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/why_booking_hotels_through_sites_like_kayak_expedia_isnt_smart

Virtuoso luxury study explores traveler insights and trends

April 30, 2015

Tapping into transactional data from its United States and Canadian-based agency members that spans more than six years and totals over (U.S.) $35 billion, Virtuoso analyzed spending habits and layered this information with input from focus groups, interviews with travel advisors, and studies from research partner Wealth Engine.

Key observations for each group follow:

Millennials (ages 22-32)

- If chosen carefully, they make great travel clients. Currently 90 percent of them book travel online and at the very least, 87 percent use online travel agencies (OTAs) for research and rate comparisons. Their average daily spend is 62 percent lower than Matures. When cultivated, though, that gap closes to just 24 percent. Another bonus, Millennials are actually more loyal than other generations.

- As the "me" generation, they expect to be serviced differently. They are time suppressed and over-stimulated with a general philosophy that a smartphone can solve any problem. Engaging them, educating them and showing patience is the key to converting them into good clients.

- Nothing cookie-cutter for this group. They strongly favor customized FIT tours and experiences. Given they are still building their careers and likely have less ability to break away from their jobs, they have a higher propensity to book trips within North America.

GenX-ers (ages 33-49)

- This "slacker" generation is the least loyal, perhaps because they came of buying age at precisely the time OTAs came into the picture, shifting loyalty from brands in favor of price shopping. In fact, 82 percent book travel online and 71 percent research their travel through OTAs*. (* source: MMGY Global 2014 Portrait of Digital Travel)
However, they do account for the highest average daily spend while traveling at $627 per day. By comparison, Millennials average $527 per day; Boomers average $522; and, Matures average $471.

- Changes in their life stages are strongly reflected in their travel habits. Generation Z (their offspring) factor into travel decisions and schedules, with school calendars largely dictating timing. Their top vacation motivation is having enough time to relax and unwind.

- Strongly favor hotel stays and if it is in the Playa Del Carmen region of Mexico, even better. They prefer to stick closer to home and Mexico is a favored destination.

Boomers (ages 50-68)

- While 84 percent admit to having purchased travel online and 72 percent have researched travel through OTAs, they are responsible for the greatest travel spend. This is mainly because they make up the highest concentration of "ultra-affluent" consumers, meaning they have investible assets in excess of $25 million.

- This generation is experiencing a big point of transition and as they retire, travel ranks among their top activities. Their average spend on travel remains relatively constant before growing rapidly again after age 65.

- They prefer more diversity in their travels, with 19 percent favoring hotels, 26 percent preferring cruises and 28 percent opting for customized FIT tours.

Matures (ages 69-89)

- Travel factors significantly into the lives of this generation, and they rank as the highest spending travelers in aggregate.

- They favor cruises, especially in January. And unlike their GenX counterparts, whose cruising schedules follow school holidays, Matures steadily cruise throughout the year.

- Their loyalty remains the highest, too, as they are the most likely to repeat purchase.

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/virtuoso_luxury_study_explores_traveler_insights_and_trends

HotelQuickly launches on Apple Watch

April 30, 2015

HotelQuickly said that 40 per cent of its customers use iPhones for their last-minute bookings. “By launching the HotelQuickly app for Apple Watch, we are continuing to innovate the mobile travel segment in Asia Pacific and are taking the hotel booking experience to the next level,” the company's CTO said.

The new app offers a ‘handoff’ feature that allows users to continue on their phone’s app where they left off on the Apple Watch. Other features include simplified navigation and check-in, alerts, and the ability to manage booking references. The end goal is to deliver a “superior user experience,” the company says.

In the two years since its launch in March 2013, the app has seen roughly one million downloads in six languages, and the startup has to date raised US$5.65 million in funding.

Get the full story at HotelQuickly

Read also "HotelQuickly beats HotelTonight to Asian market" at Forbes

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotelquickly_launches_on_apple_watch

Uber is bringing its food delivery service to New York City and Chicago

April 30, 2015

UberEats will be accessible from within Uber's existing app, although the food option only shows up when consumers are in the coverage area. The service promises dishes from "popular, iconic restaurants" delivered curbside - not to your door - "faster than it takes to boil water."

An Uber representative told The Verge that UberEats has its own dedicated drivers. Lunch options will range from $9 to $12, while dinner options will range from $10 to $15. The Uber rep said meals come with a $3 delivery fee ($4 in New York City), regardless of the number of meals you order.

In a blog post about the expansion, Uber says it plans to "curate" menus, which will change daily, just like any other artisanal app experience. For its inaugural run in New York City, UberEats will kick off with "an exclusive sandwich" from American Cut, Kale Caesar salad from Sweetgreen, the steak sandwich from Num Pang, and more. Chicago consumers can order the Pepito Torta from XOCO and Carne Asada Cemita from Cemitas, among other offerings.

Get the full story at The Verge

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/uber_is_bringing_its_food_delivery_service_to_new_york_city_and_chicago

Hotels need to think like a media company

April 30, 2015

The difference now, in 2015 and beyond, is what is defined as content. This is of particular interest to hoteliers as they allocate valuable time and resources to try to reach potential guests and maintain the attention of past guests.

Content, for today’s consumer, is about making connections. It is about connecting with a brand, a lifestyle, a persona even. It is about aligning interests and philosophies with businesses that fit the view of what consumers want in life — from experiences and products, to convenience and useful information. Content inspires consumers to elevate their way of life and consider what they want their world to look and feel like. Content is always available so that the consumer can access it how and when they choose.

Every piece of content produced today is an opportunity to connect — both with a broader reach and on a more personal level with each individual consumer than ever before.

Get the full story at Lodging Interactive

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotels_need_to_think_like_a_media_company

Webinar wrap-up: SEO basics for your hotel website

April 30, 2015

The event featured Marco Braggio, Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Braggio Cook Interactive and Alicia Whalen, Digital Marketing Expert and Co-Founder of Hashtagio.com, who both gave a fantastic overview of SEO essentials for every hotel website, including how to get started and how to track ROI.

If you couldn’t attend, catch the highlights from the event in this five-minute video at Leonardo

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/webinar_wrap_up_seo_basics_for_your_hotel_website

Rate parity: The battle to determine how hotel rooms are bought

April 28, 2015

While OTAs and the major hotel brands favor or at least accept price parity agreements rate parity agreements, some individual hotels don't like the fact that, with a parity agreement in place, they can't sell a room at a lower price on their own website than through the chain's website or an OTA. Individual hotels pay really big commissions - 15 percent to 20 percent - to OTAs, and that's a lot off the top to give away to a third party. They're willing to give that much away, however, because they know that a huge portion of their total room bookings - as much as half in the US and 70 percent in Europe - originate from customers who find them through OTA and aggregator searches.

How would a weakening of price parity affect the consumer? The primary question is whether individual hotels could avoid parity agreements and offer rates on their own websites lower than those they give the big OTAs. If so, aggregators could search hotel's own website in the search process, as Kayak now does with airfares. Aggregators would then displace OTAs such as Expedia and Booking.com as your initial go-to source for hotel search. TripAdvisor, which currently does not search individual hotel websites, could easily do so, and with its unparalleled base of customer reviews, could become a huge threat to the dominance of OTAs. And even with all the online searches, many travelers would be more likely to check with a hotel's own website for better deals.

Get the full story at the Chicago Tribune

Read also "Booking.com rate parity settlement only a half-step forward"

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/rate_parity_the_battle_to_determine_how_hotel_rooms_are_bought

Traditional airline alliances will not survive, says OAG

April 28, 2015

OAG presents its considerations for future international strategies in its new analysis report ‘The Fight for Global Markets – Is Three the Magic Number?’, to be launched at CAPA’s Americas Aviation Summit in Las Vegas (27-28 April 2015) by OAG’s EVP Data and Market Intelligence, John Grant.
John Grant says: “Alliances are no longer the only means of international competition. Increasingly joint ventures, equity stakes and less formal partnerships are being used, all of which challenge existing structures and operations. There are currently more airlines than can realistically exist and in a truly global market where barriers were eased, we would expect to see a consolidation of carriers.
“The global aviation outlook is transforming and there have to be changes to the business structure, the key players and shape of the industry. Alliances are not a long-term solution – they are a fixed solution which have run their course for many circumstances.”

Get the full story at OAG

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/traditional_airline_alliances_will_not_survive_says_oag

Are OTAs really killing brick and mortar travel agencies?

April 28, 2015

As recently as 2014, Ray Morgan Research reported that nearly 50 percent of Australians traveling overseas used a travel agent, not an OTA. By comparison, the SDL report mentioned earlier found that a measly 5 percent of U.S. travelers book in person with an agent.

In Europe, the trend toward OTAs may not be as swift as it’s been in the U.S., but the transition is steadily happening. According to IPK International’s World Travel Monitor, in 2008 a full third of trips in Western Europe were booked with a travel agent, but only one in five trips were booked by an agent in 2012. Germany appears to be the lone holdout in the region, maintaining a much higher percentage of agency-booked travel than neighboring countries.

It’s not only geography where the success of brick and mortar business has put its flag in the sand. Certain types of travelers lend themselves to working with a traditional travel agent.

Get the full story at Forbes

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/are_otas_really_killing_brick_and_mortar_travel_agencies

Apple Watch now opens hotel rooms at Starwood hotels

April 28, 2015

The new application allows guests to check-in, view information on the hotel and stay dates, check the status of their rewards account and more. That means guests can arrive at the hotel, skip the front desk entirely, walk up to their room, tap the door, and settle in.

