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Hotels hunt bridezillas on Pinterest

July 23, 2014

Leading the foray in that regard is Four Seasons. According to a spokesperson, Four Seasons saw more than 106,000 unique visitors to its website from Pinterest, representing a 1,929 percent year-over-year growth in 2013. There was also a significant increase in Pinterest engagement and content originating from the Four Seasons website, with more than 338,000 people re-pinning pins from the Four Seasons website, representing a 923 percent year-over-year growth.

It has profiles for 81 of its hotels and resorts around the world, and most of them have dedicated wedding boards that, ahem, engage potential clients with pins of images and videos. The Four Seasons Hotel in Westlake Village, California, for example, prominently displays this “Say I do” board.

Get the full story at Digiday

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

U.S. travel agent booking window noticeably longer this year

July 23, 2014

In a sign of strengthening demand, vacations are being booked early for next year and even 2016, according to agents who attended Travel Weekly’s Global Travel Marketplace conference. The booking window is noticeably longer this year than it has been in the past, several agents said during the conference, held July 9 to 11 at the Westin Diplomat Resort & Spa.

Several agents said consumers at last seem to be exhaling after the economic trauma of the past five years. “People are starting to get it. Travel is back. You can’t wait to get that deal,” said Debbie Muir, manager of Travel Authority - Royal Blue Travel Line in Ocala, Fla.

“People used to plan travel a year and more in advance,” said Cheryl Perleberg, owner of To Go Travel Inc. in Tampa. “Post-9/11, people weren’t looking ahead and nobody was traveling that far.” That pattern is ending, she said.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

Travel advertising firm Intent Media raises $22.7M

July 23, 2014

Intent said it plans to use the additional capital to continue its international expansion, having already launched into Europe earlier in the year. It also plans to use the money to hire more engineers and data scientists to boost its ad platform.

The round, the firm’s third to date, was led by Insight Venture Partners, with participation from existing investors Matrix Partners and Redpoint Ventures. The investment deal also included adding nsight Ventures partner Bradley Twohig to its board of directors.

Founded in 1995, the New York-based company has raised a total of $51 million in funding to date.

Get the full story at VentureBeat and the New York Business Journal

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travel_advertising_firm_intent_media_raises_22.7m

Travelzoo launches new iOS app

July 23, 2014

The new app comes with expanded features and functionality including:

- More deals: 50% more deals than last summer.
- New deal maps: It's now easier to see where deals are relative to your current location.
- User ratings and reviews: 300,000 Travelzoo users share their experiences.
- New hotel booking engine: Easy to use, with exclusive Travelzoo hotel deals.
- New flight search: Airfare calendars show when to save money on flights.

To help travelers save money, Travelzoo Deal Experts negotiated hundreds of additional deals, especially in popular destinations like New York, Florida and California. Deals are also available in international destinations, including London, Paris and Shanghai.

"We've significantly increased the number of deals and added a set of really useful features to help travelers save money on high-quality experiences this summer," said Mike Stitt, global head of mobile for Travelzoo. "The addition of our ratings and reviews brings a new dimension to the app. Users can now read what other travelers thought before they buy. Overall, those who have experienced a Travelzoo deal give us a 91% positive rating."

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

Facebook still drives more traffic than any other social network

July 23, 2014

Take note, marketers. Tweaks to Facebook's News Feed algorithm seem to be working.

From June 2013 to June 2014, Facebook drove 23.4% of social referrals across the web. Pinterest trailed at a distant second at 5.7%. Twitter, at 1%, came in third place, beating the combined referrals from StumbleUpon, Reddit, YouTube, LinkedIn, and Google Plus, according to content discovery company Shareaholic.

Within the past year, Facebook's traffic referral share increased 14 percentage points. Pinterest and StumbleUpon were the two other networks that saw a gain at 2.34 percentage points and 0.07 percentage points, respectively. The rest of the networks highlighted in this study all experienced losses.

Get the full story at Fast Company

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

Digital to account for 75% of all marketing spend in 5 years?

July 23, 2014

The findings suggest that CMOs are currently finding themselves short - the four key insights from the report:

- Analytics – hiring digital talent is critical especially regarding technical and analytical skills os off the back of CMO satisfaction of internal analytics falling to 49%.
- Mobile alone will account for 50% of the marketing budget by 2019.
- Digital budgets will account for more than 75% of the marketing budget.
- Marketing will become an on-demand information function (according to 34% of respondents) and merged with IT 26%.

Get the full story at Smart Insights

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/digital_to_account_for_75_of_all_marketing_spend_in_5_years

TravelClick to host complimentary webinar on accessing the corporate traveler

July 23, 2014

In today’s ever-changing landscape, many hoteliers are finding it increasingly difficult to access the Corporate traveler. This webinar will discuss how Consortia programs can assist hoteliers in improving visibility and gaining access to the leading travel management companies to keep their hotels "top of mind" for travel agents.

Two sessions will be offered to accommodate different time zones. To register, please click the below links:

- 10:00 (10am EDT, New York time)
- 14:00 (2pm EDT, New York time)

To attend, register with TravelClick

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

Hotels transact US$7.4 billion with SiteMinder over past year

July 23, 2014

The figure, generated by over 18 million hotel reservations throughout the period, continues strong year-on-year growth for SiteMinder's robust product suite. The growth remains led by RDX – the company's enterprise connectivity platform – which enabled US$4.2 billion in booking revenue for hotels over the prior 12-month period ending 30 June 2013.

SiteMinder's Co-Founder and CEO, Mike Ford, says the numbers reflect growing recognition among hotels that best-of-breed connectivity is crucial to gaining exposure to guests globally and maximizing reach.

"The uptake amongst hotels in adopting the new online technologies available to them has been fairly slow; however, we are now seeing that uptake accelerate. The figures released today are evidence that our clients – hotels, technology system partners and channel partners alike – are seeing the benefits of a fully-integrated, cloud-based distribution platform that provides unsurpassed robustness in connectivity to offer lower costs and greater control," says Mr Ford.

"The distribution landscape for a hotel is becoming increasingly complex but it also offers greater diversity and an ever-increasing opportunity to reach guests with the rise of the newer distribution avenues such as Google Hotel Finder. There are also a growing number of opportunities for hotels to attract guests from around the world by tapping into locally-based online booking sites, such as Ctrip for the Chinese market and Despegar for South America.

"When considering all of this, a hotel can no longer afford to manually execute a diversified distribution strategy if they want it to be effective; it is now a necessity to utilize connectivity and automation technology that offers broad integration, reliability, speed and security. This is what SiteMinder offers through its room distribution platform. On top of 60 other channel management solutions, RDX powers SiteMinder's own offering, The Channel Manager, as well as the distribution for many of our property management system (PMS) and central reservation systems (CRS) partners that rely on us to deliver this capability to their hotel customers."

SiteMinder's RDX platform offers more than 14,000 hotels across the globe rapid two-way, real-time XML connections between over 80 PMSs and CRSs and around 200 distribution channels.

Mr Ford says, over the past year, hotels have benefited from RDX's landmark connections with wholesalers such as GTA, meta-sites such as TripAdvisor and booking sites from booming travel markets such as Russia via Ostrovok.

"Bookings via more established Online Travel Agencies (OTAs), of course, remain a critical component of a hotel's distribution strategy, but increasingly, so are other points of sale – and, with RDX, hotels can connect with them all," he says.

"With the increase in hotel usage, SiteMinder now has a customer base spanning more than 140 countries in all key markets. Our global expansion over the past year has also successfully achieved our goal of establishing global service delivery and operations centers in the Americas, APAC, Europe and Africa to support hotels within these regions."

Related Link: SiteMinder

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotels_transact_us7.4_billion_with_siteminder_over_past_year

The next chapter in the convergence of OTAs and metasearch

July 22, 2014

The distinctions between online travel agencies such as Expedia, Priceline and Orbitz, and travel metasearch sites such as Kayak, TripAdvisor and Hipmunk are getting really blurry.

Metasearch sites such as Kayak, TripAdvisor and Hipmunk, which traditionally shuttled users to online travel agency or hotel/air/car rental sites when it came time to complete their bookings, over the last couple of years have optionally let travelers book online travel agency-like without leaving the metasearch app.

With travel metasearch the fastest growing channel in travel, until now online travel agencies could be divided into the haves and have-nots in terms of owning a metasearch site or not — Expedia Inc. controls Trivago and the Priceline Group owns Kayak.

But, if you consider it a valuable asset to own such a metasearch site, online travel agencies Orbitz Worldwide, Travelocity/LastMinute.com, CheapOair and eDreams Odigeo are metasearch paupers.

Get the full story at Skift

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

Rising group demand adds to hotel negotiating difficulties

July 22, 2014

"I expect this is going to be a very difficult RFP season," Financial Industry Regulatory Authority manager of corporate travel services Carol McDowell said in June during The BTN Group's Trends & Forecasts event in Washington, D.C. "I was hopeful last year, but last year was really difficult. The main driver is that conferences, conventions and citywides are back big-time, and hotels don't know whether they want to give away the rooms."

The U.S. hotel industry currently is experiencing "very steady demand increases," STR president Amanda Hite said in June during the New York University International Hospitality Industry Investment Conference. Through April, year-over-year demand growth was 3.8 percent, which was much higher than anticipated, she added.

While transient demand growth has led the recovery, U.S. hotels also saw an increase in group demand during the first four months of this year. Those increases were spread evenly between luxury and upper upscale hotels, Hite said.

Get the full story at Business Travel News

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

BCD Travel pilots tripBAM, driving hotel savings for corporate clients

July 22, 2014

Encouraged by the promise of tripBAM, BCD Travel is expanding the pilot program this summer to include a larger group of clients, as more companies seek creative technologies to combat rising hotel costs and increase hotel attachment rates.

tripBAM’s hotel shopping service uses patent-pending “cluster” shopping processes to find savings on more than 60 percent of hotel groups searched, with average savings of more than $50 per night. BCD Travel is a leading global travel management company, recording more than $22 billion in sales in 2013. The global TMC will highlight its full range of offerings at booth # 1239 at the Global Business Travel Association conference in Los Angeles on July 26-30.

“tripBAM addresses two current challenges. It makes hotel rate fluctuations visible and actionable to business travelers, and also makes travelers more informed hotel shoppers by exposing them to relevant lower cost alternatives through its cluster capabilities,” said April Bridgeman, senior vice president of strategic marketing at BCD Travel. “With increasingly sophisticated hotel revenue management practices driving frequent rate changes, this service helps us discover opportunities to achieve same hotel savings as well as to steer travelers to preferred hotels.”

BCD Clients See Improved Hotel Compliance Opportunities via tripBAM

BCD client Sapient, a leading global provider of business technology and consulting services, began its tripBAM pilot in the second quarter of 2014. Shopping a mix of preferred hotel suppliers and select properties outside of Sapient’s program, tripBAM delivered savings opportunities on 39 percent of clusters shopped. “The results we’ve seen so far are most promising,” said Michelle De Costa, director of global travel and client experience for Sapient. “As we work with BCD to put together hotel cluster searches using tripBAM, we’re also seeing increased use of our preferred hotels.”

WellPoint, one of the nation’s leading health benefits companies, initially piloted tripBAM to shop for rate savings only at the property already booked by the traveler. Shopping only this limited scope, when savings were found, WellPoint averaged a room rate reduction of $44 per booking. “This initial test, even on such a small scale, shows there are new, incremental savings to be found in traditional travel categories,” said Cindy Heston, director of travel and events at WellPoint. “We’re taking steps now to expand our tripBAM searches to clusters that will bias towards our preferred hotel partners.” WellPoint uses Tbiz, a division of BCD Travel, to manage its travel, and the company recently expanded the range of its hotel cluster searches to also include preferred properties.

BCD Automation and Service Enhance tripBAM’s Cost-Saving Services

When tripBAM delivers a new hotel option that meets the corporate client’s savings threshold and program guidelines, BCD delivers a customized email to the traveler that clearly describes the current hotel, the new hotel option, the amount of savings, and a simple click to accept or decline the opportunity. A larger, more varied group of BCD clients are now piloting tripBAM, testing a range of services that include:

- Integration that facilitates tripBAM shopping on hotel bookings made by any corporate self-booking tool, as well as traditional offline bookings made by BCD agents

- The deployment of preferred hotel savings thresholds that improve compliance

- Automatic re-booking of lower rates at same-hotels, adding efficiency and ensuring use of low rates

- Automated copying of the traveler’s manager on the email detailing the savings option, a tactic that has proven to improve compliance in the majority of travel programs

- Customized clusters that can be limited exclusively to preferred hotels and chains

“tripBAM’s creative approach to seeking out hotel savings while meeting corporate program guidelines represents the exact mix of new technology and elegant service that corporate travel managers look for today, and that will increase travelers' confidence in their managed travel program,” said Bridgeman. “Our expanded pilots are intended to test not the technology but traveler behavior. We want to measure how often savings opportunities revealed by the tool are actually accepted by travelers, under what conditions and by which traveler types so we can determine more realistic savings opportunities for our clients. Dependent on these results, we will decide whether or not to offer it more broadly.”

