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Information, insights and innovation: Other industries’ effects on hotels

August 20, 2014

The following are 10 key takeaways from the panel:

1. Travel is ranked No. 1 among all United States’ industry exports. Just how big is the travel industry? According to the U.S. Travel Association’s David Huether, the travel industry generated $2.1 trillion in revenue during 2013. In addition, the U.S. travel industry collected $134 billion in direct tax revenue.

The hotel industry is a critical component to the travel industry, Huether said, adding that $167 billion (19%) of travel expenditures in 2013 came from hotels.

2. The U.S. Travel Association launched the “U.S. Travel Barometer,” which measures travel intent to the U.S. The forward-looking report is based on 30 billion global online lodging searches from 5,000 consumer travel websites (representing nearly 60% of all global hotel searches and conversions.)

The findings? Huether shared July data for domestic interest in hotels in the U.S., which showed Massachusetts, New York, California, Florida and Texas accounted for 52% of all hotel searches in the country. The U.S. Travel Barometer is in its early stages but could prove useful for hotels in the future, Huether said.

3. The check-in and check-out experience matters most when it comes to guest satisfaction, according to J.D. Power’s Richard Garlick.

“The first and last impression check-in/check-out contributed to the overall satisfaction the most,” he said, pointing to results from the 2014 “J.D. Power North America hotel study.”

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

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

Orbitz lets users resume searches across devices

August 20, 2014

Online travel agencies were among the first Web businesses to feel the full impact of the consumer migration to mobile as customers began using their devices throughout the travel process from planning and booking to while traveling.

For Orbitz Worldwide, one of the companies at the forefront of that change, mobile has become a core part of its businesses, integrated closely with its broader digital marketing and e-commerce operations. On the back-end, Orbitz now has seven mobile development teams staffed by a total of 75 developers.

Speaking at MediaPost’s Mobile Insider Summit in Lake Tahoe on Tuesday, Megan Hughes, director of product, mobile at Orbitz, offered some insight into how the company is adapting to the mobile shift. She noted, for example, that a third of hotel bookings now take place via mobile - across its branded apps and mobile and tablet Web sites - compared to only 3% in 2010, when it began building out its mobile operations in earnest.

Among hotel bookings, 65% are same-day, compared to only about 15% on the desktop, providing further evidence that travel bookings in mobile skew toward last-minute purchases rather than ones made far in advance. Among customers who aren’t yet booking via mobile, 75% plan to do so soon, up 36% from last year, according to a recent Orbitz survey.

Get the full story at MediaPost

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

Five considerations driving meetings bookings

August 20, 2014

Not by a long shot, according to results from STR’s 2013 Destination MAP, the most recent data available, which surveys meeting planners in the largest cities in the United States and Canada.

The above were among those cited least often by planners when asked to name considerations that were “very important” to geographic site selection. The top five least-important entries:

- destination’s greening policies/practices (named as “very important” by 10% of survey respondents);

- nightlife (13%);

- outdoor recreation opportunities (17%);

- good shopping (18%); and

- a good place to take family (19%).

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

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

The Ritz-Carlton fine-tunes app to guide consumer experience

August 20, 2014

Travelers are increasingly demanding robust and reliable mobile apps for navigating hotel visits. The Ritz-Carlton sensed the importance of this demand a few years ago when it released the first version of its brand-wide app.

Naturally, the initial release would need adjustments. Rather than bolt new updates onto the app every time a new idea came up, the brand decided to study the user experience for an extended period of time.

With the insights gathered from this process, the brand intends to provide an app experience that is satisfying on a functional and emotional level.

The new app features enhanced check-in and check-out capabilities, real-time service requests and a review of bills. Service requests such as a shoeshine, turndown service or more fresh towels can be made through the app.

Get the full story at Luxury Daily

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

Is Facebook a waste of time for businesses?

August 20, 2014

So how do businesses find a solution to this? Is there a solution at all? First, we must understand the Facebook algorithm.

In August Facebook acknowledged that each user has, on average, 1,500 potential stories to view each time they log in. Now, the latest algorithm changes will prioritise just 300 posts per user. This algorithm is determined by three factors: affinity, meaning how much a user interacts with a page; weight, how valuable a post type is; and decay, or how long a post has been online.

Facebook’s goal is to deliver content that users care to read and reduce what may be deemed as ‘spammy’ or unrelatable. As a result, brand pages now reach under three per cent of Facebook users. Since Facebook’s changes are making it much harder for brands to obtain a wide reach, it’s not only imperative for businesses to acquire the initial likes; it’s vital they find a way to retain them.

Get the full story at The Sydney Morning Herald

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

Study shows 99% of organic social posts create almost no engagement

August 20, 2014

As with marketing to the “long tail,” businesses that do moderately well with social posts could get great results, and companies should not be put off by the findings, says SocialFlow CEO Jim Anderson.

“The massive scale of the most successful one percent of posts makes everything else look small by comparison,” Anderson told me. “To use a television analogy, most every show’s ratings look weak if you compare them to the Super Bowl. But that doesn’t mean that everyone else should just give up on creating great programming. And the same is true with social.”

In Internet community analysis the “1 percent rule” is nothing new. That concept, however, is usually referred to when discussing content creation. The rule states that for any given community, 1 percent of the members actively create new content. You may have also heard of other variants, such as the “90–9–1 principle,” which comes up when you’re talking about wikis, forums, and other collaborative groups; 90 percent of community members read the content, 9 percent edit it, and 1 percent actively create it.

Get the full story at VentureBeat

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/study_shows_99_of_organic_social_posts_create_almost_no_engagement

Travel industry taps technology to win over customers

August 20, 2014

For Bill Martin, the chief information officer (CIO) of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd., his two teenage daughters provided the best corporate strategy lessons. In 2012, when he and his family went on a cruise, everybody turned off their phones and put them in an onboard safe.

Then last summer, on a California coast drive, his daughters kept taking photos on their cell phones and sharing them with friends using apps like Instagram and Snapchat.The big question he gets when choosing a family vacation spot is: “Will I have Internet there?” It’s clear - no vacation is complete without Internet access.

Martin took that message to Royal Caribbean’s top management. He explained that today’s younger generation - a growing market segment for cruise lines - wants to share vacation experiences in real time. What followed is hoped to be a game changer for the $8 billion (2013 revenues) company, which runs 41 cruise ships calling on 490 destinations across seven continents.

Read the complete whitepaper at Knowledge@Wharton (PDF 497 KB)

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

Thomas Cook partners with TrustYou for hotel quality control

August 20, 2014

This monitors and responds to all online travel reviews written worldwide. Thomas Cook will use this to create independent summaries of all verified reviews across the web.

The results will be fed back to hotel partners to show them how they are performing in the eyes of the public.

Areas for improvement that can be immediately addressed by hoteliers will be identified and Thomas Cook says it will allow it to provide customers with the assurance of quality.

Get the full story at Travolution

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

Version 2 of online travel will leave no business model unchanged

August 19, 2014

Abta chief Mark Tanzer has warned the industry faces a second online transformation which will leave no business model unchanged.

The association’s chief executive told Travel Weekly: “We’re entering Phase 2 of travel and the internet which is the real transformation. Phase 1 was based on choice and price comparison.

“But consumers don’t want lots of choice. Now the move is towards multi-platform – to online and offline rather than online versus offline – and travel is becoming more like a publishing business, with much more emphasis on peer reviews and personalised content.”

Tanzer said: “There are new consumer demands, there is big data and Google, and there is new airline capacity. I don’t think a single company can say it has a business model that is going to see it through the next 10 years.”

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/version_2_of_online_travel_will_leave_no_business_model_unchanged

‘Phablets’ will lead to explosion in mobile travel bookings

August 19, 2014

According to Travel Weekly's 2014 Consumer Trends survey, the percentage of travelers who have used a mobile device to purchase travel surged, from 23% in 2012 to 38% in 2014. "We're seeing such an acceleration of the shift from desktop shopping and booking to mobile devices," said Norm Rose, senior technology analyst for PhoCusWright and president of Travel Technology Consulting. "We're seeing laptops replaced by tablets. The tablets are going to be stronger for shopping and smartphones stronger for purchasing travel."

PhoCusWright's studies suggest that consumers are using their mobile devices more for shopping than for booking travel, Rose said. However, bookings are rising, with hotels and car rentals leading the way. Rose predicts that by the end of 2014, 50% of Americans will have booked some kind of travel product on a mobile device.

This includes on a new breed of mobile device that's a cross between a smartphone and a tablet - the "phablet" - hat Rose predicts will lead to an explosion in travel bookings.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

‘Travel hacking’: Scam or strategy?

August 19, 2014

In travel hacking, there's plenty of "wrong" to go around. One popular hack is to use the "Dr." honorific from the pull-down menu when making a hotel reservation, regardless of your degree. Hotels are less likely to cancel an M.D.'s reservation, so a little fib can ensure a problem-free stay, hackers say. Similarly, you can save money on your airfare by using only part of your ticket, called "throwaway" ticketing.

These "hacks" address endemic industry problems. Hotels shouldn't arbitrarily cancel their reservations without assisting guests. But they do. Airfares should be sensibly priced, and the only reason throwaway ticketing works is that a round-trip airline ticket almost always costs less than a one-way flight.

"There's a lot of deep-seated resentment and anger on the part of consumers toward travel suppliers," says Tim Winship, editor of FrequentFlier.com. "The feeling is, 'Well, you're in business to nickel-and-dime me to death, and by God, if there's anything I can do to stick it to you, I will.'"

Get the full story at USA Today

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

Uber back online in Berlin and Hamburg

August 19, 2014

The ruling said Uber can continue its business in Berlin and follows a similar suspension granted recently in the city of Hamburg.

Fabien Nestmann, Uber GM for Germany said in a statement:

“This is good news for the great people of Berlin and the thousands of German citizens already benefitting from Uber’s great services. We’re delighted to continue to bring our fresh and new ride-sharing service UberPOP plus our licensed limo service, UberBlack to Berlin and other cities in Germany, as we challenge the old policies that were written before the smartphone was even invented. Uber’s number one priority is safety and we would like to underline that every driver on the Uber platform is insured. Today’s news supports freedom of choice and progress, as Uber seeks to bring better, safer and cheaper transport options to everyone.”

Get the full story at TechCrunch

Read also "Uber flouts Berlin ban, despite massive fines for non-compliance"

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

Google testing carousel replacement with new hotel ad format

August 19, 2014

Most of the new results are in place of the carousel and the result mirrors exactly what is currently shown in mobile.

Will Google change away from the carousel? Mike Blumenthal believes Google might move towards this new display. The company has been on a toot to “clean up” the visuals on the main search result page (fewer packs, no author photos, fewer video and review snippets) and this change fits that mold.

Get the full story at Understanding Google Places & Local Search

Moz reports that Google is testing a new, much richer hotel and resort ad box. However, Moz noted that Google does a lot of testing in hotel and travel, so it's unclear if this feature will see the light of day.

Get the full story at Moz

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

Google can now track when your online clicks lead to phone calls

August 19, 2014

Today Google announced the availability of this new feature on its Google Adwords service. “Website call conversions dynamically inserts a Google forwarding number on your website that measures the calls made by these customers,” AdWords product manager Anurag Agrawal wrote in a blog post on the new tool.

“Whether they click on the number or dial it directly from their phone, you can attribute the call conversion and conversion value back to the keyword and ad that drove the customer.”

The move makes plenty of sense, as so much of Google’s revenue comes from ads. Google wants to provide better visibility into the power and effectiveness of ads. Exploration of websites and then calling after clicking an ad is a very real process that Google really ought to be able to track.