“After registering for SPG Keyless, the Apple Watch will automatically send guests their room number and will function as their hotel room key at any SPG Keyless enabled Starwood hotel allowing guests to bypass the front desk (where available),” the company said Friday.

The special door locks work using Bluetooth technology and were created with ASSA BLOY, Starwood said. It’s not supported in every hotel just yet, but there are plenty that already offer the service, including 100 Aloft, Element and W hotels, with plans to embed the option in more than 30,000 hotel rooms soon.

Get the full story at Techno Buffalo

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/apple_watch_now_opens_hotel_rooms_at_starwood_hotels

Optimize your website to capture last-minute travelers

April 28, 2015

Here are five ideas for how to optimize a travel website to bring these last-minute travelers to convert.

1. Display “Lowest Price Guarantee” badge: When would-be travelers abandon their online travel purchases, 37% do so because they thought the price was high and they wanted to compare prices elsewhere. Whenever a travel company can guarantee the lowest price, its website should display a badge or icon highlighting this. A low-price guarantee can increase a consumer’s confidence and keep them on the company’s page, rather than navigating off to double-check competitors’ prices.

2. Offer a price comparison tool: Displaying competitors’ prices alongside those of the company making the offer also increases the consumer’s confidence in making a decision. Online price comparisons work for a variety of ecommerce companies, and not just the travel industry. Not only do they reduce the consumer’s impulse to navigate away from the purchase page and check competitors’ prices, they can correct the consumer’s assumptions about which companies are in a position to undercut the competitors. In the case of the ecommerce office supply company Paperstone, after highlighting the price comparison tool, along with competitors’ prices, in a prominent place on the page, the company saw a 10.67% increase in online conversions.

Get the full story at Media Post

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/optimize_your_website_to_capture_last_minute_travelers

STR looks at weekday versus weekend performance in top 25 U.S. markets

April 28, 2015

For the purpose of this article, STR Analytics, sister company of Hotel News Now, defined weekday performance as Tuesday through Thursday nights and weekend performance as Friday and Saturday nights. We used February 2015 trailing 12-month data for the top 25 markets to understand how occupancy and rate compare after removing Sunday and Monday from the equation.

The map below shows whether the trailing 12-month average occupancy was higher on weekdays or weekends. Markets colored orange achieved higher weekend occupancy and markets colored blue achieved higher weekday occupancy. The majority of markets experience higher weekend occupancy, but typically at a lower rate, as shown in the next map.

The map below shows whether the trailing 12-month average daily rate was higher on weekdays or weekends. It’s not surprising that the six markets with higher weekend rates are well-defined leisure markets, such as New Orleans; Nashville, Tennessee; and Miami. A higher frequency of higher weekday rates is present in urban markets, such as New York City and Chicago.

Get the full stoy at Hotel News Now

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/str_looks_at_weekday_versus_weekend_performance_in_top_25_u.s._markets

Pictures, pop music, people: A primer on copyright and rights of publicity

April 28, 2015

Understanding the nature of copyright and rights of publicity does more than just prevent transgressions. Knowing what constitutes intellectual property helps its potential owners identify the protectable material and build a valuable portfolio. It’s surprising what can be made from things found lying around on the physical or electronic floor.

Download the white paper at HSMAI (PDF 2.5 MB)

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/pictures_pop_music_people_a_primer_on_copyright_and_rights_of_publicity

Hotels, private rentals & the battle for Europe’s millennial travelers

April 28, 2015

Vacation rentals and holiday homes have long been a substantial alternative to hotels for European travelers. The market for private accommodation in Europe is significantly larger than in the U.S., and the direct competitive threat for hotels has generally varied depending upon the destination where hotels and alternative lodging compete for travelers.

The rapid rise of Airbnb and the global digital onboarding of private accommodations worldwide through the efforts of Booking.com, HomeAway and others have brought home rentals into direct competition with hotels in a much broader way. Travelers can consider rentals in markets – especially urban centers where Airbnb has been strongest – that were traditionally the domain of hotels.

The central question before hotel operators is just how much of a potential risk does private accommodation pose. Despite the growth of private accommodation and the mixed fortunes of the Continent's various economies, the European hotel market continues to grow, from €80 billion in 2012 to a forecasted €88 billion in 2015.

Get the full story at PhoCusWright

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotels_private_rentals_the_battle_for_europes_millennial_travelers

How Booking.com provides a compelling mobile user experience

April 27, 2015

Researching travel and holiday information on a mobile is rapidly becoming the norm.

Whether sat at your office desk, furtively scrolling through dream holidays on your mobile while a spreadsheet pitilessly glares out of your monitor, or pressed up against strangers on your commute home, thumb hovering over the checkout button on Booking.com’s app, it seems like the small screen is a perfect place to escape.

One third of mobile consumers have used their mobile device in the past to make a travel related purchase, including flights, holidays and hotel reservations.

This is a purchase, just to be clear, not merely browsing. In fact there has been a 50% increase in mobile use across business and leisure travellers, and it seems that mobile really will be a driving force in the travel industry beyond 2015.

The travel industry’s ability to cope with this demand has been impressive, maybe more so than in any other industry. eDigitalResearch has just published a multichannel benchmark (registration required) for the travel sector, revealing that generally the top travel sites are providing equally good desktop and mobile experiences.

Coming out at the top is Booking.com.

Get the full story at Econsultancy

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_booking.com_provides_a_compelling_mobile_user_experience

Hotels.com bookings made by American mobile users increased by over 80%

April 27, 2015

The data also revealed a significant over 80 percent increase in Hotels.com bookings made by U.S. mobile users, solidifying the importance of mobile for years to come.

Value in Last-Minute Bookings
The last-minute booking trend has proven to be at the helm of the mobile surge, with 50 percent of travelers booking same or next-day hotel stays. Hotels.com mobile users are also privy to more than 20,000 mobile-exclusive, last-minute deals, making spontaneous travel plans more exciting and affordable.

Top Destinations for Mobile Users
Domestically, the perennially popular destination of New York City (No. 3; $243)* took a back seat to Las Vegas (No. 1; $104)* and Orlando (No. 2; $94)*. Rounding out the top five domestic destinations are Los Angeles (No. 4; $151)* and San Diego (No. 5; $133)*.

U.S. mobile users were charmed by their northern neighbor, as two Canadian cities, Toronto (No. 3; $147)* and Vancouver (No 5; $167)*, made the list of top international destinations. Travelers also jetted off to London (No. 1; $265)*, Cancun/Riviera Maya (No. 2; $242)* and Paris (No. 4; $245)*.

Hotels.com Advancements in Mobile
Hotels.com continues to make inroads into mobile with the recently announced first Apple™ Watch compatible app. The app enables its users to seek nearby hotel deals, view upcoming reservations and locate their hotel via GPS.

Downloaded over 40 million times since launch, the Hotels.com portfolio of apps for various devices offers customers access to approximately 435,000 hotels worldwide, and access to more than 14 million genuine user reviews.

* The average prices paid by U.S. mobile users during the full year of 2014, according to the Hotel Price Index.

View Hotel.com's infographic "Mobile Hotel Bookings are on the rise"

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotels.com_bookings_made_by_american_mobile_users_increased_by_over_80_perc

Expedia reveals top outbound markets for UAE residents

April 27, 2015

"Expedia outbound passenger data examining the most popular destinations for UAE residents found that three MENA cities topped the poll. In terms of international destinations, London is ranked in fourth place, illustrating its enduring popularity within the Middle East, ahead of New York in ninth place and Paris ranked at 15," Expedia Director of E-Commerce Eman Barhoumeh said.

Top 20 outbound travel destinations for UAE residents in 2014 based on year over flight bookings include:

1. Cairo
2. Amman
3. Beirut
4. London
5. Istanbul
6. Bangkok
7. Doha
8. Manila
9. New York
10. Toronto
11. Manama
12. Muscat
13. Jeddah
14. Colombo
15. Paris
16. Male
17. Riyadh
18. Mumbai
19. Kuwait City
20. Washington DC

"Furthermore, Cairo experienced the most substantial growth with over a 70% increase in bookings in 2014 in comparison to 2013, closely followed by Riyadh. We also witnessed a sizable increase in flights to Colombo with over 55%, followed by Beirut and Kuwait City at 45% and 40% respectively," Barhoumeh explained.

Based on bookings and year-on-year comparisons, Expedia predicts that Cairo, Beirut and Amman will be the top outbound travel destinations for June and July 2015. New York and London are expected to each move up in the ranking to fourth and fifth places, respectively. Other popular destinations included Toronto, Washington DC, Atlanta, Paris and Bangkok.

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/expedia_reveals_top_outbound_markets_for_uae_residents

Experts advise caution in chase for Chinese visitors

April 27, 2015

Professor Wolfgang Georg Arlt, director of the China Outbound Tourism Research Institute (Cotri), told the World Tourism Forum in Lucerne: "There is a danger we talk about numbers all the time when 90% of Chinese outbound tourists will never come to your place.

"Maybe 10% of the Chinese outbound market is of interest to you. We have to be careful looking at the numbers."

Official Chinese figures recorded 107 million outbound trips last year following re-evaluation of the data. But Professor Arlt calculates there were perhaps 20 million tourism trips.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/experts_advise_caution_in_chase_for_chinese_visitors

The marketer’s imperative in the innovation economy

April 27, 2015

Well, consider this: the main tenets of marketing are still the same—it's still about creativity and trust. It's just the tactics that have changed.