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

Hyatt reorganizes for increased adaptability and effectiveness

July 22, 2014

Mark Hoplamazian, President and Chief Executive Officer of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, today announced organizational changes designed to support Hyatt’s strategy of driving preference by providing distinctive brand experiences. The changes include the integration of the global operations structure, the formation of an integrated team to lead the Company’s select service business and the creation of a new global franchising strategy function.

Chuck Floyd has been selected as Global President of Operations, effective August 1, 2014. In this newly created role, Floyd will continue to lead and develop the Company’s Global Operations Center (GOC), Hyatt’s shared operation services organization, and will assume responsibility for the operation of Hyatt’s hotels globally. The Group Presidents for each of Hyatt’s three regions will report to Floyd.

“Chuck and his team have made important strides in fostering an enterprise-wide perspective across the company. The closer connection we are establishing now between the GOC and the regions will strengthen our ability to implement global processes and programs efficiently, while maintaining our ability to adapt quickly to local and regional market needs,” Hoplamazian said. “I expect to maintain a high degree of visibility and engagement with the regional teams as Chuck works to create better coordination and efficiency in areas where a common approach across the Company is appropriate.”

Floyd is a 33-year Hyatt veteran who has served in a wide variety of hotel and corporate positions and was Chief Operating Officer for North America from 2006 to 2011. He has been Group President, GOC since 2012.

Pete Sears has been selected as Group President – Americas, effective September 1, 2014, and will report to Floyd. In this role, Sears will be responsible for the growth and successful operation of Hyatt’s portfolio in the United States, Latin America and the Caribbean. Over the course of a 27-year Hyatt career, Sears has held numerous positions of increasing operational responsibility. He served as general manager of several full service hotels and later as Senior Vice President, Operations in North America, and has been Senior Vice President, Operations for Asia Pacific since 2012.

Steve Haggerty’s role will expand to include responsibility for Hyatt’s franchising strategy and select service business, two key growth areas for the Company. Haggerty will serve as Global Head of Capital Strategy, Franchising and Select Service, effective August 1, 2014.

“We recognize franchising and select service as key areas of growth over the coming years, and I am confident that Steve’s experience and leadership will enhance our performance and success in these two areas,” Hoplamazian said.

Haggerty has been with Hyatt since 2007 when he joined the company as Global Head of Development and Real Estate. Prior to joining Hyatt, he held a number of finance, asset management and development roles at Marriott in various locations around the world. Haggerty has been Global Head of Real Estate and Capital Strategy at Hyatt since 2012.

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

Millennials warming up to agents

July 22, 2014

The news for travel agents from MMGY Global’s annual report on American travelers is both good and in one respect surprising.

Not only is a bigger percentage of travelers using the services of agents, but in a recent 12-month period millennials accounted for the highest usage of any generation.

MMGY’s 2014 Portrait of American Travelers found that 18% of all respondents booked trips with an agent between February 2013 and February 2014. That’s up a healthy 50% from a year earlier, when 12% booked through an agent.

And, “perhaps counter-intuitively,” the report said, more millennials booked with agents during the year than any other generation. Specifically, 28% of millennials used an agent, 21% of matures, 15% of Gen Xers, and 13% of boomers.

Get the full story at Travel Market Report

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

Omni Hotels CIO on the evolution of the guest experience

July 22, 2014

Singleton describes her role as a strategic one that uses her technical background to provide insights that impact a hotel group’s total operation and brand strategies. Her recent arrival at Omni is part of hotel brand’s efforts to develop and implement new technology for a more sophisticated guest experience.

Skift talked with Singleton two weeks into her time with Omni on technology’s changing role in hospitality, how it impacts the role of a hospitality CIO, and what projects she’s looking forward to working on.

Get the full story at Skift

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

Sabre hackathon challenges software developers to create solutions for travel

July 22, 2014

The company, which creates software for the travel industry, has released four challenges facing its clients. Sabre is asking for developers to take a stab at integrating travel into the social media and other online experiences, driving value in travel through data-driven decisions and combining different application programming interfaces to create a new product.

The winner of the hackathon will receive a grand prize worth more than $15,000. It includes a $5,000 in cash and a $10,000 credit for the use of Sabre’s APIs. Each winner on the team will also receive a $1,000 gift card for Amazon.com or Apple and team members present will have the chance to win technology gear.

Judges include Andrew Levi, founder and chief technology officer at Blue Calypso Inc.; Chris Roche, Bottle Rocket Apps principal; Ben Vinod, Sabre senior vice president; Jennifer Conley, cofounder of The Dallas Entreprenuer Center; and Jake Smith, software engineer at Mashery. They will be evaluating entries based on technical quality, design, originality and how well the solution meets the challenge it's meant to resolve.

Get the full story at Dallas Business Journal

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

Online travel companies need open solutions to thrive in ultra-competitive market

July 22, 2014

Modern travel technology is about creating an evolving online platform: delivering an innovative, compelling and constantly improving experience for the end customer. These platforms are built on bespoke integration.

Where the web has created the harshly competitive environment of the modern travel marketing, it is increasingly web technologies that offer businesses the best solution. The web has fostered the growth of new technologies that are built on the ideas of openness and interoperability.

The age of content management systems (CMS) is effectively over and has paved the way to web experience management and customer experience management platforms. These solutions offer proven integrations to personalization, e-commerce, marketing automation and customer relationship management systems while adapting to the any device, from mobile, desktop and television experiences.

Get the full story at Tnooz

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

Hotel brands must improve metasearch visibility

July 21, 2014

Hotel brands are increasingly squeezed by the metasearch dominance of online travel agencies and Google, according to a new report by L2. The report “Metasearch Insight Report: Prestige Hotels” illuminates the metasearch landscape to help hotel brands understand the challenges they face and the opportunities available.

A metasearch engine aggregates results from other search engines and prioritizes the results. Brands that pay for placement will be highly visible, while brands that ignore the engines will be hard to find. Although consumers still visit OTAs and brand travel service Web sites more frequently, metasearch engines are gaining ground.

According to PhoCusWright, more than a third of United States consumers likely to book online and more than half of Chinese consumers likely to do the same use metasearch engines. Younger consumers are also more likely to use metasearch sites. PhoCusWright also determined that OTAs are winning the visibility battle on metasearch engines.

In the coming years, it is likely that consumers will flock to metasearch sites for the breadth and ease of use they offer. If this happens, brands that are not “paying to play” will cede substantial revenue to OTAs that, for survival’s sake, seize upon trends when they emerge.

Get the full story at Luxury Daily and L2

Read also "Starwood dominates L2′s hotel digital index" at L2

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

Disney to restrict travel sellers from buying search terms

July 21, 2014

The new policy goes into effect on Jan. 1, 2015. It is being added to DisneyCopyright.com, the company’s existing marketing guidelines for travel sellers. The policy also restricts travel professionals from using Disney trademarks, trade names and service marks in domains as either the destination URL or as the display URL, or as a subdomain.

The news comes just after tour operator Tauck released a similar policy, effective Sept. 1, 2014, stating that the Tauck name may no longer be used in domain names, subdomain names or website URLs not owned by Tauck.

Similarly, on Jan. 1, 2010, Carnival Corp. instituted a policy prohibiting travel agencies from bidding on their trademarks as keywords in online searches, a move that was met with frustration by travel sellers who use search engine optimization - buying keywords to improve their search engine results - as a key element in their online marketing strategy.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

Read also "Travel sellers react to Disney’s keyword crackdown" at Travel Weekly

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

Russian online travel market heats up

July 21, 2014

According to the government agency Rostourism, Russians travelled abroad 47.8 million times in 2012, including 15 million times for touristic purposes, with Egypt and Turkey being the most popular destinations. The average price for package tours reached $1,800-$2,000.

But competition is fierce. Not only does OnlineTours compete with offline travel agencies, which are ubiquitous in Russia, but online tour offers have also developed dramatically over the past few years.

Among OnlineTours’ online competitors is Travelata.ru, a startup launched in 2011 that received capital injections of $5 million last year and $7 millon earlier this month.

Last month, in another segment, Ostrovok.ru, a major online hotel reservation service, secured $12 millionfrom Russian investors, coming in addition to the $38 million it had raised in previous years.

Get the full story at VentureBeat

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

How Airbnb’s redesign supports the next generation of mobile travelers

July 21, 2014

The redesign reduces the amount of text to put a bigger emphasis on informational visuals, including the introduction of video. The result is a more personalized experience designed to empower mobile-savvy travelers who are looking for a personal connection to the places they visit.

“By reducing the amount of text, using more compelling and informational visuals, including the addition of video, and focusing on lifestyle-oriented content, they are streamlining the most meaningful information and encouraging engagement by showing vs. telling,” said Jeff Anulewicz, executive director of strategy and analytics at MXM. “They are emphasizing that this is not just a replacement for a hotel, but an invite to join a new community of trusted travelers and hosts, to share an experience with a stranger and perhaps, for a moment step into someone else's life.

“In the end, this redesign is ultimately aimed at utilizing compelling content to drive greater engagement and consumer action, while looking to cement Airbnb as the leaders of the next wave of travel, where users are not just passive tourists looking for a deal, but explorers looking to engage with the people and places they visit in a more personal way,” he said.

Get the full story at the Mobile Marketer

Read also "What hoteliers can learn from Airbnb’s rebrand" at Hotel News Now

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

Bill Marriott: Where hotels are going

July 21, 2014

"In four years, 60% of our business will be millennials," says Mr. Marriott, who adds with a laugh, "All of us old folks are moving on."

In addition to conducting focus-group research, Mr. Marriott says the company now pulls data from social media. For example, it asks guests for ideas of how to improve travel. When one wrote back asking for healthy vending machines, the company flew her to London to find items in farmers' markets that could be stored in a machine. Marriott plans to launch the first of its new nutritious vending machines—with items such as fresh fruit and energy bars—in Chicago this fall.

Marriott has also redesigned hotel rooms in its newer brands based on what customers want today. Millennials live out of their suitcases, Mr. Marriott says, so the company has made closets smaller and TVs and bathrooms bigger. It has gotten rid of in-room desks in many hotels. And a new line of Edition hotels—a collection of contemporary properties in London and Istanbul, with two more locations coming by the end of 2015—emphasizes the hotel's lounge and restaurant scene over the rooms. (The brand is a collaboration with Ian Schrager. ) Over 50% of the Edition brand's revenue comes from food and beverage rather than from room fees.

Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal

Read also "The secret to millennial loyalty? Service" at Hotel News Now

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

Most marketers flop at real-time customer interactions

July 21, 2014

Real-time customer response isn’t a new phenomenon, by the way. B2B companies have been doing it for years. The best B2B firms are very responsive to customers. For example, if Walmart calls one of its suppliers, you can bet that the supplier drops everything and gives its important customer total attention.

But compared with consumer companies, B2B firms have relatively few customers. Keeping tabs on how your key accounts are feeling and what they want is more manageable if they number in the dozens, rather than the millions.

Ideally, what consumer companies need is an adaptive personalization system that can analyze the customer base and figure out not only which products are trending and why but what would be the best personalized product (often an information service) for each customer.

Get the full story at Harvard Business Review

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

Where is the U.S. traveling this summer?

July 21, 2014

This summer is all about fun in the sun! 4 out of 5 top destinations are sun stops for U.S. travelers. And 44% of travelers are within drive distance of their desired destination. New York and Los Angeles are far ahead the top destinations for the summer with Orlando, Miami and Vegas rounding out the top 5 most searched cities.

Check out the highlights in the infographic at nSight

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

Sabre upgrades Hotel RFP solution

July 21, 2014

The upgraded solution offers a streamlined user experience across multiple processes to help increase efficiency and reduce training time for new users. The enhanced solution will be demonstrated at the Sabre booth during the 2014 Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) Convention in Los Angeles.

In addition, Sabre is offering hotel program consulting services to travel buyers as an alternative to the self-service automation customers already enjoy. Sabre’s hotel program consulting services will assist companies with everything from managing implementation to gathering industry rate trends and negotiating corporate hotel programs on the behalf of the company.

“On average, 50 percent of hotel room nights are still booked outside the managed travel program, pointing to a significant opportunity for increased cost savings for corporations. Effective negotiation is key to controlling these costs,” said Alex Alt, president, Sabre Hospitality Solutions. “Hotel RFP helps corporate travel managers and travel management companies maximize the value of their hotel spend whether they want hands-on, personal consulting services or the convenience of our self-service online solution.

According to the GBTA, corporate travel spend continues to grow, particularly with travel from the US to international locations. As a result, travel buyers are relying on Sabre Hotel RFP to increase their global buying power to achieve better rates. Sabre Hotel RFP users negotiated for nearly $81 million in unique corporate transient room night spend last year, more than 5 percent over 2012. Also, buyers increased the amount of business awarded to hotels by nearly 10 percent – which translates to increased responses and better rates from hotels.

As part of the development process, Sabre conducted a usability test on the new Hotel RFP interface, resulting in a 96 percent completion rate with users who had little to no training on the product.

