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How Expedia turns visitors into customers

September 28, 2016

Conversion rate optimization is a major concern for a business as large as Expedia’s. When you’re dealing with tens of millions of transactions every year, even a 0.2% bump in conversion rates can translate into millions in extra revenue.

For obvious reasons, there’s a lot you can learn about CRO best practices and innovations by understanding how Expedia turns visitors into customers. Here's an in-depth teardown of Expedia.com and how it converts traffic coming in from two different channels - organic search and direct type-ins.

Get the full sory at Econsultancy

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

For Expedia and Priceline voice-based search is the next frontier in travel

September 28, 2016

A conversation with Gerstner, Expedia founder and Zillow chairman Rich Barton, current Expedia Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi, and Priceline founder Jay Walker touched on both the history of online travel as documented in Skift’s epic oral history of the sector, but also on the potential for transformative change that exists today.

“This is really the end of the age of automation; [online travel booking sites are] a Model T Ford with a Ferrari engine,” said Walker, Priceline founder and current CEO at Upside. “There’s no question that the phone and mobile changes everything, then you add augmented reality, artificial intelligence, and big data… this version of online travel is going to seem like a dial phone. What’s different now is that the compounding growth rate has caught up.”

Get the full story at Skift

Read also "Cut through the digital noise" at Hotel Interactive

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

Corporate travel buyers welcome Marriott-Starwood merger

September 28, 2016

Corporate end-users interviewed said they now gain access to Marriott/Starwood’s massive inventory by dealing with just one supplier, even if the company’s greater scope and size may give the chain the upperhand in rate negotiations.

Said Nandan Bhatia, head-administration & facilities at Indian food conglomerate Britannia: “Direct tie-ups with hotels are always preferred as they give us special corporate packages. Now with Starwood properties combined with Marriott, this gives us much more options.”

Admin manager Philomena Seet, who manages travel for Singapore-based Kseven Industries’ top executives, told TTG Asia that Starwood properties are frequently used and the merger will boost her portfolio selection as her company is now automatically a client of Marriott.

Get the full story at TTG Asia

Read also "Marriott and Starwood merger starts with focus on loyalty"

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

Sabre maps future of travel tech in Asia Pacific

September 28, 2016

The event in Beijing saw Sean Menke, president of Sabre Travel Network, share an update on the company’s travel agency business, while Wade Jones, senior vice president of marketing and strategy for Sabre Travel Network, discussed Sabre’s evolution from being a simple GDS to its current advanced platform.

Sabre is introducing a new version of its travel agency desktop solution, the Red Workspace, in 2017.

“The traveller ecosystem has grown and diversified, and our Travel Network team has built an upgraded technology platform that’s modelled on this,” commented Jones. “At the heart of this platform sits the GDS. That core technology is still critically important. But now, if you look from top to bottom you also see Sabre supporting endpoints like mobile, new User Interfaces for agents and application services across our offerings - all resting on powerful shared platform services. In a nutshell, Sabre has created a modern, value-creation platform that’s driving the traveller ecosystem.”

Get the full story at Travel Daily Media

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

New “Nearby Deal” placement spottted on Google hotel searches

September 28, 2016

Koddi also noticed that the “Nearby Deal” doesn’t appear to need to be a Deal in the normal Google sense of being lower priced than normal. In the example below, the Koloa Landing Resort doesn’t appear to be at a rate any better than normal, but it is priced better than the Sheraton Kauai, is relevant as a high ranking hotel, and well rated. It is being suggested as an alternate to the Sheraton Kauai.

Since this experience is showing on hotel-focused queries, there is an important cross sell implication to consider. Google has long shown a “People also searched for…” section at the bottom of the Knowledge Panel with links to different properties, but this Nearby Deal experience encourages a direct comparison for users when they may be fairly deep in the booking process.

The experience does provide a value to users, which should help advertisers in the long run. A well informed user may convert higher since they are prequalifying further before clicking to the site. It may become more important in the future for advertisers to understand which properties are subject to these types of experiences, and which properties are recommended as Nearby Deals to maximize traffic volume.

Get the full story at Koddi

Read also "Google test moves hotel booking form to the top"

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

Strong majorities of smartphone and tablet time are spent with apps

September 28, 2016

Overall, eMarketer estimates that the average US adult spends 2 hours 28 minutes each day with mobile apps, or about 20% of their daily media time. Among mobile device users only, the average time spent daily with apps is 3 hours 18 minutes.