Get the full story at VentureBeat

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

What you can learn from Airbnb’s new logo backlash

August 19, 2014

Within minutes of the launch of Airbnb's new logo, customers and journalists alike begin comparing the new mark to everything from grizzly bears to female anatomy. And while Airbnb certainly got a lot of press, its response was a first rate example of clever damage control and coolheaded restraint.

It took to Twitter in real-time to acknowledge people's observations and join in on the fun. In response to the tweet, "The new @Airbnb logo looks like a weird butt," Airbnb replied lightheartedly, "We prefer well-rounded." It took to the media outlets with a few select statements suggesting, more than anything else, that it believed in the new brand and was standing steadfastly behind it.

The most brilliant thing Airbnb did was a week or two after launch, once things had cooled down a bit. It produced "The Bélo Report: an infographic on the new Airbnb symbol." Not only was this "report" a beautiful, shareable JPG that just begged to be read, but it once again took control of the story Airbnb wanted to tell. It was witty and passionate.

Get the full story at iMedia Connection

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

Give me light, or give me a new hotel room

August 19, 2014

According to a Cornell Center for Hospitality Research report titled “Creating value for women business travelers: Focusing on emotional outcomes,” hotel companies to remain competitive must develop and focus their services to meet the needs and preferences of women business travelers.

For example, Hyatt Hotels Corporation recently introduced special programs for women as a result of the company’s own research and focus groups. Hyatt found women want the following from their hotels:

- assurances their guestrooms have been cleaned and an ongoing dialogue with the hotel to provide feedback;
- an easy way to obtain items forgotten at home;
- to maintain their health and well-being on the road; and
- high-quality bath products.

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

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

Expedia shows off its new tablet and wearable apps

August 18, 2014

The app focuses on striking, large scenic visuals - “sensuality” as Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said at a launch event in San Francisco. The home screen of the new tablet app is a map with themed “collections” of cities: Cities that never sleep, romantic getaways, upcoming festivals.

“Travel is a sensual experience and travel planning is about as industrial an experience as you can get,” Khosrowshahi said. “We wanted to create an experience that befits travel.”

Along with the tablet app – due out this fall — Expedia also showed off its new Samsung Galaxy Gear smartwatch app. Anyone with the watch can get push notifications around a trip such as reminders to leave for the airport and notification if their flight gate changed.

Get the full story at GigaOM

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

Sabre puts lastminute.com up for sale

August 18, 2014

Set up by Brent Hoberman and Martha Lane Fox, Lastminute.com was among the most successful UK start-ups of the dot.com boom of the 1990s.

The company floated on the London stock market in March 2000 and saw its share price peak at 555p before the dot.com bubble burst. Lastminute stock subsequently traded as low as 17p in 2002.

The OTA's UK managing director Mark Maddock left the company in April and joined Thomas Cook last month.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

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

Google Now offers flight alternatives for delayed or cancelled flights

August 18, 2014

You’re just a few hours away from your flight to London, when suddenly, you received a notification that it has been cancelled. What do you do next? You are in a strange place and you don’t know anyone but would like to visit some landmarks or tourist spots. Who do you ask? Normally you would just google those information, but Google Now’s new updates allows you to eliminate a few steps in the process and brings you the info you need through its cards.

When a flight is delayed or cancelled and you absolutely still have to get to your destination, Google Now suggests alternative flights. Previously, it had the ability to scan your email for your flight details and gives you information the nearer your flight gets. So if it gets cancelled or delayed, it can suggest alternate routes or flights from other airlines that will eventually get you where you need to go.

Meanwhile, Google has finally baked its Field Trip app into Google Now. Launched back in 2012, the separate app had the capability to give dining recommendations, historical information and trivia about the place you’re in, based on the user’s geo-location.

Get the full story at The Android Community and Engadget

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

Airbnb’s Chip Conley talks hospitality

August 18, 2014

The Joie de Vivre hotels are diverse. How are you taking that experience into your current role at Airbnb? What we’re seeing in all industries is people trying to figure out how to be more hospitable, obviously in hotels, but also retail. Apple rethought the computer retail experience by looking at the Ritz Carlton. Hospitality is sort of at the heart of what any consumer-facing company wants to provide. I am fascinated at Airbnb, as part of my role there is to democratize the business of hospitality. We have 850,000 listings, 500,000 hosts in190 countries. The reason I wanted to do that is the more we can spread hospitality in the world, the less we need the United Nations — 70 percent of guests who stay at Airbnb listings are international visitors. The more we treat each other with what I define hospitality as — a generosity of spirit — it’s the best way to imagine a world that’s safer, saner and a lot happier.

How do you want to accomplish that? Tuesday I was in Portland. Portland is a model city for Airbnb, so we’re doing things to get into the community. The Portland City Council approved home sharing in single-family homes as a first step. So I met with about 60 hosts up there, and to sit and teach hosts about the art of hospitality reminds me of why I got into hospitality in the first place.

Get the full story at the San Francisco Business Times

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

25% of US Hispanics book travel via mobile

August 18, 2014

The findings, announced at the 30th annual National Association of Hispanic Journalists convention in San Antonio, TX, underscore the importance of brands catering to mobile-savvy Hispanics’ needs and habits.

“Yankee Group data does validate these findings that some ethnicities do have a higher usage – anywhere from a five to 10 percent differential – of on-the-go technologies such as using phones while shopping, desires for mobile rewards and a strong demand for self-service,” said Sheryl Kingstone, research director of Boston-based Yankee Group.

“However, it’s important to not look at traditional demographics, but user behavior. Our research shows there is a significant difference between Advanced Users vs. an average user,” she said. “More advanced users will be 30 to 40 points higher in mobile usage than the average user today.”

Get the full story at Mobile Commerce Daily

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/25_of_us_hispanics_book_travel_via_mobile

The end of Google exact match keywords: What does it all mean?

August 18, 2014

If advertisers bid on Exact match keywords, what this used to mean was that Google would only show your ads if someone searched for that exact keyword. Now that Google are going to apply close variant keyword matching to exact match keywords, moving forwards ads will not just show for the exact keywords, they will also show for misspellings, singular and plural forms, acronyms, stemmings (such as sleep and sleeping), abbreviations and accents.

When the update goes live, advertisers should expect to see an increase in impressions and clicks and a decrease in Click through Rate (CTR) and Quality Score (QS). In turn, this will increase the average amount you are paying per click (CPC) making your overall spend with AdWords higher.

Google have wrapped this update in a bubble saying that it will really benefit advertisers. In my opinion, it may benefit some of the smaller companies but in the grand scheme of things, Google have done this to make themselves more money.

Get the full story at State of Digital

Read also "Search Marketers tear into Google over AdWords exact match change" at Marketing Land

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

When low-cost competitors show up, airlines’ performance worsens

August 18, 2014

The paper examines if and how incumbent firms respond to entry and entry threats using non-price modes of competition. The analysis focuses on airline service quality.

According to the findings incumbent on-time performance actually worsens in response to entry, and even entry threats, by Southwest Airlines.

For example, within the first year after Southwest’s entry, the proportion of incumbent airlines’ flights arriving at least 15 minutes late rose an average of 3.2 percentage points. The performance decline may be a result of airlines’ cost-cutting in response to the new threat, the researchers say.

Download the full paper at the Social Sience Research Network

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

Dolce Hotels transforms sales process with mobile solutions

August 18, 2014

Dolce began its mobile endeavors in 2011 with little-to-no budget following executive skepticism, but persistence from an ecommerce official led to internal and external tablet applications featuring simple designs and a strong use of photos, a company executive said during a presentation at eTail East 2014. Despite challenges regarding budget, the right people were in place to continue to push mobile until ultimately the strategy was given the go ahead.

“Our execs weren’t allocating a budget because they didn’t see a potential for ROI,” said Michael Goldrich, vice president of digital marketing and ecommerce at Dolce Hotels and Resorts, New York. “I kept saying it, and they kept ignoring it.

“I would say, ‘mobile is penetrating and we need to do something very quickly.’ Finally, it happened.”

Get the full story at Mobile Commerce Daily

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

All-inclusive resorts successful in capturing more direct bookings

August 15, 2014

Among the findings in this year's Consumer Trends survey, the most notable shifts occurred within sectors whose booking procedures are often more complex than they are for reserving a nonresort hotel room, buying a plane ticket or renting a car. (Read more from the Consumer Trends survey here.)

One of the biggest shifts was found within the escorted-tour sector. About 14% of the respondents who booked escorted tours said they had done so through either an online travel agency (OTA) or a travel-search site such as Kayak, compared with just 2% last year. Meanwhile, the percentage of escorted-tour customers who booked through travel agents fell to 11%, from 18%.

In addition, all-inclusive resorts appear to be improving on their efforts to get more guests to book direct. Almost half of those polled had booked their all-inclusive resort stay directly, up from 36% a year earlier, while the percentage of those who booked through either OTAs or big-box retailers such as Costco plunged to 12%, from 28%.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

Read Travel Weekly's full report "Consumer Trends 2014" at Travel Weekly

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

A look into HotelTonight’s Instagram campaign

August 15, 2014

HotelTonight launches its first national campaign today dubbed Tonight I am with a month-long Instagram effort. But instead of flashy pictures of hotels, this campaign shows images of people doing everyday things and then imagines them going to their dream places. For example, one image shows a woman in a cubicle at work holding a beach towel and ball.

The hotel booking app started talking to Instagram about two months ago, claiming to be the first start-up to run paid promos on the app. Up until now, the bulk of Instagram marketers are big-name brands like Taco Bell, Ben & Jerry’s, McDonald’s and most recently, Gap's Banana Republic.

"We mutually thought there was really good brand alignment given that we’re solely focused on mobile, and so are they. If you look at the reach of Instagram on mobile, it’s pretty amazing, and we felt that it was a great way to introduce more people to HotelTonight in a clever, creative way that was true to our brand and true to the company," said Sam Shank, HotelTonight’s CEO.

Get the full story at AdWeek

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

Data talks at The 6th annual Hotel Data Conference

August 15, 2014

The 6th annual Hotel Data Conference, hosted by STR and Hotel News Now and presented by Loews Vanderbilt Hotel, opened Wednesday with a presentation focusing on the state of the industry featuring Vail Brown, VP of global business development and marketing; Adam Sacks, president of Tourism Economics; Jill Denning, per diem program manager at the U.S. General Services Administration; and Guy Langford, vice chairman of U.S. travel, hospitality and leisure leader at Deloitte, LLP.

The sold-out crowd of 405 attendees in Nashville heard Sacks set the stage with an economic overview, referring to this as an “extraordinary time.” He noted that, historically, gross domestic product and room demand traditionally follow a similar trend. This year GDP has been on a yo-yo, while room demand has increased 4 percent, above anyone’s expectations, which is reflected in the price per share of hotel stocks.

“In 2013, at the end, our industry hit five all-time highs of the six key performance indicators,” Vail Brown said. “The good news did not stop as we moved into 2014. In May, (revenue-per-available-room) growth was 10 percent, the highest May of any on record.”

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

Watch Hotel News Now break down Day One and Day Two of The 6th annual Hotel Data Conference.

And view Robert Cole's Storify feed with Tweets from Thee Hotel Data Conference 2014

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

The revenue management business process, designed to produce results

August 15, 2014

There are essentially six basic tasks associated with the application of revenue management. While very much interrelated, these are arranged below in their most logical sequence – which then repeats in a continuous cycle of improvement:

1. Tracking
2. Forecasting
3. Pricing
4. Availability Management
5. Distribution
6. Communication
7. Tracking

There are some basic metrics that should be recorded over time regardless of property type.