Sabre Hotel RFP is an online marketplace that helps corporations effectively solicit bids and negotiate rates and amenities with hotels, as well as audit the actual hotel rates received. Nearly 1,200 travel buyers use Sabre Hotel RFP to drive cost savings and increased return on investment for their corporate hotel program. Integrated with the Sabre travel marketplace, Sabre Hotel RFP allows customers to source more than 130,000 hotels, manage countless hotel bids and pull from an extensive set of reports and exports including a negotiated rate benchmark and the ability to create custom reports.

Related Link: Sabre Hotel RFP

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

How hotel marketers are trying to understand the new silent traveler

July 18, 2014

Just two years into a series of new digital and mobile programs, Silcock said Hilton Worldwide’s customer service is indeed addressing elements of the demographic our silent-traveler model represents. Hilton Worlwide is well aware of the consumer that prefers search and/or prefers social media when it comes to in-destination decisions.

Consider what its product Hilton Suggests does in this space. Launched in 2012, the company’s social-media based service not only allows a mobile-equipped customer to ask questions — for example, what should they do in an area they’re visiting (3) — but, according to Silcock, it also allows Hilton to proactively scan social chatter for problems that might arise at one of the brand’s properties. These brand listeners are especially looking for the kind of challenges that the silent traveler might not bring directly to Hilton’s staff.

“Our team was monitoring, and they actually heard from somebody who was in their room, in one of our hotels, who’d shared socially that they had an issue with their air conditioning,” Silcock said. “They didn’t call the front desk. They didn’t talk to the hotel. But we heard them through our Hilton Suggests service and that team engaged — and we went to that customer in the hotel to resolve that problem.

Get the full story at Skift

Read also "A new model to look at mobile-first consumers: The rise of silent travelers"

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

Preparing for IPO, Travelport to sell most of Orbitz stake

July 18, 2014

Travelport had $3.4 billion in long-term debt as of March 31, a decrease of almost $500 million from a year earlier.

Orbitz, perhaps spurred by the share-sale announcement, on Wednesday announced preliminary second-quarter results, saying revenue rose 10% from a year earlier to $248 million.

Second-quarter adjusted EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization) rose 8.1% to $45 million. The company reported that the number of booked hotel room nights rose 20% from a year earlier.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

Airbnb’s new logo prompts claims of theft

July 18, 2014

Unveiled today in San Francisco, the new Airbnb logo--or Belo, as the home rental service is calling it--looks like a heart bent out of a paper clip. Some people like it; others think it looks like genitals (male or female, no one's really sure). The one thing everyone should be able to agree on is that it looks an awful lot like logos that are already out there.

In Fast Company's story about the design of the Belo, Austin Carr reports that the new symbol was designed to abstract the shapes of a heart, a house, and a location pin, all while evoking the shape of the "A" in Airbnb. We have to wonder if, when Automation Anywhere commissioned its nearly identical logo, the spec was similar. After all, both companies start with the letter "A" and involve using tech to interact with remote locations. "Give us a logo that looks like an 'A' with a house and a location pin in it, stat!"

Something tells me Automation Anywhere got its logo at a fraction of the cost Airbnb paid. Which is good. Because the problem with the new Airbnb Belo isn't just that it looks like a bicycle seat combined with a Burn After Reading style masturbation device. It's that no matter how good and thoughtful your design process is, you still need to make sure other people haven't come up with your design first.

Get the full story at Fast Company

Read also "Airbnb unveils a major rebranding effort that paves the way for sharing more than homes" at Fast Company

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

Corporate travel feeling the pinch of new technology and smarter consumers

July 18, 2014

At the Travelport APAC Customer & Partner Conference in Bali, a key topic of discussion was the changes going on in the corporate travel segment.

Puneet Mahindroo of Four Seasons Hotels & Resorts, said the most discernible trend was the mixing of corporate and leisure travel by executives. Because it’s become so easy to plan and book leisure travel these days, executives were taking advantage of business trips to extend them to vacation time.

However Tommy Tan, managing director of Arrow Travel, had a different take, “Habits are changing. Technology has allowed for more and better video conferencing facilities. Corporate travellers now travel in and out of a destination faster and don’t spend as much.”

Get the full story at Web In Travel

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

Asian travelers most influenced by social media for beach holidays

July 18, 2014

The report found that 60 per cent of Asian respondents felt social media platforms were 'very/somewhat influential' when choosing a beach holiday destination, compared to 39 per cent and 24 per cent for their North American and European counterparts respectively.

Other influencing factors include last-minute packages. Thais (67 per cent), South Korean (65 per cent) and Japanese (64 per cent) were most likely to be influenced by bargain deals.

Vikram Malhi, general manager for Expedia in Asia, commented: “Asian travellers are not just booking their travel on their devices, they are also sharing their travel experiences and researching on mobile more readily than their Western counterparts.”

“Mobile is a huge area of investment for Expedia, and the findings reinforce our aim to offer travellers a complete experience, from pre-booking to post-vacation, across devices.”

Get the full story at TTG Asia and Expedia

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

Travel products getting increasingly lavish

July 18, 2014

Like other areas of life, from education to housing to retirement savings, travel is something where the truly wealthy are pulling away not just from average Americans but also from the merely rich. And they are driving demand for the most exclusive trips.

According to data collected by Virtuoso, a network of 8,900 top travel agents who serve two million customers, travelers who spend at least $100,000 a year on trips have increased their annual spending at two to three times the rate of the regular traveler over the past seven years. (Those regular travelers, in the company’s parlance, still spend $10,000 a year on a vacation.)

Last year, National Geographic Expeditions, known for its trips to places like Antarctica, the Galápagos and the Kalahari with archaeologists in tow, organized two around-the-world trips by private jet. The cost was $77,000 per person for 24 days and both trips, carrying 78 people each, sold out. By comparison, it costs $23,000 to be one of 148 on a 25-day trip to Antarctica.

“One of the common links among our travelers is they’re curious, passionate and they’re looking for unique and authentic experiences,” said Lynn Cutter, executive vice president for travel and licensing at National Geographic Society.

Get the full story at The New York Times

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

ReviewPro announces partnership with IDeaS Revenue Solutions

July 18, 2014

ReviewPro, the leading provider of online reputation and social media analytics for the hotel industry, announces a new revenue management capability developed in partnership with IDeaS Revenue Solutions, a leading provider of pricing and revenue management software, services and consulting. The IDeaS Reputation Pricing module is an innovative solution that provides hotels with fully automated pricing recommendations, capitalizing on the relationship between online reputation and pricing to generate revenue uplift.

IDeaS Reputation Pricing module integrates data from IDeaS’ Revenue Management System (RMS) and creates a powerful, graphical visualization of market position for rate and reputation based on online ratings and reviews. The module adds another layer of information to a hotel’s pricing capabilities, allowing companies to take a more comprehensive look at their competitive positioning and make tactical pricing adjustments. It aligns and optimizes a hotel’s Best Available Rates (BAR), which accounts not only for a consumer’s sensitivity to price, but also the correlations between price and reputation for the entire market.

By enhancing a hotel’s pricing capability with reputation data found in online reviews and ratings, with the Global Review Index™ (GRI), this new pricing module helps revenue managers to identify and realize opportunities and strengthen a hotel’s overall yield management program.

Key benefits include:

- Obtain a new automated BAR recommendation which now includes competitive reputation performance in addition to competitive rates

- Identify, validate, and quantify the revenue opportunity of reputation impacted pricing

- Assess and visualize market position in relation to competitors’ rate and reputation performance

“We have a commitment to our customers and the marketplace to create innovative solutions to drive better revenue,” says Sanjay Nagalia, CEO of IDeaS. “Social platforms and peer-to-peer recommendations are not going away, and customer behavior online continues to have an impact on a hotel’s reputation, and ultimately its pricing. We’re eager to serve our customer base with this innovative feature.”

ReviewPro CEO, RJ Friedlander, says, “We’re very happy to partner with IDeaS, an innovative leader in the area of revenue management. In today’s technology and social media-driven climate, for better or worse, a hotel’s online reputation directly impacts revenue potential. The integration of our data into IDeaS’ product gives savvy revenue managers an important leg-up on competitors in their effort to maximize BAR.”

IDeaS will harness the industry-leading GRI, an online reputation score which is calculated from reviews in 40+ languages in more than 100 online travel agencies and review sites and originally developed in collaboration with mathematicians, hotel industry experts and leading academic institutions. The GRI offers unparalleled benchmarking capabilities for individual hotels, groups of hotels or brands. In fact, the Cornell School of Hotel Administration published a landmark study on the correlation between hotel reputation and revenue and revealed that, on average, a 1-point increase in a hotel’s GRI™ score leads to a 0.89% in price (ADR), a 0.54% increase in occupancy and a 1.42% increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR).

ReviewPro client Loews Hotels will serve as a charter client for the company’s first-to-market Reputation Pricing module as part of the latest version of IDeaS Revenue Management System (RMS). “Our hotels have always had a strong focus on reputation management, and we’re looking forward to incorporating this data into our pricing analysis process,” says Monica Xuereb, vice president of revenue management for Loews Hotels. “IDeaS Reputation Pricing module is a first-of-its-kind solution, and we look forward to continue our partnership with IDeaS in evolving how we think about customer perception and pricing.”

Related Link: ReviewPro

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

Google Analytics gets its own dedicated iPhone app

July 18, 2014

Google has launched an official Google Analytics app for iPhone, providing the same data you’re used to from your web dashboard on your mobile device, including visits, sources, page views and user behavior insights. The app also offers Real Time reports, which provides monitoring of site activity as it unfolds.

The Real Time analytics may be a killer feature for this mobile app, as it means that website operators can now get at-a-glance information about their site’s current activity directly in their pocket, instead of having to resort to the web or without owning an Android app, where the mobile Analytics software made its first appearance back in June. Back when that app launched, Google had said it was “definitely thinking” about an iOS release to follow – and with this launch coming just under a month later, seems like they were thinking pretty hard.

Get the full story at TechCrunch

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

The real value of mobile hotel marketing

July 17, 2014

Here’s a look at the real value of mobile marketing for your hotel.

1. You know you’re speaking to your customers in a way that reaches them. Smartphones and tablets have evolved from technology tools to highly personalized devices that consumers have come to depend on daily. Not only do consumers use their mobile devices as a way to store and carry highly personal information—including photos, business and contact information, and financial data—smartphones and tablets are quite frequently kept on their person.

Unlike a direct mail piece or advertising in a newspaper or magazine where your intended audience might not even note the tactic or message, there’s a high probability that if your target consumers aren’t already connected to a mobile device somewhere, they will be soon. According to some estimates, consumers check their mobile devices more than 100 times a day and spend at least two hours a day interacting with them.

2. You can put insights into context. One of the surface benefits of a mobile strategy may include the ability to geolocate strategies delivered through mobile advertising at the moment your customer is looking for a hotel like yours. But there’s a bigger picture. You can leverage the context to the mobile user’s activity and interests for a more relevant mobile effort, especially in the hospitality industry.

For example, some airlines have found success using branded mobile apps to notify customers of a gate change or departure delay. They then continue to keep the same app equally functional to the same customer for a different reason, such as guiding the user to various destinations outside the airport. Hoteliers can leverage the same type of contextual messaging to develop a highly relevant mobile strategy that reaches far beyond overt marketing to form a repeat interaction and a value-added relationship with customers.

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

Read also "Marriott expands mobile platform to integrate with iBeacons"

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

Airbnb launches redesign, with reimagined listings and new logo

July 17, 2014

The functional elements of the website and mobile apps will largely stay the same, following a massive overhaul Airbnb did last year. But it’s updated the look and feel of both with this update.

With the launch of the new site, Airbnb has largely gone “flat,” swapping out its previous design filled with shadows and gradients and instead filling it with more white space and a common font throughout. It stripped text that used to be overlaid on top of photos and placed it below the images and added host photos alongside listings, so guests know whose place they’ll be staying at.

That starts with Airbnb’s Discover feed, which has been updated to take into account more information about a user’s location to show nearby listings and destinations. For folks in San Francisco, that could mean listings at nearby “getaway” spots such as Tahoe, or popular destinations like Los Angeles or Portland.

Get the full story at TechCrunch and VentureBeat

Read also "Airbnb’s new logo looks a lot this other company’s logo" at VentureBeat and "New Airbnb logo wants you to draw it like one of your french logos" at TechCrunch

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

Booking.com ramps up European push with German branding campaign

July 17, 2014

Booking.com said it listed its first German hotel on the platform 14 years ago and has seen healthy growth in the German market since. It has doubled the number of local properties since the beginning of last year to 26,000.

The firm said that as well as growing its online accommodation booking business the site plans to expand and take on more staff in Germany. It now employs nearly 800 people across 4 major cities, including two customer service centres in Berlin.

Get the full story at Travolution

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

The art of the airline apology

July 17, 2014

If you've ever felt that airlines talk to you like a child, you're not alone.

