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Hotel companies make a hard sell for soft brands

June 23, 2017

Additionally, hotel companies said their loyalty programs and booking engines will enable independent hotels to cut their percentage of the more expensive OTA bookings and generate more revenue directly via the larger companies' websites and call centers.

Once under a soft brand, OTA commission rates, in the form of wholesale room prices, can fall to about 15% within the larger hotel company's umbrella from as much as 25% as a pure independent, according to Mark VanStekelenburg, New York-based managing director at CBRE Hotels Consulting.

"Anything that's being stewarded by one of the big international hotel companies such as Marriott, Hilton, Hyatt or [InterContinental] has a leg up right now," VanStekelenburg said. "The question is whether these concepts are all set up to stand the test of time."

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

Cloud-based hotel software has failed, but a new paradigm is on the horizon

June 23, 2017

Why didn’t the cloud revolution happen? The answer is that the first generation of hotel cloud software solutions didn’t do anything radically different from the legacy hotel software vendors. The first generation hotel cloud software was basically the old stuff but available via the internet. The user interface ran inside a browser instead of a desktop window but otherwise all the other problems of legacy software remained.

1. Complicated and expensive installation and configuration

2. Closed, proprietary systems 3. Integration with other components complex or impossible 4. High dependence on a single software vendor 5. Extending the system, if possible, requires expensive, custom software development

What’s more, the cloud systems were often missing features and functionality that the legacy software had. Plus, the cloud vendors generally lacked a sales and support infrastructure or partner network that many of the legacy vendors enjoy.

Get the full story at Hospitality Net

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

How to take a bigger piece of the travel pie

June 23, 2017

For almost a decade, the air, rail, and cruise sectors had seen unrivaled growth between 3 and 5% each year. However, over the last 12 years that has changed as search interest dropped by 26%. Yet, according to Hitwise, search engines continue to be the largest driver to travel websites. Together this paints a picture of a shrinking marketplace.

Whilst we are not seeing these sectors shrink astronomically, travel booking websites such as Expedia and Lastminute.com are rapidly growing and taking larger chunks of the ecommerce market.

As the market becomes more saturated, the only option to ensure you take a bigger piece of the pie, without overstretching and overspending, is intelligent advertising.

Get the full story at The Drum

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

PPC for hotels: How to counter OTAs

June 23, 2017

A quick glance in your Auction Insights report for your brand campaign will let you know if OTAs are bidding on your particular brand, and how they perform against you. Impression Share is a good indication of what percentage of the time the OTA is showing for your brand. Compare their Impression Share with your Impression Share, and you’ll be able to see whether they show for your brand more often than you do.

To try and counter some of the traffic and sales lost to OTAs who are bidding on your brand, it is important for you to be bidding on your own brand too. In addition to simply bidding on your brand, you can also bid on your brand plus the name of the OTA, for example ‘Hotel Name Laterooms’.

When you do this, consider what you put in your ad text to try and combat or match their USPs.

Get the full story at State of Digital

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

Airbnb testing split payments

June 23, 2017

The idea is to ease the logistical burden on potential travelers, and the primary organizer in particular. According to Tim Rathschmidt, an Airbnb spokesperson:

We’re currently testing a way to split the cost of a trip on the Airbnb platform. This is a small, initial pilot - our goal is to make it even easier to use Airbnb to travel with friends and family.

Get the full story at The Next Web

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

Google Posts rolling out worldwide, but not for hotels

June 23, 2017

The Post can be further defined as an event with a date range or a call to action link can be added with a URL to a page that the business’s chooses.

According to Google the product will initially roll out to most categories of businesses but not all. Apparently (and not surprisingly given the degree of monetization) Hotels and B & B’s are excluded at launch.

Google is working to expand the available categories. The launch is specifically about providing Posts to Local businesses that are using the GMB dashboard and is not available to brands via G+.

Get the full story at Google Small Business and Understanding Google My Business & Local Search

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

TravelClick to debut new pricing engine at HITEC

June 23, 2017

As pricing strategies in the hospitality industry continue to change, TravelClick announced the upcoming release of its new Pricing Engine on the Company’s Central Reservations System (“CRS”). The product will be available in TravelClick’s iHotelier CRS to allow hoteliers to easily create new promotions, discounts and pricing strategies from start to finish, driving business to their direct channels.

With this new Pricing Engine, hoteliers can execute any pricing strategy – no matter how creative or complex – in six simple steps. The platform is built with modular pricing variables that can be layered to create highly targeted promotions in an intuitive, easy-to-use manner to drive future demand and occupancy.

Example promotions that hoteliers can set up include:

- Mobile-only discounts targeting guests on-the-go
- Last-minute or same-day discounts to drive immediate occupancy
- Flash sales to quickly increase pick-up for need periods

Get the full story at TravelClick

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

Cloud5 streamlines guest engagement with Volara partnership

June 23, 2017

Cloud5, hospitality’s #1 communications technology and services platform, is partnering with Volara to offer WiFi powered voice-based guest engagement for hotels and resorts. The partnership is a natural extension of Cloud5’s holistic hospitality communications platform designed to deliver an exceptional stay experience for today’s always-on hotel guests. Cloud5 will be showcasing Volara in booth 1029 at HITEC 2017 in Toronto next week. To schedule an appointment, click here.

Automated guest engagement is disrupting guest services, demanding hotels and management companies to rethink how they connect with and serve clients on the guests’ medium of choice.

“Cloud5 provides the backbone of the hotel engagement infrastructure,” said David Berger, CEO for Volara. “Together, Volara and Cloud5 provide a streamlined solution for hotels to service guests and build loyalty.”

Get the full story at Cloud5 Communications

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/cloud5_streamlines_guest_engagement_with_volara_partnership

How TripAdvisor is fixing its Instant Booking problem

June 22, 2017

The company hopes that when instant booking is visible, it will be increasingly recognized by consumers as providing genuine value. And for consumers who still decide to click away to book their stay on a TripAdvisor partner site, Kaufer says "that's great" - so long as they're happy and return next time they need to make travel arrangements.

TripAdvisor recently launched a redesigned app experience that it also hopes will improve monetization rates. The company has simplified its content and made the transition between researching and booking more seamless.

Getting people who think of TripAdvisor for ratings and reviews to also think of the company as the easiest way to book travel will not happen overnight. But TripAdvisor is getting ready to spend $70 million to $80 million on a new advertising campaign designed to do just that. And it's going to focus on a message of saving money, which the company believes will yield quick results.

Get the full story at The Motley Fool

Read also "TripAdvisor in the age of platforms tries the full-service model" at Skift

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

Will travel agents benefit from Hyatt/Expedia tiff?

June 22, 2017

Hyatt would target increased investment in digital marketing to encourage travelers to book through agents and travel management companies.

Hyatt's bold strategy comes at a time when more and more hotel brands are pushing direct-booking campaigns that reward guests for booking directly through a company's website, mobile app, call center or a travel agent. In April 2016, Hyatt joined the movement, announcing that loyalty members would earn up to a 10 percent discount on their hotel stay when booking directly through one of the aforementioned channels rather than an OTA.

"Hyatt.com guarantees the best price, and its hassle-free experience means you manage your reservations on your terms," Hyatt's senior vice president of global digital Ellen Lee said in a statement at the time.

Get the full story at TravelPulse and Travel Market Report

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

Booking.com expected to resume activities in Turkey

June 22, 2017

Speaking to Anadolu Agency (AA), Ahmet Temurci said the judiciary requires some obligations from Booking.com for the resumation of operations.

"I think that technical, financial and tax-specific arrangements will be made after talks are concluded. Booking.com may continue to operate in Turkey after fulfilling these requirements," he said.

Temurci noted that after upon the conclusion of talks between Turkey's Economy Minister Nihat Zeybekci and company officials as well as the fulfillment of regulations regarding technicalities, taxation and finance, Booking.com is expected to resume its activities in the country.

Get the full story at Daily Sabah

Read also "Was Turkey’s Booking.com ban necessary?"

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

Cvent redesigns supplier network

June 22, 2017

Cvent's 245,000-property supplier network offers one of the meetings industry's deepest sourcing pools. This puts the onus on Cvent to provide the best search and filter capability to get to the right property set for a particular meeting and enough property-specific detail for a meeting organizer to choose the best single fit. That's the goal of Cvent's redesigned supplier network and sourcing tools that debuted at the meetings technology company's Cvent Connect conference in Las Vegas last week.

“This launch marks a paradigm shift in venue sourcing based on our customers’ holistic interests and feedback,” said Cvent VP of marketing Kevin Fliess. “Our technology team has spent thousands of hours doing field research and has worked hand-in-hand with our customers to ensure that the redesign meets the needs of the modern planner and our supplier partners.”

Cvent worked with clients to prioritize functionality and intuitive search. It also looked to proven, user-tested content like Google Maps to upgrade the experience.

Get the full story at BTN

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

trivago’s new Express Booking in detail

June 22, 2017

trivago has launched a new tool for its metasearch engine called trivago Express Booking.

It is basically an interface that trivago provides OTAs and hotels with to facilitate the booking process for the client on that channel without redirecting them to the OTA or hotel website. Despite the booking technically being made on the trivago URL, the aim of trivago Express Booking is to be transparent with clients, highlighting the channel’s image at all times and make them feel that they are booking directly on that channel. In order to reinforce this message, they offer the option of redirecting to the channel at all times and doing the booking on there directly.

Improving the user experience, particularly on mobile devices, where the jump to the OTA or hotel website can be associated to a loss of clients, whether it is due to unoptimised technology or long response times. With this change, according to trivago, there will be an increase in the conversion ratio that will result in an improved profitability in the campaigns of OTAs or hotels (therefore, more money) and in more satisfied clients.

Get the full story at Mirai

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

Google test puts hotel price before brand

June 22, 2017

According to Koddi, this experiment appears to be serving approximately 5% of the time in the US. We have yet to see it in any other markets.

In our study on rate, advertiser type, and price preference in metasearch, we found that 61% of consumers said that price was their most important consideration in which ad to click.

If we think down the line through potential impacts, this could affect the click curve, the measure of how frequently users click ads in each position. If the nightly price is further emphasized in Google Hotel Ads, it may also impact the behavior of searchers who otherwise may have overlooked a slight difference in price and gravitated toward a familiar brand.

