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Updated TripAdvisor app focuses on lowest hotel prices

May 24, 2017

"Travelers want to know they're getting the best value on a hotel and other parts of the trip, and we have now redesigned our app to make sure they do just that," said Stephen Kaufer, chief executive officer and co-founder of TripAdvisor, Inc. "The new TripAdvisor app experience allows travelers to effortlessly compare prices and book their hotel, find great things to do on the go, and unleash the full potential of their trip."

Improved TripAdvisor Experience

The new app better supports the needs of millions of hotel shoppers increasingly coming to TripAdvisor to compare prices and book. Travelers visiting the new native app will notice a simpler and more streamlined design, as well as greater consistency across TripAdvisor's various travel categories.

From a new homepage that makes it easier to find the right hotel for a traveler's trip, to newly enhanced hotel search pages that put price comparison front and center, TripAdvisor has created a best-in-class experience for travelers.

TripAdvisor has also updated its "Things to Do" and "Restaurants" categories, which now adapt to user preferences and make customized recommendations based on machine learning.

Travelers will find it easier than ever to access essential travel insights, including more than 500 million reviews and opinions covering seven million accommodations, airlines, restaurants and attractions globally. They will also find it easier to get the lowest price on every hotel search, as TripAdvisor searches more than 200 booking sites.

New TripAdvisor App Features

- "Best Value" hotel rankings: To ensure travelers get the best bang for their buck, hotels are now ranked and sorted based on a combination of a number of proprietary factors, including traveler ratings, hotel rates, booking popularity, brand affinity and location. A "Traveler Ranked" filter also remains available to help travelers search for top-rated hotels based on quality, quantity and recency of reviews on the site.
Itinerary & trip collaboration: Travelers now have the ability to save and create trips, and collaborate with friends and family on the must-dos through a new feature called "MyTrips."

- 360-degree photos: In addition to the more than 98 million candid traveler photos available on the site, new 360-degree photos give travelers a first-hand look inside hotels around the world.

- Safe & secure booking: A vaulted credit card feature makes TripAdvisor's instant booking platform safe, easy and quick for users looking to save money on the right hotel room for them.

Beginning today, the new iOS app is available across 48 markets where TripAdvisor operates. TripAdvisor will roll out a redesigned user experience with the new features and design elements on TripAdvisor's Android native app, as well as the company's mobile and desktop websites in the near future.

New App Design and Future Roll Out Across TripAdvisor a Result of Community Feedback

With average monthly unique hotel shoppers reaching nearly 150 million, up 9% year-over-year, TripAdvisor continues to be a highly-loved and heavily-visited travel brand.

To ensure that the world's largest travel site continued to meet customer shopping and price-comparison needs, TripAdvisor solicited feedback from thousands of users through consumer research, A/B testing, focus groups and usability studies. The research showed that consumers wanted an easier-to-use experience that more clearly showcased the best prices, location, amenities and user reviews and ratings when they choose a property—all elements that will be found in the new redesign. Since testing began, users have lauded the revamped TripAdvisor platform for "saving me money," "getting the best price," and "finding the lowest prices compared to other sites."

"Consumer insights from our traveler community was a crucial part of our redesign process," said Barbara Messing, chief marketing officer, TripAdvisor. "We are a resource for travelers by travelers and it was important to make sure we were getting our community's input as we evolved our experience."

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

Data, personalisation to change the face of travel

May 24, 2017

Addressing Hotelbeds Group’s inaugural MarketHub Asia event, Sam Turner, the company’s sales director, provided the staggering facts that in the next two days alone, more data will be generated globally than from the dawn of time until 2003 combined, and that by 2020, the world will produce 400 times as much data (40 zettabytes, to be exact) than it did in 2001.

And the “pace of change is accelerating, not plateauing,” he added.

This, according to Turner, presents a “massive opportunity” to marketers and travel companies, as existing and potential customers leave a digital footprint of everything they do, wherever they go.

Get the full story at Travel Daily

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

Hotelbeds eyes Asian expansion following GTA acquisition

May 24, 2017

Speaking at the company’s inaugural MarketHub Asia event, which is taking place at the Avani Riverside Hotel in Bangkok this week, Muñoz said that the decision to acquire GTA and bring its industry conference to the region “absolutely” represents a strategic push into the Asian market.

“We started in Asia in 2007 at the time we acquired Pacific World. But now is the right time [to expand],” he said in a face-to-face interview. “We have a significant presence [in Asia] and GTA is also strong, so combining the two will make us a better player. We will convert this into more product, better solutions and better service for our customers.”

He added that GTA would “add a significant portfolio of products, of customers, and human capital – knowledge of the [Asian] region,” to the Hotelbeds business.

Get the full story at Travel Daily

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

TripAdvisor VP takes B2B customers on tour of ‘Virtuous Circle’

May 24, 2017

Leisman: Prior to coming to TripAdvisor, my number-one challenge was always how to drive more traffic, more engagement, and increase loyalty. That is something that simply doesn’t keep me up at night now as we already have such a massive audience on both the industry side, which I focus on, and the consumer side. It’s quite a different challenge. Primarily, I’m focused on educating the owners of the hotels, restaurants, and attractions businesses on how they can leverage their presence on TripAdvisor.

Because we list everyone we can find, a hotel is going to be on TripAdvisor whether it intends to be or not. So, as industry marketers, it’s important for us to educate our business users on what they can do to engage with our community and engage with travellers from all across the world.

As well as the three different channels we work with - hotels, restaurants, and attractions - we have owners of different sizes, everyone from a two-room, intimate B&B in the middle of Tuscany, to a 4,000-room hotel in Las Vegas. These businesses have very different needs and very different ways of looking at their relationship with TripAdvisor and engaging. In a nutshell, there’s a lot of information to work through, a lot of awareness building, and a lot of execution to ensure businesses are educated on all TripAdvisor can offer them.

Get the full story at CMO

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/tripadvisor_vp_takes_b2b_customers_on_tour_of_virtuous_circle

Google Maps wants to be your travel guide this summer

May 24, 2017

Follow Google's summer lists to head to the hot spots or avoid the crowds–the choice is yours. Already know where you’re going? Then create your own lists and share them with friends via your favorite messaging and social apps.

Drinks with a view

When the weather is warm, bars with outdoor patios, views of the water, rooftops, and creative cocktails draw the biggest crowds. This summer bars list is NYC-heavy so if you’re thinking about the Big Apple this summer–this one’s for you.

Get the full story at Google

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

How Google plans to kill ‘last click attribution’

May 24, 2017

The tech titan separately said it's capable of showing local store hours, directions and inventory levels immediately after commericals on YouTube. A test last year, Google claimed, motivated nearly a million people to visit Wendy's and place an order for a square-shaped hamburger. (Or some nuggs.)

The announcements were among a flurry made Tuesday in San Francisco at Google Marketing Next, an annual event to promote the company's plans for ad products, analytics and its DoubleClick ad platform.

To help marketers sift through the search giant's many updates and new offerings, we've compiled several key takeaways from the event.

Get the full story at AdAge

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

The smart hotelier’s pre-opening digital strategy

May 24, 2017

Conversely, a hotel that has a strong pre-opening digital strategy will enjoy better transient and group business on the books upon opening. Having more direct business from the get go allows the property to build a receptive audience and better engage and retain past guests thus decreasing the need for over-exposure on the OTAs.

Supply is increasingly ahead of demand in most major U.S markets (STR Global). As more travel consumers in international markets have higher levels of disposable income, new hotels are opening in anticipation of this demand. Further, competitive metropolitan cities will experience tremendous increases—Downtown Denver will see a 20% increase in inventory with 1,848 new rooms; Miami will see 2,215 more rooms as 14 new hotels are slated to open; and New York will see an increase of 7,000 rooms, bringing total inventory to over 114,000. Not to mention, Airbnb alone is taking 10 to 12% of travel demand in New York City, Paris, London, and other major global metropolitan areas. This increase in supply makes a pre-opening digital strategy for any new hotel, especially in these markets, a must.

Hoteliers on pre-opening teams need to go beyond reactive solutions and relying on the allure of being a new hotel once the construction crew packs up.

Get the full story at HeBS Digital

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

Comparing CPC vs CPA cost models

May 24, 2017

This question deserves serious thought, as there are pros and cons to the various cost models. Making the right choice requires a full understanding of the implications of each model, as well as a firm understanding of your goals and capabilities.

There are three major types of cost models for metasearch campaigns:

1. CPC – cost-per-click
2. CPA – cost-per action, where publishers charge a flat fee or % of booking value
3. Hybrid – which is a combination of the two

Get the full story at Koddi

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

How to make OTAs work for you hotel

May 23, 2017

While will ever understand the complete math behind hotel rankings on OTAs, it should come as no surprise that hotels that generate larger revenue for OTAs will almost always earn themselves a higher spot. After all, if an OTA is a million-dollar account for you, then you are a million-dollar account to them, too.

For independent hotels, it's quite the chicken-and-egg conundrum, though, isn't it? Of course, you want to prove your monetary worth, but if your ranking is abysmal, that only leads to zero visibility of your hotel property. No visibility means no bookings. And, no bookings means no revenue, which means a hotel that is challenged to inch its way up the ranks.

It's a vicious cycle, and it begs the question: How do you, as an independent hotel, compete with this?

The answer may not be pleasing to all hoteliers: Work with your OTA partner, not against them.

Get the full story at Hospitality.Net

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

Lodging demand increases, according to PwC

May 23, 2017

Despite a weak first quarter GDP growth estimate of 0.7 percent, lodging demand increased at the strongest quarterly rate since the first quarter of 2015, supporting modest growth in both occupancy and average daily rate (ADR). Overall, revenue per available room ("RevPAR") increased 3.4 percent.

Reinforced by rising employment, higher real income, and increased household net worth, consumer confidence and sentiment remain elevated. For the remainder of 2017, US lodging performance is projected to temper, as peaking supply growth is expected to place increased pressure on pricing power.

A shift in the supply-demand balance in 2018 is anticipated to result in the first annual decline in occupancy, albeit minor, since 2009. Average daily rate growth of 2.2 percent is expected to drive an increase in RevPAR of 2.0 percent, the slowest growth rate in nine years.

Get the full story at PwC US

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

ABC Global Services launches hotel sourcing division

May 23, 2017

CEO Eric Altschul said ABC recognized, in working with TMC partners, that custom sourced hotel programs are "a big driver of dissatisfaction" in the industry for both TMCs and corporate clients. "A TMC - if they were helping their client with sourcing, it was often the account manager who was not an expert at sourcing - doesn't have insight into the benchmarks and competitive rates, what should be included, what shouldn't be included," Altschul said. "We thought there was a big opportunity to help our TMC partners service their corporate clients in improving their satisfaction with not just the process but the end result."