Airlines say they try to make responses conversational and personal. They aim to apologize and acknowledge the problem, providing more information about the particular situation after research, then offering some compensation as a goodwill gesture, such as some frequent-flier miles. Letters are signed by an employee, though many use pseudonyms.

Complaints are sorted by complexity and by the value of the customer - top-tier frequent fliers and big spenders get priority. A low-level customer may get 3,000 frequent-flier miles for a canceled flight, while a high-value customer who complains is soothed with 10,000 miles.

Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal

Read also "Apologizing to retain customers" at New York Hospitality

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

Hotels reward guests for Twitter, Facebook posts

July 17, 2014

Today, Kimpton Hotels and Restaurants will launch Kimpton Karma Rewards, a new loyalty program designed to recognize guests for actions such as attending a property's nightly wine hour, traveling with their pet, dining at a Kimpton restaurant, or mentioning an individual hotel or restaurant on social media.

This follows on the heels of Marriott introducing PlusPoints in May, which allows members to earn Rewards points for "everyday social behaviors" such as tweets, retweets, checking in on Facebook and posting on Instagram.

"Loyalty as a concept is not just about transactions," says Maggie Lang, senior director of guest marketing at Kimpton. "Karma is rewarding engagement."

Get the full story at USA Today

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

Guests much more satisfied with hotels, study says

July 17, 2014

Still, J.D. Power and Associates' annual survey of North American hotel guests found that Millennials aren't necessarily less loyal to hotel brands. The percentage of Millennials who said they're highly committed to a brand was 27%, compared with 25% of travelers of other generations.

"If you treat a Millennial traveler well and take them seriously, take their concerns seriously, you can have the Millennial traveler for life," says Rick Garlick, global travel and hospitality practice lead at J.D. Power. "They absolutely represent a great opportunity for a hotel company."

The survey, now in its 18th year, is based on responses gathered from more than 67,000 guests who stayed in hotels in North America from May 2013 to May 2014.

Get the full story at USA Today

Read also "The secret to millennial loyalty? Service" at Hotel News Now

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

Staycations: This summer’s most popular destination is in your backyard

July 17, 2014

Where are the most popular getaways this summer? Hint: They’re closer to home than you might think. A look at Google Search trends shows that the “staycation” is bigger than ever, and people are often looking for hotels in their own backyard. If they do hit the road, travelers are visiting destinations you might not expect.

Check out the infographic Think with Google to see who’s going where.

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

Mandarin Oriental trials Microsoft in-room tablets

July 17, 2014

The devices, which are available in nine different languages, will also include information about the hotels’ facilities.

“We’re always pushing ourselves to create unique, premium guest experiences,” said Monika Nerger, Mandarin Oriental’s chief information officer.

“We are currently operating in 25 countries, and with our expansion into new markets we needed a powerful, secure, yet easy-to-manage solution with robust language support, which Microsoft technologies can offer.

Get the full story at Travel Daily

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

Consumers and businesses at odds over future of mobile technology in hospitality

July 16, 2014

Additionally, while speeding up service delivery and payments were the lowest prioritised uses of mobile technology for business leaders, over a third of consumers said they would use their smartphones for ordering (31 per cent) and payment (30 per cent).

Both businesses (73 per cent) and consumers (33 per cent) agreed that mobile booking and reservations will be important in the future, but consumers (35 per cent) put receiving vouchers and special offers as the biggest priority when it comes to mobile technology.

“While social media is an important channel for dealing with customer service issues, it seems that it’s not something where hospitality businesses can join the conversation at the table,” said Matthew Cox of the Hospitality Division at Omnico Group.

Get the full story at Big Hospitality

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

The mobile opportunities that lie in wait for TripAdvisor

July 16, 2014

The service was launched in the US in June initially to a limited user base and with three partners; Tingo, Getaroom.com and Choice Hotels. A batch of European markets is likely to get it next, although the task outside the US is complicated by local laws around data compliance.

In an interview with Travolution, Joost Schreve, vice-president for mobile, said discussions were ongoing with all of the site’s meta-search partners about them benefitting from Instant Booking including Expedia, the OTA it became independent from in 2011.

“We are essentially talking to all partners. We have on-going conversations with Expedia, we’ve not launched with them yet, but Expedia is one of them and is obviously important.

Get the full story at Travolution

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

Airbnb revamps review system, launches complete brand redesign this week

July 16, 2014

The first change is that reviews will now be revealed to hosts and guests simultaneously: they will only be shown after both participants have completed their assessment of the experience. This is in response to both hosts and guests worrying that if they leave an honest review, they might receive an unfairly critical review in response.

Next, the review period is being shortened from 30 days to 14 days. Airbnb says 90 percent of hosts and guests who leave a review, do so within two weeks. The change is thus being made so that the feedback people provide is based on a more recent impression. If after the 14-day review period only the host or the guest has left a review from a completed trip, Airbnb will make that review public to both the recipient and the community.

In addition, Airbnb will launch a brand redesign this week during an event for top hosts and guests. Taking a break from its legislative turmoil, Airbnb last week quietly announced a live-streamed event, which is Wednesday, to “show you where we’re heading next.” At least a portion of the announcement is for Airbnb’s new identity, which the company describes as being a “multi-state moving identity,” a “3D modular symbol,” and “adaptive to environments.”

Get the full story at The Next Web and VentureBeat

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

How China is sculpting the hotel industry

July 16, 2014

According to China Information Network Information Center, China now sports an Internet usage rate of 45.8 percent. That equates to 618 million Internet users, including 500 million mobile Internet users. More than 90 percent of these users reportedly have a social media account. That’s why it makes sense that free Wi-Fi is now the most important amenity for Chinese travelers (59 percent surveyed). Nearly three-fourths (71 percent) ask about free Wi-Fi when staying at hotels.

"We saw that Chinese travelers—as well as many other cultures—continue to increase their reliance on the Web—the importance of Wi-Fi, as well as mobile technologies," said Taylor L. Cole, APR, Director of PR and Social Media for Hotels.com North America. "Keeping in mind, today’s travelers want to stay connected, they want to stay in sync with social media networks and they want to stay informed. Anything that hotels can do to help to keep them in closer contact is certainly a benefit."

Hotels around the world are offering services specific to the Chinese traveler as a result. For example, Chinese travelers to Hilton Hotels & Resorts in Vancouver and Toronto are offered Chinese television programming in their hotel rooms. Hyatt Regency, Chicago, offers a Chinese TV channel.

Get the full story at Travel Pulse

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

Hilton creates clever content marketing with ‘vacationitis’ site

July 16, 2014

This affliction, of course, is cured by a vacation, and that’s where Hilton comes in with the solution.

How has it been working so far? Bulldog Reporter shared some of the numbers, which include 100+ media mentions in North America, U.K. and Latin America. Facebook page likes doubled to more than 1 million in four months. The brand added 7,000 newsletter subscribers, saw 50,000 visits to the microsite and garnered 18,000 entries into its sweepstakes.

Highly sharable, humorous content delivered at the right time (winter; the site launched in late 2013) seems to be a recipe for content marketing success.

Get the full story at PR Daily

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

Marriott expands mobile platform to integrate with iBeacons

July 16, 2014

The recently announced LocalPerks program will tie in with Marriott Rewards for savvy travelers to enjoy instant gratification via time sensitive offers from the hotelier’s brands and its partners.

“Assuming Marriott is capable of building individual knowledge and understanding the consumers individual wants and needs, consumers will experience that the communication will be more relevant and valuable while moving or interacting with them,” said Hans Willems, marketing and business development executive at BlueConic, Boston.

“They are willing to buy more, stay longer customer and refer the company to others.”

Get the full story at Mobile Commerce Daily

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

The exciting world of hotel technology: Beyond the PMS

July 16, 2014

Mobile booking engines in conjunction with other mobile solutions create a full customer journey far beyond the reservation and other technology can support a number of customer facing concepts that allow a hotel guest to check into their room without ever interacting with the front desk.

For example, hotels are able to provide a QR code on reservation confirmations which can be scanned by a check-in kiosk upon guest arrival. A room will be assigned, the credit card payment will be pre-authorized, and a registration form will be printed for the guest to complete. Then the kiosk will code a traditional key card for guest access to their room. We’ve successfully completed pilot projects with door look system providers allowing the usage of encrypted audio signals and touch-less concepts to open hotel room doors.

Another exciting new example of mobile hotel technology is online guest check-out that works in conjunction with MICROS OPERA PMS. The convenient process begins the day before check-out with a text message offering an online option executable from a guest mobile device. If the guest chooses to use this method, the payment will then be verified by a third party service provider and the guest will be asked to enter approximate departure time. The technical check-out and the invoice production is done with the night audit the following day, which secures that any additional consumption is covered. This ensures that the process is quick, easy, and the guest only needs to drop off their key at the front desk before leaving.

Get the full story at Micros

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

IDeaS Launches Advanced Revenue Management System

July 16, 2014

IDeaS Revenue Solutions, the leading provider of pricing and revenue management software, services and consulting, today announced its newest and most scientifically advanced automated revenue management system, IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System (RMS). Powered by best-in-class SAS® analytics and coupled with IDeaS' 25 years of innovation, this market-leading solution will empower users to increase revenue performance with the industry's most comprehensive pricing decisions, precise forecasting and detailed reporting tools.

"Today's launch is anchored by the category experience we've earned over the past 25 years, and is backed with the industry's most powerful analytics from SAS®," said Sanjay Nagalia, chief operating officer of IDeaS. "IDeaS G3 RMS is redefining revenue management, and meeting the ever-evolving and sophisticated needs of hoteliers today. It will enable users to make more informed decisions about their properties and create new revenue opportunities every single day."

The advanced features in IDeaS G3 Revenue Management System allow hotel revenue managers to capture more revenue opportunities—more often—by integrating strategic and innovative data elements into their decisions. The system is fully scalable, capable of creating pricing decisions for one property or worldwide estates. Guided workflows, informative dashboards and best-fit analytics models enable users to produce robust reports with extremely high levels of detail.

Key Benefits

- Provides precise forecasting, inventory controls and pricing decisions, delivering maximum impact by room class and length of stay
- Forecasts and reports with greater accuracy using granular transaction data
- Maximizes revenue via next generation price optimization
- Assesses the impact of pricing decisions using risk-free "What-If" Analysis
- Improves staff efficiency and reduces time spent on tactical activities
- Elevates overall profitability and competitiveness

Major Partnerships

Developed originally in partnership with Hilton Worldwide, more than 2,000 properties are now live on IDeaS G3 RMS, with more coming online every day.

Scandic Hotels, an internationally renowned hotel group located throughout Scandinavia and Northern Europe, has been one of four charter clients for IDeaS G3 RMS and is seeing success with the solution.

"We're confident that the system's new approach to both pricing and optimization will continue to improve our revenue performance and keep us on the forefront of revenue management solutions," said Tom Blomquist, director of revenue and development for Scandic Hotels. "The SAS® analytics combined with the What-If Analysis feature are a huge leap forward, and we look forward to taking advantage of these benefits with IDeaS G3 RMS."

Extended Stay America, the largest owner/operated hotel chain in North America also recently announced plans to implement IDeaS G3 RMS across nearly 700 properties and 76,000 rooms by year-end 2014.

Category Leadership

2014 has been a year of unprecedented growth and innovation at IDeaS, and IDeaS G3 RMS is the fourth major product release to solve new challenges facing the hospitality industry. Others include:

- IDeaS Mobile RMS, the world's first mobile app for making time-sensitive revenue decisions on the go.
- IDeaS Revenue Performance Insights™ (RPI), a highly visual, dynamic reporting and business intelligence software that greatly enhances the hotelier's ability to report, analyze and act on performance data.
- IDeaS Reputation Pricing Module, an industry first that allows hotels to use their current online reputations as a criterion for making pricing decisions.

"We have a solid track record of solving the revenue management challenges our clients face. With best-in-class analytics at our core, we continually advance our products by utilizing revolutionary technology," added Nagalia. "This latest release represents the next generation of an entire suite of advanced revenue management solutions, and we're proud to be on the forefront of the industry."

Watch this video to learn more about IDeaS' Advanced Revenue Managment Solutions.

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

The quirky side of travel search on mobile devices

July 15, 2014

For example, 16% of mobile travel searches were launched in the bathroom, 17% from the “man cave,” 19% from the kitchen, 21% from the home office, and 23% from the bedroom, the Priceline.com surveys found.

These findings should provide new meaning and import to companies’ domestic strategies.

If the findings are to be believed, in other off-the-beaten track results, survey participants admitted that they have bumped into strangers (10%) while booking travel on mobile devices; walked into walls (9%); meandered into the wrong bathroom (7%), and tripped and fell (6%).

Get the full story at Skift

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

When will Hotel Tonight enter Asia?

July 15, 2014

And last week, news that the leader in the Asia market, HotelQuickly, has raised another US$4.5 million funding, led by Japanese fund GREE and William Heinecke of Thailand’s Minor International, seems to indicate that investors are buying into the promised land of same-day bookings in the region. The market in the US is currently estimated at US$15 billion a year.

So when will HotelTonight enter Asia?