Historical Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) such as units available, units sold, occupancy, average rate and revenue per available room will help stakeholders understand trends and spot opportunities. This baseline data set is also very helpful for planning purposes (i.e. forecasting and budgeting). Tracking this on a day-by-day basis will also reveal day-of-week patterns that can vary by season or over certain holidays, for example. Benchmarking these performance indicators against an identified competitive set via subscription to Smith Travel Research (STR), TravelCLICK's Demand360 and/or DestiMetrics is always a good idea.

For slightly more advanced analysis, tracking the above KPI's based on broad customer segmentation, such as transient, group and contract, may provide additional insights. Slightly more advanced applications may involve dividing the three broad customer segments into sub-segments, such as corporate, discount, package, government and promotion for transient segments, and association, SMERF, corporate and government, for group segments, for example.

In all cases, tracking both rate plan production and channel production (to include voice reservation sales volumes and conversion) will also help operators to spot trends and opportunities more rapidly. The above should be done on a monthly basis, at a minimum. Also consider tracking these metrics on a reserved date basis in addition to an arrival (or consumed) date basis.

Get the full story at Hospitality.Net

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

Uber flouts Berlin ban, despite massive fines for non-compliance

August 15, 2014

The ban, described by Uber as “not progressive,” came through late Wednesday with immediate effect, meaning Uber is liable for a €25,000 ($33,462) fine each time it illegally carries a passenger. Its drivers - not that it admits to having drivers as such - will also be liable for fines of up to €20,000 ($26,780) for flouting the ban.

When Uber lodges its challenge to the ban, as it says it will, it may succeed in suspending the ban as it did in Hamburg last month, keeping everyone safe from being fined. However, it doesn’t appear to have done this yet.

In a Thursday blog post, Uber said it would challenge the injunction, which it claimed “seeks to restrict freedom and limit mobility in Berlin and beyond.” However, it hasn’t actually filed its challenge yet. A Bloomberg report suggested that Uber has taken out extra insurance to cover its drivers, fixing at least one of the Senate’s complaints.

Get the full story at GigaOM and Bloomberg

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

62 percent of Millennials research products on Facebook before buying

August 15, 2014

In fact, 62 percent of this demographic uses Facebook when researching products they want to buy.

While Facebook is a powerful social marketing tool for ecommerce sites, it’s nearly as important to brick-and-mortar locations. It turns out 58 percent of consumers who plan to buy products in-store visit businesses’ Facebook pages before they buy. The number one reason for both online and offline purchasers to visit the social network is to see what other customers think: 80 percent check customer reviews and feedback on review sites and third-party pages before buying.

This age demographic, including people between 18-29 years old, demonstrates exactly how online marketing has changed and will continue to evolve. The fact they feel most comfortable spending money after doing some Facebook research perfectly encapsulates their unique buyer’s journey.

Get the full story at Brafton

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/62_percent_of_millennials_research_products_on_facebook_before_buying

Hotel guest reviews - the good, the bad and the unusual

August 15, 2014

The comments they found are wide ranging – from too many women to not enough women, resident ghosts and a poolside bird convention.

Joachim Holte, chief marketing officer at Wego, said “Hotel guests are usually quite candid about what impressed them and what didn’t. Every traveller is different; with unique expectations and views of their experiences, and we can’t help but enjoy some of the more colourful comments which we thought were worth sharing.”

Added Benjamin Jost, CEO of TrustYou, “Guest reviews provide insights to fellow travellers as well as hotel management, but more importantly they highlight the individuality and personality of travellers, while also demonstrating that the tiniest details are not overlooked.”

Wego listed the top 10 comments as:

- No ghost sighting
- One ghost touching
- Weird, glass enclosed bathroom in room shared by hairy mates
- Too much cardio, not enough squats in the gym
- No toaster = horrible!
- Pool attracted a bird convention
- My toilet seat fell off
- Too many women in the bar
- Not enough women in the bar
- Extra charge for children: fabulous!

Get the full story at WIT

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

Amadeus unveils new version of e-commerce solution

August 15, 2014

It incorporates the same low-fare search functionality used by some of the largest online travel companies and offers the building blocks to help agents increase sales revenues, such as cross selling, negotiated fares, packaging features and service fees.

Among the new features are quicker search and booking flows; flight and hotel packaging functionality; a “pin and compare” feature for air, car and hotel searches, and new user interface customization tools.

The new version can also be integrated within any existing website, regardless of size and complexity.

Get the full story at Travel Market Report

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

Improved business travel outlook will lead to higher hotel rates in 2015

August 14, 2014

Overall, the 2015 Global Travel Price Outlook projects next year's global business travel spending levels to be 8.6 percent higher than this year's volume. Expanding emerging markets and a release of "pent-up demand" as mature economies recover will spur that growth, according to the report.

The report projects average daily hotel rates globally to increase 2.6 percent, as hotel operators are "in a better negotiating position than they have been in quite some time."

Strengthening demand in the United States should push its average hotel rates up 4.5 percent in 2015, according to the report. San Francisco and Houston stand to see the largest increases. Canadian hotels will see a more modest ADR increase of 1 percent.

In aggregate, the forecast projects Western Europe ADR will increase 1 percent, with rates up significantly in London amid limited supply, and more moderately in Germany, which is experiencing a growth in room supply. Eastern Europe, which saw ADR decline year over year in 2012 and 2013, is beginning to recover as bargain-seeking meeting planners explore options there, and Middle East and Africa rates also will "grow modestly for the fourth year in a row," according to the report.

The forecast projects Asia/Pacific hotel ADR will be up 2.7 percent in 2015, with stronger increases in Indonesia (up 7.8 percent) and Australia (up 3.6 percent). ADR in China, however, will be about flat, as the country experiences an "extraordinary growth in supply."

Among the four global regions, Latin America will have the largest ADR increase of 6.3 percent, according to the forecast. This includes significant increases in inflation-troubled Venezuela (up 17.5 percent) and Argentina (up 11.5 percent) as well as increases for Brazil (up 11 percent), Colombia (up 5 percent) and Chile (up 4 percent). The forecast projects ADR in Mexico will be about flat as supply grows and demand wanes.

Get the full story at Business Travel News and Carlson Wagonlit Travel

Read also "US hotels cresting on a wave" at Hotel News Now

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/improved_business_travel_outlook_will_lead_to_higher_hotel_rates_in_2015

Priceline’s success comes at a price as it spends 30% of revenues on advertising

August 14, 2014

While the US giant, owner of Booking.com, posted a 26% rise in revenue for the quarter to $2.1 billion and a 34% increase in booking turnover to $13.5 billion, analysts noted Priceline’s advertising spending grew 40% in the quarter to $700 million - totalling one third of revenues - and offline ad spending doubled year on year.

When it’s all done online, it’s a game for the robots, calibrating programmatic ad spending to stay in the sweet spot of profits and growth. But here’s where it gets complicated: what do you do when rivals like Expedia and TripAdvisor boost their own spending on the same type of digital ads, pushing up the price of attracting all those visitors to your sites?

The contest for consumers’ attention is expected to keep pushing down returns on Priceline’s Web marketing efforts in the coming months, Chief Financial Officer Daniel Finnegan said. Expedia Chief Executive Dara Khosrowshahi last month said the cost of reaching online consumers was generally increasing, forcing the company to target other channels, like social media, to profitably deliver new business.

With OTAs paying progressively more marketing dollars for booking leads generated by companies such as Google and TripAdvisor, Priceline's acquisition of OpenTable might ultimately represent a cheaper way to generate click-throughs to its core business.

Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal

Read also "Priceline bookings top forecast" and "OTAs will need to further diversify their business models"

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/pricelines_success_comes_at_a_price_as_it_spends_30_percent_of_revenues_on

Luxury hotels’ loyalty programs increasingly popular

August 14, 2014

Hotel brands have made substantial investments on that front. 70% offer access to a loyalty programs via the mobile site and 64% allow in-app access to rewards points. A few, such as Marriott, have leveraged consumers’ social media activity and offer points in exchange for posts tagged with one of their properties.

There’s good reason for hotels to encourage and invest in loyalty program participation. Loyalty members generate 50% more revenue than regular guests. Prestige Hotels are already in a prime position to do so, as 96% of affluent travelers are members of at least one hotel rewards program.

Get the full story at L2

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

Independent agents still ‘important’ says Tui

August 14, 2014

Burling told Travel Weekly: “Obviously, we have policies that drive direct distribution, but I don’t see a time when independent agents won’t be important to us.”

He said Thomson and First Choice exclusive product, which account for 84% of summer bookings to date, offer benefits to independent agents who sell them. “These hotels often sell early. The average selling prices are attractive. They generate repeat business,” said Burling.

He added: “Our forward sales are up year on year through quite a few independent agents. There are still opportunities for independents.”

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

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

Hyatt leads new wave of elite hotels

August 14, 2014

Next week, Hyatt Hotels Corp. will open a new flagship for its luxury Park Hyatt brand in midtown Manhattan. The Park Hyatt's 210 rooms will boast an average daily rate of more than $900, putting the New York Park Hyatt in elite company with Four Seasons, St. Regis and Mandarin Oriental as the city's most expensive hotels.

Hyatt has high expectations for this property, which occupies the first 25 floors of a new 1,004-foot luxury condo tower. The company said last week it purchased the hotel from Extell Development Co. for $390 million. That comes to nearly $1.9 million a room—one of the highest prices ever spent on a hotel and the most that Hyatt, by this metric, has ever spent on a property.

"I can't think of anyone who has spent as much on the construction of a new hotel," says Ryan Meliker, a hotel analyst with MLV & Co. "They believe this property will help market the Park Hyatt brand, and not just domestically but globally."

Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal

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

10 hotel booking mistakes you didn’t know you were making

August 14, 2014

From booking on the wrong sites to forgetting to check some vital information, these mistakes could easily make or break your trip. Read on to find out what you must avoid when booking that hotel room.

1. Always Expecting the Best Room

I was recently chatting with a front-desk agent about how her hotel chain distributes rooms at check-in. Curious, I asked what method her staff uses to determine who gets the best-located rooms. She revealed this surprising tidbit: Those who book through the hotel website or are hotel loyalty members usually get first dibs on room assignments, with the better views and quieter locations. Travelers who book through online travel agencies (OTAs), like Priceline, often receive "run of the house" rooms (what she called "ice-machine rooms," or basically whatever is left). The agent couldn't tell me just how many hotel chains do this, but she said it was a "fairly common practice" and that it sweetens the deal for travelers who book at regular rates.

The Fix: Joining hotel loyalty programs is often free (we rounded up the top loyalty programs for you), and being a member can guarantee better room placement, free nights, or helpful amenities like complimentary breakfast or Wi-Fi.

If having the best possible room is key to happy travel, then book directly through the hotel's website. But when those low, low OTA prices can't be beat—we know the feeling—you can always make a request for a certain type of room or location.

Get the full story at The Huffington Post

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/10_hotel_booking_mistakes_you_didnt_know_you_were_making

Some of the best content marketing examples of 2014

August 14, 2014

The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as "a marketing technique of creating and distributing valuable, relevant and consistent content to attract and acquire a clearly defined audience - with the objective of driving profitable customer action."

The brands and efforts highlighted in this post definitely meet those qualifications. They've created something that's valuable, relevant, and consistently useful to their audience (and a clearly defined audience, at that). Ultimately, I don't know what actions were driven by these campaigns because I can't peer into each brand's analytics and conversion rates. But I can attest that these campaigns caught my eye, and serve as shining examples of content marketing genius.

Get the full story at The ExactTarget Blog

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/some_of_the_best_content_marketing_examples_of_2014

Negative Google Glass sentiment raises questions for marketers

August 14, 2014

The anti-Glass sentiment adds to the adjustments that marketers will have to make to accommodate Google Glass as a new mobile channel.