The company soft-launched the service last year with select clients, a process that helped Altschul and his team realize that "in the midmarket, there's no one size that fits all." HotelConnex is instead available in three service tiers: core, comprehensive and premium. Services include RFP management, global distribution service rate audits and custom reporting and benchmarking, as well as consulting services. Additionally, ABC is making HotelConnex available as a white label for TMCs.

Get the full story at BTN

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

Why having a location-first marketing strategy pays off

May 23, 2017

Thanks to the explosion in mobile technology, the perspective on location is changing again. In recent years, smartphones and social media have made a massive impact on the way consumers communicate and businesses advertise. The Pew Research Center reports that a whopping 95% of U.S. adults own a cell phone of some kind. Another study reveals that 80% of social activity is done from mobile devices - meaning that people are posting content on the go. And the U.S. is hardly alone. The Independent reported in 2014 that the number of mobile devices - 7.2 billion - had surpassed the number of people on the planet.

So what does this have to do with location? With skyrocketing mobile usage comes accurate location data, enabling businesses to understand exactly from where people are publicly posting on social media. They can then use that additional layer of context to deliver messages in the right place at the right time. This lets businesses cut through the noise and find the right moment to engage — rather than to interrupt. The outcome is a more organic, human-to-human interaction between companies and consumers.

As a result, the pendulum is swinging back. Location is once again becoming a primary focus of marketing, as all consumers who have seen pop-up messages seeking permission to know their location are already aware. Major social media platforms looking for advertising dollars are developing location-based, mobile-first products and features. For instance, just last month, Snap Inc. launched Snap to Store, which tracks whether sponsored geo-filters boost visits to the brand’s locations.

Get the full story at Knowledge@Wharton

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

Understanding events on Facebook Dynamic Ads for Travel

May 23, 2017

Events are the travel-specific intent signals that the Facebook pixel captures when a user performs an action on an advertiser’s site. These events include:

- Search: A user performs a search for a specific location

- View Content: A user views a specific hotel

- Initiate Checkout: A user begins the booking process

- Purchase: A user completes a booking

This data allows advertisers two extremely important abilities:

1. Retargeting Audience Creation: DAT events fuel the ability to create audiences based on travel-specific intent signals. These events are at the core of understanding the advantage of DAT over DPA for travel brands.

2. Dynamic Values for Relevant Ad Copy: The Facebook pixel also captures parameters tied to a user’s preferences, such as check in-check out date, hotel city, and number of travelers. These values can be inserted dynamically in DAT ad copy to increase relevance and incentivize potential customers.

Get the full story at Koddi

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

Facebook’s leaked content guidelines: What marketers should know

May 23, 2017

What the leak has done is shed light on one simple truth: Publishing mammoths like Facebook and Google (which has also experienced its share of controversy over content) can’t currently provide 100% brand safety.

At scale, user-generated content provides too great of a challenge. And this doesn’t necessarily bode well for advertisers.

“Advertisers are demanding more than what these platforms can currently provide,” said Ari Applbaum, vice president of marketing at video advertising platform AnyClip. “Until artificial intelligence solutions are robust enough to provide 100% assurance, manual screening of content is replacing AI, and it’s not sustainable in the long run.”

Get the full story at eMarketer

Read also "Revealed: Facebook's internal rulebook on sex, terrorism and violence" at The Guardian, and "Facebook isn't alone—moderating the internet is basically impossible" at Mashable

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

TravelClick’s new digital media campaign portal provides real time, on-demand insights

May 23, 2017

Typically, hoteliers do not know how their digital media campaigns have performed often until weeks after the end of a month. With this powerful new tool, TravelClick customers can now log into the Portal at their convenience to see real-time metrics on all campaigns. Specifically, hoteliers can:

- View revenue, clicks and bookings on demand
- Identify performance trends through easy-to-read graphics and charts
- Download data for in-depth analysis
- Review performance reports from the past 24 months

“The TravelClick / iHotelier product’s technology advancements are groundbreaking, and this real-time Portal is just another example of an excellent, must-have analytics and reporting system that all hoteliers need to stay one step ahead of the competition,” said Daly Mariatte, General Manager, Ladera Resort. “All in all, the Portal makes the tasks of managing a hotel easier and more intuitive.”

Get the full story at TravelClick

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

HeBS Digital launches enhanced brand website for RLHC

May 23, 2017

The new RLHC website is backed by HeBS Digital’s award-winning, proprietary smartCMS® Website Technology Platform. Designed specifically for the hospitality industry, the smartCMS® drives direct booking via its more than 30 revenue-generating modules for need periods and occupancy demands by targeting feeder markets and market segments, past guest and in-market travelers via real-time control of content and promotions.

“The complete RLHC portfolio of brands is now on one domain,” said RLHC CMO Bill Linehan. “The new RLHC website streamlines the booking process for guests, making it easier to book a stay at any of our properties whether using their mobile phone or computer.”

Get the full story at HeBS Digital

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

Amazon and its return to travel via the back door

May 22, 2017

It kind of launched a service in 2015 and pretty much abandoned the idea a few months later.

Perhaps Jeff Bezos suddenly got a taste of the foresight juice that others have yet to drink, but Amazon’s shift from being an ecommerce site to a search brand arguably puts in back in the game.

In addition, its shift to search is nothing to do with desktop or mobile but the introduction of voice through its Alexa service on the Echo device.

He sees an environment where travellers will eventually ask their Alexa for flight details and the technology will organise it all, based on the commands of the user.

Get the full story at Tnooz

Read also "Amazon and Facebook tipped as next travel disruptors"

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

Google says Hotel Ads are the big moneymaker in Europe

May 22, 2017

“From our perspective, we see flight search as an upper-funnel product and hotels as a lower-funnel product and our revenue story is that Hotel Ads is the key revenue driver in the travel space,” said Oliver Heckmann, who heads Google’s travel product and is a vice president of engineering, during an on-stage interview at the inaugural Skift Forum Europe in London April 4.

Heckmann said the precise dynamics vary by country but that both Google Hotel Ads and Google Flights are showing “high momentum now in Europe.”

Heckmann said Google’s product people can focus on developing strategy even as regulatory issues may be swirling. “If you focus on the user you have a very defensible position to prove what you’ve done, you done the right thing for consumers,” he said.

Get the full story at Skift

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

Lola reveals pivot plans to target corporate travelers

May 22, 2017

English said the new version will enable users who do not want to call agents to do self service and it will also target business travellers.

“People who love the Lola vision are people who travel a lot,” he said. “If you travel just twice a year Lola is not going to be exciting for you.

“If it gets to know your preferences it’s great. With very little text you can get a whole trip pulled together. It’s like having an executive assistant who knows your preferences really well.”

Get the full story at Travolution

Read also "Kayak co-founder raises $15M for his travel startup Lola"

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

The digitalisation of hotel meetings

May 22, 2017

Different customers naturally prefer to book through different digital channels, and we should respect that. Loyal customers enjoy booking directly through the hotel's website or by phone. Other people want to compare options, and will always prefer to use an OTA. Yet others will want to book through their corporate events organiser. To accommodate the needs, preferences, and desires of these different audiences you need to help customers book in a variety of ways that are easy and efficient.

It also means that no single channel of bookings is overly dominant – a problem we have seen emerge in the bedrooms business. According to PhocusWright, the number of customers booking through intermediaries now stands at nearly 50 per cent. Nearly half of bedroom customers are now coming through OTAs.

This is unhealthy because it means that loyal customers who would otherwise have booked directly are now booking through OTAs, and handing over their valuable data to intermediaries.

Get the full story at Hospitality.Net

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

Google Hotel Search rolls out pricing trends graph

May 22, 2017

If you search for hotels on mobile, you may see this pricing trends graph that lets you plot by week or month view. This will show you a graphical view of the hotel prices, as they increase or decrease so you can plan your vacation that way.

Sergey Alakov said on Twitter that he believes it is rolling out.

Get the full story at Search Engine Land

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

Millennials influenced as much by YouTube videos as web reviews for travel decisions

May 22, 2017

Research by Phocuswright found that the influence on an 18 to 34-year-old’s travel decisions in both categories (both web reviews and videos) came in at about 30%, compared to those influenced by pictures and videos by friends or travel brands.

The survey of European travellers found online reviews were favoured most by those in the 35-54 range (around 38%) and those over 55 (around 32%), with videos and pictures from friends or brands the least influential channel.

Less than 10% of over-55s were inspired by travel brand content.

Get the full story at Tnooz

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

APIs and how to use them to increase bookings

May 22, 2017

Of course, there are other use cases. Many hotels are using APIs to create a pipeline of information that can be shared with their business partners (such as OTAs). For instance, a hotel that gathers post-stay guest feedback can then seamlessly send that information to the pages that their guests are viewing before they make a booking decision. Feedback is a powerful tool; more than 90% of booking decisions are informed by the online reviews that potential guests see.

Furthermore, hotels that solicit post-stay feedback can generally anticipate that the results of their surveys will be more positive than feedback that’s left online; scoring based on survey results tends to be around 10% higher than those based on general online feedback. Piping this information to booking engines and other partners allows hotels to put their best foot forward, and improve the chance of securing a guest’s visit.

Get the full story at TrustYou

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

Webinar: How to maintain guest satisfaction during high season

May 22, 2017

Join us for our free webinar on Wednesday, 31th May, when we will show you how to achieve high guest satisfaction ratings even when rates soar and employees are taxed to the max.

Topics:

- Why do review scores go down when occupancy goes up?
- Understanding the unique needs of peak-season travelers
- How to exceed expectations and prevent bad reviews
- Balancing financial needs with operational needs
- Plus tips, examples and data for achieving your most successful busy season ever

Register at ReviewPro

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

Amazon and Facebook tipped as next travel disruptors

May 19, 2017

He picked out Amazon’s Alexa as particularly promising as the online retailer moves from moves into online search.

Breakwell said this is significant for brands like Expedia and booking.com that pay Google around $10 billion annually to appear in its top search results.

“When you are talking to Alexa you just want one flight – the best one. This means a lot to the Google model and a lot for how OTAs are going to be distributed.”

Get the full story at Travolution

Read also "Booking.com’s CMO on competing with Amazon and brand loyalty"

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

Rising costs of marketing on mobile are inevitable, says Booking.com

May 19, 2017

He told the Phocuswright Europe conference in Amsterdam that innovation on mobile is the big thing today.

Asked about the impact of Google pushing down organic search results in its Search Engine Results Pages, Verhoeven said:

“To innovate on mobile is the big thing. It needs to happen on this screen. Forget about their [Google’s] own ads if you really look at it who is going to be credible in this space is really important.

“There is big competition out there because visibility to the consumer comes at a cost. Less space for free listings makes it more expensive for all of us in the industry, but that’s the way the model works and as consumers we see the benefits.”

Get the full story at Travolution

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

Expedia sees a noticeable shift from west to east London in share of hotel bookings

May 19, 2017

These new breeds of hotels cater for the savvy Millennial travellers and offer something different in terms of design and technology with self-service kiosks and smartphone keyless room entry, a feature Expedia is testing via its mobile-booking app.