The good news is that, in an era when a Time magazine poll finds Jon Stewart's still the "most trusted journalist in America", a playful approach to how your brand understands and engages with its consumers is a key element in gaining their trust.

In the Innovation Economy, in fact, reputation building is all about being your consumer's co-conspirator in everything they do. And that means looking outside the marketing sphere for the best-in-class examples capturing consumer's attention today.

Get the full story at AdvertisingAge

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_marketers_imperative_in_the_innovation_economy

5 psychology principles every visual marketer should know

April 27, 2015

1. We feel happier when we act like extroverts

Across multiple surveys of hundreds of people in the United States, Venezuela, the Philippines, China, and Japan, researchers found that people feel more positive emotions “in daily situations where they either acted or felt more extroverted.”

Participants in the study were told to act in an outgoing way for 10-minutes and were then asked to describe their emotions. Self-described introverts and extroverts both reported that outgoing activities made them feel happier. This research complements a 2002 study in which behaviors such as being talkative and adventurousness were correlated with high energy levels.

Get the full story at The Next Web

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/5_psychology_principles_every_visual_marketer_should_know

How big is last minute travel?

April 27, 2015

It all started in 2010 with the launch of HotelTonight. Since then there have been multiple entrants and OTA majors like Booking.com, Orbitz, Priceline, HRS and Expedia are making investments in this segment. For example, Expedia has been aggressively building its presence on mobile to meet its customers changing needs and 70% of its travel booking comes from last-minute bookings.

So what really is last minute? In the hospitality industry, bookings windows of up to seven days in advance are known as last-minute booking. Within this there are three categories- seven days or less, three days or less and same-day. Same-day booking are done on the day guests wants to stay. Mobile applications like HotelTonight allow travelers to book a room for the same day.

PhoCusWright reports that overall mobile search and booking volume is growing rapidly with gross travel bookings via mobile (phones and tablets) accounting for 27% in the US, up from just 5% in 2012. In UK, 1 in every 3 Britons book on the same day. The trend is more or less same in Asia Pacific as well, with 70% of mobile booking coming for same day stays.

Get the full story at eRevMax

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_big_is_last_minute_travel

The changing face of destination marketing

April 27, 2015

Distance, cost, food, and local attractions are all key factors when considering your next vacation. And destination marketing wants to help you decide which place is best for you.

Destination marketing is the practice of promoting a city, region, or country to attract more visitors. Up until recently, most destination marketing was done with traditional media: newspapers and magazines, public transportation, and television.

But with over one billion people around the world traveling internationally every year, and China alone generating half a trillion dollars in total travel revenue in 2014, competition in the travel market is as fierce as ever. That has pushed destination marketing organizations (DMOs) to come up with new ways to attract visitors.

Get the full story at China Travel News

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_changing_face_of_destination_marketing

Booking.com rate parity settlement only a half-step forward

April 24, 2015

Accor, Europe’s largest hotel group by number of rooms, said that the decision had “partially” met its expectations. But it warned: “For this decision to have a real impact and unleash a drop in online travel agents’ commissions, Expedia and all the other online players will have to agree to the same commitments, allowing real competition to develop.”

“It doesn’t help competition and it’s terrible for the consumer — hotels can’t offer them anything but the same price they offer Booking.com. And there are very few rival travel agents in the market,” said Dorian Harris, the chief executive of Skoosh, an online travel agent that brought the first competition complaint in the UK in 2010.

Booking.com has been labeled 'a bully' by hoteliers in the UK after it reached a settlement in Europe that means it can ban hotels on its site from offering cheaper rates on their own websites.

"The Bed & Breakfast Association believes that this new settlement, thrashed out behind closed doors in Europe, is wrong, anti-competitive, and against the interests of consumers," said B&B Association chief executive David Weston.

Get the full story at Travolution and the Financial Times

Read also "Booking.com to abandon rate parity in Europe"

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/booking.com_rate_parity_settlement_only_a_half_step_forward

Amadeus study sees future travel agents as data scientists and lifestyle gurus

April 24, 2015

In the 70-page report Future Traveller Tribes 2030: Understanding Tomorrow’s Traveller, Amadeus teams up with the London-based Future Foundation to examine travelers’ changing values, needs and behaviors—and the forces shaping them.

The report predicts the emergence of six traveler personalities, or tribes, whose members are defined by their common desires “for a particular type of travel experience.”

These include:

- Simplicity searchers
- Cultural purists
- Social capital seekers
- Reward hunters
- Obligation meeters
- Ethical travelers

Get the full story at Travel Market Report and download the report "Future Traveller Tribes 2030: Understanding tomorrow’s traveller" at Amadeus (PDF 4.8 MB)

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/amadeus_study_sees_future_travel_agents_as_data_scientists_and_lifestyle_gu

India poised to be leader in business travel in coming decades

April 24, 2015

The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Foundation, the voice of the global business travel industry, today announces the results of its third GBTA BTI Outlook – India report, a semi-annual analysis that relates unfolding economic events at home and abroad to their resulting impacts on India's business travel market. The report, sponsored by Visa Inc., includes the GBTA BTI; an index of business travel spending that tracks market performance over time.

"India is poised for economic harmony as the region is strongly growing in the short-term and is also in an excellent position for the long-term," said Michael W. McCormick, GBTA Executive Director and COO. "If India continues on its current growth path, it will be a world leader in business travel for decades to come."

Key highlights of the report include:

- GBTA upgraded its forecast for the second straight time projecting India's total business travel spend to grow 9.8 percent in 2015 and 10.9 percent in 2016 – the first year of double-digit spending gains since 2011.

- India's GDP grew 7.5 percent during the fourth quarter of 2014 resulting in annual growth of 7.4 percent over 2013.

- The consumer sector has been trending upward for most of the past two years. An advancing middle class, steady job creation, rising incomes and a post-election boost to consumer confidence that the World Bank has deemed "the Modi dividend" have helped to advance spending.

- A strong piece of economic news is the trend reversal and moderation of inflation during 2014. Down from a year-over-year high of more than 11 percent in November of 2013, consumer inflation fell to a low of 4.4 percent just one year later.

- GBTA forecasts domestic business travel to hit double digit growth in 2015 and 2016 growing 10.1 percent and 11.3 percent respectively.

- International outbound (IOB) travel from India is much more volatile and slower growth in China has put downward pressure on the growth of Indian IOB over the last few years. GBTA expects IOB spending to grow 7.9 percent in 2015 and 7.3 percent in 2016.

- Infrastructure presents a challenge for India, but Prime Minister Modi has made the development of the country's infrastructure a cornerstone of public policy. India has also announced a new tourism policy will be launched in May that will likely focus on various issues including tourism infrastructure.

"The combination of an aspirational middle class, positive government reforms and strong economic sentiment has resulted in an increased demand for business travel. The shift towards electronic payments is making it easier for companies to track travel expenditure and more convenient for employees to manage their spending when abroad and reconcile their expenses on return," said TR Ramachandran, Group Country Manager India and South Asia.

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/india_poised_to_be_leader_in_business_travel_in_coming_decades

Expedia’s app for Apple Watch helps travelers during their journey

April 24, 2015

Expedia.com®, one of the world's largest full service online travel sites1, today released the Expedia app for Apple Watch, providing a convenient new way for travelers to receive and access helpful trip information at a glance.

Expedia on Apple Watch is available in the App Store and provides a useful travel solution with notifications, glances and more to give people the facts and confidence they need for a better overall travel experience.

"Timing is everything, especially when it comes to travel," said Jerald Singh, Head of Mobile at Expedia. "With the Expedia app for Apple Watch, we're delivering a more personalized experience by providing the most helpful, relevant information at the right moment throughout a traveler's journey. We know receiving information on your wrist is an incredibly intimate notion, so we're being sensitive about ensuring any updates we share with you on the watch are both actionable and pertinent based on where you are in your trip. Our biggest goal with Apple Watch is to help travelers during their journey; if we do that well, we think they will want to come back to Expedia for their future travel needs."

Designed for quick and easy interaction, the app delivers personalized trip data and alerts to travelers' wrists for every stage of the journey. Key features include:

- Notifications: Receive over 20 different types of alerts for flight status, gate changes, hotel check-in and check-out, car rental pick-up and drop-off times and more.

- Glances: See the most relevant reservation information, like hotel check-in time, addresses and maps, at a glance. Simply swipe up on the watch face and scroll left or right to access the information you need.

- The App: Access itineraries for upcoming trips to see detailed flight and hotel information. For flights, the app presents departure and arrival times, gate numbers and terminals. For hotels, it shows check-in and check-out times, maps, directions and phone numbers.

Expedia on Apple Watch is free and can be downloaded today in the App Store in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, and the United Kingdom. For more information, visit http://www.expedia.com/app.

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/expedias_app_for_apple_watch_helps_travelers_during_their_journey

Marketers slow to ‘connect the dots’ to track customers across channels

April 24, 2015

How well do you understand the journey your customers take from awareness of your brand or products to conversion and beyond? Based on research by Econsultancy and ResponseTap, the answer may be, “not very.”

The March 2015 survey, which was carried out among agency professionals and client-side marketers around the world (including a majority in the UK), found that only a minority of respondents were using some potentially key sources of data about the customer journey. While 80% of agency professionals and 76% of client-side marketers were using online analytics, for example, just 31% and 37%, respectively, were using call center data. And fewer than one in five overall were using mobile app analytics.

The customer journey has become more complex since, first, the advent and rise of digital shopping and buying, and, more recently, the same phenomenon on mobile devices. Customers who begin the research process in one place may use several channels before finally making a purchase—and may go on to use several more in the post-purchase phases of the customer journey, such as loyalty.