Get the full story at Koddi

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

Webinar recap: Smart SEO strategies to drive direct hotel bookings

June 22, 2017

At the heart of any good SEO strategy is an understanding of the modern traveler’s path to purchase. With this in mind, Jennifer discussed how the rise of mobile is reshaping how travel shoppers research and book hotels online. 60% of travel related searches are now being made on smartphones, and 20% are being made through voice search. And with Google soon switching to a mobile-first index, hoteliers need to embrace mobile with full conviction.

Jennifer discussed how mobile is changing travel shoppers’ expectations of hotels. Companies like Uber and Amazon have mastered the mobile experience, and travel shoppers now expect the same kind of experiences from hotels. If your mobile website isn’t optimized to provide this, they will turn to your competitors.

The good news is that advancements in machine learning and data collection by Google can now help hotels better identify and reach travel shoppers; specifically, those who are more likely to complete a booking.

Get the full story at Leonardo

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

5 effective tactics for attracting international guests to your hotel

June 22, 2017

There are some fundamental strategies you need to employ and some factors that may be holding you back.

1. Increase your language and currency capabilities

If you don’t have multi-language and multi-currency optimised, it’s very likely you’ll experience a high number of abandoned bookings.

Guests may love the look of your website or property images, but if they’re unable to read about your features in their own language, or view rates into their own currency, they’ll quickly become frustrated and look for a hotel that can accommodate these needs.

Translating your web pages is not the only priority. To give international guests the full experience you may want to offer translated brochures or audio tours to give guests an idea of what to do and see during their trip.

Get the full story at SiteMinder

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

Mobile to account for 40% of US digital travel sales in 2017

June 21, 2017

This year, digital travel sales in the US will reach $189.62 billion, 40.0% of which will come from mobile devices.

In its definition of travel sales, eMarketer includes airline, car rental, cruise, hotel, accommodations (including Airbnb) and transportation.

US mobile travel sales will total $75.85 billion in 2017, up 16.7% over last year. On the flip side, desktop and laptop travel sales will decline 1.6% this year to $113.77 billion.

Meanwhile, desktop/laptop’s share of all digital travel sales will shrink to 60.0%. And by 2021, mobile will represent nearly half of all digital travel sales.

Get the full story at eMarketer

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/mobile_to_account_for_40_of_us_digital_travel_sales_in_2017

How Hotels.com looks toward mobile future

June 21, 2017

The travel industry is heading toward a mobile future, as more travelers are choosing to plan their trips on their smartphones, according to an executive at hotel booking site Hotels.com.

“We’ve done some studies with millennials and what they’ve told us is that they like the apps for the sake of convenience in particular, but also some of the features, like the filters and being able to book on the app straightaway with a stored credit card,” said Abhiram Chowdhry, who heads the Asia-Pacific and Latin America regions for Hotels.com, in an interview with The Korea Herald.

In particular, Korea has become an important market to watch in terms of mobile service development. Since Hotels.com entered the Korean market nine years ago, Chowdhry says that the growth of mobile users as well as the number of individual travelers have been particularly noticeable here.

Get the full story at The Korea Herald

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

Marriott: Design tech backwards, put people first

June 21, 2017

That’s the view of Marriott International’s chief sales and marketing officer for Asia-Pacific, Peggy Fang Roe, who caught up with CMO during a recent visit to Sydney. Acknowledging most marketing leaders are being confronted with the need to better utilise technology to improve the way their brand engages with customers, Fang Roe is quick to advise marketers to consider “the end in mind first”.

“As a CMO, you have this tech stack you have to define and based on what you want to do, there are a plethora of technologies available. But a lot of people make the mistake of going the other way, and saying I’m going to build my stack, then figure out what to do with it,” she says. “You run into so many org problems that way.

“Really, you should think about what you want staff to do, and your marketers to do, and what people will do with the data. That means designing backwards.”

Get the full story at CMO

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

What travel marketers need to know about local search and mobile

June 21, 2017

Over the past decade, nothing has impacted travel buying more so than search and consumer access to mobile devices. Now more than ever before, the customer buying journey has changed due to increased mobile use, both in travel planning, and while in destination. As a result, the playing field has been leveled for local operators against the big brands and online travel suppliers, who have dominated search for the past decade.

What has changed in the customer path to purchase of travel:

1. Mobile Access has changed consumer buying process, expectations, and even the way they buy travel and travel related services.

2. Local and “near me searches” have changed the travel path to purchase with in-destination or “in the moment” sales increasing year over year.

3. Consumers expect the “mobile first” user experience with easy access to contact information, maps, directions and reviews. They expect accuracy in listing information, and immediate response from brands in solving problems.

4. Within the online mobile experience, local listings, maps, and review sites are dominating the points along the customer journey, and directly impacting revenue in the travel category, more now than in the past with reviews integrated into the local and mobile search experience.

Get the full story at Alicia Whalen

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

Study: Hotels unprepared for data breaches

June 21, 2017

The hospitality industry is a favorite for hackers, as recent reports indicate that hotels are the most breached type of business.

“Hackers love hospitality,” said John Bell, founder of security consulting firm Ajontech, LLC, in an interview with HT. This statement is corroborated by Verizon’s 2016 Data Breach Investigations Report, which states, “nearly three quarters (74%) of all threats to security in the hospitality industry involved POS intrusions. And they accounted for 95% of breaches, where data was confirmed stolen.”

Unfortunately, however, when asked what their companies are doing to protect payment data, the results are troubling. According to Hospitality Technology’s 2017 Lodging Technology Study, 74% of hotels do not have breach protection and less than half use end-to-end encryption for cardholder data (49%) or use tokenization at the card swipe (46%).

Get the full story at Hospitality Magazine

Download the Hospitality Technology’s 2017 Lodging Technology study at Hospitality Technology (free registration)

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

Google advice: Switch your m-dot domain to responsive before the mobile-first index rollout

June 21, 2017

The rationale is that right now, Google has a desktop-first index. So Google doesn’t really index your m-dot; they just annotate the m-dot URLs, but there is no true indexing of your m-dot content. So if you did a migration from m-dot to your main www now, Google doesn’t have to index anything, it just updates those mobile annotations to say the main website is mobile-friendly because it is responsive.

If you wait to do this after the mobile-friendly index rollout, then Google will fully index your m-dot content and URLs. Then the migration will take longer, because Google is not just updating URLs but also the content and signals within your pages. In short, it might make sense for you to push up your m-dot migration plans now versus waiting.

Get the full story at Search Engine Land

Read also "Google’s mobile-first index likely not coming until 2018 at earliest"

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

Consumer research reveals guest preferences and expectations for direct hotel communication

June 21, 2017

Key findings of the study include:

- The majority of guests (80%) expect hotels to initiate contact and reach out via email

- 73% of guests have communicated with a hotel via online channels (email, text message, and/or social media)

- Guests are significantly more likely to have a better communication experience when communicating through text messages and on social media

- On-site hoteliers are the preferred point of contact, and guests are extremely likely (91%) to report service issues during their stay

Download the complete study at TrustYou (free registration)

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

Are you showing up in local search results when it matters most?

June 21, 2017

46% of all searches on Google are local. With only the 3 top results are shown in a consumer’s initial search (see screenshot below), do you want to risk the chance of someone clicking “more places” in hopes they find your business? Let us help guide you through the world of local search and tell you how to best optimize your hotel.

Local SEO is an online marketing approach to target locally based searches and to get businesses in front of potential customers when it matters the most. This includes Google My Business (GMB), which is housed in search results, Google+, and Google Maps. It also includes citations, consumer reviews, on-page optimization, links, and social signals. Consumers utilize local search results as a way for research and to make purchase decisions.

Get the full story at GCommerce

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

Google searches correlate with hotel demand

June 20, 2017

The two companies studied the hotel sectors in New York and London in 2015 and 2016, and monitored trends between the number of Google searches for accommodation and actual room nights sold in these cities.

“Our study showed a statistically significant relationship between Google search data and the number of room nights actually sold in the two markets,” said Robert Bauer, senior analyst at STR. “Global markets vary greatly as it relates to seasonality, consumer travel behaviour and economic factors, but it is reasonable to project a similar correlation for other established markets in the hotel industry.

“This is important for hoteliers in assessing interest in a particular destination and measuring how booking patterns evolve around that interest,” he added.

Get the full story at Travel Daily Asia

Download the study at STR (free registration)

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

TripAdvisor gets a negative review

June 20, 2017

The additional TV spending, discussed by the company’s management, pushed Credit Suisse analyst Paul Bieber to downgrade TripAdvisor’s stock to Underweight on Monday. He thinks shares are worth $34, 9% below current levels. TripAdvisor’s stock is down 21% so far this year, including a 3.9% decline today.

The higher marketing costs weigh on profits. But at the same time, the company’s big competitors are spending loads more than it on advertising, so it’s not at all clear how effective TripAdvisor’s campaigns will be.

Bieber is concerned by the disparity in TV ad spending among the key players in online travel. He thinks TripAdvisor will spend $75 million on TV spots this year and $150 million next year. Priceline and Expedia, though, could spend four times as much as TripAdvisor in 2017, and Trivago, 10 times.

Get the full story at Barron's

Read also "Why TripAdvisor returned to TV ads after a two year hiatus"

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

Marriott tightens cancellation policy

June 20, 2017

Marriott said the new policy “will allow hotels a better chance to make the rooms available to guests seeking last-minute accommodations.”

Hotels whose policy is to allow guests to cancel their room reservations on the day before arrival without incurring a fee “are faced with a significant number of unsold rooms due to last minute cancellations,” the company said.

The new policy applies to all Marriott brands in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean and Latin America.

Get the full story at Tnooz and Skift

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

Corporates overpay when they don’t audit hotel rates regularly

June 20, 2017

In an analysis of hotel rate auditing programs used by its clients, BCD Travel found that a company that doesn’t conduct standard rate audits will overspend on its hotel program by $122,500 for every $5 million in spend. Combining standard rate auditing—the industry norm that checks that a rate is loaded properly into the global distribution system—with rate availability audits can prevent $225,000 in overspending for every $5 million in spend.

Yet, while about 80 percent of BCD clients conduct standard rate audits, according to Marwan Batrouni, senior director and hotel practice area leader for BCD’s Advito consultancy, only about 30 percent of clients have opted for monthly rate availability audits.