Travelers that might have previously booked four or five star hotels in west London are now looking at alternative locations. Hotels that have typically been reluctant to move on rates may have to look at their ADRs to compete based on this shifting consumer behaviour.

Guests increasingly want features that are integral to their overall hotel experience, such as booking of activities and ticket purchasing. With competition increasing from a growing number of alternative accommodation providers, hoteliers need to focus on providing experiences and services that these providers can’t offer.

Get the full story at Travolution

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

Trump’s laptop ban on European flights is reportedly ‘off the table’

May 19, 2017

The BBC reported Wednesday that officials from the US and EU “decided against” the ban following yesterday’s meeting, though “other measures” are still under consideration. An unnamed official told the Associated Press that the proposal is “off the table” for the time being. Officials are due to meet again next week in Washington, DC.

The proposed measure, as reported earlier this month, would expand an electronics ban currently in place on certain US-bound flights from eight majority-Muslim countries. The current measure prohibits travelers from bringing any devices that are “larger than a smartphone” as carry-on items. The UK announced a similar ban in March that affects flights from six countries.

Get the full story at The Verge

Read also "European Airports Council warns against expansion of laptop ban"

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

Google unveils next generation products at Google I/O event

May 19, 2017

Here’s an overview of all the major announcements from I/O thus far, from a digital marketing perspective.

Google Lens

Pinterest recently launched their innovative Lens tool which enables users to search Pins based on images taken with their phone – scan a pair of shoes, for example, and Pinterest’s image recognition tech will show you similar products based on that reference point.

Get the full story at Social Media Today

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

The 5 SEO and content shifts you need to master now

May 19, 2017

1. From SEO to ‘SEO and content convergence’

Just as content alone isn’t enough to guarantee SEO success, SEO alone isn’t enough to guarantee that people will find and engage with your content. Data is helping marketers understand consumer intent to create intelligent content that aligns with the customer journey to deliver a successful and memorable experience.

How marketers can master this shift:

- Ensure your content creation is based on data. Content marketing without data lacks purpose. Define the audience, engagement and conversion metrics that matter to your brand. Track and measure these to gain the insights you need to create meaningful content that people want to consume and improve future content marketing efforts.

- Foster search, social and content synergy. In combination, organic search, social and content help brands achieve their goals and objectives. Creating high-quality content with SEO in mind from the beginning boosts search visibility. That great content can then be further amplified via social media, which creates demand you can later harvest via search.

- Maximize your search engine results page (SERP) footprint. Create and optimize high-ROI content like articles, videos and infographics to help people (by answering important or popular questions or providing practical information) or capitalize on trendy topics. Then help your brand further stand out in the SERPs by winning real estate with featured snippets, site links, related questions, images, videos and tweets.

Get the full story at Search Engine Land

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_5_seo_and_content_shifts_you_need_to_master_now

Why cancelling & re-booking is killing your revenue

May 19, 2017

So how does this affect revenue and profit? Unfortunately for hotels, there are a couple of revenue implications. Let’s start with a common scenario:

Jamie booked a fully flexible reservation at your hotel for a future trip. Every once in a while, Jamie gets bored at work, thinks about his upcoming vacation and continues to surf hotel and travel rates online - checking both your website and comprehensive metasearch sites - just in case he spots a better deal.

The first implication in this scenario is what Jamie’s going to do if he sees a lower rate offered over the dates of his future stay. Aside from losing the monetary difference in rate, what happens to the hotel if Jamie cancels his original reservation and re-books at a lower rate?

Get the full story at IDeaS

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

In uncertain times, focus on RevPAR index as well as RevPAR growth

May 19, 2017

Like RevPAR, RPI (also known as Revenue Generating Index) is easy to comprehend and calculate. It’s usually expressed as a percentage, so a property with a RevPAR Index of 102 means its RevPAR is two percentage points higher than the hotels in its competitive set; 98 and it’s two points lower than its competitors.

A key component of RevPAR Index is the competitive set. Focusing on RevPAR growth in a silo without the context of a competitive set or market benchmark provides an incomplete view of a hotel’s performance. The competitive set needs to be those hotels that line up as closely as possible in terms of facilities, age, size, market segment, customer base, brand affiliation and rate.

If a hotel measures itself against the average of the entire market—hotels of all sizes, segments and rates—it risks commoditizing the asset to be literally average to the market and discounts its ability to create a market-leading hotel.

Get the full story at Duetto

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

European multi-generational travel trends

May 18, 2017

Multi-Generational Travel Trends highlights generational comparisons of European travelers across four distinct groups—Generation Z, Millennials, Generation X and Baby Boomers—and examines attitudes toward travel, trip types and priorities, resources and influences, and devices used throughout the trip planning process.

“Europeans are well-known for their passion for travel, and this study illustrates variances in digital traveler behaviors, priorities, attitudes and influences across the countries and generations we examined,” said Andrew van der Feltz, Senior Director, EMEA & APAC for Expedia Media Solutions. “The data provides actionable insights to help marketers more effectively reach, engage and convert travelers from different markets and age groups, and validates the notion that one-size-fits-all advertising does not apply to travel.”

On average, Europeans take 3.7 trips per year, including leisure and business travel, and their last vacation was 9.3 days in duration. French travelers took the most total trips (3.9), for the longest duration (10.2 days) compared to British and Germans. The majority (65 percent) of Europeans travel outside their country on holiday, especially Germans (72 percent), and about 60 percent travel by plane and stay in a hotel. While budget is a primary factor and 86 percent of Europeans claim to look for the best deals, when asked to prioritize how they choose a holiday, activities and experiences far outranked deals and special offers.

Generation Z Travelers: Open-Minded, Mobile and Influenced by Advertising

As one of the most budget-conscious generations in Europe, Gen Z is more likely to start the research and planning process without a set destination in mind, rely on their smartphones when looking for travel inspiration and have an all-or-nothing approach to travel activities. They are influenced by deals and appealing imagery on social media and in advertising, so marketers looking to inspire and convert Gen Z travelers must implement a visually-compelling and integrated cross-device marketing strategy.

- Nearly 80 percent of Gen Z said either they don’t have a destination in mind or are deciding between two destinations when they first decide to take a trip.

- Nearly 80 percent said budget was a primary factor when researching and booking their last trip, and allocated more for flights than the other generations.

- While 72 percent said taking risks and crossing things off their bucket list is imperative, 60 percent are interested in trips that offer naps on the beach and all-day relaxation.

- Although activities and experiences are high on their priority list, a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and destinations where they can take memorable pictures and vacation with friends are important considerations for Gen Z, significantly more so than other generations.

- Compared to other generations, Gen Z use their smartphones more than other devices when they’re looking for travel inspiration (63 percent) and while on their vacation (76 percent).

- More than half of Gen Z travelers (53 percent) said advertisements with appealing deals or appealing imagery can influence their decision-making process.

Millennial Travelers: Frequent, Deal-Driven Explorers

Millennials travel more frequently than other generations and while nearly 90 percent say they look for the best deals, they have a broad range of interests, focusing on exploring the outdoors, cultural experiences, family play trips and romantic getaways. Travel marketers can highlight local culture, experiences and cuisine, as well as discounts and deals, when targeting Millennials.

- Millennials take more trips per year than other generations (4.3), but their trips are the shortest in duration – only 8.5 days on average.

- Only 23 percent of Millennials have a destination in mind when they decide to take a trip, and nearly 80 percent said informative content from destinations or travel brands can influence their decision, while 37 percent said they are influenced by blogs or articles about travel destinations.

- Millennials are most likely to opt for “off the beaten path” locations or recommendations from locals (69 percent), as well as all-inclusive resorts and cruises (59 percent). Nearly 50 percent also plan their travel around food and drink, showing their interests in a wide variety of travel experiences and destinations.

- Prior to making a decision, nearly 80 percent of Millennials said they look for a deal and 84 percent read reviews, while more than 70 percent said they talk to people who have visited the place before.

- Search engines (51 percent), online travel agencies (OTAs) (48 percent) and travel review sites (38 percent) were the top online planning resources for millennials, while 51 percent used an OTA to book their last trip.

Gen X Travelers: Family-oriented, Affinity for Outdoor Activities

Gen X are family-oriented and more likely than other generations to use reviews and informative content from brands while researching and booking a trip. While less Gen X travelers say that budget is a primary factor than younger generations, they still prioritize deals and look for value. Feeling like they’re getting the most bang for their buck may be key to converting Gen X travelers, so marketers should consider highlighting value-driven messaging and informative reviews to influence this generation during the purchase journey.

- Less than 30 percent of Gen X have already decided on a destination when they decide to take a trip and 55 percent said they need some help and inspiration when they start planning a trip.

- Nearly 70 percent of Gen X travelers said that every vacation is family-oriented and focused on keeping their family entertained and happy, while more than 65 percent said they prefer to fill their itinerary with museums, historical sites, and arts and culture.

- More than 60 percent said budget was a primary factor on their last trip, but more so than other generations, they prioritized deals or special offers as important considerations when choosing a holiday. While less interested than other generations in a once in a lifetime experience, Gen X travelers are likely to prioritize outdoor activities.

- Eighty-five percent read reviews of places they want to visit before making a decision, and 80 percent said that informative content from brands or destinations can influence their decision-making process.

- Gen X rely heavily on OTAs (51 percent), travel review sites (41 percent) and search engines (49 percent) when planning a trip – and 52 percent used an OTA to book their last trip.

Boomer Travelers: Review Readers, OTA Aficionados

While Boomers are more likely than other generations to know where they want to go and how they’re going to book when they decide to take a trip, they still seek help and inspiration during the planning and booking process. Given that fewer Boomers said budget was a primary factor when planning their last trip, marketers looking to inspire and engage Boomers should focus on informative content like reviews and local activities in advertising, with less emphasis on deals.

- At 10.5 days per vacation, Boomers take the longest trips, and only 54 percent said budget was a primary factor on their last trip.

- Only 46 percent of Boomers said crossing things off their bucket list was imperative, 15 percent less than Gen X travelers. Trip activities, cultural experiences and feeling pampered during their vacation topped the priority list for Boomers.

- When planning their last trip, Boomers relied on OTAs more than any other resource (54 percent) and 20 percent used a destination site; half of boomers also booked their last trip using an OTA.

- When it comes to advertising’s influence on the decision-making process, Boomers value informative content (49 percent) and helpful reviews (31 percent), and they are less likely than other generations to be influenced by deals in ads.

- Computers are the preferred device during the pre-trip inspiration, planning and booking phases, but 26 percent of Boomers used their tablet during their trip, more than any other generation, and 54 percent used a smartphone.

Download the full study at Expedia Media Solutions

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

The upside of independent hotels

May 18, 2017

A handful of hotel owner and operators with varying portions of their portfolios represented by independent properties convened for a panel during the recent ILES (Independent Lodging Executive Summit) in Las Vegas and assessed the current market for non-branded assets.