Get the full story at eMarketer

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/marketers_slow_to_connect_the_dots_to_track_customers_across_channels

What do Facebook’s news feed updates mean for you?

April 24, 2015

While many brands and marketers have become immune to Facebook’s frequent algorithm updates, it’s still a good idea to understand them. To help you do that, we’ll break down these recent changes and how they might impact you.

1. Improving the experience for people with limited content

Before this update, users with a smaller group of friends, or fewer liked pages, would see a limited amount of content. Facebook prohibited multiple posts from the same source from appearing in the News Feed. This update now allows users to see more than one post from the same publisher in their feed.

2. Content from Friends supersedes content from Brands

Users complained they missed important updates from close friends. This was especially critical for those with large networks due to the amount of content flowing through their News Feed. With this update, items such as photos, videos, status updates, or links from closest connections will appear higher in the feed so there is a higher likelihood you will see them.

Get the full story at Vertical Response

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/what_do_facebooks_news_feed_updates_mean_for_you

Best practices for displaying special offers on your hotel website

April 24, 2015

Much like special offers promoted on social media, if they are basic and generic “Get 10% off” discounts, then you lose out on creating an authentic connection with travel shoppers. The best hotels design every special offer with their story in mind and all avenues leading back there.

1. Travel shoppers want to save money and you want to drive direct bookings. So if you want to effectively compete with OTAs, then take a page from the Godfather and give them an offer they can’t refuse.

2. Shoppers want to envision how this offer will enhance and enrich their overall experience at your property. Special offers that save shoppers money are obviously great, but to make your story stand out, design packages that target the individual and see how it does wonders in terms of customer loyalty.

Get the full story at Leonardo

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/best_practices_for_displaying_special_offers_on_your_hotel_website

Common pitfalls in updating hotel OTA content

April 24, 2015

Selecting the right OTA channels, based on clear decision criteria, can reduce much time and efforts for the first complete property set-up. The proposed qualification process should consider the OTA’s business model (and reputation), distribution costs (e.g., retail versus merchant), reach (including new and emerging markets), target groups, (CRS/PMS/channel manager) connectivity, and the operational effectiveness of content updates. By using this qualification scheme, non-productive OTAs can be avoided.

Below are some insights, highlighting the challenges of content management via an OTA’s extranet:

- One size fits all: OTA extranets are highly standardized. Content set-up is partly conducted via inflexible tick boxes. Therefore, hoteliers still have limited capabilities for showing individual content.

- Automatically generated property descriptions, based on the selected/ticked amenities and facilities, can be misleading in the worst case. This process varies between OTAs. In some cases, hotels can change property descriptions via the extranet. In other cases, hotels must communicate changes via email.

Get the full story at H2C

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/common_pitfalls_in_updating_hotel_ota_content

Booking.com officially launches BookingSuite, creates free websites for small hotels

April 23, 2015

Booking.com has been testing the service for months and will formally launch it later this week.

The service is aimed at independent and boutique hotels without the deep pockets to build their own online presence. Prior to starting BookingSuite, Booking.com had worked on websites for larger hospitality brands, including Marriott International Inc., which used the company to translate its website into several foreign languages, including Italian, Arabic and Russian.

Brian Saab, Booking.com’s global head of marketing, says his company already has partnerships with about 2,800 lodging owners, ranging from guesthouses in Spain to apartments leased in Croatia. Booking.com says another 3,600 lodging owners have signed up for it.

The new service could give Booking.com an advantage over its competitors in generating income from the many thousands of small hotel operators scattered throughout the world. These owners sometimes are reluctant to pay fees to online travel agents, where prices can run as high as 25% of room revenue.

BookingSuite’s 10% commission is below the starting 15% rate that Booking.com typically charges hotels. But Booking.com is also looking to get additional fees from these hoteliers for services like search-engine marketing and other ways to raise their stature on Google and other search engines.

Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal

Here's Booking.com's press release launching BookingSuite:

Booking.com today announced the launch of BookingSuite, a new unit of Booking.com that helps accommodation providers grow their businesses and brands through next-generation technology and distribution expertise.

Booking.com today partners with more than 600,000 accommodation providers to offer travelers around the world the best places to stay for every budget. Now with the launch of BookingSuite, Booking.com is extending its distribution expertise to accommodation providers so they can more effectively grow their businesses and brands.

BookingSuite offers cloud-based software solutions to accommodation providers worldwide. BookingSuite's first product - mobile-optimized websites - is engineered to drive organic bookings and give accommodation owners a sophisticated web presence with full content control. BookingSuite enables its partners to keep pace with fast-moving technology by continuously updating its products at no extra cost to partners. The result is future-proofed solutions and one less thing to worry about for busy accommodation providers.

"BookingSuite property websites represent a great leap forward for the industry, said Rob Ransom, Director of BookingSuite. "For the first time, accommodation providers in all regions of the world can benefit from a high-quality online presence with no financial risk and no operational and technical headaches. BookingSuite eliminates time and resources wasted with traditional website development and management, enabling partners to benefit immediately from a strong online presence."

BookingSuite's newest product, WebDirect, is for Booking.com partners who want a sophisticated web presence with minimal effort and no financial risk. WebDirect customers only pay when a reservation is made through their booking engine and results in a stay by guests, making WebDirect effectively risk-free. There are no other fees or charges.

Building a strong online business and brand identity doesn't have to be challenging for property owners. Partners benefit immediately from WebDirect's advanced information architecture, engineered with a rich user experience and data-driven designs that perform flawlessly across all devices. WebDirect websites include all the essential pages needed to convert visitors to bookers and are easily updated through one simple-to-use content management system.

Shane Pappas, General Manager of The Keating Hotel in San Diego, California, has been using BookingSuite for a little less than a year, but has already seen significant return on investment.

"We've definitely seen that return on investment and felt the benefit of having this as a tool," Pappas said. "Running BookingSuite through Booking.com has created an added value for all our hotels in that it makes everything more seamless and easier on our end to do what we do day-to-day. As hoteliers, we are all busy. Anything we can implement that's going to add time is a huge added value for us."

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/booking.com_launches_bookingsuite_creates_free_websites_for_small_hotels

The case for booking hotels direct is getting stronger

April 23, 2015

Reading the papers suggests that he may be right. The Guardian recently published an article which argued that the “best rate guarantees” of the likes of Booking.com, Expedia and Rentalcars.com, as well as TripAdvisor’s “just for you” offers, “are barely worth the pixels they are written on”. The Mail Online followed up only last weekend saying, “Hotel guests are being fleeced by online agents”.

For Hicks, and many other hoteliers, it’s clear that still more needs to be done to educate consumers. For this reason a strong focus at IHG in Europe today is about how to educate the customer.

“We working hard so that they can be sure that the price they find on our own direct channel is going to be better, or at least the same, than the price they might find on any comparison site or OTA,” says Hicks.

Get the full story at Tnooz

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_case_for_booking_hotels_direct_is_getting_stronger

Forget hotel website conversion, your guests are completing tasks

April 23, 2015

Instead, your hotel website should be task based - focused on the completion of any one of a number of specific tasks. These could be;

- To check a price
- Book a room
- Locate the hotel(s)

To build on this task based premise;

- Users are subtle in their use of the web. The web no longer demands their full attention or interrupts their day. The web fits around them. It fits around them whilst they are completing other tasks. When they are cooking, travelling, watching a video, exercising.

- Users no longer have to go over to a PC to access the web - the web comes to them. This results in users accessing the web for longer, but in short, task based bursts.

Get the full story at iadigital

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/forget_hotel_website_conversion_your_guests_are_completing_tasks

Branded properties grow as world shifts away from independently operated hotels

April 23, 2015

Five of the largest branded hotel companies (IHG, Accor, Marriott, Hilton and Starwood) make up 30% of the current global branded room supply and 65% of the development pipeline, which demonstrates the increasing shift away from independently operated hotels worldwide.

The report, which examines trends in the way hotels are being operated, identifies the proliferation in the number of players and stakeholders that can be involved in a successful hotel – including brand owners, owners and management companies as well as a combination of operating models and hybrid models.

There is also a geographical difference. Across Europe, where independent hotels are more common, franchises account for 50% of rooms in the large listed hotel companies sampled by HVS, with the owned and leased model making up approximately 30% of room counts, and management contracts around 20%.

This contrasts sharply with the North American market, where 85% of the research sample were franchised, just 13% under management contracts and only 2% were owned and leased properties.

Says report co-author Stephen Collins, consulting & valuation analyst with HVS London: “In the US the franchise sector is highly regulated, making it more transparent and easier to compare the results of one brand against another. In Europe franchise regulations differ from one country to another, making it more difficult to compare like-for-like.”

HVS also identifies the growing use of Third Party Operators (TPOs) to operate franchises, bridging the gap between the owner of the hotel and the franchisors who own the brand.

“While many franchisees are owner-operators and have the management expertise to be successful, there remains a gap between owners that are unable or unwilling to control the daily operations of the hotel and the franchisors that provide the brand,” said HVS director Sophie Perret.

“This is where third-party operators have come into prominence. TPOs have allowed companies to sell their flag first and direct their management efforts towards the hotels and brands they deem appropriate, while the owner is able to realise advantages of both franchises and management agreements while avoiding a number of the limitations.

“The franchise model, with or without a third party operator, is expected to carry on gaining momentum in Europe, as it continues to deliver better value for all parties involved,” she added.