Another recently wrapped study, from the Global Business Travel Association and HRS, found that while 86 percent of travel managers conduct a GDS rate load audit, only 6 percent check rates on a monthly basis and another 4 percent check rates weekly. The study concluded that one in every six hotel contracts is incorrect owing to discrepancies in rate, room type, amenity or cancellation policy. Those errors contribute to corporates overpaying by 14 percent in their negotiated hotel programs, the analysis found.

Get the full story at BTN

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

Strong U.S. dollar has no impact on travel to Europe

June 20, 2017

Earlier this month, Skift asked U.S. adults through Google Consumer Surveys: Does the strength of the U.S. dollar compared to other currencies impact how you travel?

The results don’t point to “yes:” More than 36 percent of respondents said that a strong U.S. dollar has “little to no impact on my travel decisions.” Nearly 10 percent, however, said that “exchange rates strongly influence my travels.”

In general, the majority of respondents weren’t keen on or aren’t able to travel abroad as more than 54 percent said: “I have no immediate plans to travel abroad.”

Get the full story at Skift

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

Google rolling out hotel price labels

June 20, 2017

According to Google hotel search expert Sergey Alakov hotel price labels can now be seen on different desktop/mobile browser configurations - a sign that Google is rolling out the feature on a large scale.

All major OTAs have implemented hotel price labels already for years, as location and price are the two major search qualifiers when searching for a hotel.

Get the full story with screenshots at Sergey Alakov

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

How to build and analyse successful hotel rate plans

June 20, 2017

1. Room Only: Book Direct to Find the Best Available Rate

Offer a room only rate with a Best Rate Guarantee to your own website. In short, no matter the scenario, guarantee for guests that the best available rate for your hotel will always be when they book direct. Here’s a study from Cornell that gets into the specifics of how customers prefer to see BAR displayed on your site.

A word of warning: offering this rate plan to any third parties or other openly available sources opens up the opportunity for them to margin test your rate to secure a booking through their own website.

Margin testing is when an OTA tests the margins of the rate you are providing them, usually by taking 2% – 4% off the rate and selling the rate cheaper online. The hotel will still receive the correct rate for the booking, but the OTA will have taken the hit in commission by 2% – 4%. This percentage won’t concern them, as in most cases they are still making a further 12% and in some cases 15%. You can eliminate this risk by only offering “room only” rate plans directly on your official hotel website.

Get the full story at Net Affinity

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

Free sell or free fall?

June 20, 2017

Contrary to any widespread belief, hotel meetings and events space does more than just sell guestrooms. In fact, for many hotels, the profit potential of this revenue stream is so significant that it can contribute 40-60% of their total profits. When it comes to leveraging this event space strategically, however, it’s often one of the most overlooked opportunities for substantial revenue generation.

The industry has talked about folding revenue management strategies into sales and catering processes for quite some time (we even blogged about it here, here and here). But despite the damning evidence and encouraging conversations to support such an industry shift, there hasn’t been a strong call for technology that fully allows hotel teams to do so. Why does this matter so much? The answer is easy: this lack of integrated technology hurts hotels right where they feel it the most…their profit potential.

Take the concept of “free sell,” for example. This prevalent sales strategy is commonly used throughout the hotel industry, most notably in upscale and 5-star markets, and it follows a fairly simple premise: If a meeting request for a date in the future comes in, and it has no guestrooms attached to its RFP, a catering or sales manager can’t book the business without approval. That is, unless the time frame falls in a designated “free-sell” period, which is a short-term booking window in which the hotel will take any business to fill open meeting rooms in the near future.

Get the full story at IDeaS

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

Airbnb tries to behave more like a hotel

June 19, 2017

In just nine years, the company has built a global hospitality brand on the backs of homeowners like Ms. Bishop. The company’s valuation has skyrocketed to more than $30 billion. Yet to expand further, Airbnb must attract travelers who prefer the predictability of hotels to the quirky array of spare rooms, empty homes and even the occasional yurt that Airbnb has long touted as its backbone.

Travelers accustomed to hotels have come to expect that they can automatically book an Airbnb without having to ask first for the owner’s permission — something that has long been a fixture of the hotel booking process. They want to know that their reservation is firm. They expect fresh linens and privacy. They also anticipate that hosts will act like hotel staff members, meaning they will be courteous and blend into the background.

As a result, Airbnb’s hosts have had to deal with more rules, fees and guidelines. Many have taken on responsibilities that would be handled at the front desk of a hotel, such as explaining (and sometimes collecting) an expanding list of fees and taxes. They are grappling with new tools that let travelers instantly book Airbnbs, much like a hotel reservation system. Airbnb has also introduced recommendations around cancellations and check-in times that mirror those of hotels, and it allows guests to hide listings that ignore that guidance.

Get the full story at The New York Times

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

Scaling product at Airbnb

June 19, 2017

Topics include:

- Y Combinator’s Paul Graham giving Airbnb permission to do things that don’t scale, which was the right advice. The first practical application of this advice: going to the hosts’ locations to take better photos.

- Realizing it’s not just a website or a place to lay your head, it’s the experience around it.

- Design thinking: The end-to-end experience that people go through as they experience a product (whether your product is a bottle of water or a travel solution).

Get the full story at Y Combinator

Read also "Airbnb Vacation  -  Seamless Trip Planning Done Right" at UX Design

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

Expedia plays the Asian card

June 19, 2017

Tech-savvy, selfie-snapping Asians comprise the world's largest number of smartphone users. According to the GSMA trade group, the number of mobile subscribers in the Asia-Pacific region is expected to reach 2.7 billion this year, making up over half the global figure.

Expedia is already serving many of them. Expedia runs its own Expedia-branded websites in 14 Asia-Pacific markets including Australia, China, Thailand and Singapore, most of which have larger traffic volumes coming from mobile. Globally, the figure is 45%.

A survey conducted by digital research company Criteo shows that 39% of 1,100 respondents in India, Singapore, Australia, Taiwan, Vietnam and Indonesia primarily use smartphones for booking travel, and 38% book while on the go. "It's mobile or nothing in Asia," Khosrowshahi said.

Get the full story at Nikkei Asian Review

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

Booking.com’s ‘fail fast’ approach

June 19, 2017

Its people think about how they can build customers’ experiences when they develop products or create innovations. They are always trying new things and are not afraid of failure, as trial and error help the company quickly achieve its goals of finding out which ideas please customers which do not.

“Our approach to innovations is to fail fast,” said David Vismans, global director and chief product officer.

Vismans’ job is trying to figure out what makes customers come back to the website, to build experiences for customers, and really to understand what customers want from the site.

Get the full story at The Nation

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

Is Booking.com breaking its ‘free cancellation’ pledge?

June 19, 2017

The company does not deny that this happens but says it is all done by the hotels as they manage demand for their rooms – and it claims it has no role in changing the pages. It maintains that users who have problems are not paying attention when making their bookings. It also says it has 8,000 staff waiting to help customers who experience problems.

Many readers suggested travelers use Booking.com to find rooms, but then go to the hotel direct - saving the hotel the 10%-15% commission readers suggest the site demands from its hotels.

Get the full story at The Guardian

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

The architects throwing out the rulebook on hotel design

June 19, 2017

"It began as an experiment because I wasn't seeing a lot of creativity in the hotel business," says John Hardy, CEO of The John Hardy Group, the development consultancy behind the annual competition. "I thought that a lot of the most creative ideas came from people who were not in the mainstream hotel industry."

The competition has attracted an increasing number of sophisticated submissions from around the world.

Some designs take an entirely new approach to hospitality, while others put their own spin on current trends, such as sustainability and adventure travel.

Get the full story at CNN

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

Best practices for a high-converting website: A look book for hoteliers

June 19, 2017

Your hotel website is your digital storefront; the place people come to in search of more information about your property. You’ve got one shot to make a great impression and lead them down the booking path. No pressure! Download this Look Book to learn 5 best practices for how to create a high-converting website, along with practical examples from hotels reaping the rewards.

Download your copy at Leonardo

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

Why TripAdvisor returned to TV ads after a two year hiatus

June 19, 2017

The ads could be a way to attract more customers to its platforms and use its metasearch and Instant Booking capabilities.

The recent ad conveys that TripAdvisor helps find hotels at the best prices, suiting traveler budgets from a selection of over 200 sites. The company's Instant Booking feature is not highlighted in the ad, but the ads will be evolving with time and new releases.

According to the company, the first ad wanted to focus on TripAdvisor’s ‘comparing hotel prices’ feature, while subsequent ads will likely deal with the booking options. It is noteworthy to mention that while TripAdvisor was absent from TV for the last couple of years, its peers - including Trivago, Hotels.com and Booking.com - have been spending significantly on advertising. It makes sense for the company to keep pace with its competitors.

Get the full story at Forbes and Barron's

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

Does Airbnb have the formula right for managing online guest reviews?

June 19, 2017

Because Airbnb is part of the sharing economy and there is a close mutual relationship between guests and hosts, the review system reflects this by allowing both parties to review each other.

This means travellers can decide not to stay at a certain property, but a property can also refuse a booking from a traveller they don’t trust based on the reviews left by hotel peers. Essentially this increases the chances of eliminating fake or unfair reviews.

It’s a process that has evolved and the new review procedure is far superior to the original one. Until 2014, both traveller and host were able to see each other’s review as soon as it was posted and could then write their own.

Get the full story at SiteMinder

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

Online hotel booking scams on the rise, duping consumers

June 16, 2017

In 2015, just six percent of American travelers reported having booked on what they believed was a hotel's official website, only to find they had booked on a fraudulent site – websites that use a variety of marketing tactics to mimic hotel websites but are not, in fact, affiliated with the hotel. Just two years later, the number of travelers reporting that same experience has nearly quadrupled to 22 percent. Today, that amounts to 55 million hotel bookings of this type each year, translating to $3.9 billion in "bad" bookings.

Furthermore, new evidence reveals consumers are not getting the deals they think they are from third-party booking sites. A poll commissioned by the American Hotel and Lodging Association (AHLA) details the extent to which online travel agencies can mislead consumers, revealing that 74 percent of travelers have less confidence booking with these sites after learning more about the prevalence of scams and deceptive marketing tactics.