“Since Google Glass is more intrusive, users will likely be less tolerant to traditional marketing messages, advertorial content and non-targeted communication,” said Bill Magnuson, co-founder and chief technology officer for Appboy Academy, New York.

“Marketers who want to be more forward-thinking should look toward Android Wear or Apple’s rumored watch, since they are less intrusive, more likely to be adopted quickly and can be used in similar ways as Google Glass without the social stigma.”

Get the full story at The Mobile Marketer

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

Airbnb to relaunch SuperHost program

August 14, 2014

A SuperHost is an Airbnb host who has demonstrated going above and beyond for their guests. They've received stellar reviews that reveal their exemplary skills in hospitality.

Airbnb plans to launch a program that recognizes superhosts, a follow-up to the program preview last year celebrating distinguished hosts. In response to feedback about tracking performance, hosts will also be getting new tools to better understand their performance and get hospitality recommendations.

Lastly, the company is planning improvements to the calendar: the way hosts update their listings and pricing will be simplified. Overall, details are scarce, but Airbnb says it wants to share its roadmap “to be more consistent in our communication about new features and programs.”

Source: The Next Web

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

Travel content takes off on YouTube

August 13, 2014

Travel content has proliferated as people around the world share their experiences and seek inspiration for their next adventure. Every month, more than one billion people visit YouTube to watch more than six billion hours of video, making YouTube an ideal place to explore how travelers interact with video content.

According to a recent study Google conducted with Ipsos MediaCT, two out of three U.S. consumers watch online travel videos when they’re thinking about taking a trip.2 But what are travelers looking for? What’s popular? What content are they watching? To find out, Google analyzed aggregated and anonymized views of travel content on YouTube in the U.S. from early 2012 to early 2014.

For the purposes of this research, Google define “travelers” as those individuals who engage with or search for travel content on Google.com and/or YouTube. Overall, Google's findings have big implications for marketers looking to connect with travelers, regardless of category.

Get the full story at Think with Google

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

How Hilton blends corporate strategy with brand expertise for social media

August 13, 2014

Other companies using a similar strategy include Hotels.com, which also employs a single social media strategist while social media teams around the world operate independently. Having a central resource for social media intelligence to stay on top of the trending platforms and the latest technologies helps these companies focus on the customer communications aspects of their social media efforts.

“We are one of 11 brands at Hilton Worldwide, and we have one social strategist for everyone,” said Diana Plazas, director of global brand marketing at Hilton’s Doubletree Hotels chain. “We then work with our own customer service team directly so that they speak with the right voice for the brand.

“Each brand has a its own different team, but our social media strategist is able to provide us with the point of view of what’s going on out there.”

Get the full story at the Mobile Marketer

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

Luxury hotels ditch the front desk for the front door

August 13, 2014

The “stodginess” of traditional hotel check-in is one of the consistent findings in my research as a hospitality and customer service consultant. A traditional front-desk check-in feels archaic and slow to many of today’s travelers, and even more so to the guests who will soon dominate the hospitality industry’s market: the huge and tech-savvy Millennial generation of customers.

Which is why some innovative five-star luxury hotel brands have been stealthily revolutionizing hotel check-in. And they’re not doing it primarily the app-ish, mobile-y way that Hilton Hotels announced last week. (I covered that story here.) A solely app-based approach, they feel, treats check-in as purely transactional. Not as the service touchpoint they’d like it to be.

Are these hoteliers and hotel brands making the right call here? Can check-in be a warm experience, a memorable (in a good way) experience, even in this age of rushed, distracted, multi-tasking guests? Can it, just maybe, even be a blast?

Get the full story at Forbes

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

Marriott further expands mobile check-in and checkout services

August 13, 2014

Marriott is laser-focused on delivering the mobile services travelers told the company that they want most and making these services as widely available as possible. The company is rapidly introducing mobile services that improve the travel experience by giving guests added convenience and greater choice, while giving hotel staff the opportunity to deliver an even higher level of service. When it comes to fulfillment, the company's hotels have achieved a near perfect success rate in executing a half-million mobile check-ins to date, leading to nine out ten guests saying they will use it again.

With the Marriott Mobile app, check-in and checkout is simpler. Marriott Rewards members receive a push notification on their Apple iPhones or Android devices after 4 pm on the day before their arrival alerting them they can check-in. Then they receive an automatic notification when their room is ready. Communicating in advance means the hotel is prepared for their arrival. Because payment information is stored within members profiles, guests simply walk up to the expedited mobile check-in desk where their pre-programmed key card will be waiting for them.

At the end of their stays, guests receive a push notification alerting them that mobile checkout is available. Upon completion, guests will then be prompted to provide an email address where their bill should be sent, allowing them to confidently bypass the front desk. Mobile check-in and checkout are available in five languages: English, French, Spanish, German and Mandarin.

Leading with its flagship Marriott Hotels brand, the company continues innovating in the mobile space. The brand now offers mobile service requests in fifteen markets in North America, where hotels are serving as "mobile incubator" laboratories for the future. For example, guests at these hotels can use a drop down menu of the most typical service requests, such as extra towels and pillows, or chat directly with hotel staff using a mobile app. The company will offer these and other mobile services to its Marriott Rewards members at the Marriott Hotels brand beginning early next year.

"You cannot separate the mobile experience from the personal interaction between guests and our hotel associates. When executed flawlessly and consistently, they complement each other and enhance the overall experience," said George Corbin, senior vice president, Digital. "In our testing of mobile service requests so far, 86 percent of guests who used the feature have chosen to chat directly with hotel associates, illustrating how much guests appreciate the personal interaction using their mobile devices, and nearly nine out of ten guests gave the experience a very high positive rating."

Recently, the company's award-winning Marriott Rewards became first major hotel loyalty program to offer geo-targeted, mobile offers using beacon technology. Participating hotels send members, who opt-in, push notifications on their mobile devices as they pass by "hot spots" within the property. Called LocalPerks, offers are tailored to the property, ranging from food and beverage to spa to golf. Future plans for LocalPerks include Marriott Rewards' offers available locally in the neighborhoods surrounding participating hotels.

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

Wotif profit shrinks, ups marketing spend

August 13, 2014

To arrest the slide, Wotif spent an additional $10 million on advertising during the year and said marketing costs would continue to increase in fiscal 2015.

Wotif launched the Wotifia campaign in August, featuring a promotional short film and dedicated webpage to reach the next generation of Australian travellers and introduce them to the group's brand.

Chief executive Scott Blume said tactical decisions to ramp up investments in marketing and technology were among the reasons Wotif's bottom line suffered in 2013/14.

Get the full story at The Australian

Read also "Thai coup, Australia and NZ hotel competition add to Wotif slide" at The Australian

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

Meet Aloft’s robot butler

August 13, 2014

After a human loads it up with the appropriate things, Botlr takes the elevator to the appropriate floor, waits outside the destination room, and places a phone call to let the guest know it has arrived.

Upon opening the door, the guest are greeted by the robot's touchscreen display. Botlr's sensors can tell when the door has been opened, at which point it opens its storage compartment for the recipient to retrieve his or her items. Once it's confirmed that the guests received everything requested, they rate their interaction on a five-star scale and go about the rest of their day.

The Aloft hotel chain uses its Cupertino location as a testing ground to experiment with how technology might improve customer experience. Previously this has included systems for getting music and video content from your personal gadgets onto a hotel room's television screen, or being able to unlock your hotel room with your smartphone. Robotics startup Savioke took notice of the company's forward-thinking tendencies and pitched them on the robot butler idea.

Get the full story at Inc.com and The New York TImes

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

HSMAI accepting top 25 most extraordinary minds in sales and marketing award nominations

August 13, 2014

The Albert E. Koehl Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Marketing and the Winthrop W. Grice Award for Lifetime Achievement in Hospitality Public Relations awards recognize individuals who have spent a major portion of their careers in the hospitality and travel profession and have contributed to the betterment of the industry in a significant and lasting way, over an extended period of time.

Last year, Best Western International President and CEO David Kong received the Albert E. Koehl Award and Kahn Travel Communications President and Owner Richard S. Kahn received the Winthrop W. Grice Award. Previous winners include Bill Marriott, Richard Branson, Mike Leven, Jonathan Tisch, Ian Schrager, Steve Wynn and Donald Trump, among others.

"We are proud to recognize some of the industry's greatest minds and careers with our Lifetime Achievement award," said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president & CEO of HSMAI.

All nominations are reviewed and voted on by the HSMAI Lifetime Award Committee, comprised of previous award recipients. Nominations for this year's award can be made athttp://www.adrianawards.com/gala/lifetime.asp.

The Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales and Marketing honor leaders in sales and marketing of hospitality, travel and tourism organizations for their accomplishments in the preceding 18 months. Nominations can be made athttp://www.adrianawards.com/competition/top25.asp.

"To be named to the Top 25 list confirms that a hospitality sales and marketing professional has shown great leadership and performed at a high level in the industry," Gilbert said.

The 2013 Top 25 Most Extraordinary Minds in Sales & Marketing were:

- Benu Aggarwal: President and Founder, Milestone Internet Marketing
- Robert Arnold: Vice President of Sales, Vizergy
- David Atkins: Principal and Co-Founder, Digital DNA Infusion, LLC
- Ursula Boll: President, Miles Hospitality Division, Miles
- Michelle Bozoki: Director of Marketing & e-Commerce, Marriott Caribbean & Latin America Resorts
- George Brennan: Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, Interstate Hotels & Resorts
- Kathleen Cullen: Vice President, Revenue & Distribution, Commune Hotels & Resorts
- Michael Dominguez: Senior Vice President of Corporate Hotel Sales, MGM Resorts International
- Jack Easdale: Vice President of Yield Management, Venetian and Palazzo Hotel and Casino
- Steve Enselein: Vice President Catering & Convention Services – Americas, Hyatt Hotels Corporation
- Amir Eylon: Vice President, Partner Engagement, BRAND USA
- Janet Gerhard: Founder/Principal Consultant, Hospitality Gal
- Loren Gray: Director of e-Commerce, Ocean Properties, LTD
- Adele Gutman Milne: Vice President Sales, Marketing and Revenue, Library Hotel Collection
- Christian Kuhn: VP Extended Stay Marketing, Homewood Suites and Home2 Suites, Hilton Worldwide
- Theresa Lewis: Vice President, Market Research, Wyndham Hotel Group
- Jaclyn Loo: Senior Marketing Manager Lodging, Google Inc.
- Glen MacDonell: Managing Director, Loyalty & Partnership Marketing, Best Western International
- Joey Martin: Director of Promotional Marketing, Choice Hotels International
- Larry Mogelonsky: President, LMA Communications Inc.
- Kasey O'Leary: Senior Director Multi-Brands & HHonors Marketing, Hilton Worldwide
- Harold Queisser: Director of Sales and Marketing, Omni Dallas
- Andrew Rubinacci: Vice President, Distribution Strategy, Intercontinental Hotels Group
- Mickey Schaefer: CEO & Founder, The Experience Institute
- Noah Paul Tratt: Global Vice President at Expedia Media Solutions, Expedia Inc.

Known as the world's most-renowned and prestigious travel advertising, public relations and digital marketing competition, the HSMAI Adrian Awards is celebrating its 58th year honoring breakthrough campaigns focused on hospitality, travel and tourism industries.

Related link: HSMAI

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hsmai_accepting_top_25_most_extraordinary_minds_in_sales_and_marketing_awar

Majority of Americans say they would vacation without staying connected

August 13, 2014

The Disconnect to Reconnect survey examined digital vacationing habits across 28 countries worldwide, identifying the countries that find it most difficult to achieve work-life balance and switch off when on vacation. Asian countries led the way in terms of countries most attached to their devices, with Korea taking second place (78 percent), followed by Japan (69 percent), China (67 percent) and Singapore (60 percent).