Web In Travel asked Sam Shank, HotelTonight’s CEO the question after the news of HotelQuickly’s new funding. “Over the last year we’ve added 12 countries and more than 300 destinations, and we’re not taking our foot off the gas anytime soon. That being said, our success rests on fully understanding each new market we launch into, and Asia will be no exception.”

Get the full story at Web In Travel

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

Priceline negotiating an edge in the travel industry

July 15, 2014

Priceline quickly recognized the importance of the international traveler and an international travel market that is expected to expand over the next few years.

The U.S Commerce Department expects international travel to the U.S. to increase by approximately 4% before 2017. The fastest growth is expected to come from China, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Brazil, Argentina, and Columbia. As travelers from these countries book more and more of their travel online, Priceline will be well positioned to profit from the trend. To this end, Priceline acquired Booking.com to reach the European market and Agoda.com in Asia. Priceline boasts that it is available in 42 languages and in 201 countries. Overseas sales are, and are expected to continue to be, a major source of value for the company.

Most recently, Priceline acquired hotel marketing startup Buuteeq. In addition to having a nearly unspellable moniker, Buuteeq provides a cloud-based marketing platform for mom and pop hotels to build and maintain user-friendly websites.

The purchase of Buuteeq indicates Priceline's awareness of possible threats on the horizon. The alternative to using online reservation providers is to book directly with the hotel. Buuteeq builds direct access for these transactions. With Buuteeq, Priceline now has a hedge against a potential source of future competition.

Get the full story at Nasdaq

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

Last-minute travel upgrades: Are they worth it?

July 15, 2014

In order to determine whether you should take advantage of the next upgrade opportunity, it helps to understand what’s happening behind the scenes. Travel companies are trying to do two things: First, they want to make these upgrade opportunities as unpredictable as possible. If customers can anticipate them, then they might try to game the system, which would lead to what the bean counters would call “revenue dilution.” That’s “losing money” in English. Second, perhaps more significantly, they want to target the right travelers.

The hard part about last-minute upgrades, at least from a customer’s perspective, is that you feel as though you have to make a fast decision, sometimes with little or no knowledge about the product. Is it really better?

These 11th-hour offers almost always sound attractive, but they merit careful research. Make a snap decision only if you know the product well.

Get the full story at The Seattle Times

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

The one rule your airline hates the most

July 15, 2014

That allowed passengers to fix mistakes, such as a misspelled name or a wrong date. They could just cancel the ticket and rebook, as long as their departure date was more than a week away. But this government-mandated "out" clause probably also cost airlines millions in revenue.

Now, regulators want to expand that rule to travel agencies, requiring that they also offer the same option for customers. A vast majority of agents already abide by the 24-hour rule, but a few travel retailers have discovered ways to weasel their way out.

If history is any guide, this rule will be as tough to enforce as version one. Unscrupulous ticket sellers love to redefine "day" or add new policies of their own to make it difficult to invoke this controversial clause. The only way we'll benefit from this proposed regulation, assuming it's adopted, is if we remember it - and invoke it.

Get the full story at USA Today

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

Increase in Chinese travelers: Connected to technology

July 15, 2014

For the first time, more than half of the Chinese travellers surveyed say they now book their hotel accommodation either via the web or mobile apps, up from 45 per cent in 2013. Just under half use online accommodation websites and online reviews sites to research their trips and a third check social media. Eighty-four per cent share their photos and experiences on social media during and after an international trip and free Wi-Fi is chosen as the most important service in a hotel by 59 per cent.

In Canada, Chinese travellers visit Vancouver, British Columbia and Toronto, Ontario most frequently and ranked eighth among the list of Top International Spenders for hotel rooms in Canada in 2013. In an effort to cater to this growing demographic, many Canadian hotels have enhanced their amenities to embrace aspects of Chinese culture, comfort and travel preferences, for example:

- Chinese visitors to Hilton Hotels & Resorts in Vancouver and Toronto are greeted with a "Huanying" welcome. This special reception ensures a Chinese-speaking front desk clerk is available to assist Chinese guests with their check-in. The hotels also provide a welcome letter written in Chinese dialects, a diverse Chinese breakfast menu, tea kettles with assorted Chinese teas, chopsticks and dedicated Chinese television programming.

- Fairmont Hotels & Resorts across Canada offer enhanced dining menus featuring personalized dishes and a variety of culinary choices specially designed for Chinese guests travelling abroad. Catering and restaurant menus now include traditional Chinese dishes, such as congee, rice porridge, loose leaf teas and cold and hot towels, which are customary in China.
With 97 million Chinese travelling abroad in 2013, up 14 million from 2012, more than half of the hoteliers surveyed say that they have seen an increase in the number of Chinese guests in the previous 12 months, while 36 per cent believe the influx of Chinese tourists is one of the factors that will have the most impact on their business in the next 12-24 months.

In China, internet penetration has climbed to 45.8 percent and the country ended the year with 618 million internet users, 500 million of these choosing to access the web via a mobile device[3], according to China Internet Network Information. More than 90 per cent of internet users reportedly have a social media account.

Abhiram Chowdhry, Vice President and Managing Director APAC of the Hotels.com brand said, "There are many factors driving the desire of the Chinese people to explore the world. The rising affluence of the growing middle class with higher disposable incomes, the upward trend in the numbers of repeat travellers, more relaxed visa conditions and improved local infrastructure are all dovetailing to expedite this growth. However, our report quantifies another factor: the rate at which technology is transforming the landscape of Chinese overseas travel."

There is also a growing confidence shown by these new travellers, particularly amongst the young. Two-thirds of the Chinese consumers questioned say that they now prefer to travel independently, up five percentage points on 2013, while more than 60 per cent of hoteliers have seen a boost in the number of independent travellers in the last two years. This is the clearest indication yet of the move away from the previous preference for group travel.

Surveying more than 3,000 Chinese international travellers and 3,000 hoteliers around the world, the third annual CITM reveals significant insights into all aspects of the changing behaviour of Chinese travellers and how the global hotel industry is adapting to maximize the benefits of this new market.

Download the full report at Hotels.com

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

Leonardo and Small Luxury Hotels of the World expand technology agreement

July 15, 2014

Media Approval & Workflow Engine for Brand Consistency
SLH will utilize Leonardo's Media Approval & Workflow Engine to approve media uploaded to VScape by member hotels for syndication to Leonardo's VNetwork, the most extensive visual media syndication network in the global travel industry. This ensures that all hotel visual content adheres to SLH's brand standards.

Multi-Media Display Galleries for Impactful and Optimized Visual Experiences
SLH will be implementing Leonardo's Multi-Media Display Galleries to improve the visual experience of their hotels featured on their corporate website, ensuring the visual content is appropriately displayed no matter which browser, device, software, bandwidth or screen size the consumer is using. Due to increased smartphone and tablet usage during the hotel shopping journey, SLH has also selected Leonardo's smartphone optimized and tablet friendly media galleries to ensure seamless media viewing experiences across all screens and devices.

Seamless Link Between SLH's VScape and Web Content Management System (CMS)
Through XML connectivity between SLH's VScape and the CMS used to power their consumer websites, SLH will use VScape as a central media repository thereby eliminating duplicate processing and managing of digital assets.

"We selected Leonardo's advanced multi-media display technology for slh.com to ensure the luxury experiences offered by our hotels are shown to consumers in a visually impactful way. We expect that the improved quality, user experience and multi-screen optimization will result in increased direct bookings and the integration with VScape will bring greater efficiency to our internal processes," said Kurt Allen, Director of E-Commerce at Small Luxury Hotels of the World.

"The expansion of this agreement with one of our long standing customers is a testament to the value our technology provides for enterprise level customers. By adopting these features, Small Luxury Hotels of the World will be able to efficiently manage their media in one central system and present visually appealing experiences to attract travel shoppers and drive bookings," said Leonardo's President, John McAuliffe.

Related Link: Leonardo

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

How to prepare for increased bookings during a major event

July 15, 2014

The 2014 FIFA World Cup is well under way, and hoteliers are often faced with questions during these types of major events:

- Will we be able to capitalize on the increased demand for our rooms?

- How do we balance the demand for event attendees willing to pay higher rates while also maintaining our existing customer base?

- Will this fabled demand actually materialize, or will our rooms remain empty throughout the event?

Events offer a unique opportunity for hoteliers to capitalize on increased demand, gain a new loyal following, and maximize revenue. However, they can also be tricky - when not executed well, they can result in no shows, cancellations, and displacement of current loyal customers.

Planning is key when it comes to events, and we put this article together in order to provide some answers to the questions above.

Get the full story at Ideas

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

The four stages of user search behavior for travel products

July 14, 2014

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.

Stage 1 of Search: Search Engines

Search engines are where most people start a search. Across many different countries, people usually search using Google. But in specific countries such as China, people mainly use Baidu to perform searches.

For example, if a user searches for hotels in a specific destination on Baidu, Baidu would return a list of search results, which may usually include:

- A list of hotels from some hotel booking engine websites.
- A list of hotels from some hotel comparison websites.
- Hotels from a hotel chain or hotel brand website.
- A sub-search box for a user to perform further hotel searches.

Get the full story at ClickZ

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

Expedia and Groupon to part ways

July 14, 2014

A Groupon spokesman confirmed today that the daily deals company and the online travel agency are no longer co-branding deals through a joint venture launched in the summer of 2011.

The travel deals site, which was originally called “Groupon Getaways with Expedia,” was announced the same day in June that the daily deals giant filed to go public.

At the time, Expedia couldn’t have landed a flashier partner to launch the popular new business model. But fast-forward three years, and the daily deals heyday has lost steam. Groupon is no longer the rising star it once was, while the Bellevue, Wash.-based company remains a powerhouse in travel.

Get the full story at GeekWire

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

Marriott goes mobile for location-based flash deals

July 14, 2014

Participating Marriott hotels are using iBeacon technology to communicate with their guests' mobile devices and figure out where they are. They can then send push notifications about offers to the mobile device based on a guest's precise location within the property.

Marriott is also getting into the flash sale website business with the introduction of FlashPerks. Through FlashPerks, Rewards members can redeem points or use cash for limited-time, exclusive deals.

The Bethesda, Md.-based company is hoping the two programs will appeal to the tech-savvy Millennial traveler, whose purchasing power is rapidly rising. Last year, Marriott Hotels started the "Travel Brilliantly" marketing campaign specifically for Millennials, those generally born in the 1980s to the early 2000s.

Get the full story at USA Today

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

eDreams sees mobile bookings grow as it plots more localised approach

July 14, 2014

In the same period smartphone bookings rose 140% while for tablets that figure was 110%, the agent reported. A new Android app has just been launched.

Tablets represented nearly three quarters of mobile bookings with Apple iPad the most popular accounting for 32.8% of bookings followed by the Apple iPhone on 11.76%.

Pablo De Porcioles, eDreams director of business development, said: "We believe that a commitment to mobile commerce or mcommerce is and will be one of the growth drivers for the company."

Get the full story at Travolution

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

Which European hotel markets are especially tied to international demand?

July 14, 2014

Spain can boast the highest share of international guests: they generate 63.6% of overnights spent in the country. Behind Spain, Italy (48%) stands above the UK (40.3%), France (34.1%) and Germany (22.5%). Germany has the largest population (80.5 million inhabitants) among the 5 countries, hence the weight of its domestic market (77.5% of overnights). This is also tied to the traditional profile of Germany as a departure country rather than a destination one for leisure guests, a trend that is evolving given the current rising trend of leisure demand in the country. In contrast, the higher share of international clientele in Southern Europe is closely tied to the fact that many clients from Northern Europe flock to their shores each summer.

And in fact, the international profile of the Spanish hotel industry has been, so far, driven by the presence of clienteles from the continent: whereas European guests generate 55% of total nights spent in Spain, long-haul guests only generate 8.8%.

Among the 5 largest hotel markets in Europe, the United Kindgom has the highest share of non-european guests: 16.5% of total nights spent. If Europe is regarded as a single market, or on comparison purposes with large-size markets such as the United States, the UK turns out to be the most internationalized hotel market, above Italy (13.6%) and France (11.6%).

Get the full story at Hospitality-On

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

Why TripAdvisor has a chance to eat the lunch of Booking.com

July 14, 2014

There is a mounting sentiment among hoteliers that hotel booking intermediaries like Booking.com and Expedia are getting stronger by the day.

Online travel agencies are massively outspending hotels in online marketing and customer acquisition, and their aggressive online and TV campaigns are driving consumer traffic to their websites, away from hotel’s official websites.

Specialized hotel OTAs do not only outspend hoteliers, they also seem to be outsmarting hoteliers with strategies to drive prices down and commissions up. Prices are kept low by increasing available accommodation inventory with speciality lodging (bed and breakfasts, serviced apartments, hostels) and even thousands of individual apartments that can be rented on a daily basis.

Get the full story at Tnooz

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

Sabre signs technology agreement with China-based HNA Hotels & Resorts

July 14, 2014

Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), a global technology provider to the travel and tourism industry, has signed a comprehensive technology agreement with China-based HNA Hotels & Resorts.