Download the report "Decisions, Decisions: Which hotel operating model is right for you?" at HVS (free registration)

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/branded_properties_grow_as_world_shifts_away_from_independently_operated_ho

Hilton first to stream live concert on Twitter’s Periscope

April 23, 2015

Fans can tune-in at 8:15 p.m. CDT (9:15 p.m. EDT) by following @HiltonHHonors on Twitter and downloading the Periscope app. This marks the first time an entire live concert will be broadcasted via Twitter and Periscope.

This special live performance is taking place at Hilton Anatole in Dallas, Texas, the second concert in the Hilton@PLAY concert series. Hilton is committed to inspire people to get out, see the world and have more fun.

Since the launch of Hilton@PLAY earlier this year, Hilton has worked to curate unique experiences that connect travelers, artists and cities in new, unexpected ways – from private concerts and meet-and-greets in their hotels to unexpected artist connections, such as food and wine tastings hosted by the artist showcasing their artisanal products.

To attend the concerts or take part in other rock star-worthy experiences, Hilton HHonors members are invited to visit HHonors.com/auctions and redeem Hilton HHonors points for the offerings.

Nick Jonas is a multi-talented artist stepping out on his own after achieving worldwide fame with The Jonas Brothers. Nick Jonas’ self-titled solo debut was released last November via Island Records and features the double-platinum smash single and #1 U.S. radio hit, “Jealous,” which peaked at #7 on Billboard Hot 100 and his second chart-climbing single, “Chains.”

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hilton_first_to_stream_live_concert_on_twitters_periscope

28 social media management tools reviewed and rated

April 23, 2015

To answer those questions and find the best social media management tools for big, medium, and growing brands, we surveyed 1,133 social media managers who build their companies’ brands on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+, and emerging mobile social networks. With help from Texifter’s DiscoverText technology, we analyzed over 250,000 tweets. We tracked the 1,600 brands with the most followers and the most engagement in their use of social media.

And we talked to dozens of vendors. Everyone, apparently, has a social media management tool. Small wonder, when social has become critical to almost every company’s marketing strategy.

But which one is the best for you?

Get the full study at VentureBeat

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/28_social_media_management_tools_reviewed_and_rated

Spring travel heats up with new group reservations leading the charge

April 23, 2015

“While 75 percent of the top North American travel markets are experiencing growth, hoteliers, need to monitor the pace of transient reservations, particularly business travelers as this segment has dipped slightly in recent months,” said John Hach, Senior Industry Analyst at TravelClick.

For the next 12 months (April 2015 – March 2016), overall committed occupancy* is up 2.1 percent when compared to the same time last year. ADR is up 4.4 percent based on reservations currently on the books.

Transient bookings (individual reservations made by business and leisure travelers) are up 1.3 percent year-over-year and ADR for this segment is up 4.6 percent. When broken down further, the transient leisure (discount, qualified and wholesale) segment is showing occupancy gains of 2.6 percent and ADR gains of 2.8 percent. Transient business (negotiated and retail) segment occupancy is down -0.6 percent and ADR is up 6.9 percent. Group segment occupancy is ahead by 2.5 percent and ADR is up 4.0 percent, compared to the same time last year.

Get the full story at TravelClick

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/spring_travel_heats_up_with_new_group_reservations_leading_the_charge

Availpro integrates with Ctrip.com

April 23, 2015

Availpro has finalised its latest interface with Ctrip.com to offer seamless connection to its growing base of customers. This interface will help hotels using Availpro’s Smart Channel Manager make real- time rate and availability updates and reservation sent straight-forward to their property management system, if connected to Availpro. This is another great opportunity for hoteliers to enhance their visibility and get more customers from China.

Ctrip’s hotel reservation network includes over 745,000 hotels in 200 countries, making it the largest in China. Thus Ctrip is the China’s Leading Travel Agent with 250,000,000 members and 30,000,000 user reviews.

This cooperation reinforces both companies strategy in helping hoteliers increase their foreign customers portfolio.

“China online travel market is fast-growing by 14% from 2011 to 2016 by transaction scale and we are very impressed working with Availpro, a leading provider in its market.” says Maria Sun, Executive Vice President, CEO of Hotel Business Unit, Ctrip.

“Partnering with the leading Chinese company in the travel industry is a big step forward towards achieving the goal of bringing value to our customers. They will definitely benefit from greater visibility to one of the world's largest and fastest expanding economies.” says Philippe Lamarche, President at Availpro.

For more information, visit http://www.availpro.com

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/availpro_integrates_with_ctrip.com

Booking.com to abandon rate parity in Europe

April 22, 2015

Under the new commitments, Booking.com will abandon its price, availability and booking conditions parity provisions with respect to other online travel agencies. This will create an environment that supports increased transparency and competition among online travel agencies which will ultimately benefit consumers, as well as hoteliers, by encouraging the freedom for properties to offer different pricing and booking policies (e.g. free cancellation, WIFI, breakfast) through different online travel agencies.

The commitments do allow Booking.com to retain its "narrow MFNs" for prices and booking conditions which will ensure hotels offer the same rates and booking conditions on Booking.com as they do through their own direct website. Furthermore, the commitments do allow Booking.com to require a minimum allocation, or some availability, from hotels. This assurance of being able to offer competing prices and being able to offer rooms allows Booking.com to continue to provide consumers a coveted and valuable service that delivers transparency, access to information, choice, value and a seamless experience for consumers, and also allows Booking.com to continue to serve as a highly cost-effective marketing channel for hotels, by helping the hotels to market and promote their property to consumers around the world, reach new subsets of travelers and ultimately fill their rooms to keep their businesses growing.

"Our business and teams are driven by one goal, which is to deliver an amazing, unrivaled experience to our global customers who use us to find and book accommodations in a simple, convenient and trustworthy way, both here in Europe and around the world," said Darren Huston, CEO of Booking.com. "We welcome and encourage fair competition in the marketplace because competition drives innovation, efficiencies, and most importantly, greater value for consumers. We believe today's decisions represent a continued, coordinated effort to promote competition in a way that supports innovation and encourages companies like ours to continue to invest in the capacity and technical solutions that ultimately result in more customers for our partners and more tourism across Europe and abroad."

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

Read also "Hotels still weary of Booking.com pricing dominance" at Skift and "As rate parity falters, what OTAs and hotels may do next" at Tnooz

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/booking.com_to_abandon_rate_parity_in_europe

Amazon expands its travel footprint with Amazon Destinations

April 22, 2015

This is not the first time that Amazon has dabbled in the travel arena, however – previously, Amazon Local offered customers flash deals and other deep discounts on hotel stays in the range of 40%-60% off. But with Amazon Destinations, Amazon has increased the selection of its hotels, which are handpicked by the company for inclusion on the site. It has done this by moving away from the earlier discount model, and is now posting hotels’ published rates instead. This gives Amazon the opportunity to work with more hotels on an ongoing basis, explains Skift, which was first to note the new site’s launch.

The hotels listed today on Amazon Destinations include those found in popular travel and tourist spots, like the Adirondacks, Catskills, Hamptons, or Jersey Shore in the NYC metro area, for example; or the Cascades, Portland, Puget Sound, Washington Coast and more in the Pacific Northwest; as well as other Southern California hotspots like Palm Springs, Santa Barbara, Central Coast and the Southern California mountains, among others.

Amazon explains that the goal of the new site is to help travelers easily plan and book local trips. “More than 40% of all U.S. domestic leisure trips are short-term getaways of 1-3 nights, and many of these trips are to nearby, drivable destinations,” spokesperson Tom Cook says. “However, travelers often have a hard time planning local getaways. It’s difficult to know where to go, the process is labor-intensive, and people often miss out on finding great places to stay.”

Get the full story at TechCrunch

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/amazon_expands_its_travel_footprint_with_amazon_destinations

Cornell study finds travelers want more mobile options

April 22, 2015

The study of 754 U.S. travelers, by Heather Linton and Robert Kwortnik, also found that privacy remains a concern—even though many travelers are willing to share personal information in exchange for special offers and services. The study, "The Mobile Revolution Is Here: Are You Ready?," is available at no charge from the CHR.

"Our respondents are ready to use their mobile devices while they travel, and not just to get information," said Linton, who is a doctoral student at the Cornell University School of Hotel Administration (SHA). "Most of our respondents already use their smartphones and tablets for research, both before and during their trip. But young travelers in particular would like to make more use of their mobile devices for things like checking in or out of a hotel, and receiving text notifications when their room is ready."

"We encountered some intriguing issues relating to mobile devices," added Kwortnik, who is an associate professor at the SHA. "For example, about two-thirds of our respondents had downloaded at least one travel-related mobile application, but then half of those apps had subsequently been deleted. Additionally, the travelers were less interested in downloading individual hotel apps than in using a general lodging app that could store their preferences and through which multiple hotels could use the traveler's profile to provide a more customized stay."

"We can only conclude that the industry needs to take a more careful look at the user experience connected to mobile apps," said Linton. "We could not determine what was troubling our respondents, but there's some kind of friction."

Analyzing the travelers' privacy issues, the researchers found that respondents particularly dislike the idea of apps that include automatic geolocation. However, since some travelers are willing to share limited personal information, particularly women and young travelers, the industry needs to determine what offers would attract these travelers.