“Going away on vacation should be a time to unwind, whether you’re lying on a beach in Cancun or snowboarding down a mountain in Vail,” says Taylor L. Cole, APR, travel expert at Hotels.com. “While smartphones are useful for checking the weather or viewing maps, travelers would benefit from switching off their e-mails to disconnect and restore a little more of the all-important work-life balance.”

On the other end of the spectrum is India with a mere 20 percent of participants saying they would be unable to abandon their mobile devices or laptops, followed by Argentina at 22 percent. Elsewhere in North America, only 27 percent of Canadians and 28 percent of Mexican travelers said they’d be unwilling to do so.

When it comes to American travel habits, two-thirds of Americans (66 percent) say they spend at least some time using social media while on vacation, with 28 percent saying they spend an hour or more each day. A majority of Americans also admit to spending some time checking or responding to work email while on vacation (56 percent), but most say they spend less than an hour a day (36 percent), while 44 percent say they spend no time at all. Overall, most U.S. travelers (72 percent) return home with no regrets about spending time on their mobile devices.

Get the full story at Hotels.com

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

Hotel brands look to strike right balance with online reviews

August 12, 2014

“Control is a difficult thing to maintain but it’s an even more difficult thing to let go of for brands,” said Taylor Rains, Charleston-based luxury brand consultant.

“Traditionally, luxury hotels maintained equity in their brands by tightly controlling the channels of communication,” he said. “The nature of communication has changed, though, and it’s necessary for these hotels to adapt to meet consumer expectations.

“People do their due diligence before travel, be it in the luxury market or not. Part of that research means that they will come across reviews. While showcasing them may run the risk of coming across as self-promotional, it is important for these brands to support the review process.”

Get the full story at Luxury Daily

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

U.S. hotel industry soars as online channels continue to lead bookings in 2014

August 12, 2014

In Q2, 2014, the OTA channel (which includes Expedia, Priceline, Orbitz and Booking.com, etc.) experienced the largest jump in bookings, with a 12.8 percent increase in the second quarter compared to last year. Brand.com room night bookings increased year-over-year by 6.9 percent. The GDS channel grew 2.7 percent. Hotel Direct (calls directly to the property and walk-in customers) was flat at 0.3 percent from a year ago, and the CRS channel was slightly down, at -1.7 percent.

Average daily rates (ADR) across all transient channels grew 3.7 percent in Q2, 2014 compared to the second quarter 2013. The OTA channel had the highest ADR growth with an increase of 10.7 percent. Additional channels that showed growth include: Hotel Direct, up 2.7% percent; GDS up 4.0 percent; CRO up by 2.1 percent and Brand.com up 3.9 percent.

In Q3, 2014, OTA ADR is tracking ahead by 11.3 percent, based on reservations currently on the books. ADR for the third quarter is also growing for the other channels, up 4.7 percent for the GDS channel, 2.7 percent for the hotel direct channel, 3.8 percent for Brand.com and 2.0 percent for the CRO channel.

Get the full story at TravelClick

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/u.s._hotel_industry_soars_as_online_channels_continue_to_lead_bookings_in_2

Hacking word-of-mouth: Making referrals work for Airbnb

August 12, 2014

Word of mouth is a huge growth source for Airbnb, in part because Airbnb experiences are so personal. People use Airbnb to unlock incredible experiences–anything from weekend getaways with friends, cultural exchanges, and once in a lifetime events like honeymoons. The referrals program encourages inviting friends by giving both the sender and recipient $25 of travel credit at Airbnb when the invited user completes their first trip. The idea is to leverage our community’s inherent tendency to tell their friends about Airbnb and amplify the effect.

The company decided to relaunch Referrals on all three of its platforms: our website, our Android app, and our iOS app. Airbnb also decided to support accepting and sending referral on all three platforms; very few apps accept referrals on mobile despite the majority of emails read on mobile.

Referrals was an exciting project to undertake because it embodies growth: it’s highly measurable, scalable, and is all about identifying a growth pattern that’s already happening but amplifying it at a key moment.

Get the full story at Airbnb

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

OpenTable expands its in-app mobile payments to NY, promises 20 more cities before end of 2014

August 12, 2014

Announced today in a blog post, the feature is now available to users in New York City, and for everyone outside of San Francisco or NYC, mobile payments will be introduced in 20 additional cities before the end of the year.

Of course, you’ll still need to find a participating restaurant, but once you have, you won’t need to sit around at the end of your meal trying to get the waiter’s attention to ask for the check. All you need to do is settle the bill via the app and walk out.

Get the full story at The Next Web and OpenTable

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/opentable_expands_its_in_app_mobile_payments_to_ny_promises_20_more_cities

Facebook looking for true love, brands no longer able to force user to “like” their page

August 12, 2014

Rudi Leung, general manager of Social@Ogilvy, regards the new policy is a “positive change” for not only brands, but also agencies.

“As Facebook users are moving away from desktop to mobile, the Like Gate Tactic will be obsoleted sooner or later anyway.

“A lot of brand pages have been relying on the Like Gate tactic to acquire new fans. From now on, they need to give a stronger reason to make someone liking their page.”

Apparently Facebook is now looking for true love, and so should brands, Leung stressed.

Get the full story at Marketing Interactive and Facebook Developer Blog

Read also "No more Facebook Like-Gating: What it means and why you should care" Jon Loomer's blog

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

State level keyword terms arrive in Google Carousel

August 12, 2014

For example the local carousel results for “Hotels In New Jersey” search will now show locations in various cities from New Brunswick to Newark. Screen Pilot also noticed that when you searched for a state you were actually located in your state level results would always be changed to become more local to you. Google has been using your set location to personalize results for users for years so this is no great surprise.

The new state level terms are likely part of the neighborhood level search that was also introduced as part of pigeon. Areas colloquial names are now very useful for local search and even areas as small as a few blocks are definable.

Keep your eye on your Google local results over the next few weeks as more changes and rapid ranking movement is likely to continue to occur as everything is fine tuned.

Get the full story at the Screen Pilot blog

Read also "Experts weigh in on Google’s “Pigeon” update aimed at improving local search results" at Search Engine Land

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

Addressing hotel marketer’s greatest challenge: Creating content on a tight budget

August 12, 2014

Creating and posting regular content should be one of the top priorities of your hotel’s digital marketing strategy, and the reality is that it’s very doable with these tips:

Repurpose Your Content To Get The Most Mileage Out Of It

Creating and posting quality content to your social media channels on a regular basis may sound expensive, but it’s actually easy and inexpensive with the right planning:

1. Fuel multiple channels with one piece of original content. One quality piece of original content can really go a long way on your social media channels. For example, you could film a video and post that to YouTube, and then take still shots from the video to:

- Create a photo album on Facebook
- Post to Instagram
- Post to Twitter
- Post to a Pinterest board
- Blog about the story behind it

2. Republish old content. It’s a misconception to think that you need to create original content on a regular basis. Once your original content becomes a few months old, you can post it to your social media channels again with a fresh caption or you can change the intro of your articles to make them more timely and relevant. Make sure not to repost something too frequently or people will begin to notice and lose interest

3. Turn some of your hotel’s gallery photos into social media posts. Take your hotel’s best photos from your gallery, and overlay them with quotes that resonate your core values and that create a call to adventure. Then take these photos and post them to your social media channels for travel shoppers and guests to enjoy.

Get the full story at Leonardo

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

How to improve your popularity ranking on TripAdvisor

August 12, 2014

Watch the quick video above to learn more about your TripAdvisor popularity ranking, including:

- Why it’s good to have a higher ranking
- Why our algorithm favors quantity, quality and recency of reviews
- How to improve your ranking
- What you should do to get more reviews

Ready to get more reviews with little effort? Then try using Review Express, our free way to email a review request to recent guests. In just a few minutes, you can remind up to 1,000 recent guests to add their review, which can help improve your popularity ranking.

Get the full story at TripAdvisor

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

TripAdvisor to compete with its ad clients

August 11, 2014

Tweaking its strategy to account for the expected surge in mobile bookings, the company is broadening the number of hotels bookable through its Instant Booking feature, while at the same time acquiring destination-listing websites.

Late last month, TripAdvisor said its Instant Booking feature, which went live in June, would add hotel inventory from GDS operator Travelport, giving users booking access to Travelport’s listings for 580,000 hotels worldwide, including 480,000 non-branded properties.

Additionally, TripAdvisor last month agreed to pay $200 million to acquire Viator, an online service that offers customers access to more than 20,000 tours and attractions in 1,500 destinations worldwide.

The announcements reflect a bifurcated strategy of sorts for TripAdvisor: Derive more revenue per visitor from the contingent of people visiting TripAdvisor specifically to book hotel rooms and, at the same time, own more listing services that cater to the TripAdvisor visitors who are looking to book travel products other than hotels.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

Priceline bookings top forecast

August 11, 2014

Priceline is expanding beyond travel reservations, seeking to maintain growth at a company that’s boosted revenue by at least 20 percent for seven straight years. The company last month completed its acquisition of restaurant-booking website OpenTable Inc. for $2.6 billion, and Chief Executive Officer Darren Huston today said Priceline is investing in marketing as well as pushing into regions such as China.

“Chinese bookers, they’re one of the fastest-growing bookers on all of our properties,” Huston said on a conference call today. “Tapping into China is going to be a huge benefit.”

OpenTable is part of Priceline’s mobile strategy for its brands to connect to various aspects of a traveler’s experience. Today, Priceline unveiled OpenTable’s mobile payments program in New York, allowing restaurant-goers to pay their checks on their phones, Huston said on the call. The company plans to expand the program to 20 other cities before year-end.

Priceline also will jointly market the OpenTable application with its hotel offerings, encouraging travelers who book accommodations with Priceline’s sites to also find restaurants and make reservations through OpenTable.

Get the full story at Bloomberg and Priceline (PDF 140 KB)

Read also "Priceline's success comes at a price" at The Wall Street Journal

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

Expedia will be affected big-time by Priceline-Ctrip marriage

August 11, 2014

Priceline’s planned investment in Ctrip is a smart move for both companies - the investment makes it that much more unlikely for Ctrip to do a deal with players not affiliated with Priceline.

Aside from the obvious implication for Expedia, Tnooz lists five other players who could be affected by this deal:

- Hotels: With Booking.com’s meteoric rise in Asia (as well as Priceline’s other brand, Agoda) and its existing dominance in Europe, both companies could further increase their commission rates as more hoteliers depend on the two companies to deliver both Chinese and non-Chinese travelers.

Get the full story at Tnooz

Read also "Priceline to invest $500m in Ctrip, cross-promoting their hotel portfolio"

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

eLong returns to profit as hotel bookings surge

August 11, 2014

“In the second quarter, our lodging network grew to 120,000 contracted properties in China and nearly 325,000 properties worldwide,” said Guangfu Cui, CEO of eLong. “With our broad range of accommodations products and attractive discounts, mobile has now become our largest booking channel, surpassing 60,000 transactions on peak days.”

eLong’s air ticketing revenue dipped 1% in the second quarter of 2014, which the company attributed to a “decrease in average ticket price”. The company also saw a 12% year-on-year increase in operating costs in Q2.

Looking ahead to Q3, eLong said it expects to see continued growth, with net revenues forecast to increase by 10-20% compared to the third quarter of 2013.

Get the full story at Travel Daily Asia and eLong

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

The four stages of user search behavior for hotel products

August 11, 2014

How does a user search for a hotel room or a flight and then eventually decide to make a booking? There are four major stages in which a user can search for travel or hotel information.