“Traditionally branded hotels have been a great backstop in case the economy does turn. There’s been a lot of evidence that when we are in a downturn sometimes the branded properties slip less, but now I’m wondering if that’s going to happen this time around…The Internet is such a compelling conduit now for business in general and marketing. Independent properties have really come into their own, so everybody’s looking for a boutique kind of experience. I think the consumer is that much more apt to go in that direction,” said Mary Beth Cutshall, SVP, acquisitions & business development, Hospitality Ventures Management Group, who also cited the potential impact of Airbnb and other disruptors.

Chris Green, COO, Chesapeake Hospitality, however, offered a word of caution. “In simple terms, there’s no free rides. If you think you can take a flag off a Hilton and save 13.5 percent [in fees] it’s not going to happen. Because you’re going to spend money on sales and marketing, you’re going to have increased labor, increased soft costs, as well as marketing and social media.”

Jayson Seidman, founder/principal, Sandstone Hospitality Developments pointed out some other considerations as well. “One thing that’s important to realize here is we really need to focus on key count. If you’re at the 100-key count level that’s kind of my maximum threshold. If you start pushing into the 150’s or 250’s, even in the major cities, you have to start to getting pretty aggressive on the sales and marketing, as well as with bookings and the OTAs,” he said.

Get the full story at Hotel Interactive

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

European Airports Council warns against expansion of laptop ban

May 18, 2017

"[The ban] would hit the Continent's busiest airports hardest, where a significant portion of U.S.-bound flights would need to be canceled at short notice," said Olivier Jankovec, director general of ACI Europe. "For the flights that could still operate there would be delays, which would compromise onward connections in the U.S."

U.S. and European officials met yesterday in Brussels regarding the possible extension to Europe of the large personal electronic device (PED) ban currently in place on flights from 10 Middle East and North Africa airports to the U.S. According to a statement from the Department of Homeland Security released following that meeting, officials will meet again in Washington next week to "further assess shared risks and solutions for protecting airline passengers while ensuring the smooth functioning of global air travel."

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

Read also "Business travel group warns of ‘economic tsunami’ caused by laptop ban"

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

How Mr & Mrs Smith differentiates itself from digital competitors

May 18, 2017

Mr & Mrs Smith originally began after a disastrous hotel stay, whereby Tamara and her then-boyfriend (now husband and business partner) were met with a decidedly different experience than the one they’d imagined.

Realising that most travel agencies skip over what actually makes a holiday special - i.e. the little but memorable details – they set out to create a company which has the customer’s needs and desires in mind.

With the core aim of inspiring people to travel to extraordinary places, it researches the best and most overlooked boutique hotels, which are often unique in terms of design and architecture. The company also values hotels that are environmentally-friendly or dedicated to local issues. Its selection of hotels in the Maldives is a clear example of this. With waste management becoming an increasing issue on the island, Mr & Mrs Smith only chooses eco-friendly and sustainable hotels that aim to counteract the problem.

Get the full story at Econsultancy

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

Understanding hotel price competitiveness

May 18, 2017

In addition to making your ads more attractive to potential customers, being price competitive can lead to:

- Improved positioning
- Improved impression share
- Lower CPCs
- Higher CTRs
- A more profitable campaign

From the studies we have done at Koddi, solving pricing issues and remaining consistently competitive can drive potential incremental revenue increases of 30-40%.

Get the full story at Koddi

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

Google tests removing pricing from hotel listing results

May 18, 2017

Sergey Alakov spotted this and posted about it on Twitter. He said "Google is testing dropping hotel prices," adding that he is "actually surprised" by this test.

Sergey showed multiple views of these hotel listings, the before and after, with and without pricing.

Get the full story at Search Engine Roundtable

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

Should hospitality embrace or ignore Google AMPs?

May 18, 2017

What is Google AMP? It is an open platform with the sole objective to help publishers create mobile content (articles and commentary, quick opinion postings, etc.) that download fast on mobile and other devices.

AMPs are characterized with stripped down mostly textual content and simple, no-clutter page layouts, and are hosted by Google, which at least in theory ensures fast downloads. Google has restrictions on what type of content can be included on AMPs, utilizes special HTML and coding, and allows only very basic styling (read: Design) of the page.

What should hoteliers do about Google AMPs?

Get the full story at HeBS Digital

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

2017 Travel Website Behavior Study: Key findings that impact your hotel website

May 18, 2017

Hotels therefore need to provide a superior website experience; one that grabs and holds the attention of travel shoppers. According to the study, leisure travelers visit on average 4.4 unique websites before booking a hotel. That’s not a lot. However, they will spend a lot of time on the websites they like. Hotel shoppers spend, on average, 29.8 minutes digging deep into a hotel’s website before making their reservation. This indicates that travel shoppers are willing to explore a hotel website for more than just basic hotel information. In fact, they’re looking for much more than that.

Each time a potential guest visits your website, they are likely at different points of the booking journey. Your website therefore needs to provide content that is relevant to each stage of the booking process – Inspiration, Research, Planning, Validation, and Booking. Hoteliers also need to look closely at their web content, to understand what content is converting, and what might be causing people to leave the site.

Get the full story at Leonardo

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/2017_travel_website_behavior_study_key_findings_that_impact_your_hotel_webs

Hotels enhance online presence to boost direct bookings

May 17, 2017

Marriott, for instance, has seen an increasing inclination towards the use of direct methods by offering better rates and value-added services.

Ramesh Darayani, Vice President (global sales, Asia-Pacific) at Marriott International, said the company revamped its loyalty programmes last year and began providing the best available rates, which were cheaper than what aggregators offered, apart from enhanced complimentary services. “This has helped us to attract more traffic to our own website, thereby resulting in a savings of up to 50 per cent when booked directly,“ said Darayani.

“Hoteliers these days are focused on providing the best available rates to the customers, which is approximately 10-20 per cent cheaper - that is the average commission taken by the online hotel aggregators,“ said rating agency Icra's Vice President Pavethra Ponniah.

Get the full story at The Economic Times

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

Priceline believes it has edge on Expedia in vacation rentals

May 17, 2017

Fogel spoke to the topic during the company's first-quarter earnings call on Tuesday.

Fogel said Priceline's Booking.com platform has more than 640,000 instantly bookable vacation rentals, which represents year-over-year growth of 51%. Booking.com's total properties represent around 25.5 million rooms, with 8 million of those in alternative accommodations like homes, villas and apartments.

Answering an analyst's question on how to drive further growth in the vacation rental segment, Fogel said that the company does not charge travelers fees to book vacation rentals, and that all of its vacation rentals are instantly bookable.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

Business travel group warns of ‘economic tsunami’ caused by laptop ban

May 17, 2017

The alert came ahead of a reported meeting between representatives of the US Department of Homeland Security with European Commission transport officials in Brussels tomorrow (Wednesday).

The current ban imposed by the Trump administration affects an estimated 350 transatlantic flights a week from the Middle East and North Africa.

“A ban from Europe could affect 3,500 flights a week this summer and 65 million passengers per year,” BTC chairman Kevin Mitchell said in a letter to European transport commissioner Violeta Bulc.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

Read also "Laptop ban on flights: how will it affect the travel industry?" at The Independent

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

Airlines exhorted to ‘push back’ against Google

May 17, 2017

It’s a subject close to the heart of CarTrawler’s technology chief Bobby Healy, who feels Google Flight Search is “very bad” for the airline industry (and travel in general), airline.com and future distribution. He sees the roll out of the service enables Google to extend its reach to the top of the trip planning funnel – i.e where consumers go first to start planning a trip.

He says that “in good times” a GDS makes about $3 per booking, an airline makes about $21 but currently, according to Healy, Google is making $16 per online airline booking.

Get the full story at Tnooz and Travel Weekly UK

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

TripAdvisor names America’s top 50 summer hot spots

May 17, 2017

According to a recent TripAdvisor survey of more than 1,300 U.S. travelers, 88 percent of respondents are planning to vacation this summer, up seven percent from those who took a summer trip last year. Of those respondents, 91 percent will travel domestically, and 71 percent will stay in a hotel. In addition, about half (49 percent) will plan a leisure trip to the beach/ocean and 44 percent will plan a leisure trip to a city destination.

"TripAdvisor hotel pricing and airfare data show that U.S. travelers planning vacations to these popular destinations can save 40 percent on average when visiting during the least expensive summer week," said Brooke Ferencsik, senior director of communications for TripAdvisor. "Everyone wants to make the most of their travel budget and the Summer Vacation Value Report highlights when and where to save with great value hotels. Travelers can easily find the latest reviews and lowest prices on TripAdvisor when they pick the destination and hotel that's right for them."

Get the full story at TripAdvisor

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/tripadvisor_names_americas_top_50_summer_hot_spots

Why Google Play sees complementary roles for travel and local apps

May 17, 2017

It comes down to a realization that even when making plans on a global scale, arriving at the destination brings the user back to the local level. That is the juncture where apps on Google Play can be mutually relevant for vacationers who want to find a private getaway and for people looking for new places to eat just around the corner.

James caught up with Street Fight recently to discuss how apps on Google Play can be contextual on multiple levels.


You head up travel and local at Google Play - tell us a little about how those two categories are similar and different.

I think of these categories as more intertwined and complementary. When you think of travel, it can be different things. For some people it’s commuting to work or going on business trips. For the majority of people it’s synonymous with vacation. We see more users not just going to a place for the sake of checking it off their bucket list. They’re looking at rich local experiences. It’s all intertwined. You don’t just travel; you try to experience it like a local and help out the local economy in some form or another. When you think of local — pertaining to a specific place or location — it’s so much more broad. It’s not just for traveling.

Get the full story at Street Fight

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

Google testing a new mobile experience for hotel ads

May 17, 2017

This experiment could reduce impressions for lower ranking properties and may lead to a higher click volume on first position properties. This means that being in Position 1 is even more crucial, and we may start to see impression share drop for Positions 3 and 4 since they are hidden from users until they swipe left. For Koddi users, finding these properties is very simple and I would pay close attention to impression share and average rank on mobile, especially with default date shifts with hotel proximity to users. In the next few weeks, I think we can expect some moderate adjustments to the overall Google Hotel Ads experience as this new experiment gains or loses traction.

Get the full story at Koddi

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

Attribution models: The secret ways guests discover your hotel

May 17, 2017

When you fully understand your online conversions, you can make better decisions when doing something as complex as allocating budgets, or as simple as going through a report.

Attribution is one of the trickiest aspects of the industry: in a world where each and every user is interacting with your brand through a multitude of channels, it becomes very difficult to properly assign the correct value to each channel.

So, most of the time, we end up using the simplest attribution model available in order to at least have something to base our conclusions on.

In this article, I aim to clarify some of the concepts behind successful attribution models, while discussing my own encounters with the beast that is attribution modelling.

Get the full story at Net Affinity

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

Hotels vs. the (OTA) World

May 16, 2017

Why now?