Get the full story at AHLA

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

Marriott Hotels rallies innovative travel startups to help shape the future of travel

June 16, 2017

Now in its second year, the programme gives young start-ups the chance to grow through expert guidance and the opportunity to pilot their product within the Marriott Hotels portfolio in Europe.

This year, Marriott Hotels, is looking for start-ups in the following areas to help innovate and inspire creative thinking around the entire guest experience:

- The in-room experience
- Transforming the overall guest experience, in and out of the hotel
- Helping guests find headspace to flourish and stay inspired

Get the full story at Marriott

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

Airbnb launches fund to foster local customs and traditions

June 16, 2017

The community fund is the first of its kind for Airbnb - although it fosters local community development, this is the first time that it will back that up with funding. From what I understand, the company will be looking to see how it works before deciding how and whether to expand it to other regions. It looks like Airbnb has yet to fund any projects. It is accepting letters of interest now for a shortlist who will make longer proposals in November. The first grants will then come in 2018.

“The question is, how do you support emerging tourism,” Chris Lehane, Airbnb Global Head of Public Policy and Public Affairs, said earlier today in a call with journalists about the fund. “We have had a lot of success doing one-off projects in Europe and we want to put this in place and take it to the next level.”

Alongside that, Airbnb is announcing some milestones in how it’s contributing to the economy: specifically it’s projecting that it will contribute some €340 billion in economic output across communities in Europe by 2020 (including not just the accommodation, but the additional spending visitors will do once they are staying in an Airbnb somewhere).

Get the full story at TechCrunch

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

TripAdvisor launches new Storyboard feature for hotels

June 16, 2017

The Storyboard function is claimed to offer a more “attention-grabbing” presentation than just a static photo on the listing page of the travel reviews site.

Storyboard is available to Business Advantage Preferred Access subscribers.

It is one of a number of enhancements to the photo interface on the listing page, which include:

- A better organised and easier to navigate redesigned photo-viewer
- Favourite Photos are now prioritised in the newly redesigned carousel on the property’s listing page
- Cover Photos allows subscribers to hand-select the main images for addition photo categories that appear alongside the carousel

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK and TripAdvisor

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

Whitepaper: Google Analytics, a hotelier’s guide

June 16, 2017

It only takes a little fine-tuning, though, to gain the insight you need to turn your website into a conversion powerhouse.

We all know the challenges today’s hoteliers face. It can feel that you have to be everything at once - the perfect host, the tech genius, the marketing guru. For many hotels, taking the time to set up and monitor a web analytics platform is, understandably, way down the priorities list.

However, there are a few key metrics that you really want to be tracking on your website. With that in mind, we’ve put together a Hotelier’s Guide to Google Analytics, crammed full of the stuff you need to know - and nothing you don’t.

The Hotelier’s Guide walks you through:

- How to measure the content that turns lookers into bookers

- The five things hoteliers aren’t doing yet - but should be

- Online conversion rates by geo - how do you measure up?

- How to use A/B testing well

The best way to spot bots (hint: they make up 50% of your web traffic...)

Download the free guide at Triptease

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

Google’s mobile-first index likely not coming until 2018 at earliest

June 16, 2017

Google is “probably many quarters away” from launching its mobile-first index. So said Gary Illyes, Google webmaster trends analyst, during a crowded session Tuesday afternoon at our SMX Advanced conference in Seattle.

“It’s going to be a big change, but don’t freak out,” Illyes said.

SEOs and webmasters have been wondering and waiting for a couple of years now for news on when the mobile-first index will roll out. Illyes wasn’t able to give an exact answer to that question today.

Get the full story at Search Engine Land

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/googles_mobile_first_index_likely_not_coming_until_2018_at_earliest

AccorHotels selects IDeaS to deliver advanced revenue strategy for its worldwide hotel network

June 16, 2017

By integrating thousands of hotel and external market data points into its analytics engine, the IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System (RMS) platform automatically evaluates demand fluctuations and competitive changes to deploy optimal pricing and inventory control decisions. It also offers comprehensive interactive dashboards and reporting tools to help hotels achieve maximum profitability.

“Partnering with AccorHotels exemplifies IDeaS’ robust capabilities and our ability to drive better revenue for budget hotels, luxury brands and everything in between,” said Sanjay Nagalia, chief operating officer for IDeaS. “We are excited to show AccorHotels the impact our automated revenue management technology can have at each hotel and to the business as a whole.”

“IDeaS’ range of affordable solutions and capabilities for all our hotels is what attracted us toward this partnership, and we are confident the resulting implementations will help our investors enjoy the highest possible returns on their investments,” said Fabrice Otano, chief data officer for AccorHotels. “The SAS analytics behind IDeaS G3 RMS bring a superior dimension to the relationship, and we are eager to see how their proven analytics can optimize pricing and bottom-line revenue.”

Get the full story at IDeaS

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

Improve your hotel’s revenue strategy with proper segmentation

June 16, 2017

Firstly, let’s nail down exactly what we mean by segmentation. For our purposes segmentation is “the process of defining and subdividing a large homogenous market into clearly identifiable segments having similar needs, wants, or demand characteristics.” Segmentation allows you to tailor your strategy to precisely match the needs of different aspects of your market, increasing bookings, revenue and guest satisfaction.

This segmentation can be done on several levels, depending on your end goal. In this article, we will focus on the 2 main types of segmentation usually looked at by the revenue manager.

Get the full story at Net Affinity

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

simplebooking

June 15, 2017

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

Lost and found: Booking.com in India

June 15, 2017

According to a Phocuswright 2016 report, India’s travel market growth will outpace its GDP growth by 2020. Today, home grown companies such as makemytrip, yatra and goibibo and international giants such as Expedia and Thomas Cook dominate more than half of the Indian travel market.

While booking.com is slowly making roads for itself in the Indian OTA segment, the company’s marketing and advertising strategy in India has not been that fierce. While Expedia and Airbnb are putting in a huge amount of money on advertising in India, booking.com has fairly stayed behind in terms of company’s M&A in India. “In India we advertise the most on digital platform. Although, we are among the highest spenders on advertising on a global level,” said Vikas Bhola, regional manager, Indian subcontinent for Booking.com.

Get the full story at BW Businessworld and The Ken (free registration)

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

TrustYou acquired as user-generated hotel reviews sector heats up

June 15, 2017

The price of the sale, which was an equity transaction, was not disclosed by either party. Recruit Holdings has acquired a variety of companies ranging from restaurant iPad point-of-sale software provider TouchBistro to staffing service provider SimplyHired and has invested across various sectors as well, recently autonomous delivery company Savioke.

They also own job-search giant Indeed.com, several online restaurant reservation platforms, and various travel booking sites serving markets in Asia. They’ve invested in vacation rental site Tripping as well.

TrustYou’s hotel clients have remained relatively modest in scale as the company has grown. Perhaps it will be able to attract bigger brands, and more companies based in Asia, with a more robust global presence.

Get the full story at Skift

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

Airbnb ramps up push to get more hosts to choose Instant Booking

June 15, 2017

For all its popularity and the apparent tech-driven nature of its brand, until now Airbnb has been behind others in the world of private accommodation with only having instant booking available on a small minority of listings.

The feature was only introduced in 2014 (all guests previously had to request a stay with the host and then wait for confirmation) – but this week the company says it has reached a level where two out of five listings offer instant booking.

This equates to 60% of all bookings now being secured with instant booking.

The shift is likely to continue on a sharp upward trajectory as Airbnb says 70% of all new listings on the site are using the facility.

Get the full story at Skift and Tnooz

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

Cvent to hire 200 employees

June 15, 2017

“At Cvent, we have a strong track record of delivering robust year-over-year growth in the huge and largely untapped market for meetings, events and travel technology. 2017 has continued to propel growth, as we have expanded the platform to now include Cvent Passkey and Business Transient solutions. We also have announced new innovations in our Event Cloud with the new Cvent Flex, and on our Hospitality Cloud with the new Cvent Supplier Network and Business Intelligence,” said Reggie Aggarwal, founder and CEO of Cvent. “Recruiting talent has always been a priority for Cvent, and as an entrepreneur and CEO, I’m incredibly passionate about job creation. This year, we are looking to hire more than 200 people around the world to meet our increased growth, and we’ve opened new offices in APAC in order to meet the demand in that region.”

Specific growth highlights include:

Strengthening the platform and technology: Cvent is expanding its platform to offer a full spectrum of meetings, events and travel solutions. Most notable are the integrations of the Passkey and Business Transient solutions into the Cvent platform, which open up new ways for planners to interact with hoteliers while providing hotels with new, highly-targeted marketing channels designed to increase revenue per available room (REVPAR). Other notable product innovations include:

- The introduction of Cvent Flex, a brand new portal designed to streamline the process of registration website creation,
- The redesign of the Cvent Supplier Network, and
- The launch of a new Business Intelligence Platform for the Hospitality Cloud.

Investing in people: Cvent has been actively hiring a wide range of technology, customer support and operational positions. The company employs more than 2,600 people and expects to hire 200 more people globally by the end of 2017, with more than half of the positions in the U.S.

Increasing international presence: Cvent has opened additional international offices and expanded its presence in existing markets outside of the U.S. to support a growing global client base. The company now operates 12 offices worldwide across four continents. Most recently, Cvent opened new offices in Singapore and Melbourne, Australia, to provide deeper regional support to the Asia-Pacific market.

Adding new customers: Cvent is adding new customers to the platform and there is strong growth in both the Event and Hospitality Clouds. So far in 2017, the Event Cloud has signed more than 775 new customers, including many enterprise clients in the Fortune 500, and the Hospitality Cloud has added more than 1,050 new customers, including many luxury brands around the world.

“We see that there is a huge opportunity for us to continue leading the industry in innovation for both the buyers and suppliers of the meetings and events industry. Each day, more planners and hotels are discovering Cvent, while an increasing number of current customers are leveraging additional elements of the Cvent platform to increase event ROI and group business profitability,” continued Aggarwal.

Related Link: Cvent

Read also "Cvent and Lanyon announce merger"

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/cvent_to_hire_200_employees

One way to fix Uber: Think twice before using it

June 15, 2017

Don’t do it - at least not without considering the full weight of your decision, and the many alternatives you might turn to instead. Try Lyft. Use a taxi, a bus or a train. Heck, hire a limo and a chauffeur with a golden top hat. To encourage a better Uber, it’s time to play the only card you’ve got: If it backslides or otherwise fails to live up to the promises it’s making now, stop using Uber.