Download the report "The Mobile Revolution Is Here: Are You Ready?" at Cornell University

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/cornell_study_finds_travelers_want_more_mobile_options

Priceline launches Hotel Deals Near Me and Trip Details for Apple Watch

April 22, 2015

Priceline.com today announced that its new Apple Watch app will feature both Upcoming Trip Details and Hotel Deals Near Me to further fuel the mobile traveler's appetite for last-minute travel. The priceline.com app for Apple Watch is the latest in travel technology. It extends the functionality of priceline.com's free app and allows for a simplified integration, especially for consumers traveling that day. According to proprietary research, over 50% of priceline.com's mobile customers make same-day hotel reservations after 6pm at hotels within 30 miles of their location and 25% of reservations are within 5 miles of their hotel.

The Deals Near Me feature quickly identifies the best hotel deals near a user's current location. The most relevant, nearby hotels are chosen based on a user's preferences for discounts, star rating, and guest rating. This ensures that the app will only present the most attractive, quality deals to users. Upon opening the app, consumers will see a short list of four hotels. Using the force touch feature of Apple Watch, customer can see photos, maps, amenities and customer feedback scores for any hotel.

If a user has trips within 24 hours, they will automatically see important information about their upcoming trip. Itinerary information is available for hotels, flights and rental cars. These screens provide a map to the hotel, check-in time, flight departure times, and rental car pick up & drop off times. On average, priceline.com customers view their trip details in the app at least 3 times before their trip ends. The Deals Near Me feature seeks to make it easy for priceline.com users to find essential details about their trip.

"Travelers with iPhone, iPad and iPod touch are a large and growing percentage of priceline.com's customer base, particularly among last minute travelers," said John Caine, Chief Product Officer at priceline.com. "Marrying priceline.com's laser focus on bringing consumers the best deals in the industry with Apple's innovative product offerings makes it that much easier and faster for travelers to access significant savings on-the-go."

The priceline.com Deals Near Me App for Apple Watch will be on the App Store for Apple Watch on April 22, 2015.

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/priceline_launches_hotel_deals_near_me_and_trip_details_for_apple_watch

Google adds new filters to hotel search results

April 22, 2015

A user starts by entering a search query, for example “hotels in Dallas”. Google shows the top results in the local 3 pack, and the user can then narrow their search by selecting from the four filters.

The first filter available is “price”, where Google shows four different price groupings per query. These price groupings are not static, but isntead vary based off of market room night costs and the properties available. The filter allows users to select the maximum price they are willing to spend.

The second filter available is “rating” and is powered by Google reviews. The rating filter allows users to set a minimum quality they are willing to consider as opposed to a maximum price. These three categories do not vary between search queries.

Get the full story at Koddi

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_adds_new_filters_to_hotel_search_results

How to create an email newsletter people actually read

April 22, 2015

And because it’s not an email designed to serve one purpose (say, about one promotion, one digest of previously published content, one lead nurturing email, or one transactional email providing order information), email newsletters have a difficult time trying to get readers to complete a call-to-action.

… But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do them. If done right, you could develop a really engaged subscriber base and potentially nurture them into qualified leads and customers. At the very “least,” you could engage your company’s evangelists -- and they could help bring in business. That’s not something you want to miss out on.

Want to ace your new email newsletter project, or rejuvenate an old one? Below are 10 things you need to make sure to do. And if you're looking for some inspiration, here are some awesome email newsletter examples you can check out.

Get the full story at HubSpot

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_to_create_an_email_newsletter_people_actually_read

SiteMinder accelerates growth in Southern Europe with Spain’s Sallés Hotels

April 22, 2015

Sallés Hotels says all its live properties now benefit from increased online bookings and significantly lower costs of guest acquisition, thanks to SiteMinder's Channel Manager which provides a two-way integration between the group's property management system, Protel, and more than 250 of the world's top distribution channels.

"With the record tourist numbers Spain has experienced over the past year and into 2015, it was crucial for us to implement a solution that offered real-time access and reach to travellers from all around the world. SiteMinder's Channel Manager is that solution and, because of its seamless integration from online to front desk, already we are seeing great increases in our revenue. We expect our remaining properties to go live with the integration later this year," says Alicia Alonso, Corporate Revenue Manager at Sallés Hotels.

Sallés Hotels' properties are primarily located along Spain's Mediterranean border – from Costa Brava (Hotel Mas Tapiolas and Hotel Cala del Pi) and Girona (Hotel Aeroport Girona), to Barcelona (Hotel Pere IV and Hotel Ciutat del Prat), the Balearic Islands (Hotel Marina Portals), the warm Costa del Sol (Hotel Málaga Centro) and la Mancha (Hotel La Caminera) which offer travellers a total of more than 800 rooms. The group also opened Suites Nature in April this year to offer 13 high luxury suites in an exclusive area of Mas Tapiolas in the Solius Valley – considered one of the most emblematic spaces in Costa Brava.

SiteMinder's Managing Director – EMEA, Dai Williams, says, "Spain ranked as the third most popular destination in the world in 2014, welcoming an unprecedented 65 million international tourists, which was an increase of seven percent year-on-year and the biggest in 14 years.[1] The first two months of 2015 also saw promising figures for the country, indicating another strong year of tourism and travel.

"Clearly, Spain remains a lucrative market for local hotels and those with greater reach to travellers from across the globe will be in a better position to capitalise on the growth ahead. This reach, through more than 250 of the world's top distribution channels, is the power that comes with using SiteMinder's Channel Manager and we are thrilled Sallés Hotels can now use this in the most simple and cost-effective way."

Related Link: SiteMinder

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/siteminder_accelerates_growth_in_southern_europe_with_spains_salles_hotels

Webinar: How to profit from an effective guest survey strategy

April 22, 2015

Topics include:

- The importance of setting clear objectives

- How to improve email collection & database management

- Optimizing survey design

- Success Story: Pestana Hotels & Resorts

- Using direct feedback to create a guest-centric culture

The discussion will continue with a Q&A session, during which the panelists will be available to answer your live questions.

Register for the webinar at ReviewPro

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/webinar_how_to_profit_from_an_effective_guest_survey_strategy

Brian Solis on the future of hotel marketing

April 21, 2015

The interview is devided into four short videos where Brian and Martin tackle questions like “If you can give 3 things hotels need to do to adapt, what would they be?” and discuss why hotels need to integrate new technology into their DNA, not as a reactive approach but designing their hotel using the advances in technology.

In the final installment, the two set out to answer key questions for hotel marketers looking to understand and engage the digital customer.

Watch the videos at Brian Solis

Related Link: WIHP

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/brian_solis_on_the_future_of_hotel_marketing

More on Amazon’s travel plans

April 21, 2015

It has added a Destinations tab (via the new amazon.com/destinations) to the top of selected Amazon Local pages for Los Angeles, New York City, and Seattle.

The landing page gives a much bolder treatment of travel than Amazon Local has before, with fly-out windows and larger imagery.

Amazon Local also continues to show categories for a broad array of travel services besides hotels: “overnight tours,” “guest houses,” “cruises,” and “airport shuttles.”

Get the full story at Tnooz

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/more_on_amazons_travel_plans

Booking.com first to book hotels on Apple Watch

April 21, 2015

Booking.com announces the launch of the Booking Now app for the Apple Watch. Booking Now, which draws from Booking.com's vast selection of over 625,000 properties in more than 75,000 unique destinations, is the first and only travel app to enable users to book a stay directly from their Watch, and in just one touch. Through the use of Apple's new pressure sensitive 'force touch' technology, spontaneous travelers are now able to choose and book the nearest relevant hotel in one simple gesture.

Through the app, travelers can also instantly manage key aspects of their reservation with the new 'glances' feature of the Apple Watch via a simple swipe. Other features include the ability for spontaneous travelers to save the location of their chosen property, as well as turn-by-turn navigation to direct them quickly to the accommodation. Travelers will never forget their hotel room number again as the watch will save this for the duration of their stay. It also allows them to rate their overall check-in experience.

"At Booking.com, we're dedicated to empowering travelers to simply search and book an accommodation that's just right for them, no matter which screen or device. Bringing Booking Now to the Apple Watch is the next chapter in our relentless commitment to innovation. By integrating cutting- edge technologies we are able to streamline the booking process even further which allows users to secure the right accommodation with ultimate ease,'' saidStuart Frisby, Principal Designer at Booking.com.

He continues: "The Booking Now app for the Apple Watch is designed to meet today's growing preference for on-demand and instantaneous travel while offering a simple and tailored experience on arguably the most personal computer ever made. 96% of global travelers agree that technology has made it easier to book travel, with 85% agreeing that because it makes booking on the go easier they can also be more spontaneous; however 67% would prefer to reduce their time spent online while traveling*. Our innovative app delivers the best of both - users can really do less to get more."

Backed by Booking.com's reliable global network with 24/7 customer support and access to the world's largest database of more than 45 million verified guest reviews, Booking Now for the Apple Watch is designed to sit alongside the existing Booking Now iPhone app. The mobile app provides travelers with on-the-go solutions to effortlessly and instantly make a reservation at the nearest property that matches their personal preferences with no hidden fees and a seamless "pay when you stay" model.

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/booking.com_first_to_book_hotels_on_apple_watch

The world’s best new hotels, according to Conde Nast Traveler

April 21, 2015

This year, an invisible and seemingly effortless attention to detail was appreciated more than over-the-top gestures. Conde Nast Traveler Editor-in-Chief Pilar Guzman says, "The standout properties were those that understood the intuitive needs of the modern traveler. The sweet spot for a Hot List hotel is a combination of old-school extravagance and service with just the right measure of modernity."

The result is a list that takes you around the world – from London to French Polynesia, Milan to Uruguay – and speaks to the passions of the modern traveler.