That’s more time than they spend with desktop or laptop PCs, a finding echoed by comScore as far back as June 2014. The internet users studied by comScore have continued to spend more time with mobile apps each year since then, opening up the gap between mobile app time and all other digital media time even further.

Mobile web time spent is up slightly as well, from 118 billion minutes in June 2015 to 125 billion a year later.

Get the full story at eMarketer

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

Cheap commodities: How hotels have become pork bellies

September 28, 2016

1. The Hotel Experience is Largely Homogenized

Until very recently, hotel brands have catered to loyal customers who want something reliable, familiar and safe (ahem, boring). Place any traveler in a Hilton, Holiday Inn or Marriott guest room and they most likely will not be able to identify the brand they’re staying at or even be able to tell the major brands apart. So, because the experiences are similar no matter where you book, travelers instead use price as a point of differentiation.

2. Hotels Willingly Surrender Rooms to Be Sold Based on Price

When you hand over your room inventory to a 3rd -party channel, you are pitted up against your competitors (who have also lowered their rates) in a platform that makes your region appear overcrowded with options. To narrow down and simplify their choices, consumers are drawn to the one thing that does make each hotel listing different – the price.

This is why OTAs allow users to filter by price rather than by “best martinis” or “closest to cool stuff in the neighborhood.”

Get the full story at Tambourine

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

HeBS Digital awarded four Travel Weekly Magellan Awards

September 28, 2016

From design to marketing to services, the Travel Weekly Magellan Awards honors the best in travel and salutes the outstanding travel professionals behind it all.

“HeBS Digital is an integral part of our team, enabling us to achieve industry leading promotional campaigns with digital marketing tactics that outperform expectations” said Bill Linehan, EVP and Chief Marketing Officer of RLHC.

“These prestigious awards are a testament to the successful, long-standing relationships we have with our clients” said Max Starkov, President & CEO of HeBS Digital. “At HeBS Digital we are passionate about increasing direct website revenues and lowering distribution costs for our hospitality partners, and to do this we’ve focused on creating a suite of industry-leading digital technology, marketing and consulting services, designing award-winning websites, and developing the brightest team in the industry. We win Travel Weekly Magellan Awards year after year, showing that our technology and marketing services are consistently innovative, exceed expectations, and ultimately, drive direct revenues for our clients.”

Get the full story at HeBS Digital

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

Distribution 2020: A big change for travel agents

September 27, 2016

“The implementation of NDC” - IATA’s New Distribution Capability technical standard - “will have the most profound effect because of what it will enable,” Harteveldt said. “Travel agents will be able to sell relevant, personal offers to better serve their clients.”

The move to an NDC world will be an ongoing process rather than a “Hollywood-style miracle.” But that process is already under way. “NDC is now being used day in and day out in the real world,” Harteveldt said. “This is the first wave, and it’s nowhere near the finished state. It is an evolving set of standards and commands.”

Harteveldt believes that agents will appreciate the potential NDC offers to give clients what they really want. “That will be different things for different people,” he said. “Some people want cheap - they’re fine with a seat and a seatbelt, whether they’re on a domestic flight or flying to Asia or Africa. Others will want a mix of amenities.”

Get the full story at Travel Market Report

Read also "The travel agency proposition: Adding value is key" at Travel Market Report

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/distribution_2020_a_big_change_for_travel_agents

Concur & Hipmunk: driven by business travel

September 27, 2016

Just two years ago Concur was itself taken over by giant German-based multinational enterprise and customer relations software group SAP. The Concur deal was worth a whopping $8.3bn and part of SAP’s drive to increase its cloud presence. This is a strategy that seems to be working, with SAP’s cloud subscription and support revenues rising by 30% to around $805m in Q2 this year, and its new cloud bookings growing by 28%

As part of SAP, Concur no longer spells out its accounts or just how it has settled in, but this is its first acquisition as part of the German group. Back in its days of independence Concur grew by acquiring trip-planning app TripIt, developing expense reporting app ExpenseIt and investing in Indian OTA ClearTrip. Concur holds these up as evidence that it will make the Hipmunk merger work, saying it has a “long-held strategy of partnering with, investing in, acquiring or building consumer apps”.

Concur is getting additional travel products for its portfolio, combining Hipmunk’s multi-flight and hotel search with its own tools for managing business expenses and travel.Hipmunk has been at the forefront of innovation in creating a website and mobile app to sort travel results not just by price, but other key factors vital for business travellers: duration, stops and hotel location.