There’s a lot at stake. Ride-sharing, as an industry and a civic utility, is too big an idea to be left to a company like the one Uber is now. The company that wins this industry is bound to become one of the world’s most powerful corporations. Its executives and culture will indirectly shape how we build cities, how we use energy, how we employ and pay people. We will entrust it with the safety and the security of our families, our streets, our private data and even, conceivably, the national infrastructure.

Yet the Uber we have now is simply not up to that task. Even its board now acknowledges that the world desperately needs a better Uber.

Get the full story at The New York Times

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

Facebook researchers progress on teaching AI chatbots to negotiate

June 15, 2017

Facebook researchers say they have made progress in training chatbots to negotiate.

The social networking giant's Facebook AI Research (FAIR) group published a paper to show how bots can be used to plan ahead in a conversation and adapt negotiation strategies.

Facebook's overall goal is to create chatbots that can reason, converse, and negotiate so its personal assistant can compete with rivals such as Google (Google Assistant), Amazon (Alexa), Apple (Siri) and Microsoft (Cortana) to name just a few.

Get the full story at ZDNet

Read also "Forget chatbots - you should create a workbot instead" at VentureBeat

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

SnapShot expands US business

June 15, 2017

Wood, who serves on the board of directors for the Hotel Electronic Distribution Network Association (HEDNA), brings a wealth of knowledge and relationships to SnapShot in the United States. Previously, he led GTA’s hotel connectivity and chain business from an operational and commercial perspective.

“I am very excited for SnapShot to take the next steps into the American market,” said Wood. “We are currently at a turning point in hotel technology, where streamlining hotel operations is not just focus, but a necessity. I look forward to working with our partners to help their clients adopt fully integrated applications, leading to optimized operations and ultimately maximizing hotel performance,” he continued.

“We are entering the golden age of hotel software where hoteliers have an opportunity to differentiate their offerings by assembling and integrating unique sets of applications,” said Jos Schaap, CEO and Founder of mobile technology and PMS company StayNTouch. “We are proud to partner with SnapShot, who is a foundational leader in this endeavor.”

Get the full story at SnapShot

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

Vertical Booking to showcase innovative Hotel Booking Tool Kit at HITEC

June 15, 2017

The Vertical Booking Enhanced Tool Kit includes a host of features developed to engage the guest during the booking process. The Recovery Strategy prompts guests who are about to abandon the reservation process with a fully customizable pop-up message to reel them back in. With Secret/Locked Deals, guests can enter their email address to unlock special offers, which grows the hotel’s email list and makes the guest feel special. The Alternative Offers tool suggests special promotions for additional nights or services, which translates into higher revenue per stay.

The OTA Rate Comparison Pop-up builds guest confidence by displaying OTA rates and can automatically match the lowest rate while remaining in parity. The fully customizable Persuasive Messaging increases conversion by encouraging the guest to proceed with the booking.

Finally, the Competitor Rate Checker allows hotels to check their prices against those of the competition in just a few clicks.

Get the full story at Vertical Booking

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

netaffinity

June 14, 2017

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

Hyatt threatens to leave Expedia

June 14, 2017

Last week, Hyatt hotel owners received notification of Hyatt’s intent to terminate its Corporate Lodging Agreement with Expedia. While the announcement is widely speculated to be a negotiating tactic, if Hyatt and Expedia do not reach a settlement effective July 31, 2017, Expedia, along with related channels (Hotels.com, Travelocity, Orbitz, Hotwire and Hotwire Opaque, Wotif, and the Expedia Affiliate Network) will no longer be approved distribution channels for Hyatt properties.

In the communication to owners, Hyatt describes this decision as “a powerful step to reduce distribution costs by shifting bookings to lower cost and more flexible channels.” Hyatt acknowledged that Expedia and related bookings represent a notable share of Hyatt’s business, but remain confident that eliminating the channel will drive more bookings to Hyatt direct, enable more meaningful guest connections and reduce costs (enhance profitability). The brand also cited its relatively new guest loyalty platform, World of Hyatt, which was launched in March 2017 to replace Hyatt’s Passport program, is intended to build a stronger community of guests, with enhanced perks and increased engagement.

Hyatt detailed a plan to support this move through what was described as an “aggressive sales and marketing plan” and related initiatives to drive more direct traffic – from increased investment in digital marketing to incentivizing lower-cost booking alternatives, such as travel agencies and travel management companies.

Get the full story at Hotels

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

Expedia launches EPC Points of Interest

June 14, 2017

When determining which hotel to book, consumers rank location above amenities, price and ratings, showcasing its importance in the decision-making process.* For business travelers, location is even more critical, with 73 percent saying it is the single most important factor when selecting a hotel**. To ensure Expedia’s hotel partners can address and capitalize on this key consumer insight, EPC Points of Interest makes it easy for hotel partners to highlight unique local activities and landmarks that appeal to travelers.

“Location is king. Guests want to experience the best our city (Seattle) has to offer with the limited time they are here. Our property location is unique; it is the only hotel in Pike Place Market so it’s critical that guests understand our proximity to the market when they are researching their options. Images, descriptions, and a map help us inform potential guests not only of our unique location, but also our close location in comparison to other landmarks in Seattle such as the waterfront and museum," said Troy Thrall, director of sales and marketing at the Inn at the Market.

EPC Points of Interest allows hotels to generate up to 10 nearby must-sees for any property and customize as they see fit. They can tailor landmarks list to appeal to their target traveler demographic. Hotels can further customize their local recommendations with unique photos and local tips for each Point of Interest, enabling even further differentiation and brand integration. EPC Points of Interest can be easily added and updated by hoteliers from the EPC website, and will soon be available in the mobile app.

“Location has been identified as the primary factor that determines hotel choice across all travelers around the globe***, so it became a priority at Expedia to enable our hotel partners to differentiate based on this critical factor,” said Benoit Jolin, vice president, lodging product at Expedia, Inc. “EPC Points of Interest is highly customizable, so not only does it identify nearby sites of interest, it allows hotels to add custom photos and tips to really personalize the experiences to their brand and property.”

EPC Points of Interest is available worldwide.

More information at Discover Expedia PartnerCentral

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

Ctrip looks to go global

June 14, 2017

To discuss Ctrip.com’s growing ambitions, Wall Street Journal senior editor Yun-Hee Kim spoke with the company’s chief executive, Jane Jie Sun. Here are edited excerpts of the discussion.

MS. KIM: Ctrip.com has pretty much consolidated China’s online travel market. Do you see further room for consolidation in the global market?

MS. SUN: We are the No. 1 player in the China market. There is lots of room for us to further penetrate into the second-tier and third-tier cities. In the global space, though, Ctrip is an infant. I think the golden years are yet to come. So we are very excited about the future opportunities.

MS. KIM: You have a 10% stake in MakeMyTrip MMYT 1.86% in India. India’s a very competitive market, but also very different from China. What are the biggest challenges there and why did you decide to invest?

MS. SUN: India will overtake China as the most populous country in the world. Although the GDP per capita is quite low, it has potential to grow the affluent portion of its people. And these people will be able to travel.

The India market is very similar to China in the sense that it’s very localized. Only local people know how to deal with the government, how to develop that market. We believe MakeMyTrip is a very good player in that market.

Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal

Read also "Can Ctrip persuade non-Chinese to use its site?"

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

For hotels to beat OTAs, it will be because of experience, not marketing

June 14, 2017

Some are tweaking their loyalty programs to encourage direct bookings. Marriott and Hilton, for instance, last year began offering discounts of up to 25% to loyalty program members who booked directly through their websites. And Hilton now lets its loyalty program members redeem their points to make Amazon purchases.

Price is an important experience lever because many consumers have come to believe that they receive lower prices from OTAs than they do from hotels themselves.

But hotels aren't stopping there. Some are offering perks, like free WiFi, gift cards and even car rentals, to guests who book directly. Others allow direct-booked guests to select the room of their choice before they arrive.

Get the full story at Econsultancy

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

5 hotel marketing tips for better Google search results

June 14, 2017

Google offers a variety of different services that can help hotel marketers expand their reach, increase online visibility, and ultimately improve their business – and better yet, they're easy to implement and most won't cost you a cent.

Here are some simple and effective ways hoteliers can boost their brand with Google.

1: Get listed on Google My Business

Google My Business (previously known as Google Places) is a must-have, free-to-use platform for hoteliers. It combines Google Search, Maps and Google Plus (also known as Google+) to help your hotel connect with potential guests by making it much easier for them to find you in an online search.

For example, people will very often use a blanket search term like 'hotels in London' when using Google, rather than searching for a specific hotel directly. And it goes without saying that when they do, you want to be among the hotels listed on the Google Maps and Google+ entries in the search feed – especially if the search is made in the nearby vicinity of your hotel.

Get the full story at Hospitality.Net

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

How to use blogging to improve SEO on your hotel website

June 14, 2017

When travelers are looking for a hotel or information on your destination, Google’s algorithm delivers what it considers to be the most helpful and relevant content to their search. So if your blog features quality information that Google deems relevant, your hotel will rank higher in its search results.

Building a successful blog requires certain key ingredients, including a solid content strategy, audience awareness, an authentic voice, and plenty of marketing savvy. The following post explains how to implement some of the latest SEO principles to create a blog that grabs the attention of the search engines as well as your readers.

Get the full story at Travel Tripper

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

Placement optimization on dynamic ads for travel

June 14, 2017

Since dynamic ads for travel (DAT) is still a relatively new solution, some travel advertisers have been hesitant to use placement optimization or leverage placements other than the desktop feed and mobile feed. But what about other the other options such as Right Column, Instagram and Audience Network?

Some of the reasons advertisers don’t leverage placements other than Desktop and Mobile include:

- Performance: If a placement performance does not reach goals quickly, advertisers are hesitant to let it run
- Less control: Enabling multiple placements on the ad set level doesn’t allow for as much control
- Brand Safety: They may not be fully aware of how much control they have over where and what their ads are showing up next to.