The 2015 Hot List Hotels are:

Best Bargains (Under $200 a Night)
21 Broad, Nantucket, Massachusetts
Alma Historica Boutique Hotel, Montevideo, Uruguay
Delano Las Vegas, Nevada
Hotel Sahrai, Fez, Morocco
The Rose Hotel, Venice Beach, California
Tribal Hotel, Granada, Nicaragua

Beachside Escapes
Cape Weligama, Galle, Sri Lanka
Malliouhana (An Auberge Resort), Anguilla
Mandarin Oriental, Bodrum, Turkey
The Miami Beach EDITION, Florida
One&Only Hayman Island, Great Barrier Reef, Australia
The Sanchaya, Bintan Island, Indonesia

Urbanist Standouts
The Beaumont, London, England
Chiltern Firehouse, London, England
The Dean Hotel, Dublin, Ireland
Ham Yard Hotel, London, England
Hotel Plaza Athenee, Paris, France
The Ludlow, New York, New York
Mandarin Oriental, Taipei, Taiwan
Palazzo Parigi, Milan, Italy
Park Hyatt New York, New York
The Peninsula, Paris, France
Portrait Firenze, Italy
The Singular Santiago Lastarria Hotel, Chile
URSO Hotel & Spa, Madrid, Spain

Design Stars
Aman Tokyo, Japan
Bahia Vik Jose Ignacio, Uruguay
Casas del XVI, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
El Blok, Vieques, Puerto Rico
Fontevraud L'Hotel, Loire Valley, France
Hotel SP34, Copenhagen, Denmark
Iconic Santorini, Greece
Mondrian London at Sea Containers, England
The Norman Tel Aviv, Israel
Park Hyatt Vienna, Austria
Riad Mena & Beyond, Marrakech, Morocco
SUJAN Rajmahal Palace, Jaipur, India
Waldorf Astoria Amsterdam, Netherlands

Family-Friendly
Edson Hill, Stowe, Vermont
Four Seasons Resort Orlando at Walt Disney World Resort, Florida
Pikaia Lodge, Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
Ritz-Carlton, Rancho Mirage, California
Watch Hill Inn, Rhode Island

Good Food
Belle Mont Farm on Kittian Hill, St. Kitts
Casa de Uco Vineyards & Wine Resort, Mendoza, Argentina
Four Seasons Hotel The Westcliff, Johannesburg, South Africa
La Grande Maison, Bordeaux, France
THE PIG – on the beach, Dorset, England
Mont Rochelle Hotel & Vineyard, Franschhoek, South Africa
Soho House Chicago, Illinois
Vina Vik, Millahue Valley, Chile

Over-the-Top Luxury
ITC Grand Bharat, Gurgaon, India
La Reserve, Paris, France
Raffles Istanbul, Turkey
Rosewood Beijing, China

Remote and Wild
Alila Jabal Akhdar, Nizwa, Oman
Aro Ha Wellness Retreat, Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand
The Brando, Tetiaroa, French Polynesia
Hoanib Skeleton Coast Camp, Namibia
Maalifushi by COMO, Maldives

For the full list of 2015 Hot List hotels, visit: http://www.cntraveler.com

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_worlds_best_new_hotels_according_to_conde_nast_traveler

Average cost of aquisition for travel apps

April 21, 2015

According to AppLift, travel currently represents 5% of all apps on the App Store. And their cost of aquisition ranges from US$ 1.10 in Germany to US$ 3.00 in the US.

Interesting is also, that you wont find Booking.com and Expedia among the top 5 travel apps per country, and TripAdvisor only in the UK.

Get the full infographic at SlideShare

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/average_cost_of_aquisition_for_travel_apps

Google provides marketers API for browser-based content distribution

April 21, 2015

Here’s a snippet from Google’s press release yesterday morning:

This release of Chrome for Android supports the new emerging web standard for push notifications, enabling users to opt in to allow a specific website to send them push notifications just like an installed native app. Over the coming weeks, mobile web users will be able to opt in to receiving push notifications from early adopters including Beyond the Rack, eBay, Facebook, FanSided, Pinterest, Product Hunt, and VICE News. Roost and Mobify also provides services that make it easy for developers to integrate web-based push notifications into their site with minimal custom implementation work.

This effort is part of a larger Google project called Service Workers. The aim of Service Workers is to give developers the ability to enable native app functionality on websites. Since many brands build apps simply for the push notification functionality, it’s appropriate that this audience re-engagement mainstay would lead the news in Chrome’s latest release.

Chrome isn’t the first browser to provide an API for web-push notifications. Safari provided the ability with its release of OS X Mavericks over a year ago. But since Safari on desktop boasted a mere five percent browser market share, that release went largely unnoticed by web developers and content marketers.

Get the full story at Social Media Today and Venture Beat

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_provides_marketers_api_for_browser_based_content_distribution

How can hoteliers create relevant content?

April 21, 2015

Robert Cole, founder of Rock Cheetah, shares in this video how the right kind of content can target specific travel segments and the importance of creating content for multiple web pages.

Here’s what he recommends:

“I look at developing website content almost like an architect. What you really need to look at is first your website structure and that can be both on a desktop and a mobile site or if you have a responsive site, that may be for both. What you really need to provide are nice logical paths, trying to figure out what does that guest want to do, what is the purpose of every page. Every page should have a purpose and if it doesn’t get rid of the page, simplify things. I think that’s really the key, to make sure it’s structured so people can get to where they need to go, get the information they need, and to do it very quickly.

Get the full story at Leonardo

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_can_hoteliers_create_relevant_content

The smart hotelier’s action plan to digital content marketing

April 21, 2015

Digital Content Marketing involves the distribution of engaging information across digital marketing channels – from blogs and social media to the property website and email marketing. The sole objective of this type of marketing is to lure travel consumers to engage with the hotel property and brand, providing enough value in the form of useful content to ultimately result in a hotel booking.

The big question is, if Digital Content Marketing has been around since the mid-1990s, why is there so much attention on this marketing format lately? A big reason is the emergence of this multi-device, multi-touch world we now live in and the dramatic shift from desktop to mobile, tablet and wearable devices. Last year nearly 40% of web visitors arrived from non-desktop devices (mobile and tablet), while nearly 21% of bookings came from tablets and mobile devices (HeBS Digital Research).

Living in a multi-device world means travel consumers are now always connected. Today’s sophisticated travel consumers do not trust the “hard” sale, nor are they impressed by “in your face” desktop-era advertising formats like banners, website pop-ups and sponsored emailers, which are perceived as more intrusive on smartphone and tablet devices. These consumers demand a personalized and highly value-rich marketing approach. They want to be courted and intrigued in order to consider your product or service. They need to be engaged with and by your hotel before booking their stay.

Get the full story at HeBS Digital

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_smart_hoteliers_action_plan_to_digital_content_marketing

Accor taking over Fastbooking

April 20, 2015

Accor today announces the take-over of FASTBOOKING, a digital services provider for the hotel industry. A French company founded in 2000, FASTBOOKING provides daily support to nearly 4,000 hotels worldwide. Its key areas of expertise are hotel website development, distribution channel management solutions, digital marketing campaign management, revenue management optimization tools and competitive intelligence. Its two main markets are Europe and Asia.

FASTBOOKING will continue to deliver innovative solutions designed to improve the performance and visibility of its clients, while operating independently within Accor. The confidentiality of data relating to FASTBOOKING's client hotels will be fully preserved. At the same time, the expertise of FASTBOOKING's teams will broaden the range of services that Accor can offer to its hotels.

"The take-over of FASTBOOKING will help speed up the implementation of our digital strategy," said Sébastien Bazin, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Accor. "Following the acquisition of Wipolo last October, this new transaction enables us to further expand our capabilities and strengthen our digital expertise for the benefit of our hotels. While maintaining its independence, FASTBOOKING will now enjoy the support of a global leader capable of providing the resources it needs to make the most of its enormous potential, so that it can continue to innovate for an even larger client base."

"Accor's investment in FASTBOOKING marks the beginning of a new phase in our development," said FASTBOOKING Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Jean-Gérard Galvez. "It is also a sign of recognition for the incredible work done by our teams, who have spent the past few months redesigning our solutions to make them even more innovative and efficient."

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/accor_taking_over_fastbooking

Travelzoo’s hotel transformation slow and painful

April 20, 2015

So you want to launch a hotel booking site? It isn’t easy — just ask the people who work at Travelzoo.

The New York-based deal publisher, which now has 24.5 million members, has been laboring away over the last year, adding hotel-booking capabilities so it can supplement its “push” capabilities of inspiring people to take an unplanned vacation with the “pull” acumen of enabling customers to search for hotels when they need them.

“We have been very successful in the past 15 years to inspire our users by telling them about great deals at quality places,” said Holger Bartel, Travelzoo’s executive chairman, during the company’s first quarter earnings call April 16. “We will tell them, for example, to take a five-day trip to Iceland at an amazing price, but when they are simply looking to find a deal for an upcoming weekend getaway in New York, we offer little help. We believe there is a great growth opportunity to serve our members better by helping them find deals when and where they need them.”

Get the full story at Skift

Read also "Travelzoo ups marketing, two pillar strategy continues" at Travolution

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travelzoos_hotel_transformation_slow_and_painful

Why hotels can no longer ignore Google

April 20, 2015

A metamediary is a company that specializes in metasearch; that is, it acts as a third party, linking consumers to a booking site through a simple web search.

One metamediary that is making a lot of noise lately is Google. An update to flight booking engine Google Flights in February caused a lot of commotion, with Google Flights being praised as even more efficient and helpful than major OTAs such as Expedia and Priceline. Google Hotel Finder acts in a similar manner.