Sabre Hospitality will serve as HNA's primary technology provider for its critical operations and marketing systems, including the Sabre SynXis central reservations system and Sabre Guest Connect Booking Engine. HNA also will leverage Sabre's full complement of distribution channels.

HNA officials selected Sabre Hospitality Solutions because of its broad portfolio of seamlessly integrated software, which solved HNA's primary challenge of having multiple, unrelated systems across their properties.

"Sabre has solid, proven technology and a rich history of delivering innovative solutions to the travel industry," said John Kidd, president of HNA Hospitality Group. "Sabre was the best choice because of its best-in-class solutions that are aligned to our growth strategy."

With two properties already outside of China, HNA will continue its international expansion. Sabre plans to play a pivotal role with HNA to help them achieve their growth goals.

"Our unrivaled portfolio of integrated solutions will provide HNA with the tools they need to increase revenue, improve operational efficiency and enhance the end-to-end guest experience," said Alex Alt, president and general manager of Sabre Hospitality Solutions. "The unique combination of Sabre's global reach to travelers combined with unparalleled marketing expertise will enhance and strengthen HNA's continued expansion efforts."

Related Link: Sabre Hospitality

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

A/B testing your hotel’s website

July 14, 2014

One of Blue Magnet’s clients, a hotel in Florida, was experiencing a period of low occupancy. As their Internet marketing manager, I was tasked with the challenge of increasing reservations during the hotel’s need period. To begin, I took a step back and examined the hotel’s website as a consumer, rather than a marketer. Working with a website day in and day out can sometimes make marketers overlook issues obvious to visitors. Since the hotel’s challenge dealt with online reservations, I decided that a closer look at the hotel website’s booking widget was probably a valid starting point.

The original reservation widget contained a white and green call-to-action button reading “Check Availability.” Since the entire site’s color scheme is white and green, it seemed like the button was getting lost in the background. As a visitor to this website, I would expect the most important button on the site to command much more attention. As a marketer for this site, I wanted to see if a different color button might prove more compelling.

After some initial research, I chose red for the alternate version of the button. From what I gathered and inferred, red is a highly visible color. That’s why stop signs, fire trucks, and other things that need to be noticed quickly are painted that color. Contrasted with the green background, a red “Check Availability” button seemed like it would pop off the page, catch the eye of visitors quickly, and draw more clicks, but I needed to be sure before I made such a significant change to the site. Enter A/B testing.

Get the full story at Blue Magnet Interactive

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

hoxell

July 10, 2014

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

Mobile complementing rather than replacing other booking channels

July 10, 2014

Just over half of all travelers (54 percent) and nearly two-thirds of travel managers (65 percent) surveyed by Carlson Wagonlit Travel consider the ability to book by mobile while on the go "important" or "critical."

There are some differences, however, between regions and traveler profiles. Travelers in Asia Pacific and Latin America place more importance on mobile booking on the go (62 percent considering this feature "important" or "critical") compared with in North America (55 percent) and Europe, Middle East and Africa (45 percent). Employees who travel most often consider on-the-go booking to be the most important.

Travelers do not necessarily use their mobiles to book or change bookings at the last minute while traveling. Data provided by consumer app WorldMate shows that only about a third of its mobile hotel bookings are made in the 24 hours before checking in, and this figure has decreased over the years, from 55 percent in October 2008 to 36 percent in October 2012. On the other hand, more and more mobile hotel bookings are made at least a week in advance: 40 percent in October 2013 and 37 percent in 2012, compared to 14 percent in 2018.

For comparison, corporate travel bookings made through traditional channels (online booking tools or travel counselor) in October 2013 involve a dramatically smaller share of lastminute bookings (only 1 percent in the last 24 hours, according to CWT global transaction data) and a higher share of bookings made at least one week in advance (62 percent). Corporate travel bookings made via mobile devices are expected to come somewhere in between, with a higher share of last-minute bookings compared to traditional channels but a lower share compared to consumer mobile apps.

Get the full report at the CWT Travel Management Institute

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

Five tech trends that will shape hospitality

July 10, 2014

1. Mobile keys: In an era of personalization where travelers want to experience the hotel on their own terms, hoteliers are working to allow the guest to use a smartphone as a room key. Various hurdles have kept the much-talked-about innovation on the shelf for the past decade. But now several major companies and chains either have rolled out such functionality or are in the process of doing so.

2. PMS mobility: Hotel GMs who lack people skills may have been able to skate by in the past, relying on data crunching, report management and cost cutting to prove their worth. No longer, sources said. As the backbone of hotel operations, the property-management system, moves online, managers and line-level employees can be mobile, free to interact more with guests and each other.

3. Innovation in guest acquisition: While in-room hotel innovation has been limited, reaching guests in the discovery and booking phases of the travel lifecycle has received much attention. Hotel brands and third-party distribution partners continue to one-up each other with slick new ways to research hotel rooms and convert lookers into bookers.

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

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

HotelQuickly wants to make last-minute bookings big in Asia

July 10, 2014

Similar to HotelTonight’s model, Hong Kong-headquarted HotelQuickly lets users book “last minute” hotel rooms at heavily discounted prices, via an iOS, BB10 and Android app. Specifically, the app presents a list of up to 6 curated offers, based on a user’s location, which are only available for booking on the same day. Meanwhile, the draw for hotels that partner with HotelQuickly is that it offers an efficient way to shift spare inventory without eating into their existing market or diminishing their brand via overt discounting.

Notably, however, HotelTonight, from which HotelQuickly surely took its inspiration, has yet to enter Asia, despite talking up its aim for “geographic ubiquity,” name checking the region in particular after it raised a further $45 million in a Series D round. Instead, HotelQuickly counts Agoda, a Priceline-owned online travel agent, as its main competitor.

“They are controlling the market to a large extent, making customers think they have the best prices,” HotelQuickly co-founder and CEO Tomas Laboutka tells me. “However, our rates are on average 28% cheaper than what they manage to offer, and luckily, more and more users seem to realize that they can save a good amount of money by booking last minute.”

Get the full story at TechCrunch

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

Rush of summer bookings will come late

July 10, 2014

The findings fit a summer 2014 market that saw strong bookings early, but a decline since mid-March leading to pressure on prices (Travel Weekly, June 26).

The TNS research found the last-minute trend strongest among 16 to 24-year-olds, of whom 39% intending to take a holiday said they would book late. London showed the lowest rate for last-minute booking at 9%, against 24% in the north, although the proportion already booked was highest in the north (23%) and lowest in London (11%). Adults with children were also unlikely to book last minute – just 9% said they would do so.

Those who last took an overseas holiday in 2013 were most likely to book this year (42%). Consumers who have already had a holiday this year were most likely to have another booked already (37%).

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

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

Expedia overhauls loyalty program

July 10, 2014

Members at the +silver and +gold levels will also receive a host of benefits from more than 1,400 +VIP Access™ hotels.

With the new program, all Expedia+ rewards members will earn 2 points for every $1 spent when booking hotels, activities and packages. New to the program, members can now earn 2 points for every $1 spent on cruise bookings with most major cruise lines. Customers will continue to earn 1 point for every $5 spent on flights. Once points begin to accumulate, members can redeem points on hotels, as well as flights, exclusive local experiences (for limited time only) and charity redemptions.

"We continue to evolve Expedia+ Rewards to ensure it's the best travel loyalty program for the way real people want to travel. At the core of the program is our belief that the business trip you have to take to Ohio or that family trip you'd rather avoid but can't should get you closer to that beach or ski trip of your dreams," said David Doctorow, Chief Marketing & Strategy Officer and Senior Vice President, Global Marketing of Expedia.com. "Over the last 18 months, we've incorporated real traveler feedback to improve the program by making it easier to earn points faster on nearly all parts of your trip regardless of which hotel you stay at or airline you fly. From there we've made accessing travel rewards better, so Expedia customers can get upgrades and amenities at more top hotels, redeem points for more parts of their trip and get the level of priority service and freedom of choice that great travelers crave."

As an Expedia+ rewards member, travelers are also privy to the Expedia Hotel Price Guarantee that ensures extended price match up until midnight before check-in, access to member exclusive offers and, through December 31, 2014, double value on +VIP Access hotel coupons. Enrollment into the program at the +blue level is free and immediate.

Fresh to the program is the Expedia +silver level, a new membership tier offering a wide range of benefits including: 10% bonus points on point eligible purchases, 250 extra points when booking one of more than 1,400 +VIP Access hotels and exclusive amenities at over 700 +VIP Access hotels. Amenities vary by hotel and could include a bottle of wine, an upgrade or a spa treatment voucher. Finally, members at the Expedia+ silver level will receive priority service from a dedicated group of customer service agents.

In addition to the +silver benefits, Expedia +gold members – formerly Expedia® Elite Plus® members – earn 30% bonus points on top of base points and will receive room upgrades whenever available at more than 1,400 +VIP Access hotels worldwide. Status can be achieved by either dollars spent or room nights stayed. This structure allows more members than ever to attain elite status with the introduction of the new +silver tier, which is attained after booking only seven qualifying room nights or spending $5,000 annually on Expedia.com, and the new +gold tier, which is attained after booking 15 qualifying room nights or with $10,000 annual spend.

Current Expedia Rewards members will keep their points and history intact and will be able to track their progress toward elite status on their Expedia+ rewards page. Members can expect more to come late this year as Expedia continues to expand Expedia+ rewards with even more earning and redemption opportunities.

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

Motel 6 bets on Google Wallet for online bookings

July 10, 2014

Motel 6 launched a streamlined booking experience with Google Wallet that will allow customers to pay for their stay using the Buy with Google button. Motel 6 also integrated Google Wallet within its mobile Web site so guests can now book their hotel stay with just a few touches, though it doesn’t really change the booking experience for travelers much without integrating a loyalty program.

“I would really look at what makes Google Wallet, and mobile wallets in general, different than traditional payment methods,” said Alex Campbell, co-founder and chief innovation officer, Vibes, a chicago-based mobile marketing technology company. “How can they help the customer have a better experience at Motel 6? What about including loyalty into the payment process?”

“Mobile phones are so important to customers that anytime a customer uses his or her phone it’s a great opportunity to interact with them on a personal level,” he said.

Get the full story at Mobile Commerce Daily

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/motel_6_bets_on_google_wallet_for_online_bookings

Leonardo provides hotel visual content to trivago

July 10, 2014

Leonardo, technology and online media company for the global hospitality industry, today announced a new, multi-year agreement with trivago, a major global travel meta- search site with 45 million monthly visitors. trivago is now part of Leonardo's VNetwork and joins the more than 120+ travel websites that subscribe to Leonardo's MediaConnect product. trivago will source hotel visual content for hotels listed on trivago's consumer websites in 47 different countries.

Seamless image sourcing and processing

Under the agreement, trivago will gain access to over 1.9 million photos from the global travel industry's largest hotel media library for over 100,000 GDS listed hotels globally. trivago will also benefit from the image sourcing and processing features included in the MediaConnect product, such as:

- Delivery of media in multiple formats and sizes along with meta-data including categories and captions.

- Brand and hotel certified content that is updated regularly to ensure accuracy and freshness of content on trivago's websites and minimize rogue image issues.

- Media sourcing through advanced XML connectivity based on industry standards from HTNG (Hotel Technology Next Generation) and Open Travel Alliance.

Engaging multi-media display

trivago will also embed Leonardo's media display technology to display multi-media for hotels that subscribe to Leonardo's VBrochure Online Merchandising System. With customized multi-media stories displayed alongside the images trivago will source and display for them, subscribing hotels will provide enhanced visual experiences for travel shoppers on trivago.

"Connecting with Leonardo's media library and adopting their display technology makes it easy for us to continue to meet the consumers' increasing appetites for visual content," said Jeroen Neijenhuis, Head of Content at trivago.

"Today's travel shoppers expect compelling, immersive visual experiences. By gaining access to the global travel industry's largest repository of hotel media assets, trivago is able to provide shoppers with visually engaging online experiences that lead to increased engagement and conversions. With trivago in our network, hotels are reaching an even broader audience of travel shoppers with their visual stories," says John McAuliffe, Leonardo's President.

Related Link: Leonardo

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

Seven quick tips to get more hotel reviews

July 10, 2014

Here are 7 quick tips to get more reviews at your establishment, whether it’s a luxury 5-star resort, casual bistro or boutique hotel:

1. Make writing a review as easy as possible: Be proactive in encouraging clients to leave reviews. Guest surveys, comment forms and follow-up email links are subtle yet direct methods – make it as easy and as painless for customers as possible.

2. Be present on multiple review sites: Harness social analytics, which provide insight into the most/least used review sources at your hotel, to encourage more reviews on the sites where you would like to gain a deeper presence.

3. Understand your demographics: Does your hotel attract younger or older guests? Perhaps you have a large percentage of, say, Italian, Chinese or Mexican travelers. Understanding your guests’ preferences and demographics will not only enable you to provide a more personalized service, but will also enable your hotel to direct review requests to the right sites. Are your restaurant clients more likely to use Foursquare or TripAdvisor, for example? Find out where your guest demographic feels most comfortable leaving reviews, and direct them there.