Get the full story at Koddi

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

Improving organic search performance with structured data

June 14, 2017

Interaction and CTRs with organic results outside of the first position have declined. With the reduction in the number of ads on the front-page, the demand for that ad space has increased significantly, which results in an increase of as much as 60% in Brand CPCs.

While we don’t believe that we can combat this trend and effectively give our partner websites the same visibility they once enjoyed through Google’s organic results, we wanted to explore any possible way that we might be able to provide an additional benefit above what our client’s competitors were doing. If we are not able to completely reverse the trend of declining search traffic, can we at least slow it down? One area we saw a great opportunity in was with structured data.

Structured Data is not anything new to the Internet; it is simply a way for very specific data to be conveyed with a high level of organization. This allows information to be easily read by spiders and bots on the Internet in order to aggregate that information in an automated fashion for relational databases.

Get the full story at GCommerce

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

Tricks of the travel trade: tackling three key digital marketing challenges

June 13, 2017

Here are three key challenges affecting the travel industry as we know it:

Tackling the omni-channel experience

Google recently coined the term “micro-moments” to describe the various touch points and ways we consume content online. For any marketer, it is becoming an increasing effort to effectively handle the growing number of channels and ways that a consumer can interact with a brand. The rise of mobile devices has fractured the traditional consumer journey, leaving a somewhat disseminated path to purchase and an abundance of ways to get there. In order to be successful, we need to understand how to reach the consumer across the many touch points as they continue along their decision-making process.

Get the full story at The Drum

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

Ian Schrager on the next generation of boutique hotels

June 13, 2017

The secret to scaling the Public brand, and keeping its rates so low, lies in its disruptive, tech-reliant business model.

There is no formal front desk. Guests check in on their own using an iPad in the lobby, or they can be assisted by a “public advisor.” Checking in includes activating your own room key at the iPad kiosk.

The majority of rooms range in size from 205 to 220 square feet. “It allows us to make booking of the rooms over the Internet and through technology, rather than to a reservationist, very easy,” he said.

Instead of charging fees for things such as room service and Wi-Fi, Schrager said he’s using technology to streamline the process and cut down on labor costs in the process. He estimated that the number of staff is only 50 for the 370-room hotel.

Get the full story at Skift

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

Airline industry sees higher profits in 2017

June 13, 2017

Total profits for the group's 275 member airlines are now expected to hit US$31.4 billion this year, up more than five percent from the previous forecast late last year.

"Airlines are defining a new epoch in industry profitability. For a third year in a row, we expect returns that are above the cost of capital," said IATA's director general, Alexandre de Juniac, as the group opened its annual meeting in the Mexican resort city of Cancun.

But he warned airlines still face risks, ranging from cost increases to security issues to growing protectionism in some countries, including the United States and Britain.

Get the full story at Flight Global

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/airline_industry_sees_higher_profits_in_2017

30m Chinese tourists set to travel overseas for summer holidays

June 13, 2017

Half of these Gaokaoers, aged 17 to 19, will be on their first trips to overseas destinations, said the report.

Statistics from the 2017 Graduation Travel Report released by another renowned OTA platform, Mafengwo, also revealed that over 50 percent of students have placed orders for overseas destinations to celebrate their graduation, surpassing domestic traveling.

Nearly 60 percent of these graduates have chosen to make trips to nearby Asian countries.

Source: gbtimes.com

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/30m_chinese_tourists_set_to_travel_overseas_for_summer_holidays

Google tests Hotel Price Slider with Hotel Price Graph

June 13, 2017

Each bar must represent the number of hotels within that price range, communicating to the searcher where they should adjust their price filter to get the most selection for the price selected.

Get the full story at Search Engine Roundtable

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

Hotel sales best practices for the era of electronic inquiries

June 13, 2017

By Doug Kennedy

As anyone who has worked in the profession of hotel sales and catering sales for 10 or more years knows, the skill-set required to be a top performer is quite different these days. Today’s sales superstars still have to have exceptional “people skills,” which today is more formally referred to as emotional intelligence.

Equally as vital, however, is the need for sales colleagues to develop an excellent organizational skillset. These days, one has to be good at both “people” and “process” skills in order to succeed. This is because today’s sales teams are dealing with an overwhelming flow of electronic correspondence throughout the sales cycle and it is therefore essential to be highly organized.

First, there is an overwhelming number of leads coming in via electronic channels, as meeting and event planners reach out to a long list of hotels via a few key strokes at CVENT, Starcite, CVB sites, Meeting Broker, or Wedding Wire and The Knot. Thereafter, once a prospect becomes a client, communications regarding key details start flowing in piecemeal in via texts and emails at all hours of the day.

Therefore, it’s essential that sales professionals evolve their skill-set tool box to adapt to all of these changes. Following are a few of my recommended best practices from KTN’s sales training for today’s era of electronic inquiries and messaging.

- Give up the paper and embrace your electronic tool. Whether you are using Delpi, Opera Sales & Catering, Salesforce, or one of the many other lead tracking systems, fully commit to using all if its features. There are just too many leads floating around to track any other way. Searching through a stack of print-outs of leads is way too time consuming when a prospect calls in; as is going through the stack when it’s time for follow-up.

- Similarly, stop trying to make Outlook into a lead tracking system. While Outlook can be an excellent email platform, and the calendar features are useful, if you take time to fully embrace your lead tracking platform you will probably find it has far more features and functionalities that will make you a better organized sales person.

- Enter all “right sized” leads as soon as the come in. Print RFP’s and inquiries as PDF documents and attach them to the contact. (This will also help your revenue manager better track demand for meeting space and also lost business.) Then – and this may be hard for many of you – toss that paper into the recycle bin!

- Immediately trace the next step. Ideally, it is good to respond right away but of course this is not always possible. Just trace the lead for “today” until you have responded and then re-trace for the actual next step.

- Respond by phone. Unless the sender specifically requested not to be called, find a reason to pick up the phone and engage your prospect with some intelligent investigative questioning. A good way to start the call is by saying “I just have a few questions that will help me better respond in more detail…” If you can’t reach them, leave this in a voicemail and you will at least be showing intent to out-service the competition.

- Next, personalize the correspondence sent out. Start the cover email or cover letter by paraphrasing and re-stating a few key details you have learned from the inquiry (or hopefully the phone call if you were able to connect.)

- Customize the proposal templates. Most hotels have several templates already, but by making a few changes to the textual copy and also the images included you can make it real for the recipient. If it is a company or association, drop-in their logo.

- Respond both inside and outside of the platform (where possible.) Ensure that your response does not get lost in the long list by also sending it directly to the planner’s email if it was included, or at least shoot over a note saying you have responded in the platform.

- If your sales tracking system is not integrated with your email platform, then copy and paste key email exchanges in the comments or notes field.

- Encourage a phone call. Rather than saying “call me if you have questions” or “I’ll reach out to answer questions…” say “I hope to connect with you by phone to review this proposal and to hear more about your unique needs. I’m currently open tomorrow between 3:15pm and 430pm and the following day between 9am and 10:45am, so please click back a time that would be good for us to connect.”

- Your cover message should also request that the recipient confirms receipt. Do not rely on Outlook’s “Return Receipt Requested.” Most planners read emails on multiple devices and it’s just too easy for them to accidentally delete it. If they do not confirm, then reach out again.

- Include a headshot and link to your Linkedin profile in your email signature.

- After confirming receipt, trace for a follow-up appropriate to decision making timeline. This is typically three to five business days after they have received the proposal, while they are still early enough in the decision for you to try to influence it.

- Alternate between phone calls and emails for at least two or three follow-ups, typically spread a few days in between.

- Never throw guilt at your prospects with statements such “Since I haven’t heard back from you…” or “I’ve left you several messages now…” Instead just keep reminding them how much you want to host their meeting or event. “Hello, just reaching out to see what else we can do to secure your business.”

- Whenever you do connect, enter key details in the “notes” or “comments” section. Then keep referring back to these during subsequent follow-up voicemails, emails and conversations such as “When we last spoke I know you were going to meet with your colleagues at the head office…”

To really stand out from the competitors, try using some “hi tech” tools for “old school” relationship building.

- Give video email a try. The hottest thing I have discovered this year are the new platforms for sending video email correspondence. (Note: For a sample of how to use this contact me personally .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) )

- Offer to contact the prospect via Skype or Facetime. Especially for social function planners, these are great options to make a personal connection and to stand out.

- For a personal touch, send camera phone pics of property features, views, meeting set-ups, amenities etc…

- Use screen sharing tools to walk prospects through the proposal and to offer “virtual FAM tours.” It’s often hard to get prospects out to visit the hotel prior to the decision making these days, so use a tool like join.me which is free of charge. They will be seeing whatever you are viewing on your desktop. Then just open and review the proposal, share stock images or floorplans, or walk them through highlights of your website.

Doug Kennedy is President of the Kennedy Training Network, Inc. a leading provider of customized training programs and telephone mystery shopping services for the lodging and hospitality industry.

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

Crafting the perfect guest experience, from website to hotel

June 13, 2017

You need to be catering to the hundreds, perhaps thousands of potential guests that visit your site every day - and that means taking your carefully-crafted hospitality online.

A hotel stay is an inherently intimate experience, yet the process of booking one is anything but. For something supposedly based on comfort, there's something decidedly discomfiting about the way hotel rooms are sold. You wouldn't bark panic-inducing statements like 'ONLY ONE LEFT!' or '103 OTHER PEOPLE LOOKING RIGHT NOW!' at someone in a clothing or grocery store - so why on earth should you do it on your website?

So, maybe it's time to get personal. Your website is the first proper opportunity your guest has to engage with you, so it should be as welcoming as the finest doorman. There are three key things that you need to check before you can truly claim your website to be fully guest-friendly.

Get the full story at Triptease

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

8 interesting things we learned from TripAdvisor’s recent brand strategy update

June 13, 2017

Here are 8 things we learned from the statement and subsequent news coverage:

1. Hotel shopper revenue returned to growth in Q1
Revenue per shopper lifted 2% in the first quarter of 2017, while total hotel shoppers rose by 9%. TripAdvisor also reached 500 million reviews with average unique monthly users increasing by 14% – indicating a massive influence on travel consumers.

2. A strategy to align product, supply, and marketing accelerates
TripAdvisor soon plans to roll out a brand advertising campaign to build user awareness on its ability to, not only offer research functions, but also assist travellers in finding low prices and booking a hotel.