- 2015 was a watershed year. Expedia acquired Travelocity and Orbitz, effectively turning the U.S. market into a two-horse race. Between a hot mix of M&A and organic growth, Expedia Inc. and The Priceline Group (really Booking.com) combined accounted for nearly two thirds of OTA global gross bookings. Their combined share of the U.S. OTA market is well north of 90%.

- The OTAs are crushing it. They are growing much faster than the U.S. hotel market. In fact, 2016 was the first year when OTA lodging bookings in the U.S. exceeded total hotel website gross bookings. And they're growing even faster overseas in the more fragmented hotel markets of Europe, Asia and elsewhere. Such aggregation of demand among two major players means enormous leverage at the negotiating table.

- The Seeds of Discontent. Hotels serve several masters, but chief among them are owners. All owners ask a fundamental question: Why affiliate with a brand? The answer, of course, is obvious: to bring in more demand and more revenue. The rapid growth of OTAs has many hotels rethinking those calculations. Why pay fees to the brands and still pay more commission to OTAs as their contribution grows?

Get the full story at Phocuswright

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

Hilton, Marriott mum as AH&LA redoubles anti-OTA efforts

May 16, 2017

For their part, OTA representatives are labeling such lobbying efforts misguided, while Marriott International and Hilton are taking matters into their own hands through negotiations and web-direct campaigns.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association (AH&LA), a Washington-based trade group, is taking aim at OTAs. In that sector, the two largest companies, Priceline Group and Expedia, account for about 93% of all U.S. OTA bookings, according to Phocuswright data. AH&LA is arguing that the two are acting like a "duopoly" by effectively boosting commission rates by negotiating for lower wholesale hotel-room prices, especially with nonbranded establishments.

Additionally, the AH&LA alleges that OTAs are harming consumers by hiding service fees charged to the guest by lumping them in with taxes. The trade group is also highlighting the prevalence of so-called "rogue" OTAs whose graphics and user interface trick guests into thinking they've booked directly with the hotels.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

Facebook reveals ambitions for travel planning and booking

May 16, 2017

At the end of last year, Facebook launched a new “Recommendations” tool to help users discover new experiences, things to do, events, and services based on suggestions from their friends. While not specifically designed for travel, we discussed how this feature certainly has potential as a new channel for hotel bookings.

More tellingly, Facebook recently announced the soft launch of a trip planning tool within the Facebook app, called City Guides. The app can be used to discover hotels, restaurants, activities and tours in various cities based on recommendations from friends. A list of “Places the Locals Go” also pulls together popular spots worth checking out.

As well as functioning as a planning tool, City Guides has a “Book Now” button, which is currently being used by a limited number of restaurants and hotels. But other hotels, restaurants, attractions and tours can all be messaged or called directly through the app.

Get the full story at Travel Tripper

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

How travel is driving The Telegraph’s e-commerce business

May 16, 2017

The Telegraph has built out its e-commerce business for the last 18 months as a way of diversifying revenue streams. It predicts e-commerce will overtake advertising as a portion of its total revenue in three to five years. Travel is the most mature commerce sector for The Telegraph.

“E-commerce makes up a significant part — but not the majority — of revenue at the moment,” said Nick Hugh, COO at Telegraph Media Group. “It’s had high growth, north of 50 percent, but not triple digit, and that’s not from a tiny base. That’s testament to the opportunity that sits in front of us on the travel side.” Hugh was unable to share exactly how much e-commerce brings in for the business, as Telegraph Media Group is a private company.

“Our editorial mission is to inform our readers; we want to open their minds up to places,” he said, adding that a commercial editorial team separate from The Telegraph’s journalists creates all content with an e-commerce element. “The role here is to then provide the commercial opportunity that will add value to our customers. Anyone can put an affiliate link on their site. We always ask, ‘Are we adding value to users?’”

Get the full story at Digiday

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

Airbnb tries its hand at tour-guiding

May 16, 2017

Historically, For You just recommended things for you to do based on your current location, showing you what was good. Now, the service will highlight activities that you should plan in advance of arriving, like a super-cool bus tour that's sold out months ahead of time. In addition, you'll be able to try out curated experiences that are based around a theme.

The new features are rolling out today, although only for English-language users in a handful of cities, including Cape Town, Florence, LA, Miami, Paris and Tokyo. In addition, those going to Barcelona or SF can find whole trips suggested for you, based on your particular interests. So, for instance, if you're a foodie, you'll be shown a potential schedule that'll let you get through as many well-rated eateries as possible.

Source: Engadget

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

Adding nontraditional revenue streams for your hotel

May 16, 2017

Surely hotel revenue managers are doing everything they can think of to drive rate and minimize distribution costs via traditional methods. But there are other ways in which your hotel might be able to generate additional revenue streams.

Of course, not all of these ideas are feasible for all hotels. Some ideas work better for resorts, which typically charge advance deposits and which tend to have more restrictive cancellation policies, while others might be more applicable at hotels.

‘Confirming’ room location requests
Despite how well hotels try to segment their inventory, most find that there are multiple subsets of rooms lumped into one rate/room-type category.

For example, a “deluxe” category might or might not have a certain view or specific location. Most hotel reservations agents will tell callers that they “will make a note of your request, but it is not guaranteed,” and then go on to hard-block the requested room.

Instead, consider allowing your voice agents to “confirm” the request for an additional add-on fee above the rate.

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

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

Are hotel images more important than guest reviews?

May 16, 2017

A lack of published reviews and a lack of photos are two of the biggest red flags for guests when browsing hotels. To someone viewing a hotel on the Internet, the absence of reviews or images may indicate to them that the hotel is hiding something -perhaps evidence of poor quality service, dirty interiors, or misleading location information.

TripAdvisor reports that 53% of their users won’t book a hotel without seeing reviews first and the importance of managing online reviews is often spoken about as a major point for hotels to focus on. The more hotels respond, the better their average rating. Hotels that respond more than 65% of the time have an average rating of four stars on a scale of one to five.

The presence of good quality images could be even more important.

Get the full story at SiteMinder

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

Sunday Night Fever

May 16, 2017

Is it the most profitable revenue strategy to price a Sunday night the same as, say, a high-demand Tuesday? Or, by doing so,are hotels unknowingly suffering from the Sunday night fever?

One might be wondering why some hotels price Sunday as a typical weekday rate. For some, the demand for Sunday nights might be high and a premium rate is well-warranted. For others, however, they might not be pricing their guestrooms dynamically, and are following a traditionally static pricing approach that offers a similar rate for Sunday-Thursday, and another for Friday and Saturday nights.

However, Sunday nights can represent some of the greatest revenue opportunities in many markets, and a weekday strategy that misses the mark by not pricing dynamically ends up sacrificing highly-coveted profits.

Get the full story at IDeaS

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

How travel sites use UI patterns to nudge customers

May 15, 2017

Due to the flexibility of UI patterns, travel sites often use them to do a few things:

- Drive urgency. Many customers aren't sure of what they want yet and shop around before making a purchase. Travel sites can use urgency and scarcity to speed up the decision.

- Make contextual recommendations. It’s easy to get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of options. Travel sites can provide relevant recommendations to help users get the most for their budget.

- Provide options for customization. There’s a lot of logistics that go into a simple getaway. Most travel sites let people easily filter out their preferences from an endless sea of choices.

- Set the stage for repeat usage. While making an immediate sale is probably the most important goal for sites, it’s also in their best interest to encourage account creation for lifecycle marketing.

Here’s a look at how 6 popular travel sites use UI patterns to accomplish some of these goals and more.

Get the full story at Appcues

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

Carlson Wagonlit Travel focuses on digital

May 15, 2017

A big part of CWT 3.0 is better use of data to make real-time decisions. A message popping up on a traveler’s phone after a flight could say that co-workers are staying at a certain hotel for a conference and give the traveler the option to stay at the same hotel.

CWT already has some messaging capabilities built into its mobile app that bring up reminders during an individual’s trip, but the company has begun to also explore connecting co-workers’ itineraries when they are traveling as a group. The “CWT To Go” mobile app saw an increase in users of almost 40 percent last year compared with the year before.

With so much of business travel being made up of repeated trips that are booked through a travel management portal, there is a vast amount of data that can be mined, including preferences for hotels and rental cars.

“Personalization is the absolute keyword,” Kurt Ekert president and chief executive of CWT said.

Get the full story at StarTribune.com

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

‘Airlines don’t know it all’ on distribution

May 15, 2017

“Airlines don’t know it all themselves. If they try to force practices on the industry it won’t be successful.”

Heywood criticised airline association IATA and its New Distribution Capability programme, saying: “Iata NDC always talks about the end state and not about the journey.

“Everyone talks about wanting all content through API [online distribution through an Application Programme Interface], but you can only get there if you plan the steps.

“A few direct connects with agents won’t get you very far. Airlines need to work with the industry as a whole.”

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

Read also "Airlines exhorted to ‘push back’ against Google" at Travel Weekly UK

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

What Google’s pivot to an “AI first” company means for the travel sector

May 15, 2017

At ITB Berlin in March 2017, Google announced that it now considers itself an “AI-first” company, moving away from its mobile-first position.

Following a flurry of releases in recent years, Google’s ever-expanding travel portfolio now includes Google Flights, Google Hotel Ads, Book on Google, Google Destinations, and the recently launched Google Trips.

This has fueled debate about the company’s potential ambitions to become a full-blown online travel agency. But the amount they receive in ad revenue from the major OTAs means this is unlikely to happen anytime soon.

Instead, Google sees itself as an “answer engine” and “connector” that helps consumers find the best possible matches when they’re planning a trip. And this is where its announcement as an AI-first company will really impact travel brands and hotels.

Get the full story at Travel Tripper

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/what_googles_pivot_to_an_ai_first_company_means_for_the_travel_sector1

OnTheBeach getting better at online marketing

May 15, 2017

It claims a 20% share of the UK’s online short-haul beach market and yesterday bought the “highly complementary” business sunshine.co.uk for £12 million.

Its online marketing is driven by a bespoke bid management technology, which helped OnTheBeach reduce its online marketing costs as a percentage of revenue to 40.4% this half compared with 46.3% last time. It has increased the proportion of branded and free traffic to 56.7% from 54.6%, at the same time as daily unique visitors (UVs) has gone up by 9.5% to reach 27.5 million.

Daily UVs are defined as ” number of individuals, as defined by an IP address, visiting pages from the onthebeach.co.uk website during a 24 hours period.”

Get the full story at Tnooz

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

Facebook changes news feed algorithm to crack down on low quality ads

May 15, 2017

On Wednesday, Facebook announced an update to its news feed algorithm that penalizes links to web pages that it considers of low quality. Rolling out “over the coming months,” per Facebook, the update will curtail the reach of organic posts containing these links and block ads linking to these pages from being approved in the first place.