Get the full story at EyeForTravel

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

Booking.com discontinues last-minute hotel booking app

September 27, 2016

The Priceline Group-owned hotel booking giant launched the Booking Now app to a fair degree of fanfare in January 2015 (“the first truly global app for spontaneous bookers“, with it being positioned as a way to serve guests who are looking for hotel stays within 48 hours or less.

It was also the evolution of a series of launches across the group, beginning in September 2011 with the release of a Tonight-Only service on the Priceline app and then Booking.com Tonight in April 2012.

Get the full story at Tnooz

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

How hotels can use urgency to drive bookings

September 27, 2016

Many people have a natural tendency to procrastinate, choosing to put things off until the very last minute. But in the world of e-commerce, brands work tirelessly to convince customers that delaying a buying decision isn’t a good thing. This is something commonly achieved by creating a sense of urgency.

Studies conducted by internet-based research lab MarketingExperiments have found that urgency can have a huge influence on conversion rates. One of their tests resulted in a staggering 992% sales uplift.

So why can urgency have such influence on buying behavior? Without it, customers know they can delay a purchase, confident the exact same product or service they’re interested in will be around whenever they choose to return. Urgency removes that certainty. It gives customers a specific and compelling reason to act now. And when it comes to the hotel booking space, urgency is an especially powerful tool for driving conversions.

Get the full story at Hotel Online

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

Restaurant-goers are eager for deals

September 27, 2016

While a number of those who wanted to hear from restaurants also said they want to hear from restaurants regarding menu-related news and personalized messages, by far the most popular answer had to do with savings.

Among internet users who visited casual, fast-casual or quick-service restaurants at least twice each week, 40% told Deloitte they were interested in hearing from restaurants on a monthly basis. And eight in 10 of them agreed about what they wanted to hear about: deals.

It’s worth noting that there’s not a generation gap with the desire for restaurant coupons online: A June 2016 survey by Valassis highlighted that millennial internet users in the US are just as interested in finding restaurant coupons as the general population of internet users in the US.

Get the full story at eMarketer

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

Google test moves hotel booking form to the top

September 27, 2016

Craig Harkins posted a screen shot on Twitter of the Google test, with the hotel booking form now prominently placed at the very top on the search results page.

Most likely the increased visibility will motivate searchers to use the form more often, then looking for it in the right panel. Will have to wait to see if the search form remains at the new spot.

Get the full story and screenshots at SEO Roundtable

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

IDeaS integrates TrustYou’s review data to improve revenue performance

September 27, 2016

TrustYou’s reputation management features are conveniently incorporated into IDeaS RMS to analyze review data to support, compare, and evaluate the overall hotel revenue management along with feedback data. As almost every traveler reads reviews before making a booking decision, it is vital for hotels to analyze and manage their feedback online. A positive reputation across the web helps hotels to increase bookings and has an impact on revenue and occupancy rates. TrustYou Research shows that travelers are 3.9 times more likely to choose a hotel with higher review scores; 76% of travelers state that they would pay more for a hotel with higher average review scores.

Vivek Bhogaraju, Director for Global Strategic Alliances at IDeaS, notes: “The effects of reviews on bookings and the decision making process of travelers are significant for hotels. Incorporating TrustYou’s review data is the next logical step for us to optimize our revenue management solution to make it even more accurate. We put the review data into context with key factors like RevPAR, ADR, and occupancy to help hoteliers to make the best decisions for their revenue management.”

IDeaS RMS features sophisticated data sets with in-depth evaluations that enable users to compare the average reputation scores in the market against their hotel’s key performance indicators. Detailed analysis capabilities present and illustrate key performance indicators over time, allowing hotels to assess and evaluate opportunities for effective and intelligent rate decision-making through informed comparisons of competitor rates and reviews.

Michael Menzel, VP for Strategic Partnerships at TrustYou, adds: “The partnership with IDeaS will help hotels globally to make the right pricing decisions and highlights the importance of guest feedback as a very important revenue driver. It is our vision to make our guest feedback platform accessible everywhere to achieve guest feedback ubiquity in the travel industry to benefit both, travelers and accommodation providers.”

Related Links: IDeaS, TrustYou

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

TravelClick named top agency with 29 wins at 2016 WebAwards

September 27, 2016

As part of this, the designers, who are part of TravelClick’s Web Solutions team, also received 15 “Outstanding Website” and 14 “Standard of Excellence” awards in the Hotel and Lodging category for website development.