3. Desktop browsing remains relevant, but phones are growing faster
For the second straight quarter desktop hotel shoppers grew year-on-year, but mobile continues to be the fastest growing segment with mobile revenue growth outperforming mobile hotel shopper growth 35% to 25% year-on-year.

Get the full story at SiteMinder

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/8_interesting_things_we_learned_from_tripadvisors_recent_brand_strategy_upd

DHISCO tries to bounce back for the post-hotel era

June 12, 2017

So consumer websites and agency reservation systems need to be able to present that information to compare the lodging products in a like-for-like way, which will require a lot of changes to how hotel content needs to be prepared and presented digitally.

Globalization also means that hotels need to increasingly make sure their room rates and hotel descriptions can appeal to visitors worldwide who have varying expectations and ways of shopping. DHISCO can be a company that helps hotels bridge that gap.

Get the full story at Skift

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

Can Ctrip persuade non-Chinese to use its site?

June 12, 2017

Since its 1999 Shanghai incorporation, Ctrip mainly has been doing one thing: helping hundreds of millions to travel more easily through offering online hotel and airfare booking - in the process facilitating an overseas travel boom by Chinese tourists.

Now the Chinese provider of online travel service is eyeing another piece of the pie: wooing overseas clients to use its services when they plan to travel to China or other destinations.

However, even though visitors to Ctrip.com can be served in 12 different languages, including French, Japanese and Spanish, overseas clients contribute less than 2 per cent to company revenue, according to Jane Sun, chief executive of the Nasdaq-listed firm that is now a China household name.

Get the full story at the South China Morning Post

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

Expedia opens Rev+ to UK market

June 12, 2017

Benoit Jolin, vice president of Expedia’s global product said: “We’re going through an exciting period of evolution at Expedia, providing partners with more technology services and product offerings.

“Our hotel partners see value in the data we provide and have expressed a need for additional support, insights and access to greater intelligence to help them more effectively refine their revenue strategy and make informed business decisions in less time. Rev+ was created from this feedback, along with months of testing that informed the first version of the product.

“Rev+ is the start of our Revenue Management capabilities from which we will continue to build and enhance according to our partners’ feedback.”

Get the full story at Travolution

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

Amadeus Hospitality making bigger hotel deals as it chases a breakthrough

June 12, 2017

For Amadeus, a follow-up reservations systems deal in due course with a big name hotel group such as Marriott, Hilton, or AccorHotels would raise confidence in Amadeus Hospitality’s strategy.

IT replacements can be expensive for hotels. Controlling costs is why Marriott is downgrading newly acquired Starwood to its old customer relationship management system instead of upgrading its portfolio to Starwood’s more up-to-date one.

Guilain Denisselle, the Paris-based editor of hotel technology trade publication
TendanceHotellerie.fr, says: “Oracle Hospitality, formerly Micros, is the leader in property management systems in North America and Europe, and when you see how deeply it is implemented in hotel chains, you realize that it will take ages to take Oracle out of hotel chains.”

Get the full story at Skift

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

Travel marketers benefit from holiday-goers enthusiasm for mobile & social

June 12, 2017

This presents a valuable opportunity for travel marketers and brands looking to attract more customers. And travel brands have started using social media to make it easier for people to find and book with them. For example, 50% of hotel companies have a booking engine or widget on their Facebook page.

Social Media Use Pre-Vacation

When planning a trip, 1 in 5 travelers use social media for inspiration when researching. Those who use social media for trip planning research:

- Destinations: 27%
- Hotels: 23%
- Vacation activities: 22%
- Attractions: 21%
- Restaurants: 17%

Get the full story at Smart Insights

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

The most hated online advertising techniques

June 12, 2017

Nielson Norman Group conducted a survey with 452 adult respondents from the United States who were not employed in an IT- or marketing-related industry. In this survey, participants were shown 23 wireframes corresponding to different types of advertisements and rated how much they disliked them on a scale of 1 to 7.

Wireframes were presented for both desktop and mobile variants of the same ad, when possible. If there were no common or practical implementations of an advertisement type on mobile, only the desktop variant was shown. We used wireframes instead of screenshots as our stimuli to avoid influencing users with the ad’s visual design, message, or brand. The wireframes focused people’s attention on the ad format.

Get the full story at Nielson Norman Group

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

3 tips to reduce booking abandonment on your hotel website

June 12, 2017

Booking abandonment is a real issue for the travel industry. As many as 81.6% of online travel bookings are abandoned, worth an estimated $1.78 trillion! If we drill down further, 78% of hotel & lodging bookings and 86% of OTA bookings are abandoned (see below).

In this article, we outline 3 things you can do right now on your hotel website to improve purchase intent and drive more direct bookings. By “purchase intent,” we mean getting more people to your booking engine, because once you’ve got them there, the higher your chance of conversion.

Get the full story at Leonardo

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/3_tips_to_reduce_booking_abandonment_on_your_hotel_website

Hotels must find their own path to personalization

June 12, 2017

Special attention paid to service will always be important to personalization. But guests’ expectations for what they consider a custom-built hotel stay are climbing, and new technology is raising the bar.

Which method is the right one to explore?

AccorHotels is thinking about personalizing hotel bookings, which is why it acquired technology vendor Travelsify, which can use guests’ preferences to offer up hotel options based on the “mood” of the trip they’re planning. Accor also started selling flight and hotel packages on its website via a partnership with MisterFly. That latter move could be a compelling offer to its loyalty club members, who instantly earn loyalty points on the full value of the package, including airfare.

Get the full story at Duetto

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

The new class of Airbnb mega-hosts

June 09, 2017

Jan's profile photo shows a man with dark hair and a woman in sunglasses - and it's not clear which one is Jan, or even if either of them is Jan.

Jan is a busy man, or woman. The Airbnb host has 1,083 properties listed on the site, from Fiji to the Ozarks. More than 760 reviews have been written about the properties, and they're generally very positive.

It suggests Jan is more than just your typical host, renting out a spare room or second home for extra cash. And there are many more like him. Or her. They're the faces of a changing Airbnb - one that's moving away from its home-sharing roots and embracing the commercial hospitality industry.

Get the full story at BuzzFeedNews

Read also "Airbnb: A case study for our times" at Travel Weekly

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

Four Seasons sees ‘Airbnb effect’ in luxury hospitality

June 09, 2017

Smith’s comments are a departure from the party line typically espoused by upscale hotels — that Airbnb Inc. opens up a new market but doesn’t compete directly with them. The San Francisco-based firm moved closer to becoming a full-service global travel company in February when it bought Montreal-based Luxury Retreats, a manager of high-end rentals and services, in a deal valued at $300 million. It marked the home-sharing service’s biggest acquisition yet.

Luxury rentals are a main growth area for the vacation market, which has seen online home-sharing companies muscle in on traditional lodging providers.

Airbnb’s push into the space gives it further potential to “capture the millennial category at all price points,” Jan Freitag, a senior vice president at Hendersonville, Tennessee-based STR Inc., a hotel data and analytics firm. The customer who initially used Airbnb to save money now sees the option to splurge, he said.

Get the full story at Skift

Read also "Airbnb simplifies check-in process"

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

Hotels introduce voice-activated rooms

June 09, 2017

Set to roll out in a dozen Best Western properties in the US, the programme will deploy Amazon Dots throughout hotel rooms, allowing guests to set wake-up calls, play music, tell the time and get the weather forecast with a few simple voice commands, reports online travel trade site Skift.com.

Amazon Echo Dot is a hands-free device powered by the digital assistant Alexa who controls the smart home with voice-activated commands.

“We are working with a company to test the Amazon Dot because I think, in the future, that's how the guest might want to interact with us,” CEO David Kong told Skift in an interview.

Get the full story at Yahoo! News

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

The new supply threat: How hotel sales teams are fighting back

June 09, 2017

Everyone wants a piece of them. Especially meeting planners who are hungry for something new and novel.

Even if the hotel’s meeting capabilities and venue space don’t turn out to be as amazing as marketed, one thing is for certain – they have the upper hand and will be well-positioned to steal group business for at least a few years.

Hotel marketing agency Tambourine asked a few hotel group sales experts for their advice on innovative ways to deal with new competitors for group business.

Get the full story at Tambourine

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

How to make customer-centricity more than a buzzword

June 09, 2017

When you shift to a customer-centric strategy, you are building an organization that holds the informed knowledge of the customer and the marketplace at its core. Your organization is aligned around customer commitments, customer relationships, and enhanced customer knowledge. All of which is power.

While your products might be able to be copied and your channels disrupted, how well you know your customers and your market gives you a market advantage.

While the transformation from product-centric to customer-centric comes with a cost, the benefits you can reap often far outweigh them. Curious to see transformation in action?

Get the full story at Vision Edge Marketing

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

The AdWords 2017 roadmap is loaded with artificial intelligence

June 09, 2017

Google recently shared their 2017 AdWords product roadmap at Google Marketing Next. Because the audience is primarily comprised of executives at big agencies and big brands, and Google is doing its best to get them excited about all their capabilities, the event sometimes skims over some of the details that matter to those of us managing accounts day-to-day.

Custom in-market audiences for search

How often have we all wished for a way to look beyond the query and distinguish between a prospective buyer and a kid doing research for a school project? Access to in-market audiences lets us make that distinction so that we can bid more aggressively for better-qualified leads.

But guess what? Everyone will now bid more for better-qualified traffic because it should convert better. According to Bhanu Narasimhan, Google’s director of audience products, conversion rates for in-market audiences are on average 10 percent better.

Google said this feature will be available by the end of 2017.

Get the full story at Marketing Land

Read also "Powering ads and analytics innovations with machine learning" at Google Inside AdWords

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_adwords_2017_roadmap_is_loaded_with_artificial_intelligence

Choosing the optimal hospitality tech stack

June 09, 2017

But selecting the right software for the job can seem like a job of its own. With software solutions addressing the core issues of a property management system (PMS), a central reservation system (CRS), a revenue optimization system (RO), property operations, and customer relationship management (CRM), maintaining a focus on the business goals before seeking the proper solution to add to your hotel tech stack is key.