- All four stages can be the starting point of a user search. Which stage a user starts at really depends on the behavior of the user, and depends on the stage of the user's specific requirements.

- Each of the four stages is a very important "search" stage for end users when looking for travel/hotel information.

- All four stages can be the starting point of a user's search, but not all stages can be a point for a user hotel booking.

- As an online marketer, you cannot have full control of all four stages, but you should be aware of the stages and what you can optimize at each stage.

Get the full story at ClickZ

Read also "The three focus areas for hotel marketers" at ClickZ

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

TripAdvisor turns to customers for creative inspiration

August 11, 2014

Starting with the brand’s ongoing Don’t Just Visit campaign as inspiration, TripAdvisor is asking fans, followers and customers to submit videos which can be used as 15 or 30 second TV ads. Anyone in America, France or Australia can enter the contest, which runs through the month of August.

Of the approach, TripAdvisor CMO Barbara Messing said, “No one knows better than our community of millions of travelers how TripAdvisor makes a vacation great. Travelers love sharing their experiences on TripAdvisor, so we’re excited to get their take on our ‘Don’t Just Visit’ ads by asking them to share their travel stories in a creative new way, with one winning story to air on TV.”

And she’s right. Sometimes a brand is just too close to itself to properly express its benefits. Which is why it’s best to sometimes go right to the consumer for more than just insight but for actual creative as well.

Get the full story at Marketing Land

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

Airbnb’s CEO explains his company in a way Stephen Colbert can understand

August 11, 2014

“Everyone should be able to participate in the economy like a corporation,” Chesky said, responding to a different joke. “What the sharing economy really means is that now people in 60 seconds can be micro-entrepreneurs.”

When asked about the trouble Airbnb has received from lawmakers and larger hotel chains, Chesky said he just chalks those up to people not wanting to change the status quo.

“We launched during the economic crisis of 2008 and there were people who really needed this change to happen. I think it’s fundamentally a good thing for the world,” Chesky said.

Get the full story at VentureBeat

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

How to create a hotel revenue leader

August 11, 2014

Janelle Cornett, regional director of revenue management for TPG Hospitality, listed a bevy of characteristics she wants to see in a revenue leader. For one, these revenue managers need to be more than just “spreadsheet ninjas,” but also be able to synthesize complex information for groups that might not be familiar with the intricacies of revenue management.

Competitiveness and the willingness to learn from mistakes are also near the top of her revenue management leadership checklist, she said during the webinar titled “The road to revenue management leadership,” which was presented jointly by Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International, Hotel News Now and HNN’s parent company, STR.

“They have to really want to win,” she said, adding, “They need to be able to look back and analyze what went wrong. I think we need to be better listeners and good learners.”

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

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

Are Google Maps descriptive phrases important to your hotel?

August 11, 2014

When relevant and accurate, these phrases can act as a great sales feature by helping your hotel stand out among competitors in the area. When inaccurate or negative, these phrases can potentially confuse or discourage online shoppers and ultimately hurt your hotel's bottom line.

Blue Magnet analyzed fifty Google Maps listings for hotels across the US and noticed a few noteworthy trends. The following article explains how these phrases appear on desktop vs. mobile, where these phrases come from, and what you can do to control the phrases on your hotel's Google Maps listing.

Get the full story at Blue Magnet Interactive

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

Orbitz revenue forecast beats estimates as travel bookings rise

August 08, 2014

Hotel bookings accounted for about a third of the company's total revenue in the quarter. The rise was driven mainly by the company's rewards program, Chief Executive Barney Harford said on a conference call. Under its rewards program, Orbitz offers discounted hotel bookings if customers also buy air tickets.

"It was a good quarter with continued good outlook and they are getting traction with a lot of their loyalty areas," Benchmark Co analyst Dan Kurnos said.

Get the full story at Reuters

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

Sabre cuts losses by $100m

August 08, 2014

Airline and hospitality solutions revenue increased 4.9% to $187 million from $178 million in the second quarter of 2013. Sabre Travel Network revenue rose by $6 million or 1.3% to $462 million.

Excluding Travelocity, revenue increased 3.6% from $614 million in the second quarter of 2013 to $637 million in the second quarter of 2014.

Travelocity suffered a 45% slump in revenues to $84 million year on year and a quarterly loss of $9 million against a profit of $9 million for the same period a year ago.

Get the full story at Travolution and Sabre

Read also "Travelocity is a Huge Success for Expedia and Orbitz" at Skift

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/sabre_cuts_losses_by_100m

Why TripAdvisor embraced TV ads

August 08, 2014

CMO TODAY: How is TV working out for TripAdvisor?

We had been a very successful brand for many years without doing any TV advertising, and we built the brand through word of mouth, great PR efforts, SEO. We got to a stage where we thought we had an opportunity to reach the folks who didn’t know about us, even though we are a giant brand. We knew there was a whole world we hadn’t reached yet, and we thought TV would be a great channel to test. So we started in earnest in Q2 and we spent about $10 million in Q2 and we’re happy with our results. We saw a nice uptick in traffic in the key markets we were looking at and we like our creative a lot.

Why get into TV now, especially when digital advertising seems to be the hottest sector?

TV is a very powerful channel. TV gives you the opportunity to tell a story in a visually rich, long form way, more than you can do through a display ad or even through a PR article. We just felt like there was an opportunity to have our brand be top of mind for all these travelers who had been exposed to other travel brands through TV for many years. It’s really about driving awareness for that segment of folks that don’t think of us when they think about booking travel.


Is the plan to still spend $30 million?

That’s right. Our plan is to spend $30 million and that hasn’t changed. We launched in Canada last week and we continue to look at new markets and finding places where there’s a real story to tell.

Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal

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

Travel websites: David vs two Goliaths

August 08, 2014

Sites owned by the big two, such as Hotels.com and Booking.com, now encourage user reviews. At the same time, TripAdvisor has launched Instant Booking, which lets smartphone users complete their bookings without leaving the TripAdvisor site (although the transaction itself will still be with an OTA or a hotel).

Instant Booking serves another purpose. Half of TripAdvisor’s traffic comes through mobile devices. Being able to book in a single place will make its app slicker. Moreover, smartphones are creating firms which cater to travellers when they arrive at their destination—and TripAdvisor is getting into that business. In May it paid a reported $140m for La Fourchette, an online restaurant-booking service. On 24th July it said it was paying $200m for Viator, a firm that sells guided tours and other touristy activities.

TripAdvisor’s boss, Stephen Kaufer, denies he wants to take on the big two. “We are a media site,” he says. “I want Expedia and Priceline to thrive because they are my clients.” But soon, holidaymakers will be able to book their entire trips without leaving the TripAdvisor app. Rivals beware.

Get the full story at The Economist

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

PR helps small hotels boost exposure

August 08, 2014

Small hotels should consider making public relations a cornerstone of the company’s growth strategy. When a consumer sees third party exposure of a service, it is perceived much differently than a traditional advertisement. When we see an advertisement, we know the company is trying to sell us something. On the other hand, when a third party, such as the media, approves a product or service, the company gains much more credibility. Obviously, customers are much more likely to make a purchase based on third party approval than an advertisement.

A consistent public relations program will help build general awareness of your service and will supplement any direct marketing and advertising efforts. This visibility also tends to make your business appear larger and more established than it may be, which may help you secure customers and funding.

PR is much less expensive than advertising and the benefits of PR can be much more significant than the benefits of advertising. A fine media placement can show the way to a substantial increase in sales, and because many small hotels have a unique story to tell or a unique service to offer, they are interesting to the media.

Get the full story at eHotelier

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

How Marriott & Starwood Hotels choose room amenities

August 08, 2014

“If you take it, then you must have liked it,” says Scott Mitchell, director of design and development for Marriott International. Mitchell and his team tested 52 brands of shampoo, conditioner, body gel, lotion and soap before choosing the perfect one for its Marriott Hotels around the world.

Before testing, Mitchell sat with the Marriott Hotels brand team and found they were looking for “hip and cool” products for the Americas and Asia Pacific hotels. The European and Africa based hotels wanted products from a company that had a long, family-owned history.

From there, it’s time to find the brands. Mitchell visits boutique shops around the world in search of the perfect products. “We have to zero in on amenity brands that we think will work, and also make sure the products can be produced in different countries and continents,” Mitchell says.

Get the full story at Forbes

Read also "Hotels lure business travelers with room amenities"

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

There’s more to mobile than local and last minute

August 08, 2014

Local and last minute may be two central trends amid mobile's rise in travel, but smartphones and tablets are playing a growing role across all phases of travel planning. New Global Edition research from PhoCusWright indicates that while mobile transactions are disproportionately last minute, a significant volume of flight and hotel searches are occurring well in advance of departure.

In Parsing Shop and Book: How Airlines, Hotels and OTAs Compete on the Desktop and Mobile Web, PhoCusWright partnered with Adara to analyze some 2.5 billion online search and booking events across U.S. airline, hotel and online travel agency (OTA) desktop and mobile websites. This report provides in-depth search and booking behavior segmentation by channel (OTA, airline and hotel websites), device OS (Windows, Mac, Android and iOS) and loyalty (non-members, members and elite members of airline and hotel loyalty programs).

Parsing Shop and Book shows that although a significantly higher percentage of flight and especially hotel bookings via mobile occur close to departure and check-in, half of mobile flight searches and nearly one in four mobile hotel searches take place at least one month in advance of travel.

"The last-minute mobile shopper – especially for accommodation – represents an enormous opportunity, but it is by no means the only one travel companies should focus on," said Douglas Quinby, vice president, research at PhoCusWright. "Travel planning, or even just day dreaming, is increasingly moving to mobile, and travel companies need to embrace travel discovery as well as spontaneity across all devices."

Get the full story at PhoCusWright

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

Get social, get Facebook: A quick refresher for hoteliers

August 08, 2014

Facebook Refresher for Hoteliers:

1) Leverage visual media. Your hotel is beautiful – take advantage of that available beauty by snapping pictures of all of its glory. With a little skillful cropping and a memorable caption, you will be sure to grab the attention of your followers and drum up interaction. Did you know that Facebook posts paired with pictures receive on average 53% more “likes” and 104% more comments than posts without them?

2) Create Facebook buzz surrounding your events. You undoubtedly have a few (if not more) noteworthy events happening each year that you and your staff work very hard producing. You’ve already put in the work – now publicize it! If the event is open to the public, create a Facebook Event with the information, pictures, features, etc. As users RSVP, welcome them and send them any additional information they may need and post reminders as your event draws near. Take pictures before and during the event and, if possible, post something in real-time. Post the best of the best remaining images on your timeline in the following days, and wrap up your Facebook Event by thanking your attendees.

3) Share the past with your fans. Have you heard of Throw Back Thursday? #TBT is all the rage on Facebook every Thursday and you don’t want to miss it. If your property dates back to the 1930s, post a picture and description of the hotel exterior when it was just two stories tall. Was your hotel built just a few years ago? Break out those construction images or maybe one of your beloved chef’s culinary school hairdo. Your fans like seeing where you have been.

Get the full story at Micros

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

Priceline to invest $500m in Ctrip, cross-promoting their hotel portfolio

August 07, 2014

The move comes as demand for travel to and from China has been growing.

Priceline chief executive Darren Huston said: "Ctrip is the clear leader in online travel in China and we are pleased with the growth in Ctrip bookings through Booking.com and Agoda over the last two years. “We are eager to build upon what has already become a great partnership, and thrilled to be able to offer our customers even more hotel options in China.

Ctrip chief executive James Liang said: “The Priceline Group is the global leader in online accommodations, and as such, a key strategic partner for us as we look to expand our global footprint.