The update will apply to ads running across Facebook, Instagram and Facebook’s Audience Network ad network and to organic posts on Facebook. It will not yet apply to organic posts on Instagram. That may have to do with the fact that only approved accounts can attach links to organic posts on Instagram — verified profiles for Stories and approved retail-related brands for non-Story posts — and those rubber-stamped groups are less likely to use spammy links, otherwise they probably wouldn’t have been approved in the first place.

Facebook is specifically targeting pages that don’t feature much original content but carry a lot of ads, particularly the annoying, offensive types like pop-ups and toenail-fungus ads.

Get the full story at Marketing Land

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

Swiss Quality Hotels now available on roomsXML

May 15, 2017

Swiss Quality Hotels International represent more than 60+ quality-oriented and individually run hotels across 40 cities and resorts in Switzerland, Germany and Italy.

“Swiss Quality offers travel agents wide range of first class accommodation options to choose for their customers. Guests booked into one of the member hotels can be guaranteed of Swiss-style contemporary, efficient and open-minded hospitality.” says Prakash Bang, Founder and Executive Chairman, roomsXML.com.

roomsXML is winner of numerous industry awards and accolades, including 'MSE 2' high credit worthiness certificate from CRISIL - an S&P Global company.

“We see huge potential with roomsXML. With their innovative technology and distribution reach in emerging markets like Asia Pacific and Middle East, we look forward to welcoming scores of guests at our group properties.” comments Amjad Nashashibi, Director Sales and Marketing, Swiss Quality Hotels International.

Related Link: roomsXML.com

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

Kevin Charity buys shares in hospitality tech partner, GuestRevu

May 15, 2017

Having just concluded an investment in hospitality technology provider GuestRevu, he’s now got his sights set on changing the way hoteliers think about their guests and the insights they can provide.

“I was drawn to invest personally in GuestRevu because I see so many parallels in the way we operate our businesses: a passion, a vision and a total belief in what we do. That was the initial appeal,” said Kevin. “While using the system in the Coaching Inn properties, I came to see that the foundation of GuestRevu is built on an understanding that the most important thing for a guest is not what we as hoteliers say or do, but how we make them feel. I believe this should be the foundation of any brilliant business, and on this we are totally aligned.”

Get the full story at GuestRevu

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

Booking.com’s CMO on competing with Amazon and brand loyalty

May 12, 2017

Booking.com’s Pepijn Rijvers might seem an odd choice for a CMO. He does not come from a traditional marketing background and had never held a marketing role before. He started his career as an entrepreneur in the financial services industry but in October 2008 moved to Booking.com, before taking on the CMO role two years ago. He has also headed up he supply and content team for Booking.com, something he says has allowed him to take a more entrepreneurial, varied approach to leading marketing.

Rijvers believes his untraditional background will help as he looks to develop Booking.com’s marketing strategy and travel direction.

Get the full story at Marketing Week

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

Will travelers buy TripAdvisor’s new ad campaign?

May 12, 2017

There are so many travel deal sites out there now, it can be hard to tell the difference. TripAdvisor is hoping a new $70 million to $80 million TV ad campaign that it plans to roll out later this year can set it apart.

The message of the ad campaign, according to executives who spoke on the company’s earnings conference call this week, will be that TripAdvisor is “a great place to find the lowest prices.”

But there’s reason to be skeptical about that claim. For years, sites that aggregate hotel listings have shown the same prices for many of the same hotels. Travel news and research site Skift notes that “although plenty of hotel price differences can be found if one takes the time to search on metasearch sites such as TripAdvisor, Google, Trivago, and Kayak, there is a whole lot of price parity as well, and no site always has the lowest prices.”

Get the full story at Barron's

Read also "Investors happy as TripAdvisor pulls back from struggling Instant Booking"

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

Expedia buys rail distribution platform

May 12, 2017

Expedia, Inc., and SilverRail Technologies, Inc., today announced entry into a definitive agreement in which Expedia will acquire a majority stake in SilverRail. SilverRail set out to solve rail's most challenging technology problems and has been an important Expedia industry partner, helping to bring online booking for rail to Expedia's customers.

"Rail is ready for an online revolution, and we're ready to be a part of it. Rail's shift online is one of the fastest growing areas of innovation in the $1.3 trillion travel market, and SilverRail is powering that innovation," said Dara Khosrowshahi, Expedia, Inc. President and Chief Executive Officer. "We are tremendously excited to welcome the incredibly talented SilverRail team into the Expedia family."

"The investment by Expedia will make our business bigger, stronger, and faster in executing current commitments and meeting the demand of new business," said Aaron Gowell, SilverRail Technologies, Inc. Chief Executive Officer. "We were looking for an investor and partner that understood our ambitions and was committed for the long term. Expedia is an ideal fit for us, as it sees the huge potential in rail and has a history of keeping its brands nimble."

SilverRail will remain focused on transforming the consumer experience of rail for carriers, travel retailers, and corporate travel companies. The transaction is anticipated to close in the middle of 2017 pending satisfaction of closing conditions, including approval from the relevant competition authority.

Related Link: SilverRail

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

Uber is losing its legal battles across Europe

May 12, 2017

The question has vexed regulators and lawmakers across the region for years and Thursday’s non-binding opinion gives an indication that Uber might not be able to shake off national restrictions, such as the obligation to get a license or other authorizations.

“The Uber electronic platform, whilst innovative, falls within the field of transport,” Advocate General Maciej Szpunar, of the EU Court of Justice, said in a statement on his opinion in Luxembourg on Thursday. “Uber can thus be required to obtain the necessary licenses and authorizations under national law.”

The car-hailing application accessed via smartphones and tablets has faced roadblocks, real and regulatory, across Europe, amid complaints brought by taxi drivers who say the company tries to unfairly avoid regulations that bind established competitors. Uber sees itself as an app, and defended that position last month again in the EU court in a separate, French case, which continued to puzzle the EU’s top judges.

Get the full story at Bloomberg

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

Bing revamps hotel search results with new carousel

May 12, 2017

Clicking on a result in the carousel prompts Bing to conduct a new search for the name of the hotel. From there, you can learn more about the hotel using any of the information contained in Bing’s search results.

If you look at the top of the carousel you’ll see several dropdown boxes. These can help you narrow your search down even further — perhaps you’re looking for a 4-star pet-friendly hotel, for example.

This new feature appears to only be live on desktop at the moment, which is interesting because it seems tailor-made for mobile. Maybe we’ll see the new UI make its way to mobile eventually.

Get the full story at Search Engine Journal

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

Google introduces major changes to enhanced CPC bidding

May 12, 2017

AdWords offers many different bidding strategies for advertisers to use to achieve their goals – whether they choose to bid for a target location on the SERP, a target CPA, or prefer to pay for views of their video or display ads. But most advertisers rely on cost-per-click (CPC) bidding to hit their goals, so much so that we often refer to AdWords as a PPC, or pay-per-click, platform.

However, as advertisers’ accounts grow in size and complexity, it can be difficult to manage an ever-growing list of keywords, audiences, demographics, and bid adjustments in our campaigns. In 2010, Google introduced enhanced CPC (eCPC) bidding to ease some of the burden for busy advertisers, which allowed Google to dynamically adjust your bid within 30% if it believed a search was more likely to result in a conversion. Since then, eCPC bidding became the default bidding strategy for new campaigns, giving Google some level of control over many advertisers’ bids.

Get the full story at WordStream

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

An open letter to independent hotels about getting ahead

May 12, 2017

In order to go head to head, which you absolutely can do, you must become more efficient and increase your revenue while still delivering the knockout service that’s giving you an edge.

As William Cotter of NetAffinity puts it, “… there is an industry-wide deficit in revenue management and marketing skills, as well as limited advertising spend. This can, at times, lead to independents struggling to stay on top of a rapidly changing technology landscape… This is where OTAs have excelled.”[2]

But what if you could build the technology you need to automate as much revenue management as possible so that you don’t require a full-time revenue manager? What if you could create applications that would deliver messages to your social followers with clout or develop apps that tie your marketing to your travel reviews? What if you could create applications that would analyze your online advertising spend? And this just scratches the surface. We’re not even talking about staff messaging capabilities, creating room maintenance monitoring, or mobile communication with guests—all of which create efficiencies. Finally, what if you could just plug into applications like these (and more) without the hassle of integrations. It sounds like woolgathering, but it all becomes completely possible through Snapshot’s Marketplace.

Get the full story at SnapShot

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

Rainmaker Group reports record setting growth in Q1 2017

May 12, 2017

In addition to growing the number of users for its comprehensive platform of pricing optimization and intelligence solutions, many existing Rainmaker clients also expanded their agreements during this time period, with several hotel groups taking their current Rainmaker solutions portfolio-wide or implementing additional solutions from the Rainmaker platform to augment those already in use at their properties.

“We are true believers in the positive results that our solutions bring to each hotelier and casino operator who entrusts us with their business. We remain dedicated to not only bringing our clients the most advanced technologies available, but also the strongest support team in the industry,” said Tammy Farley, Rainmaker president. “Our growth trajectory is a testament to our unwavering commitment to growing our platform, our people and our client relationships by delivering powerful tools that increase revenues for our customers.”

As the hospitality technology industry evolves, Rainmaker continues to strengthen its proprietary pricing optimization and intelligence platform to meet a wide variety of revenue management needs. With sophisticated, math and science-based algorithms, Rainmaker’s platform, consisting of guestrev®, grouprev®, revcaster®, revintel and a range of pricing and demand generation services, helps hotels and casinos continually fine tune their revenue management practices from forecasting and pricing, to business intelligence and competitor rate shopping. Using the company’s total guest value methodology and data-based approach, Rainmaker customers experience both immediate and long-term revenue growth across business segments.

“As a team, we constantly have our eye on continued growth and product development,” adds Farley. “We are ecstatic about the client partnerships we’ve established and expanded in the first quarter. We look forward to growth and platform innovation that will continue to propel our clients’ revenue optimization efforts.”

For more information on Rainmaker’s revenue management, pricing optimization and intelligence platform please visit: http://www.letitrain.com/

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/rainmaker_group_reports_record_setting_growth_in_q1_2017

How hotels fight online invisibility

May 11, 2017

At first glance, that looks to be an uphill battle. TripAdvisor is the most visible lodging site on Google, appearing on the first page of organic and paid search results for more than 85% of hotel terms. Hotels.com and Expedia also make a strong showing, appearing organically for more than 60% of search terms. Marriott is the only competitive hotel brand in the study, with a paid and organic presence as strong as Kayak’s on luxury keywords.

Hotel brands also lose out to online travel agencies and metasearch sites when it comes to side-rail and footer featured listings on Expedia, Kayak, and TripAdvisor. Not a single Hotel brand owns more than 6% of featured listings on Expedia, Kayak, or Tripadvisor, and brands as a whole never own more than 30%.

However, Hotel brands can boost their visibility by leveraging these platforms’ audiences.

Get the full story at L2

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

TripAdvisor gambles on TV campaign promising best hotels at lowest prices

May 11, 2017

TripAdvisor is returning to television advertising in a relatively modest way in 2017 after a two-year absence as it pivots away from an earlier “book, book, book” message and positions itself as the place to help users “find and book the the best hotels at the lowest prices.”