Get the full story at ReviewPro

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

Reputation’s influence on hotel pricing

July 09, 2014

As revenue management moves from the traditional inventory optimization model and into the world of price optimization, hoteliers need to better understand consumers’ willingness to pay, said panelists during the Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International’s Revenue Optimization Conference.

During a panel titled “Reputation’s influence on pricing,” Kelly McGuire, executive director at hospitality and travel global practice for SAS Institute and member of HSMAI’s Revenue Management Advisory Board, shared the findings of a recent study she co-authored with a professor from Penn State University.

The study looked at how reputation and price affects consumers’ purchasing decisions, McGuire outlined. For the purpose of this study, she and her co-author focused on the business traveler but also used a previous study they worked on together as a comparison, which focused on the leisure traveler booking patterns.

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

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

More on TripAdvisor broadening its reach

July 09, 2014

Atmosphere Research Group travel industry analyst Henry Harteveldt called the transactional services "a logical extension" for TripAdvisor. "Since hotel rooms can sometimes be last-minute, opportunistic purchases, having a mobile-booking tool enables TripAdvisor to serve a large number of consumers," Harteveldt said.

With mobile-booking capabilities, TripAdvisor is hoping to accelerate growth in annual revenue well past the $1 billion mark by jumping into the transactional market currently dominated by suppliers and online travel agencies such as its former parent, Expedia.

With TripAdvisor Instant Booking, consumers can page through user reviews and, having once decided on a trip, book a reservation through participating hotel partners without leaving TripAdvisor's site.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

HotelTonight CEO on keyless entry and easy check-in at hotels

July 09, 2014

At the recent Google I/O event, the online travel company announced that its Android app will in the near future enable people to check into their hotel rooms using just its app. The express check-in feature bypasses checking in at hotel reception and replaces it with a two-tap process on the app.

The app tells you when your room will be ready and, if the hotel still uses keys, when you can go to the front desk and pick them up. The app takes advantage of near-field communications (NFC), where you can wave a phone in front of an NFC receiver to establish a communications link. You can hold the phone next to a door lock and it will unlock it in seconds.

“We are working with the best technology partners on this,” Shank said. “There is no reason we need a hotel room key. It’s an antiquated way of doing authentication. Can we help with the check-in process, especially with an independent hotel that doesn’t have a lot of resources.”

Get the full story at VentureBeat

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

GBTA predicts slower business travel growth

July 09, 2014

Specifically, GBTA now expects the total number of domestic U.S. business trips in 2014 to reach 468.8 million, an increase from the previously projected 448.7 million, resulting in 4.7 percent year-over-year gain. The forecast for total domestic U.S. spending remained consistent at $241 billion, indicating spending per trip will be lower than first estimated, according to GBTA. Meanwhile, U.S.-outbound business travel spending is now projected to increase 10.3 percent, compared with a 12.9 percent increase the organization forecast in April.

Total individual transient trips now are predicted to grow 2.3 percent in 2014, with spending for such trips expected to increase 5.6 percent. The GBTA report also estimated that group trips this year will increase 2.2 percent, with associated spending rising 7.1 percent.

The association expects travel prices to increase modestly through 2014, rising 1.9 percent, before growing more quickly in 2015. GBTA attributed the low 2014 estimate to stable airfares, but noted that consolidation "puts more pricing power in the hands of the airlines." It also suggested that rising food prices, rental car and hotel rates are the largest contributors to overall travel price growth.

Get the full story at Business Travel News

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

How The Peninsula promotes new website with New York Times mobile effort

July 09, 2014

The Peninsula Hotels is aiming to increase awareness for its properties’ amenities and services with a banner advertisement on The New York Times mobile Web site.

Found in the sidebar position, Peninsula’s mobile ad photograph changes depending on the article read within the newspaper’s Fashion & Style section. By changing the ad alongside the content, Peninsula’s effort becomes more visible to the discerning audience reading the section’s content.

“Consumers who are taking the time to read up on the latest in couture fashion are more likely to be able to afford luxury items and be in ballpark of customers of The Peninsula Hotel,” said Shuli Lowy, marketing director at Ping Mobile, Los Angeles. “It is important for luxury brands to add some element of audience targeting to their ad campaigns because they have a niche audience,” she said.

Get the full story at Luxury Daily

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

Shift to mobile impacts B2B significantly

July 09, 2014

Mobile is preferred over the PC for executives conducting research during and after office hours, according to the IDG Global Mobile Survey 2014.

- 92 percent of executives own a smartphone used for business.
- 77 percent of executives use their smartphone to research a product or service for their business.
- 93 percent of executives will purchase that product via the Internet using a laptop or desktop.
- 86 percent use their tablet and 72 percent of executives use their smartphone to conduct research for products or services for their business.

Meeting your customers wherever they work is no longer a luxury - it is a necessity. If you wish to convert interaction to action you must compel the decision-maker.

Get the full story at Search Engine Watch

Read also "Tap into mobile service: managed travel in the digital economy" at the CWT Travel Management Institute

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/shift_to_mobile_impacts_b2b_significantly

Expensive internet and other hotel peeves

July 09, 2014

No. 3 on the list, a new entry in this year’s poll, was cigarette odor lingering in some rooms (I assume this is attributable to the great increase in international travel to places where people smoke more, by the way). Following in order were difficulties in controlling the room temperature, noise, insufficient water pressure, unanticipated fees, poor lighting, uncomfortable pillows and bedside alarm clocks that are confounding to operate.

That’s it? That’s the best we come up with?

“Actually, electrical outlets is a 30-year-old lament,” said Chekitan Dev, a professor of marketing and branding at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration.

Get the full story at The New York Times

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

More hotels innovate with meeting spaces

July 09, 2014

Marriott 18 months ago started Workspace on Demand ( http://www.workspaces.marriott.com), a program that enables quick and easy booking of space by the hour or day for work and meetings.

Marriott works with San Francisco's LiquidSpace, which already had an online marketplace for short-term workspaces. LiquidSpace, in business four years, has more than 4,000 workspaces at 1,500 venues in the U.S., Canada and Australia that users can book as quickly as making a restaurant reservation online. They range from hip co-working spaces to formal business centers to extra space at banks, law firms, libraries and cash-strapped startups.

"Marriott is transforming its brand from not just a place to sleep but to work," said Mark Gilbreath, LiquidSpace founder and CEO. "It's creating a really bespoke experience."

Get the full story at the SFGate

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

Marketing the travel industry: Time for disruption?

July 08, 2014

The hotel industry has been leveraging the power of user reviews for years, but the flights vertical has only recently started to experiment with criteria other than price, such as “convenience”, “agony” and “happiness”. Momondo has implemented a simple version, displaying smiling or frowning faces based on the flight price relative to its duration. Hipmunk’s “agony” filter is also meant to help users find the most convenient flights amongst the clutter. The most innovative solution though comes from Routehappy, a newcomer launched at the end of 2013. The site displays a “happiness score” calculated not only on price and speed, but also on flight amenities such as seats, leg room and wi-fi, as well as traveller ratings.

This is the direction we are moving towards in the booking of flights, as well as accommodation. Curating user reviews, user photos, factoring in the smaller things like the quality of inflight entertainment, the food, the cabin crew etc, will give users a powerful overall understanding of the particular flight and additional reasons to book or avoid. Will this be achieved by the big meta-searches, or is this a chance for an innovative affiliate start up to shine?

Get the full story at PerformanceIN

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

Expedia dismisses eLong rumors as inaccurate

July 08, 2014

Expedia said that as a matter of corporate policy, it doesn’t comment on market rumors relating to its business, but said, “Expedia remains a long-term investor in eLong and supports eLong’s drive to become the leading Chinese travel site.”

Recently, Expedia has been involved in a spate of international acquisitions, bolstering its portfolio of worldwide brands with a focus on the Asia-Pacific region.

Get the full story at Marketwatch

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

Airbnb fined over lettings of unregistered Barcelona apartments

July 08, 2014

The authorities, who are partly trying to protect traditional hotels, want Airbnb to stop listing unregistered properties and any individual rooms, which are illegal to rent to tourists.

It’s a complex situation - many people in Barcelona make a lot of much-needed cash from renting out rooms and apartments to holiday-goers, but many of their neighbors aren’t so keen on seeing their residential buildings filled with late-partying tourists.

Get the full story at GigaOM

Read also "Airbnb Showdown On San Francisco’s November Ballot Averted For The Time Being" at TechCrunch

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

Ritz-Carlton providing guests with one-on-one cooking tutorials after they return home

July 08, 2014

“The initiative is inspired by Ritz-Carlton’s ‘Let Us Stay With You’ philosophy, which endeavors to elevate the brand beyond the guest experience at the hotel, and become an inherent part of their travel memories,” said Carlos Tarrero, general manager of Ritz-Carlton Phulay Bay , Nongthalay, Thailand.

“The one-on-one video tutorials provide an extension of the Phulay Bay experience in the homes of the resort’s guests and allows them to continue to learn the skills they acquired in Southern Thailand,” he said.

“With the rich culinary history of Thailand, launching video tutorials as a part of the classes that are offered seemed like a natural fit. “

Get the full story at Luxury Daily

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

Baby boomers drive demand for traditional travel agents

July 08, 2014

Classic travel companies were supposed to be dead and buried as online sites such as Expedia and TripAdvisor let travelers make their own, often cheaper, arrangements.

But full-service agencies are booking more trips, catering to travelers willing to pay an expert to develop smart itineraries.

Flights booked by traditional travel agencies increased 11 percent over the past four years, according to the Airlines Reporting Corp. Boston expansion is underway for several travel companies.

Get the full story at The Boston Globe

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

Vinod Khosla interviews Google’s Co-Founders, Larry Page & Sergey Brin

July 08, 2014

Nobody would argue that Larry Page and Sergey Brin, the co-founders of Google, were not incredibly smart - not even the people who read here and hate Google. They are widely smart people, the co-founders.

So when you get them together, doing a 45 minute interview, with Vinod Khosla a venture capitalist who is worth $1.5 billion but was unable to convince his management team back in the early days to acquire Google for $1.5 million or so, you want to listen to the conversation.

Watch the video at Search Engine Roundtable

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

PhoCusWright announces the 2014 Travel Innovation Summit Scholarship winners

July 08, 2014

Thirty-two are selected to take the stage, and five receive scholarships based on a further vetting process.

"Some really impressive companies have signed up to demonstrate at this year's Travel Innovation Summit," said PhoCusWright managing director, Tony D'Astolfo. "New business models and leading-edge technologies are constantly pushing the travel industry to new heights. The scholarship winners and presenting companies represent the most innovative concepts and advanced technologies we’ve seen this year."

The Scholarship Committee is tasked with finding the five companies that demonstrate the greatest potential for success and the need for financial assistance. This year's scholarship winners are:

- BTCTrip
- Shopnfly
- TableGrabber
- TripScanner
- VacationFutures

About the companies:

- BTCTrip allows travelers to use virtual currency to buy airline tickets.

- Shopnfly is an online platform that lets travelers find duty-free deals throughout their travel itinerary.

- TableGrabber is India's first real-time online restaurant reservation engine.

- TripScanner helps businesses manage their travel expenses in real-time, no matter where employees book.

- VacationFutures facilitates homestay accommodation bookings and helps professional vacation rental managers grow their inventory.

Related Link: The PhoCusWright Conference

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/phocuswright_announces_the_2014_travel_innovation_summit_scholarship_winner

ReviewPro enters strategic partnership with Oceania Hotels

July 08, 2014

ReviewPro has signed a strategic partnership with Oceania Hotels, a cutting-edge hotel group with 26 hotels in France. Under this agreement, Oceania will benefit from ReviewPro’s award-winning solution, which provides critical insight into operational and service strengths and weaknesses by aggregating millions of mentions from the most relevant online travel agencies, review websites and social media platforms.

With over four decades of success, Oceania is the largest hotel group in the Brittany region and one of the 20 biggest hotel groups in France. With properties in 16 cities, including popular French destinations such as Paris, Rennes, Biarritz, Clermont-Ferrand, Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, the group has a total of 2,201 rooms that operate under the brands Oceania, Escale Oceania and Oceania Style.

Rozenn Branellec Dumon, General Director of Oceania Hotels, says, “Listening and responding to online guest feedback has long been a priority for our group. There is a direct correlation between our ability to listen and act, to improve our operational and service excellence, and the experience we offer our guests. We look forward to working with ReviewPro, not only to strengthen that engagement with our customers, but also to leverage their world-class online analytic tools to raise guest satisfaction and revenue.”

“We are delighted to work with one of France’s longest running hotel groups and features like our Global Review Index™, the industry-standard benchmark for online guest satisfaction, and our sentiment analysis of online reviews will help Oceania fine tune the guest experience at a property level across their impressive portfolio,” said RJ Friedlander, CEO of ReviewPro.

ReviewPro has thousands of clients in more than 80 countries, including hundreds of hotels in France from leading groups such as Louvre Hotels (that manages brands like Première Classe, Campanile and Kyriad), Astotel, Group Partouche, or iconic properties such as Fouquet’s and Montalembert in Paris.