Get the full story at Bloomberg and Priceline

Read also "Priceline hits warp speed in online travel services" at Nasdaq

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/priceline_to_invest_500m_in_ctrip_cross_promoting_their_hotel_portfolio

Reviews, ratings and hotels - what research tells us

August 07, 2014

Previous research has shown that consumers’ perceptions of quality and value are the primary drivers of purchase behavior. A new SAS Institute and Penn State University study designed a scenario based on the online purchase of a four-star hotel for a weekend leisure break. The study presented a hotel where the price varied low to high (relative to a reference price), the reviews were either mostly positive or mostly negative, and the ratings were low (2.8) or high (4.8). Consumers were then asked to report their perceptions of the quality and value of that hotel.

The main takeaways from this study were:

- In the presence of ratings and reviews, consumers do not use price as an indication of quality. Hotels can lower price (within reasonable bounds) to generate short term demand, without impacting consumers long term quality perceptions.

- Reviews are the most powerful value indicator for consumers: Consumers look to the reviews over aggregate ratings to form quality and value perceptions. We hypothesize that the uncertainty associated with the hotel experience leads consumers to gather as much information as they can before purchase. Reviews provide this, ratings do not.

- Competing on price alone is not a winning strategy. Consumers will look closely at UGC and price. This means you must understand your price position and your reputation position versus the competition.

Get the full story at the SAS Institute

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

Hotels lure business travelers with room amenities

August 07, 2014

“The business traveler expects hotels to know who they are and their preferences. They want personalized and relevant communications throughout all of the major touch points,” said Bill Linehan, chief marketing officer at Red Lion Hotels Corporation.

They’re also more demanding, said Anne Smith, VP of brand strategy for Choice Hotels International. Road warriors have adapted their budgets to fit the new normal, so every dollar counts, she added. They expect real value in a hotel experience that has evolved to meet their needs in a more mobile, connected, “always-on” world.

The most important factor for business travelers when selecting a hotel was location, which was cited by 73% of the 525 U.S. business travelers surveyed in Choice’s “Road warrior survey.” Room value came in second (cited by 61% of respondents), followed by free Wi-Fi (55%).

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

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

Apps make life easier for travel agents and their clients

August 07, 2014

“Apps are exploding everywhere,” Chip Gordon, Red App marketing director, said. “There’s a continual flow from all around the world.” Gordon likes nothing better than giving travel agents a tour of the online shop and showing them how the apps can extend their capabilities and save them a lot of time.

The apps are plug-ins for the Sabre Red Workspace. Some sit in the “sidebar” on the right of the screen; others live in the background and pop up when needed. All of them must be downloaded by an authorized person in the agency.

Some of the most popular apps are also free. Some are simple, like a calculator. We’ve all got calculators on our computers, but the calculator app sits within the Red Workspace so the agent doesn’t have to move off the desktop.

Get the full story at Travel Market Report

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

The new search marketer: The ultimate prize fighter

August 07, 2014

All of this leads to a more rel­e­vant, con­sis­tent, and seam­less cus­tomer search and brand expe­ri­ence. Break­ing down the archaic notion of “my side vs. your side”has demon­strated sig­nif­i­cant results for companies:

- Added expo­sure on SERPs. The top two or three results on SERPs are typ­i­cally PPC ads. By com­bin­ing your efforts, you could con­sume the bet­ter part of an entire page, like a row of real estate in Monopoly.

- More data. When you com­bine your organic and PPC cam­paigns, you get twice the amount of data to ana­lyze. This is par­tic­u­larly ben­e­fi­cial when you can view the data side by side, at the back­end con­ver­sion level.

- Reach con­sumers early and at all stages in the sales cycle. Con­sumers who are brows­ing for what to buy don’t care about your ads. They don’t care if it’s a paid or nat­ural search ad that they click on. They just want the quick­est and most rel­e­vant answer to their search. When planned and man­aged together, SEO and paid search can serve mes­sages and infor­ma­tion that are rel­e­vant to cus­tomers across all stages of the pur­chase and con­sid­er­a­tion funnel.

Get the full story at the Digital Marketing Blog by Adobe

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

Google launches Google News Publisher Center

August 07, 2014

As long as your news site is verified within Google Webmaster Tools and already included in Google News, you should see them already verified and ready to manage within the Google News Publisher Center. Those sites that are not already verified, can go through the process of verification.

The publisher center enables you to:

- Update your news site details, including changing your site name and labeling your publication with any relevant source labels (e.g., “Blog”, “Satire” or “Opinion”)

- Update your section URLs when you change your site structure (e.g., when you add a new section such as http://example.com/2014commonwealthgames or http://example.com/elections2014)

- Label your sections with a specific topic (e.g., “Technology” or “Politics”)

Get the full story Search Engine Land

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

TravelClick hosts complimentary webinar on Q2 2014 hotel industry performance

August 07, 2014

The TravelClick webinar will review current and emerging market trends, highlight second quarter hotel performance results and future industry trends that are based on TravelClick’s proprietary Agency360® solution, eMonitor market performance reports and Demand360® forward-looking hotel booking data.

Key topics:

- Review and analysis of 2014 second quarter hotel performance
- Regional analysis of key markets throughout the world
- 2014 emerging global and local market trends
- Best practices for incremental revenue generation
- New social media research study from Dr. Edwin Torres
- Advance guidance on 2015 budget allocation

For more information and to register go to TravelClick

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travelclick_hosts_complimentary_webinar_on_q2_2014_hotel_industry_performan

New certification in hotel industry analytics shows hoteliers how to “do the math”

August 07, 2014

Core content areas for the CHIA include:

• Hotel Industry Analytical Foundations
• Hotel Math Fundamentals
• Property Level Benchmarking (STAR Reports)
• Hotel Industry Performance Reports

Preparation for the certification is done through an online program that includes quiz questions to help candidates gauge their comprehension and target their preparation activities. The online training materials include case scenarios, sample reports, industry "tricks of the trade," analysis examples, quizzes, discussion questions, and application exercises. Content is global in scope.

Get the full story at AHLEI

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

Hotel marketers share success stories

August 06, 2014

Whether making a splash with a simple menu change or establishing direct lines of communication to guests via email, marketers tallied wins through tried and true techniques. Here are some examples:

Tom Santora / Omni Hotels & Resorts: “Through our annual ‘Flavors of the World’ initiative, we partner with a particular destination and feature their cuisine or local wines throughout our hotels and resorts. This year’s three-month campaign spotlighted the wines of Washington State. ‘Taste Washington’ featured many of Washington State’s best wines in Omni bars and restaurants across the U.S., accompanied by a food pairing menu of Washington-inspired cuisine.

“The campaign was very successful. To build anticipation and create demand for the special menu, Omni held a launch event at the Omni Berkshire Place in New York to introduce the dishes to select media. We released recipes, photo assets, a new menu and a ‘Taste Washington video,’ which was played in our guestrooms and on OmniHotels.com.

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

Read also "What keeps hotel marketers awake at night?"

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

Social media is the new frontier when it comes to airline customer service

August 06, 2014

Unfortunately, while many teams are doing reasonably well at responding on Twitter, Facebook interactions often go neglected. United was the best at responding to Facebook mentions, but they still only responded to seven percent of posts. U.S. Airways responded to six percent of Facebook mentions, and every other airline responded two percent of the time or less.

While Facebook was a problem across the board, there are some airlines that barely seem like they’re making an effort. AirTran, which was acquired by Southwest Airlines in 2011, received a mention every 20 minutes, and responded to absolutely none of them.

Delta gave an equally dismal performance. Despite receiving more than 102,000 mentions this summer, the company only responded to 0.3 percent of mentions on Twitter and 0.8 percent of Facebook mentions.

Get the full story at Social Times

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

Travelport eyes corporate market

August 06, 2014

“Every corporate client and travel management company I’ve talked with says there is huge leakage in hotel bookings,” said Travelport CEO Gordon Wilson, who spoke with Travel Market Report after Travelport reported its second-quarter earnings.

A corporation doesn’t always use major chain properties, he said. It may, for example, use an independent property located next to one of its factories, and independents are less likely to participate in the GDS channel.

That’s where Hotelzon, which has extensive independent hotel content, comes in. “We’ve plugged that gap,” Wilson said.

Get the full story at Travel Market Report

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

Lessons from a hotel’s ill-advised attempt to discourage bad reviews

August 06, 2014

Here are a few lessons we can all take from this debacle:

- The first and most obvious lesson you can take from this is that the only way you can avoid people saying negative things about your brand on the web is to not give them anything negative to say in the first place. Provide a high-quality product or service and the internet will reward you handsomely.

- Any attempt to squelch negative opinions about your brand on the internet will only draw more negative attention to yourself.

- “We were just kidding,” which was essentially the hotel’s response in a Facebook post that was taken down, is never the right response to a PR crisis. Their exact words were, “The policy regarding wedding fines was put on our site as a tongue-in-cheek response to a wedding many years ago. It was meant to be taken down long ago and certainly was never enforced.” Customers took to the post to point out reviews that showed that the policy was, in fact, previously enforced.

Get the full story at PR Daily

Read also "New York hotel fines guests $500 for bad reviews on Yelp"

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

Beyond TripAdvisor: How restaurants should use social media marketing

August 06, 2014

Instead of stressing about what to do after a bad review, restaurants should actively go out and use social media marketing to grow, gain publicity and, crucially, get more bookings.

Consumer reviews are powerful. They are trusted. A recent study showed that 70% of consumers trust online reviews. Many restaurants incorporate their TripAdvisor reviews or ratings into their websites, as well as displaying them at their premises. Highlighting good reviews by previous customers is an effective way of winning new customers.

Review sites like TripAdvisor are public, which means any criticism of you is out there for the world to see. Instead of ignoring negative reviews, respond to them where appropriate. If it’s factually incorrect, set the record straight in a calm and non-confrontational way. If mistakes were made, apologise. Look at this as an opportunity to show everyone how good you are at customer service.

At the end of the day, it’s great food and great service that makes a great restaurant. Continuing to deliver these will only result in happy customers. Naggers and naysayers notwithstanding, this should mean better online reviews.

Get the full story at Social Media Today

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

German restaurants’ iBeacons tryout rewards loyal customers

August 06, 2014

Guests with higher-level status can earn rewards such as a free drink, guest-list placement or a quick table, by showing their status records to the restaurant host. Although fast-food restaurants have used beacons, the technology’s use by upscale dining establishments signals its rapid acceptance into the mainstream in just over a year after its introduction.

“This looks great,” said Erin O’Malley, vice president, account director, at Geometry Global, near Boston. “IBeacons are used quite heavily in the US at retail. It is another way to harness the power of the mobile device that folks never put down.

“Overall these beacons allow marketers to customize the shoppers’ experience in many unique ways,” she said. “Folks can choose to opt out or not, so the privacy is controllable.”

Get the full story at Mobile Commerce Daily

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

Top 10 hotel best practices to make the most of social and mobile

August 06, 2014

There is much (and growing) research that tells us about the critical role Social + Mobile, a.k.a. SoMo, plays in the daily lives of consumers.

- Social networking has passed gaming to become the #1 mobile app activity [Flurry]

- 60% of time spent on the mobile internet is devoted to social networking [Ground Truth]

- More than 189 million of Facebook users are “mobile only” [May 2012, Comscore]

Let’s look at how these two relatively late 20th century innovations are stronger marketing tools when leveraged together to tell great stories by studying CitizenM, an Amsterdam based hotel development company with locations in Europe and most recently Times Square.