Issues of integration and prioritization among numerous different tech solutions, from PMS, CRS, and RO can be a significant obstacle. Understanding how the PMS, CRS, and RO pieces of your tech stack fit together is key to ensuring you have streamlined interface communication between the systems, to ensure clean distribution, reduce booking abandonment, and achieve clearer guest communication.

Get the full story at Rainmaker

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

HEBS Digital wins 8 Interactive Media Awards for 2017, including 6 best in class

June 09, 2017

All winning websites are powered by HEBS Digital’s proprietary content management system technology, the smartCMS®. With over 30 revenue-generating modules (and counting) such as the Smart Personalization Engine, Complete Merchandizing Platform, Reservation Abandonment Application Suite, Technical SEO Module, and more, the smartCMS empowers hoteliers to drastically boost direct bookings, lower distribution costs, and engage, retain and increase lifetime value of guests.

“Our brand is iconic to not only Texans but travelers from across the country, so it was important for the next generation of our website to reflect the imagery, clean-lines and modern-sophistication which are the hallmarks of the ZaZa experience. Our branding team… in partnership with HEBS did an excellent job of communicating the day-to-day look and feel of our properties,” said Matthew Nuss, President of Hotel Operations at Hotel ZaZa.

Get the full story at HeBS Digital

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hebs_digital_wins_8_interactive_media_awards_for_2017_including_6_best_in_c

Travel industry at a crossroads of digital self-discovery

June 08, 2017

Although security is far from glamorous, the capabilities data unlocks for travel brands enable the opportunity to delightfully surprise throughout the entire guest journey.

Qantas Airlines, for instance, gathers information on each one of its customers, their preferences, their flight histories, and their frequent-flier data. Then, it shares that information with its flight attendants, so they can positively personalize each passenger’s flight experience as much as possible.

In another example, Marriott Hotels has established a series of “predictable data points” for each of its guests, searching for ways it can improve everyone’s stay. The data anticipates simple touches - such as anticipating how a guest takes his or her coffee or remembering that he or she always arrives on a redeye flight and would appreciate an early check-in.

Get the full story at Adobe

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

Airbnb simplifies check-in process

June 08, 2017

Up until now, checking in to an Airbnb listing was one of the sloppiest, most human components of the Airbnb user flow. Hosts would point guests to their check-in instructions on their listing page, or send instructions to guests about how to get the key, notes about how to enter the building and listing, and other useful check-in information. In fact, Airbnb says that check-in was one of the primary uses for photos in Airbnb messages.

Given all the redundancy in messaging each individual guest, hosts started to create their own docs or PDFs with clear instructions to send to guests.

But Airbnb is finally stepping in with a helping hand.

Get the full story at TechCrunch

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

When to book hotels directly

June 08, 2017

Mark Blutstein, research analyse with travel research firm, Phocuswright, says older travellers, who are more likely to have clocked up a bunch of loyalty and reward points, will be more likely to book direct.

Meanwhile, the millennials – who’s trends we can barely keep up with – are just “looking for the best deal they can get”.

In some cases, such as where hotels or airlines offer discounts or perks for going direct, it can be better to skip the OTAs, but the OTAs can also be important tools for travellers when used properly.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly Australia

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

Marketing initiatives not the biggest driver of hotel bookings

June 08, 2017

How do you assess the value of marketing spend? The ‘multi-touch attribution model’, a sophisticated attribution technique, was presented by Olga Nielsen, director of marketing and distribution analytics for Choice Hotels, at the EyeforTravel Smart Analytics conference in Atlanta earlier this year.

Rather than ‘last click attribution’ this model can assess both internet-based and more traditional marketing approaches and statistically separate the incremental revenue value of each. Every touchpoint can be incorporated in the analysis, which is increasingly necessary as customer purchase decisions flow across multiple sites and touchpoints .

Marketing initiatives themselves are often not the biggest driver of bookings. Factors that explain most of any growth or change in bookings include elements like: i) economic cyclicality or seasonality, ii) competitive factors like relative capacity growth and iii) market segmentation factors like growth in target demographic groups.

As Nielsen noted, the MTM model could attribute as little as 5% to marketing initiatives. She notes that most companies, without the benefit of a sophisticated attribution model, attribute much more than they should to targeted promotions. In many cases, the other factors – macro-economic, competitive environment, long-term brand awareness – represent the largest factors in booking volume – all without any current spend.

Get the full story at EyeForTravel

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

Google testing hotel price slider & carousel price labels

June 08, 2017

The slider will refresh the results dynamically based on how you slide that bar. And the price labels are shown not just in the map but also in the carousel image listing at the bottom left.

Get the full story at Sergey Alakov

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

Trump lies. China thrives.

June 08, 2017

For instance, China has moved so fast into a cashless society, where everyone pays for everything with a mobile phone, that Chinese newspapers report beggars in major cities have started to place a printout of a QR code in their begging bowls so any passer-by can scan it and use mobile payment apps like Alibaba’s Alipay or Tencent’s WeChat Wallet to contribute to the beggar’s mobile payment account.

“America has been dreaming of becoming a cashless society,” Ya-Qin Zhang, president of Baidu, China’s main search engine, remarked to me, “but China is already there.” It has “leapfrogged the rest of world” and is now going mobile-first in everything.

And in an age when raw data from the internet of people and the internet of things is the new oil, the fact that China has 700 million people doing so many transactions daily on the mobile internet means it’s piling up massive amounts of information that can be harvested to identify trends and spur new artificial intelligence applications.

Get the full story at The New York Times

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

How metasearch empowers the independent hotelier

June 08, 2017

It’s evident that this rapid growth has disturbed the natural booking patterns we were once used to and has opened up another level of complexity for the OTA’s. The years to come are set to be exciting, as metasearch companies continue to develop and expand their product and offering.

In this article, we want to look at the main metasearch platforms that the independent hotelier can use and the benefits, obstacles and challenges they generally face.

Get the full story at Net Affinity

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

Fix your hotel’s Google Analytics cross-domain tracking in 3 easy steps

June 08, 2017

If not set up correctly, you can potentially be over-reporting visits (thus reducing your true conversion rate), and/or you could be losing the correct source of conversions (most conversions are showing up as a referral from your own website or as “direct.”)

Here are 3 tips to help you with this cross-domain tracking in Google Analytics.

Get the full story at Fuel

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/fix_your_hotels_google_analytics_cross_domain_tracking_in_3_easy_steps

Dispelling 5 common TripAdvisor myths

June 07, 2017

By Catherine Knapp, vice president of content and community, TripAdvisor

TripAdvisor was created to give people a voice, allowing them to share opinions and feedback about travel experiences in order to help other travelers have a better trip. However as the business has grown, TripAdvisor itself is occasionally the topic of conversation, and sometimes the focus of the occasional misconception too.

As a company founded on the principle of transparency it’s important to us that our community of travellers and businesses have access to the most accurate and up-to-date information. So here – in the first instalment in a series of myth-busting articles – we want to share a few facts behind a couple of misconceptions about TripAdvisor.

Myth 1. TripAdvisor doesn’t do anything to catch fake reviews
TripAdvisor dedicates a huge amount of resources to protecting the integrity of the content on the site. Every review submitted to TripAdvisor goes through a highly sophisticated tracking system which maps the how, what, where and when of the review, tracking hundreds of electronic attributes to spot patterns of activity, using best practices from a variety of industries including credit card and banking agencies. And we back that up with a team of 300 specialists who work 24/7 to investigate any review that is flagged as suspicious by either our system or our community. Our team also has a number of proactive tactics in their arsenal to catch would-be fraudsters including conducting preemptive investigations.

You can see more about how we catch fake reviews here: https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/TripAdvisorInsights/n2769/journey-tripadvisor-review

Myth 2. Businesses have to pay to manage their profile or respond to reviews on TripAdvisor
Business owners can register on TripAdvisor for free; this allows them to take advantage of a number of tools and resources. They can manage their profile, reply to reviews, receive notifications when they receive new reviews and encourage new reviews using services like Review Express, all for free. Business owners can also select the main image displayed on their TripAdvisor listing and add a brief property description to help travellers learn more about their business. In addition to these free tools, hotel owners or managers can also opt to drive more bookings from their TripAdvisor profile by participating in instant booking or enhancing their presence on TripAdvisor by subscribing to Business Advantage (formerly known as Business Listings).

Myth 3. Business owners can’t ask guests or customers to write reviews.
Businesses can ask their guests to write reviews and we encourage it. And we even offer tools that owners can use to encourage guests to write reviews following their stay, like Review Express, which owners can access for free.

We also offer links that owners can add to an email, which will send guests directly to their property page on TripAdvisor, cards and flyers that can be printed and handed out to guests, and widgets that can be embedded into a business’s own website to remind travellers to write reviews.

Businesses just need to ensure they do not offer any incentives in exchange for reviews, e.g. a free meal or upgrade, and ensure they aren’t only asking for positive reviews, or that they are not cherry picking by encouraging certain guests to write reviews and not others.

Myth 4. If a guest writes a review using a hotel or restaurant’s WiFi, TripAdvisor will think it’s a fraudulent review.
Our tracking system looks at hundreds of attributes associated with each and every review. This may include where the review was written or what WiFi connection was used; however, simply writing a review using a property’s WiFi isn’t enough on its own to get a review rejected. Our tracking system uses more sophisticated filters to conduct a deeper analysis of each review, so if a traveller writes a review at a restaurant or in a hotel using the property’s WiFi, this alone wouldn’t be considered fraud.

Myth 5. Management responses are factored into TripAdvisor’s ranking algorithm – and how fast owners respond to reviews also impacts their Traveller Ranking on the site.

This is not the case. A number of factors influence a business’ Traveller Ranking on TripAdvisor, including the quantity, quality and recency of reviews, as well as consistency over time. However, management responses do not impact a business’s ranking on the site.

Nonetheless, we encourage business owners to respond to reviews on TripAdvisor in order to share their side of the story and also to demonstrate to other potential guests or visitors that they care about customer feedback. Owners don’t need to reply to every review – they can pick and choose the ones to respond to.

Management responses should be written in a professional tone and each response should be tailored to the review the owner is responding to. But it’s worth taking the time as we know from our research that 8 in 10 TripAdvisor users say that seeing hotel management responses to reviews makes them believe that the hotel cares more about their guest.

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/dispelling_5_common_tripadvisor_myths


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