Related Link: Oceania

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

Expedia acquires Wotif

July 07, 2014

The 13-year-old company is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange, has offices in nine countries and counts Wotif.com, lastminute.com.au, travel.com.au, Asia Web Direct, LateStays.com, and GoDo.com.au among its businesses. The deal works out at A$3.30 (US$3.09) per share, which is around a 30 percent premium on the valuation of the company based on last week’s trading.

The Wotif Group handled 3.2 million rooms during the second half of 2013 and counts over 29,000 hotels across its sites. Though it recorded A$593 million (US$544 million) in total bookings and made A$76 million (US$71 million) in revenue during the second half of 2013, it has struggled with increased competition and a strong Australia dollar. The group’s share price is down 42 percent over the past 12 months.

Get the full story at The Next Web and Reuters

Read also "Hotels concerned over Wotif takeover" Hotel Management Australia

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

Cornell on the future of tradeshows

July 07, 2014

The study, which is available at no charge from the CHR, outlines the reasons given by 2,527 exhibitors and attendees for their tradeshow participation and also examines some of the ways that technology and sustainability have augmented tradeshows.

"We found that exhibitors and attendees have quite different reasons for participating in a tradeshow," said Han, who is on the faculty of the National Research University's Higher School of Economics, in Moscow. "Exhibitors are focused on selling or demonstrating their products and meeting qualified buyers. On the other hand, attendees are seeking educational opportunities. Since product demonstrations are a part of that education process, the tradeshow can be an effective way to meet both sets of goals."

"Technology is increasingly used to improve the efficiency of that meeting and education process," added Verma, who is a professor at the Cornell School of Hotel Administration. "For example, many events have an app that allows participants to schedule meetings with each other or to connect people with common interests. And, of course, most tradeshows have wi-fi, video displays, an internet café, and mobile apps. In general, the participants appreciate the availability of technology that helps them make the most of the tradeshow."

Event organizers are aware of the push for sustainability in the hospitality industry, and many tradeshows have an on-site recycling program, virtual collateral to cut down the amount of paper flyers, and reusable and environmentally friendly display materials. In addition, many operate in LEED-certified facilities. Han pointed out: "While sustainability options at tradeshows does not increase the likelihood of attendance, it significantly improves customer satisfaction for those who do attend the event."

Download the study at Cornell University

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

Why acquiring hotel tech B2B startups is the hot trend of the moment

July 07, 2014

To name some deals: Priceline acquired direct-booking marketer Buuteeq. Then it snapped up management platform Hotel Ninjas.

Oracle bought Micros, whose systems are used by 30,000 hotels. Amadeus spent $500 million on hotel specialist Newmarket International. Hotel marketing provider TravelClick switched hands, in a $930 million deal. Travelport tucked in distribution system Hotelzon.

For insight on how industry consolidation might play out, Felix Laboy is a good person to ask. Laboy co-founded a startup company, E-site Marketing, that became a market leader in the hospitality industry. Sabre Hospitality Solutions (SHS) bought the startup, and Laboy became president and general manager of SHS, which has for years been that company’s fastest growing division.

Get the full sory at Tnooz

Read also "Buuteeq: Hospitality industry experts with customer service obsession" at Forbes

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/why_acquiring_hotel_tech_b2b_startups_is_the_hot_trend_of_the_moment

China final frontier for Kayak as it fans out globally

July 07, 2014

Leading the charge is Kayak’s VP Asia Pacific, Debby Soo, who has launched local Kayak sites in Australia, New Zealand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Taiwan, India and Japan. San Francisco-based Soo is quite clear about the strategy Kayak is considering for China – product first, before marketing.

“Content and understanding the nuances at the local level are of utmost importance,” said Soo, who is scheduled to speak at the upcoming 2014 TravelDaily Conference, to be held in Shanghai (September 3-4, 2014).

The team is looking to stick to its proven approach of establishing its presence in markets outside the US. “As we have done elsewhere, product quality is pre-eminent, followed by monetisation. Once a certain threshold is reached, then the next step is worked out. Till then there are no big marketing plans, and possibly no strategic alliances.”

Get the full story at Web In Travel

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

The world’s best-reviewed hotels: Expedia releases 2014 Insiders’ Select Top 100 list

July 07, 2014

The exclusive 2014 list designates only 650 hotels as Insiders' Select™ properties, from among the more than 290,000 bookable properties available on Expedia, Inc. websites worldwide. Lakehouse Hotel and Resort, a four-star property in San Marcos, topped the 2014 Insiders' Select list, followed closely by Blue Karma Resort in Seminyak, Bali. Last year, Mexico dominated the top ten with six properties but this year, the United States takes that honor with six listed in the top ten.

The top 10 hotels in this year's ranking include:

1. Lakehouse Hotel and Resort (4 stars, San Marcos, CA, USA)
2. Blue Karma Resort (5 stars, Seminyak, Bali)
3. Dar Al Masyaf Madinat Jumeirah (5 stars, Dubai, UAE)
4. Homestead Cottages (3 stars, Awahnee, CA, USA)
5. Apache Casino Hotel (3.5 stars, Lawton, OK, USA)
6. Cocomar Residences & Beachfront Hotel (3.5 stars, Parrita, Costa Rica)
7. I Hotel And Conference Center (3.5 stars, Champaign, IL, USA)
8. Fairmont Pittsburgh (4.5 stars, Pittsburgh, PA, USA)
9. Almond Tree Inn (3.5 stars, Key West, FL, USA)
10. Epoque Hotel (5 Stars, Bucharest, Romania)

"Every year we celebrate the Insiders' Select list to honor the hotels and our commitment to giving customers a resource to make informed and confident hotel booking decisions that will fit any budget," said John Morrey, Vice President and General Manager, Expedia.com.

Insiders' Select™ ranks hotels using a combination of verified guest reviews, Expedia hotel expert input and overall value. The list is developed using a propriety mathematical formula, predominantly based on quantitative verified customer review scores with an element of qualitative insight from the local Expedia Market Management teams.

Hotels named to the Insiders' Select™ list stand to benefit from substantial exposure to the millions of consumers who visit Expedia to shop for and book travel every month. Recognition programs such as Insiders' Select also underscore the significance of traveler opinions on the reputation and future success of a hotel.

Get the full story at Expedia

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_worlds_best_reviewed_hotels_expedia_releases_2014_insiders_select_top_1

Hard Rock merges mobile, travel for a ubiquitous loyalty experience

July 07, 2014

Hard Rock launched an upgraded loyalty experience late in December 2013, which now extends seamless white glove service internationally for travelers to access earned rewards at brand owned cafes, casinos, hotels, music venues, and restaurants. The loyalty experience remains consistent for fans no matter where they are or what device they are using, and taps into omni-channel to create an engaging experience.

“We decided in 2013 that it was going to be the year of mobile for us,” said Kim Matlock, senior director of digital marketing and customer relationship management for Hard Rock.

“For us as a brand and in general for brands to have mobile loyalty, it needs to be recognized that the devices are constantly changing and people want what they want, where they want it, on the device they want it on, and so you need to make it as frictionless as possible for consumers to interact by having a responsive mobile experience.”

Get the full story at Mobile Marketer

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

Making your loyalty program more compelling

July 07, 2014

Therefore, it’s imperative for hotel brands to create a loyalty program that addresses customers’ wants and exceeds their expectations. From gas cards and dining gift certificates to free Wi-Fi and bottled water, loyalty program benefits are expanding to include a whole new range of offerings.

For example, members of Omni Hotels & Resorts Select Guest loyalty program automatically receive free Wi-Fi, a free morning beverage and one complimentary pressing for two items during their stay. After accruing 10 nights, members receive additional benefits including room upgrades and complimentary bottled water each night. Members who have stayed more than 30 nights also get early check-in starting at 9 a.m. and a local market amenity – a small item reflective of the hotel’s host city – on their night of arrival.

With Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants’ InTouch guest loyalty program, guests receive free Wi-Fi, they can “Raid the Mini Bar” for up to $10 and they can arrange for custom room preferences, such as a specific pillow preference, that will be waiting for them upon arrival. After 15 stays or 45 nights, guests also receive complimentary room upgrades, their favorite snack and drink upon arrival, and a complimentary chef’s treat at Kimpton Restaurants.

Get the full story at TripAdvisor

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

eRevMax redefines rate shopping with RateTiger Managed Report Service

July 07, 2014

Managed Reports seamlessly integrates rate data from over 42000 hotel sites and around 100 travel sites into a ready-to-use report format empowering hotel’s pricing decisions with key market insights for translating into positive business outcomes.

Delivered at pre-scheduled times and intervals, Managed Reports removes dependency of logging into a system and helps hoteliers easily analyze pricing strategies for optimal utilization of rate elasticity to sell more rooms. The data goes through a strict Quality Assurance (QA) process for maximum accuracy, thereby offering hotels full transparency to plan and forecast with greater precision through historical and future rate analysis.

“For hotels, understanding the market place becomes crucial to implementing a balanced pricing strategy to manage and maximize revenue in real-time. Managed Reports will help them evaluate pricing strategies for their properties and that of competitors and turn that insight into bottom-line results based upon actionable business intelligence. With the Managed Reports pricing being based upon qualified data-points, hoteliers’ only pay for the reports they need,” said Vishal Arora, VP - Product Management, eRevMax.

Managed Reports are available in an array of formats (XML, Excel) & reporting periodicities including:

- Daily Reports – Generated and sent daily or on your chosen days of the week - Daily Reports cover 30, 60 or 90 days of future rate data. The maximum limit can go up to 360 days.

- Weekly Reports – Generated and sent on your chosen day of the week - Weekly Reports cover 60, 90 or 180 days of future rate data. The maximum limit can go up to 360 days.

- Monthly Reports – Generated and sent on your chosen day/date of the month – Monthly Reports cover up to 360 days of future rate data.

Related Link: eRevMax

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/erevmax_redefines_rate_shopping_with_ratetiger_managed_report_service1

Local marketing strategies must adapt to changing traveler behavior

July 03, 2014

Long gone are the days of glossy travel guides and oversized (un)foldable maps - and gone, too, are the days of printing out directions and information in advance. Today’s traveler is more likely to use a smartphone or tablet to search for shops, restaurants and activities once they reach their destination. This relatively recent change in behavior has important implications for national brands seeking to capture the business of vacationing spenders.

In the latest installment of Placeable’s ongoing research series, the company surveyed 1,000 consumers to learn more about how they research and find businesses before and during their vacations.

Key Findings

- Discovery: Search engines rule - more than four in five consumers use them for
research when planning a vacation.

- Proximity: A nearby location trumps brand for many types of purchases on vacation.

- Brand Affinity: For essential purchases, travelers tend to search for specific brands, and for other purchases they use broader category searches.

- Mobile: Vacationers do much of their online research once they reach their destinations.

- Loyalty: Consumers aren’t loyal to a particular brand if presented a better offer or if they
have trouble finding a location.

- Trust: Difficulty finding a store or restaurant location on vacation negatively affects consumers’ impression of a brand even once they return home.

Download the complete report at Placeable

Read also "The importance of localising your travel content" at Travolution

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

TripAdvisor launches offline feature for its smartphone app

July 03, 2014

At launch, the feature includes more than 300 city maps worldwide, with more to follow.

"The new offline feature for TripAdvisor's smartphone app makes it an even more valuable 'must have' tool during your trip," said Adam Medros, senior vice president of global product, TripAdvisor. "More and more travelers are making spur-of-the-moment decisions about where to go and what to do and need a useful travel resource. Travelers can now access user reviews, photos and maps throughout their trip to help them pick last-minute hotels, restaurants and attractions to visit–all while avoiding costly roaming charges."

To access the new offline feature, TripAdvisor app users may search for a city within the app when a data connection is available and tap a button to download city content. Once downloaded, the app will automatically transition between the offline mode featuring 10 reviews per point of interest when no data connection is available, and the full live version of the app when it is cellular or WiFi-connected.

Users may add and remove city maps as needed based on where they are visiting. Users may also download the latest version of the city map to sync the content with the reviews and opinions available on TripAdvisor's constantly refreshed live site.

The new offline feature has rolled out to all countries and languages where the TripAdvisor app is presently available on iOS and Android smartphones. The city maps contained in the offline feature are powered by Telenav's Scout Maps and Navigation SDK, a mapping service that leverages OpenStreetMap (OSM) map data.

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

Google Flights just a pimped up search engine?

July 03, 2014

Google Flight Search released new features last month including an ‘I’m Feeling Lucky’ button that lets you set dates and a point of departure and serves you up a random destination and a cheap airfare. It’s simple, innovative and really fun.

But Google Flight Search is more than a few gimmicks for the footloose and fancy free. It offers a fully-integrated online booking experience that leverages the company’s comprehensive world maps, superior search engine and global business reach.

This reach extends not only to airline companies, but also to Google Hotel Finder, which similarly lists accommodation options in a chosen city and allows you to filter, sort and personalise.

Get the full story at CommonWealth Bank

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


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