Get the full story at Leonardo

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/top_10_hotel_best_practices_to_make_the_most_of_social_and_mobile

Sabre Hospitality certified as a TripConnect participant by TripAdvisor

August 06, 2014

With TripConnect, Sabre’s hotel customers can display real-time rates and availability from its reservations system on the metasearch section of TripAdvisor alongside other online travel agencies. Bookings are made directly using the booking engine.

TripConnect provides real-time rates and availability from the hotel’s website, which are displayed on the metasearch section of TripAdvisor alongside other online travel agencies. Bookings can be made directly using the hotel’s website.

“TripConnect certification opens up new opportunities for our connectivity partners,” said Maud Larpent, TripAdvisor’s Director of Direct Connect Development. “Certified connectivity partners enable accommodation owners of all sizes to benefit from Hotel Price Comparison on TripAdvisor. TripConnect is a very efficient way for hoteliers to generate incremental business via their internet booking engine.”

Sabre also introduced Meta Connect, a Sabre-managed service to help hotels get the optimal position on meta search sites like TripAdvisor, Google Hotel Finder and Kayak. Meta Connect manages all aspects of this critical part of any digital marketing plan including implementing connectivity, and return on investment (ROI) reporting.

Cost-per-click meta search sites, where suppliers have to bid for placement, including TripAdvisor’s Hotel Price Comparison, can be a challenge to navigate for many hotel revenue managers. This is where Sabre’s Meta Connect bid management service comes in to help hotels get optimal position on meta search sites and drive more business to a hotel’s direct channel.

“TripAdvisor has become a ubiquitous part of researching, planning and now booking travel and we are excited to add TripConnect to our direct connectivity offering,” said Alex Alt, president and general manager of Sabre Hospitality Solutions. “We also understand that managing the bidding process on these meta search sites can be quite complicated and mismanagement can be the difference of getting a direct booking or losing out to a third party. Our Meta Connect service addresses that challenge and participating hotels have seen ROI of up to 14 to 1.”

Related Link: Sabre Hospitality

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

What keeps hotel marketers awake at night?

August 05, 2014

Hotel News Now's marketing virtual roundtable discussed these and other challenges that keep marketers up at night with five hotel marketing experts.

John Fareed / John Fareed Hospitality: “You mean besides Airbnb? The other day, I was having coffee with an asset manager when she asked the question: ‘John, why do I need to have a sales-and-marketing department for my hotel? If I take all the spend on payroll and related expenses, give it to the (online travel agencies), would it really make a difference to my bottom line?’

“Here’s what I believe: Hotel marketers should be losing sleep at night worrying about their very jobs because the majority have been caught with their pants down. Most have not evolved, still don’t know how to leave the old ways behind and properly utilize the new social media, e-marketing, public relations, promotions—and just straight-up guerrilla marketing tools—necessary to compete today.

“Worse yet, hotel marketers don’t know how to effectively measure (return on investment) for their investment-focused owners and asset managers. They just can’t wrap their heads, or their sales-and-marketing departments, around the new investment model, so they get little to no respect around the boardroom table.

“As an industry we have handed our sales, marketing and reservations departments over to the OTAs and other third parties. We don’t know how to develop and implement true strategic marketing plans that get results. The few that do (know) have difficulty getting their owners and asset managers to properly fund them due to lack of belief or respect.

“It’s a huge issue. As professionals and an industry, we need to develop the necessary talent to deal with the changing landscape.”

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

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

Manhattan boutique hotel gleans guest’s Facebook, Twitter insights via social logins

August 05, 2014

The eventual idea is for Morgans Hotel Group guests - whether residing in one of its properties or merely stopping by the bar - to log into its WiFi system through a social account of their choice such as Facebook, Google Plus or Twitter. The hotel group currently is testing the WiFi logins at the Hudson Hotel only.

The system could help Morgans counteract the loss of customer data otherwise intercepted by room-booking middlemen such as Hotels.com and Priceline. Travel sites help hotels sell rooms they wouldn't otherwise, but without the traditional direct transaction with guests, hotels lose out on customer information. That makes keeping in contact, making targeted offers and building loyalty a challenge.

Those logins give the Hudson access to whatever information people on its property make available publicly on the social site they use to access the WiFi. People can also log in using their email addresses.

"We can get some information about the guests that they have publicly shared on their profiles and upsell back to them," said Gustaf Burman, chief technology officer of Morgans Hotel Group, which has hotels in South Beach, Las Vegas, London and elsewhere. If a guest posts a lot about fitness, for example, the hotel might recommend local running routes.

Get the full story at AdvertisingAge

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

BCD picks US tech firm to power hotel booking platform

August 05, 2014

BCD developed RoomSource to give corporate customers access to hotels and rates not available in the traditional global distribution systems (GDSs) and to help travel buyers tighten control of the amount their companies spend on accommodation.

Vice-president of corporate intelligence and product planning, Torsten Kriedt, said GetGoing was chosen because users found it to be similar to travel websites for ordinary consumers.

The decision is in line with the recent industry trend towards providing business travellers with the same products, services and experiences they expect from their personal use of travel sites and social media.

Get the full story at Travolution

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

New York hotel fines guests $500 for bad reviews on Yelp

August 05, 2014

The hotel in question, the Union Street Guest House, describes the official policy on its website as a solution to unappreciative guests [emphasis ours]:

"If your guests are looking for a Marriott type hotel they may not like it here. Therefore: If you have booked the Inn for a wedding or other type of event anywhere in the region and given us a deposit of any kind for guests to stay at USGH there will be a $500 fine that will be deducted from your deposit for every negative review of USGH placed on any internet site by anyone in your party and/or attending your wedding or event."

Get the full story at VentureBeat

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/new_york_hotel_fines_guests_500_for_bad_reviews_on_yelp

Why many social initiatives fail miserably

August 05, 2014

Why are some brands able to be at once both global and local — to successfully seize the energy of grassroots movements and at the same time leverage corporate assets on a massive scale — while others only come off as artificial and pandering?

The web did not invent community-driven brands – just think of Harley Davidson — but technology has surely made the strategy more popular. These days, it’s pretty easy to interact with consumers directly.

Yet that’s exactly the problem. All too often, when marketers talk about their “social strategy,” they really mean a digital marketing strategy implemented on social platforms, rather than using social dynamics to benefit their business.

Get the full story at Harvard Business Review

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

The website experience consumers value most

August 05, 2014

Below, additional key findings from the report.

Website Speed

- 59% of respondents say they will wait no more than five seconds for a webpage to load before becoming frustrated and leaving the site.
- 37% say they will leave and buy a product from a competitor if a website is slow, and 26% say they might/are not sure.

Mobile Expectations

- 50% of respondents say most of the time they use either a smartphone or a tablet to access websites; 85% use a mobile device at least some of the time to access websites.
- 44% of respondents are willing to wait longer for a website to load on a mobile device; 40% expect websites to be equally fast to load on mobile and desktop.

Get the full story at MarketingProfs

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

Excessive outsourcing of the hotelier’s role: A threat to the trade

August 05, 2014

Where have these profit points gone that made this business one of the most interesting financially in addition to its human dimension?

It is undoubtedly because some of the components that diversified and enriched the hotelier's trade were abandoned. Hoteliers answered –a bit too readily – the call of seductive Sirens beckoning with the promise of less work for more profit. Why bother with personnel management when cleaning, room maintenance and security can be outsourced? Why mobilize a team in the kitchen when it is so easy to get 4th and 5th range products, that are ready to assemble? Why work in the primary zone to develop a sales force when choosing to be part of a brand naturally brings in enough flow? Why work to develop loyalty when a listing on an online distributor's site does all the work for you?

Get the full story at MKG Group

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

Radisson Blu launches new blog, encourages consumers to share travel insights

August 05, 2014

Radisson Blu launched its newly designed ‘travel magazine style’ blog and an innovative way for like-minded travelers to share tips and knowledge about the destinations that surround their hotels.

In a contest entitled Social Eyes, running August 4 through August 31, travelers are invited to share an insider travel tip about one of the destinations in which Radisson Blu hotels are located. In an exchange for specialist travel knowledge, the global hotel brand is opening its doors to the social community. The best tips each week during the contest will win a free room night at any Radisson Blu hotel of their choice worldwide.

The new Radisson Blu blog has been designed to look and feel like a travel magazine – filled with inspirational and useful tips gathered about the areas that surround Radisson Blu hotels worldwide – and the Social Eyes contest is aimed at building an even larger cache of travel secrets. By encouraging participants to share the best things they’ve found from their personal travels that go beyond the usual “must see” lists, the brand seeks to uncover information like how to locate the best viewpoint, discover a hidden café, enjoy a secret garden, or interesting ways to experience a city.

“There’s a real art to traveling well and even the most seasoned voyager looks to local people for tips to make a trip something special. We want our new blog to become a trusted source for travel insights,” said Rose Anderson, vice president, Branding, Radisson Blu. “We recognize that knowledge is a powerful currency and as such want to be able to reward the sharing of the top insights with a free night at one of our hotels.”

With over 275 hotels, Radisson Blu flagship properties can be found in prime locations, including major cities, airport gateways and leisure destinations around the world. Highly anticipated recent openings in the Americas include: Radisson Blu Minneapolis and Radisson Blu Warwick Hotel Philadelphia, which join Radisson Blu Mall of America and Radisson Blu Aqua Hotel, Chicago.

To participate in the Social Eyes contest, consumers are encouraged to share their insider knowledge by uploading their tips at blog.radissonblu.com/social-eyes and entering to win one of 300 free room nights at any Radisson Blu hotel of their choice worldwide.

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

How Accor uses Google Ad Extensions to boost conversion

August 04, 2014

Over the last five years, travel bookings have increasingly shifted to online and mobile formats, making effective digital advertising key to every hotel brand’s marketing strategy. Given this shift, Accor wanted to make sure its hotels were the first stop in consumers’ online hunt for accommodations. For Accor, this meant driving increased traffic to its sites, increasing click-through rates (CTR) and ultimately increasing the prominence of its brand in the fragmented landscape of keyword searches.

Accor looked to engage potential customers by making its hotel search efforts as seamless as possible while also making them aware of relevant promotions. To do so, the company started using Google Ad Extensions, including site links and enhanced sitelinks, seller ratings, social annotations, Image Extensions, Call Extensions and Location Extensions.

Specifically, Accor first focused on campaigns that had high search volumes to garner the most impactful conclusions during the test period.1 In doing so, Accor was able to pinpoint successful extensions for the company’s products and respective markets, which vary across the world. Once the extension was a proven success, Accor rolled it out to other campaigns and markets.

Get the full story at Google Think with Google

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

Why the UK’s verdict on OTA hotel pricing could be a game changer

August 04, 2014

Two years after the launch of an investigation into Expedia, Booking.com and Intercontinental Hotel group (IHG)’s non-competition agreements, the Office of Fair Trading (now CMA) decided to accept formal commitments by the three firms to open discounting from room-only accommodation.

Under the agreement, which put an end to the investigation , Expedia, Booking.com and IHG allowed deeper discounting, but only to closed user or loyalty groups of previous customers, and only after they had made one full price room booking. Furthermore, the level of discounting cannot exceed the amount of commission paid to online travel agents.

This past Tuesday (29 July), metasearch site Skyscanner appealed the decision, saying the commitments allowed ‘residual’ competition restrictions and introduced a new obstacle to the advertisement of available discounts.

“With regards to the hotel closed user groups, we were one of six travel companies that had written collectively to the OFT (now CMA) in mid-March to raise serious concerns that their decision relating to online hotel room bookings would have an anti-competitive effect and will in fact result in a worse deal for consumers" the company said.

Get the full story at Big Hospitality

Read also "UK hotel pricing anti-trust probe was flawed, claims Skyscanner"

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


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