But while Google Flights includes a lot of direct links to airlines’ official booking sites, Google Hotel Finder—at least for now—appears to be different in that it features many more accommodation booking links to OTAs than direct links. This has less to do with Google favoring OTAs and more to do with OTAs paying to be featured among the top links. Naturally, this could hurt hoteliers in a number of ways. Not only are they losing direct business to OTAs, but—given Google Hotel Finder’s prominence in hotel searches—they may have to pay for ad space on the metamediary just to stay competitive.

Get the full story at TravelPulse

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/why_hotels_can_no_longer_ignore_google

Google has not taken over travel, says UK’s new sector head

April 20, 2015

Dr Bernd Fauser was among Google executives who faced questions from senior industry delegates yesterday at a Business Breakfast run by Travolution's sister title Travel Weekly.

He did not directly address the announcement a day earlier, that the European Commission is to officially investigate Google for favouring its own shopping tools like Flight Search and Hotel Finder in search results. But Fauser, who has taken on the post formerly occupied by Robin Frewer, was asked about the firm’s ambitions in travel.

His views hinted at the case the search giant could mount against the antitrust claims Europe has levelled at it, in what is expected to be a contracted legal dispute.

Get the full story at Travolution

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_has_not_taken_over_travel_says_uks_new_sector_head

Issues loom for keyless entry in hotels

April 20, 2015

Generally, the keyless process involves first outfitting only a portion of a hotel’s locks with the new mobile technology, which creates less disruption from an operations perspective. At the moment, the complications might be magnified for multi-brand, multi-property operators piloting more than one keyless system from more than one brand/vendor, but sources said that this somewhat disjointed approach may actually be preferable to a universal solution; at least until keyless tech is a little further along in its development cycle.

Hotel technology experts pointed to the integration challenges that could loom for hotels that go the keyless route.

“The dictating of the single solution, if that single solution is a problem, then all of your hotels globally have this lock that’s a problem, and that’s a problem for the central group,” said Robert Cole, founder and CEO of tech consultancy RockCheetah. “Do your costs also go up because you’re only using one vendor and there’s not a competitive situation? It’s very complicated.”

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/issues_loom_for_keyless_entry_in_hotels

Google removes site URLs in search results

April 20, 2015

Google said that starting today they have updated their “algorithms that display URLs in the search results to better reflect the names of websites, using the real-world name of the site instead of the domain name, and the URL structure of the sites in a breadcrumbs-like format.” Google has actually been testing this for a few years now, it was not uncommon for searchers to see these tests over the past few years.

With that, they are giving webmasters a way to better communicate the site name and breadcrumb data through structured data schema. The schema markup to specify the site name can be found here and the schema for breadcrumb can be found here. It is basically a little extra markup you can add to your source code in order to communicate these variables to Google.

Get the full story at Search Engine Land

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_removes_site_urls_in_search_results

Guest-centric hotel marketing: Identifying the drivers of guest value

April 20, 2015

It is not enough to know who your high-rate paying guests are, since your best guests may be spreading their spending across all the revenue-generating outlets at your property. These guests expect you to know who they are and what they like. They do not want to be blanketed with irrelevant offers, but will respond when you personalize interactions. Historical information gives a limited picture of guest value, but when augmented with predictive analytics, can provide a powerful tool to predict behavior. If you know what your guests are likely to do before they do it, you can take steps to encourage or discourage behaviors. All of these challenges are opportunities to “surprise and delight” your guests, while increasing the economic value of your guest base.

Careful analysis of your guest’s behavior can uncover the main drivers of guest value. Your most valuable guests will dictate the elements of your offering that drive their spending. Is it the monthly restaurant events, the spa offerings or, in the case of a casino, a complimentary room offer? Each of these elements drives purchase behavior, but not all of them may encourage a guest to spend more, and spend more profitably. As these drivers are identified, your operation can adjust to make them more accessible and/or more profitable. Should you have a restaurant event next month? Should you reserve some tables at the high-end steakhouse during peak dining hours for your most valuable patrons? Should you extend the spa or fitness center’s operating hours? Do you need more package options? Are there enough rooms of a certain type? Once the value drivers are established, forecasting will help predict the impact on revenue and profitability far into the future, in plenty of time to take corrective action.

Get the full story at The Analytic Hospitality Executive

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/guest_centric_hotel_marketing_identifying_the_drivers_of_guest_value

How to improve occupancy and revenue by 20% in 18 days: Q+A with Ron Wallace

April 20, 2015

General Managers, DOSMs, Revenue Managers and Marketing Managers all have a lot of responsibilities on their plate – we’d know, as in every given day we speak to at least one busy hotelier who wants to improve their marketing/revenue/occupancy/reviews/insert goal here but doesn’t have the time. Sometimes, it all comes down to setting aside the time to name your priorities for the year and stick to them – while accounting for any changes, of course.

Leonardo sat down with Ron Wallace, General Manager at the Ashley Inn and Suites Lincoln City to find out how he gets a lot done with a little and is geared up for one of his most successful years yet.

Get the full story at Leonardo

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_to_improve_occupancy_and_revenue_by_20_in_18_days_qa_with_ron_wallace

Expedia’s app update speeds access to last-minute travel

April 17, 2015

Travel is one of the more popular categories on mobile because travelers are, by their nature, on-the-go and in need of information such as where to rent a car, what nearby hotels have rooms available and where to find something to eat – information that can be easily accessed from a smartphone. Expedia, a leader in online travel, has been aggressively building its presence on mobile to meet its customers changing needs.

“We know travelers are becoming more accustomed to booking last-minute from their mobile devices, and cars is a similar use case,” said Tarran Street, senior publications manager at Expedia. “It’s a rather frequent scenario where people will get off a plane and walk up to a nearby car rental desk to book a car for their trip.

“Now travelers can book from their phone and hasten the process,” she said.

Get the full story at Mobile Commerce Daily

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/expedias_app_update_speeds_access_to_last_minute_travel

The online travel habits of Middle East millennials

April 17, 2015

He defined them as those aged between 18 and 34 – the first generation to have had access to Internet in their formative years – and called them “the largest generation with the largest spending power of any generation”.

According to Hashmi, millennials in MENA are idealistic about the power of technology and are early adopters; they are always on, hyper-connected and seek instant gratification; trust authenticity and respond to stories; seek personalisation; have high expectations and are spontaneous.

Specific to travel, they:

- Consider travel to be a very important part of their lifestyle: 66% of Millennials; 71% took one get away in 2013

- Travel more than non-Millennials, but spend less: $3,217 vs. $3,381 annual leisure travel spend

- Use same research sources as non-Millennials, but slight difference in preferences: Online reviews matter more than marketing speak

- Exhibit a much tighter shopping window: 23% booked their last trip less than 1 week before departure

- Search is the #1 source for Millennials on mobile: 66% use search to research and book travel

Get the full story at WIT

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_online_travel_habits_of_middle_east_millennials

The Chinese Millennial Traveller

April 17, 2015

The World Youth Student and Educational (WYSE) Travel Confederation has launched the Chinese Millennial Traveller report, the third in the Millennial Traveller report series. The report focuses on Chinese travellers born between the early 1980s and 2000s and reveals that tasty food, friendly locals, and free WiFi are the top three destination features.

The average trip spend for Chinese millennials travelling internationally was EUR 1,200, with 14% reportedly spending more than EUR 3,000.

Compared to other millennial travellers, Chinese millennials are particularly likely to experience visa problems; 28% of Chinese millennial travellers reported experiencing visa barriers versus 12.5% of other millennial travellers.

The overall expenditure of Chinese travellers reached USD 129 billion in 2013, and so the Chinese Millennial Traveller report offers a deeper demographic insight into the Chinese millennial traveller in order to support youth and student travel industry professionals serving the growing Chinese travel market.

The key findings of the report include:

Chinese millennial traveller behaviour

- The level of bookings made with a smartphone or tablet are much higher than for youth travellers from other parts of the world

- 57% use their smartphone four to five times a day, with 39% indicating that they check their phone every five minutes

- The preferred use of the internet is for social media purposes (69%) and the majority use Chinese-language social networks (66%) over English-language social networks (34%)

- 28% experienced visa difficulties, with the majority of difficulties experienced by travellers to the USA

- The majority carry debit cards when they travel, but they prefer to pay with cash than with debit card or credit card.

Chinese millennial traveller attitudes

- The top two motivations for travel are to increase knowledge and mental relaxation

- 27% rely on family and friends for travel information

- Almost half indicated that travel reviews ‘often’ have an effect on their travel decisions

- 60% use online travel information sources compared to 37% who use offline sources

- 84% indicated that they enjoy staying in hostels, and those that had reservations about hostels cited safety, lack of personal space and cleanliness as the main reasons why.

The Chinese Millennial Traveller report is available free of charge to WYSE Travel Confederation members and is available to purchase by non-members. To download the report or find out more about becoming a WYSE Travel Confederation member, visit http://www.wysetc.org.

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_chinese_millennial_traveller

Yelp adds restaurant reservations as new search option

April 17, 2015

For takeout, the enhancement also searches eateries that deliver at specific times, using EatStreet, ChowNow, delivery.com, and Yelp-owned Eat24.

Yelp Now is compatible with desktop and iOS, though the food ordering option has not yet been rolled out for mobile. Though the feature is currently only available for restaurants in select cities, Yelp plans to roll it out to include spas and hotels, as well as services like plumbers and dentists.

Get the full story at Search Engine Land

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/yelp_adds_restaurant_reservations_as_new_search_option


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