That’s how the company characterized the thrust of its upcoming $70 to $80 million TV campaign to be rolled out in the United States and select other markets later this year, as TripAdvisor released its first quarter earnings - but it isn’t necessarily the verbiage it will use in its campaign.

There was a lot of interest in whether TripAdvisor would return to TV and concern about the costs. The company said it believes that TV will take up a larger portion of its marketing mix in future years but for 2017, “we expect the channel will have a below-break even return on advertising spend profile.”

Get the full story at Skift

Read also "Investors happy as TripAdvisor pulls back from struggling Instant Booking" and "TripAdvisor relaunch to focus on price, consistency and user experience"

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

Facebook set to get ‘a lot more money’ from Priceline

May 11, 2017

When Priceline.com Inc. Chief Executive Glenn Fogel was asked in the travel services site's post-earnings conference call about Facebook's new retargeting product for travel, Fogel said the company was working with Facebook to improve the product to get more business done.

He said "we would like to spend a lot more money with Facebook," but are working with the company to come up with tools and other ways to maximize the return on investment.

"When that happens, we are ready, willing, able to spend a lot of money with them to find another way to get customers," Fogel said.

Source: MarketWatch

Related Link: Facebook dynamic adverts for travel

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

Priceline’s secret sauce: humility, synergy and people

May 11, 2017

Sitting “humbly” in the keynote hot seat at EyeforTravel Europe last week, dressed casually in jeans and an open-neck shirt, a first guess wouldn’t be that this was the CEO of a multi-billion dollar company.

But this is, after all the travel industry, and after spending 17 years building the biggest OTA in the business, with revenues of $10.7bn in 2016, you could argue that Glenn Fogel has every reason to look relaxed. But probably not for long, given the fierce competition and disruptive forces currently at play.

Still, for the short time last Wednesday that Fogel faced questions on everything from Priceline’s M&A strategy to managing complexity and the next big thing in technology, it was clear that, in spite of the challenges, he remains excited about the future – and proud of what Priceline has achieved to date.

Get the full story at EyeForTravel

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

Last click attribution is killing your hotel marketing campaigns

May 11, 2017

Marketing success today can be measured using many diverse metrics. Analytics programs let you measure everything from who and where your website visitors come from to what content they are interested in. These engagement and conversion metrics can help you understand what is really working when it comes to your website and marketing efforts.

Some hotels have an in-house digital marketing team, but most outsource their online campaigns to an agency. Either way, these teams are usually tasked with producing an ROI (return on investment) report for every dollar spent on channels like Google AdWords, Facebook, etc. There is an industry-wide obsession with knowing where the last revenue-generating click came from. This metric invariably takes center stage in marketing meetings, ensuring that the conversation never moves beyond the last click and how much revenue was booked. Ignoring overall marketing channel performance might have worked for hotels in the good old days, but not today. A lot of hotels are struggling to understand why they are not seeing massive returns on their advertising dollars anymore. Even brand name traffic and clicks are in decline. So what has eroded your marketing campaign power?

The villain in this story – the one preventing you from moving forward – is this thing called last click attribution. It has derailed countless hotel marketing campaigns for both large and small operators. I’d like to take some time to help you understand attribution models in the hospitality and travel business, and how they affect your marketing efforts.

Get the full story at Vikram Singh

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

Google rolls out new event search feature

May 11, 2017

Google product manager Nishant Ranka writes:

"To try it, type in a quick search like, “jazz concerts in Austin,” or “art events this weekend” on your phone. With a single tap, you’ll see at-a-glance details about various options, like the event title, date and time, and location. You can tap “more events” to see additional options. Once you find one that’s up your alley, tap it to find more details or buy tickets directly from the website."

Google provided the following link to its developer guidelines for creators so that they can make sure their event listings show up in within the new search feature: Google Search Events guide.

Get the full story at Search Engine Land

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

VR for your hotel website is here

May 11, 2017

VR is a truly powerful sales platform which can revolutionise how event spaces are presented however currently not every consumer owns a VR headset which can limit the potential reach of a VR campaign. Big news came recently when Google announced that the latest version of Chrome will support VR on the web, allowing users to enjoy VR content on any device. This will make VR accessible to more consumers because it can be experienced in the browser without any installed app which is a huge step forward for VR.

Get the full story at Visrez

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

How is Brexit hitting hotels? An analysis & recommendations

May 11, 2017

Early signs from June 2016, when the initial vote for Brexit took place, showed few changes to demand in the market. However, with a snap election announced the process of leaving the EU officially commenced, have things changed?

The snap election, with polls as they currently stand, seems likely to reinforce the hard Brexit that Theresa May and other members of the UK conservative party are pushing for.

Here’s one change we can currently analyse with certainty: the drop in the pound versus the euro now makes Ireland an expensive destination in the eyes of the United Kingdom and Northern Irish traveller.

Get the full story at Net Affinity

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

koddi

May 10, 2017

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

Priceline bookings soar, offers weaker outlook

May 10, 2017

Booking.com is seeing the fruits of its recent focus on including alternative accommodation to the portfolio, hitting a total volume of 1.2 million properties worldwide including 640,000 vacation rentals, CEO Glenn Fogel says during the company’s earnings call with analysts.

Advertising spend has increased massively between the first quarters of 2016 and 2017, up 25% to $981 million.

Agency revenue was where Priceline got most of its boost in sales, with the top line jumping by almost 25%. Merchant bookings grew more slowly but still climbed by a fifth, bouncing back from a particularly poor period in the fourth quarter of 2016.

CEO Glenn Fogel put a positive spin on the quarter's performance. "The Priceline Group is off to a strong start in 2017," Fogel said, "with solid growth in room-nights and rental car days booked." The CEO went on to talk about the extent to which the Booking.com platform has continued to grow.

Get the full story at Tnooz, Madison, and Priceline

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

Investors happy as TripAdvisor pulls back from struggling Instant Booking

May 10, 2017

A massive online repository of hotel and restaurant reviews, TripAdvisor is “increasingly agnostic” about how its customers book their accommodations - whether through the site directly or via links to hotel booking sites - Adam Medros, senior vice president of product at TripAdvisor, said in an interview. The company has changed its website to make its "Instant Book" feature less prominent.

Investors cheered the move and TripAdvisor shares jumped more than 8 percent in extended trading, even as the company reported earnings that missed analyst estimates.

For years the company made money by charging a referral fee for sending its users to sites like Expedia Inc. At the end of 2014, though, it started trying to get those customers to book directly on its site, aiming to capture higher-margin booking fees. The effort continued, while revenue fell and some investors abandoned the stock. In the last few weeks, the company did an about-face, changing its website to more prominently show deals from other websites if the prices were better.

“With Instant Book now heavily rolled back on both desktop and mobile, we no longer view IB as a meaningful headwind,” Cowen & Co. analyst Kevin Kopelman said in a note to clients.

Get the full story at Bloomberg

Read also "TripAdvisor scales back Instant Booking in favor of meta-search ads"

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

TripAdvisor relaunch to focus on price, consistency and user experience

May 10, 2017

In a briefing in advance of the earnings release, TripAdvisor’s senior vice president for product Adam Medros talked through the process of the redesign.

The new look and functions are being driven by the business’s belief that it is “a competitor of one” and is uniquely positioned “to bring all the pieces together – research and planning, the price comparison, the booking and then the trip itself,” Medros noted.

In practical terms, this has prompted a “reweighting” and “de-emphasising” of certain familiar features, but hotels still dominate because “consumers anchor their trip on the hotel and build around it”.

Get the full story at Tnooz

Read also "TripAdvisor scales back Instant Booking in favor of meta-search ads"

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

European Travel Commission report shows tourism looks set for solid growth in 2017

May 10, 2017

Europe welcomed 615 million international tourist arrivals in 2016, a moderate 2% increase compared to 2015[1]. Although recent events do not seem to have affected demand significantly early this year, perceptions of safety remain of utmost importance for continued growth. The outlook for 2017 is upbeat despite expected headwinds from safety concerns, uncertainty surrounding "Brexit" and potential policy changes from the new US administration.

According to the European Travel Commission's latest report, "European Tourism - Trends & Prospects" , almost one in two reporting destinations saw double-digit arrivals growth during the first months of 2017. Iceland (+54%) enjoyed the fastest growth supported by an ongoing surge in air capacity on transatlantic routes while Cyprus (+26%), Portugal (+25%) and Malta (+23%) proved their success in battling seasonality. Other top performers were Bulgaria (+19%), Finland (+18%), and Estonia (+13%) which were not impacted by security concerns that exist with other European destinations. While Switzerland (+3%) reversed its past trend by taking advantage of its key position as a winter destination, Turkey (-8%) is still seeing a downward trend that began in 2015.

"At times of dwindling market share and increased competition, European leaders must cooperate to collectively formulate appropriate policies and actions aimed at fostering Europe's image as a tourism destination," said Eduardo Santander, Executive Director of ETC.

Intra-European travel remains critical for future growth

Most reporting destinations saw substantial growth from Europe's largest source markets-Germany and France- fuelled by the ongoing recovery of the Eurozone. Despite uncertainty around the potential implications of UK's withdrawal from the European Union, tourist arrivals from this market remained solid.

Several destinations already report a rebound in arrivals from Russia -Iceland (+157%) Cyprus (+122%) and Turkey (+88%)-. Overall, outbound travel from this market is projected to improve alongside the rouble's expected recovery in 2017.

Following a boost in US tourist arrivals in 2016 (+6%), prospects for further growth looks high in 2017. Encouraging economic conditions and a strong US dollar against European currencies are expected to entice more American travelers across the Atlantic. An earlier-than-usual Chinese New Year boosted arrivals growth from China so far in 2017, however, this strong performance is expected to return to more typical trends towards peak seasons.

1. World Tourism Organization(UNWTO)

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

Marriott’s take on digital marketing: Always look ahead

May 10, 2017

eMarketer: What does the phrase “digital transformation” mean for your brand?

Stephanie Linnartz: Digital technology is transforming how guests interact with us - not only when they’re at our hotels but also as they’re exploring, planning and dreaming. We’re seeing significant increases in customers searching, shopping and booking through mobile devices, so making sure that we have a beautiful, intuitive and easy-to-use app is critically important. The digital transformation also extends to the on-property experiences. For example, we offer mobile check-in and checkout, keyless entry and other services through the mobile app.

eMarketer: Who oversees Marriott’s strategy for dealing with the digital transformation?

Linnartz: It cuts across various disciplines. I have a new position on my team called the chief customer experience officer [or CXO], and this role helps thread digital throughout the marketing, IT, brand and sales teams. Digital is ubiquitous, so it touches all those people, as well as the teams that are running our app, our website and our call centers. We’re all thinking about how we recognize the customer holistically, but the CXO helps carry that torch—it’s the quarterback position.

“We’re all thinking about how we recognize the customer holistically, but the [chief customer experience officer] CXO helps carry that torch - it’s the quarterback position.”

Get the full story at eMarketer

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

New user experience for Google Hotel Ads

May 10, 2017

These changes appear when the user selects “More hotels” under the local three pack that appears in the localuniversal landing.

When users click a hotel in the local three pack, they are then taken directly to the pop out (shown below) with the hotel ads present. If they would like to see more options and select “More hotels,” they are immediately directed to a two-month calendar to select a date range. From there, they can input their specific travel dates or simply click “Done” to continue with the default date selected. Hotels remain on the left sidebar with a brief description of the hotel, their Google rating, and the lowest ad price. When users click on a hotel ad slot on the left sidebar or on a specific location within the map, a pop out will appear over the map, showing the top four position hotel ads. This user flow is consistent with the previous version of Google Hotel Ads.

Get the full story at Koddi

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

Direct messaging guests: The on-site experience

May 10, 2017

We have previously talked about direct messaging, so you might already know why it’s important to not be afraid of direct messaging your guests and the do’s and don’ts of the process. And with technology driven millennials taking over, it’s also good to know that 77% of consumers with texting capabilities, aged 18-34, are likely to have a positive perception of a company that offers text messaging features.

That being said, it’s time to focus on what we consider to be the best and most important stage of direct messaging: the guests’ on-site experience.

There’s no time like the present, they say. And when it comes to communication between hoteliers and travelers, this is most definitely on point. While it is important to keep communication channels open during all stages of the shop-buy-travel experience, the on-site one is of particular importance. You have the option to make a great impression, to address issues and avoid unpleasant experiences, that might result in negative reviews.

So, how exactly do you take advantage of the direct messaging feature, while the guest is staying at the hotel?

Get the full story at TrustYou

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

The 2nd Leonardo Hackathon: Ideas to take us next level

May 10, 2017

The 7 teams competing in the Hackathon were tasked with creating ideas that either improved the performance of our products and processes, or increased the flexibility of Vizlly-powered websites. Teams were judged not only on the business potential of their ideas, but also on technical difficulty, implementation, creativity and their pitch.

Here are the ideas our Hackathon teams worked on.

Get the full story at Leonardo

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_2nd_leonardo_hackathon_ideas_to_take_us_next_level

TripAdvisor scales back Instant Booking in favor of meta-search ads

May 09, 2017

First reported by Skift, now a research note by Cowen and Co. put the changes into context, characterizing them as a “dramatic rollback of Instant Booking” that would boost TripAdvisor’s revenue $50 million to $100 million annually because TripAdvisor metasearch has the conversion advantage over Instant Booking.

The Cowen and Co. analysts also found that the rollback of TripAdvisor Instant Booking on mobile is even more dramatic than on desktop.

“Instead of Instant Booking, TripAdvisor has reverted to its more traditional meta-search price comparison ads that re-direct hotel shoppers to its partners’ sites — usually Priceline and Expedia brands (i.e. a return to a Trivago-like business model),” the Cowen and Co. note said.

Get the full story at Skift and Cowen (PDF 150 KB)

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

Loyalty and hospitality: Taking on the OTAs at their own game

May 09, 2017

While hiding discounted rates behind a password and requiring travelers to join a loyalty program to access them has clearly resulted in an increase in direct bookings, it has come with unwanted discounting and additional costs. Some savvy industry veterans point out that the more effective these programs become, the more these rates will be seen as the 'de facto' retail rates. They even remind of us a time when the only difference between a customer paying our highest rack rate and a discounted 'corporate' rate was their willingness to stay on the phone a little longer.

Basically, as an industry, we are once again forcing our guests to change their behavior, versus making them want to, and all to get a discount, as if we are somehow going to beat the OTAs at the game they invented. Many of the seasoned hotel people I speak to feel we never will. One poignantly stated, "Let's face it. The OTAs build websites and we carve ice."

They also say all is not lost and agree that loyalty is likely the key. As one of the hoteliers stated: "In the face of all this technology, we have to reconnect with the fact that we are innkeepers. When a customer eats breakfast at my Marriott, every Marriott hotel in the world has the opportunity to know what that person likes to eat for breakfast. Expedia does not." He went on to say: "Consumers are loyal to value, not just price. Hotels have to win by knowing them better and caring about them. Think about it in terms of your own loyalty. You might go out of your way to save a little on a tank of gas, but you'll practically kill yourself for a true friend."

Source: Hospitality.Net

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

TripAdvisor embraces online food delivery with Grubhub integration

May 09, 2017

While TripAdvisor emerged as a travel website for user-generated reviews, including hotels and restaurants, the company has long expanded beyond this service to provide mechanisms to make bookings, too. Indeed, the company has enabled Instant Bookings for hotels for a while, and a few years back it also opened up to restaurant reservations.

The Grubhub tie-up, however, doesn’t usher takeaway orders directly into the TripAdvisor platform. Instead, users browsing for restaurant listings in the U.S. will now see an Order Online option beside a listing when the venue is also available through Grubhub, and when they click on that, they’ll be whisked off to Grubhub’s mobile app or website to complete the order.

For Grubhub, already the default online food ordering option for millions across the U.S, it’s an easy and effortless way to garner more mindshare within one of the world’s biggest online review sites. And for TripAdvisor, it’s another feather in its quiver as it looks to broaden its reach into new verticals.

Source: VentureBeat

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

Reported travel fraud cases against consumers up 20%

May 09, 2017

The number of reported cases rose by almost 20% from 2015 from 4,910 to 5,826 with an average loss of £1,200 per person.

But Abta, the City of London Police and fraud prevent body Get Safe Online believe that these figures are only the tip of the iceberg with many victims not reporting the fact that they have been defrauded.

The two age groups most commonly targeted are those aged 20-29 and 30-39, with older generations less likely to fall victim, particularly those over 50 who are perhaps more wary of ‘too good to be true’ offers.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/reported_travel_fraud_cases_against_consumers_up_20

How direct mail is winning in the age of the internet

May 09, 2017

If you're wondering how that can be possible, consider these stats noted in the infographic:

- Some 70% of Americans say physical mail is "more personal" than email.

- Neiman Marcus says it makes four dollars for every one dollar it spends on creating and mailing catalogs.

- The USPS found that customers who receive ad mail spend 28% more than those who don't.

Get the full story at MarketingProfs

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

SiteMinder’s Prophet is not a revenue management system, it’s a recommendation system

May 09, 2017

Prophet isn’t a revenue management system, it’s a recommendation and business intelligence system. It’s about getting information to hoteliers so they can make their own decisions on how they want to manage their room inventory.

If you look at smaller properties, do they really need a complex revenue management system to tell them what the price of their rooms should be when they’ve only got 10 boutique rooms? Prophet was born on the idea of avoiding difficult software configuration and hard-to-grasp revenue management strategies.

It’s going to have a very long trajectory, we’ll be bringing more and more information into the system over time, but still present it in a simple way that customers can get their heads around. From day one we want them to be thinking ‘this is easy to use’.

Get the full story at SiteMinder

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

HeBS Digital provides coursework for EHL’s online education certificate program

May 09, 2017

The firm that has helped hoteliers around the globe drastically increase direct bookings, lower overall distribution costs and increase the lifetime value of guests collaborated with EHL to provide training and coursework videos for EHL’s Advanced Certificate and MBA in Hospitality, including:

- Interview with Max Starkov, President & CEO of HeBS Digital
- Interviews with two strategic and marquee hotel clients
- Multichannel Marketing
- Website Conversion Tactics
- Consulting
- Technology
- SEM (Search Engine Marketing)
- SEO (Search Engine Optimization)

Get the full story at HeBS Digital

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

U.S. hotels plan lobbying push over Priceline-Expedia ‘monopoly’

May 08, 2017

The U.S. hotel industry plans to step up a lobbying and public-relations attack on Expedia and Priceline Group, hoping to convince consumers and members of the Trump administration that the travel-booking giants are monopolistic.

The American Hotel & Lodging Association, an industry group whose membership includes Marriott International, Hyatt Hotels and Hilton Worldwide Holdings, devised plans for a campaign saying the online travel companies use unfair practices in their search businesses, according to board meeting documents seen by Bloomberg.

The trade group intends to lobby Federal Trade Commission officials on the issue to try to ensure that new members picked by President Donald Trump are friendly to hotels, according to the documents prepared for a January meeting of the group’s board.

Get the full story at Bloomberg

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

The travel agent of the future a human-digital hybrid?

May 08, 2017

"If you combine these things, you can ideally start creating interactions with humans on an individual basis. It allows us to go back to the travel agent who knew us and our families and knew if we wanted to take a taxi or an uber for example."

But he acknowledged his team still has a long way to go before they produce a chatbot that will be able to answer travellers' often complex travel questions perfectly. Chatbots "learn" through their interactions with humans: the more people use them, the more information they store, enabling them to answer more queries more comprehensively.

"People won't just put in dates and where they want to go anymore, they'll have pretty specific and complicated queries. Voice-activated technology and AI can answer unstructured requests instantly. It's a great opportunity but an interesting engineering challenge," he said.

Get the full story at stuff

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

Why virtual reality is a perfect fit for travel

May 08, 2017

Virtual reality is travel’s natural friend,” declares Alistair Weaver, founder and chief executive of Gaucho Productions. While Gaucho has previously focused on 360-degree and “mixed reality” content for the motor industry – most recently for Ferrari – a project for Mark Warner Holidays earlier this year has opened his eyes to the possibilities within the travel industry.

The winter wonderland setting and slopes of Val d’Isere formed the setting for a short Mark Warner Holidays promotional video, commissioned by technology companies Tigerbay and Mesmerise. Over two days, Weaver and colleague Eva Ticha filmed Mark Warner’s Chalet Hotel Le Val D’Isere and the surrounding slopes.

The four-minute video (below), presented by Weaver, allows viewers to immerse themselves in the holiday – with filming on a special 360-degree rig consisting of three GoPro cameras allowing viewers to turn their head in any direction to explore their holiday environment.

Get the full story at TTG

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

Digital personalisation in travel - the next stage

May 08, 2017

"Like many industries, the travel sector has evolved massively over the last decade. The digital era has brought with it a whole host of opportunities for travel companies and consumers alike. Companies operating in the sector can reach a global audience with relative ease, while consumers are offered the convenience of buying their perfect holiday from the comfort of their own homes.

These changes mean that high street bookings are slowly becoming a thing of the past, with 76% of UK residents booking online, as opposed to 19% which are made in person. With a massive variety of destinations, airlines, accommodation and different excursions on offer in one place, it is easy to see why. As well as this, more and more people are now suffering from the dreaded 'Facebook Envy' as friends and family post photos online in various beautiful locations around the world. The rise in social media usage has resulted in 18% of total internet users using some form of online media to research and plan their travel. This figure rises to 44% for 16-24 year olds who dominate many social media platforms.

Get the full story at TravelMole

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


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