“Winning the ‘Top Agency’ award with the most wins overall across 96 industries not only demonstrates TravelClick’s originality and creativity in design and content but also the team’s ability to create websites that are visually appealing, engaging and innovative,” said Curtis Brewer, Vice President, Reservations and Website Solutions, at TravelClick. “We are honored by this global industry recognition and look forward to continuing to produce sites that are ahead of the curve and constantly evolving to meet customer needs.”

Get the full story at TravelClick

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travelclick_named_top_agency_with_29_wins_at_2016_webawards

Marriott and Starwood merger starts with focus on loyalty

September 26, 2016

As of today, the 78 million members of Marriot Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest and The Ritz-Carlton Rewards loyalty programs will be able to link their accounts—and their points—and redeem them across the company’s combined portfolio of 5,700 hotels in more than 110 countries.

The linked loyalty programs will be "status matching," with gold or platinum elite members in one program getting equal status in the others, no matter their history with the brands. For now, Marriott Rewards will continue to partner with JPMorgan Chase for its credit card program and SPG will remain with American Express to offer the Starwood Preferred Guest Card.

Three Marriott or Ritz-Carlton reward points will be equal to one Starwood point.

Get the full story at Travel Market Report

Read also "Marriott CEO interview: Buying Starwood and its $13 Billion bet on loyalty" at Skift, “Marriott gains clout over business travelers“ at The Standard, and "Marriott won the Starwood battle, now it's on to the Expedia war" at The Gazette

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

Expedia: End to hotel dimming, spotlight now on commissions

September 26, 2016

News this week that Expedia is ending its strategy of dimming hotels in search results should raise a cheer in hotel circles.

Yet it is a subject that raises blood pressure within the hotel community with stories of demotion linked to properties not providing online travel agencies with rates during busy periods or, not bringing enough business to an OTA over a particular time-frame.

The so-called practice of “dimming”, whereby hotels do not get a prominent position in searches, or their information and images are omitted, was likened to “rate parity by the back door” at an event in London earlier this week.

Get the full story at Tnooz

Read also "Expedia axes strategy of dimming hotels that apparently offer low value" at Tnooz

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

Brexit delivers cheaper hotel rooms, as business travel budgets are being slashed

September 26, 2016

Fortunately for the sector’s future health, foreign visitors should be attracted by the cheap pound. Hopefully they won’t encounter too much of the snarling racism and ugly triumphalism displayed by some Brexit backers when they get here because otherwise they won’t be back in a hurry. Meanwhile, Brits will be more likely to take their holidays here because, well, euros and dollars have suddenly got very expensive (there’s the impact of Brexit again).

All that explains why occupancy rates in London probably won’t fall too much (and should rise outside it) while that cheap room I spoke of will only be a little bit cheaper.

It’s what the business travellers are doing that should worry us. They’re stuck in their offices because of the cuts to travel budgets.

Get the full story at the Independent

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

Travel search sites angry over redistribution restrictions from airlines

September 26, 2016

At the core of the issue is the contract that a number of airlines are trying to impose on metasearch brands in order to improve their visibility when a user looks for fares and, inevitably, the likelihood of them booking with the carrier.

Whilst there are lots of options for an airline to improve their position in metasearch engine results, such as paid placement in ad units and so on, carriers are looking – in the words of one insider – for a more “heavy-handed tactic”.

The practice in question goes to the heart once more of the direct-vs-intermediary battle being played out publicly in the hotel industry – airlines want to “own the customer”, so therefore want to stop travellers booking with an online travel agency.

Get the full story at Tnooz

Read also "Consumer Reports: The right online route for cheapest airfares" at the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and "IATA sees record profits of US$40bn for airlines this year" at the Taipei Times

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

The impact of Google’s new travel app on hoteliers’ strategies

September 26, 2016

Google Trips makes it easy to see which attractions are open and estimate how long it will take travelers to get from one destination to another, helping individuals make the most of their time. However, when travelers find a match to a restaurant, bar, hotel or area attraction that matches their itinerary, they cannot make a reservation without contacting the provider directly. By virtue of its design, Google Trips is more appropriately marketed as a place to store information about a trip once plans have already been made. For those in vacation mode, the app serves a very specialized function despite its early limitations.

Today, the app serves as a purely organic product and Google’s main priority appears to be building a positive user experience before exploring advertising functionalities within Google Trips.

Get the full story at HeBS Digital

Read also "Google launches personalized travel planner, Google Trips"

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

Facebook Messenger payments offer new transaction platform

September 26, 2016

“There’s a lot of enthusiasm, a lot of excitement, around using messaging as an interface to facilitate shopping and purchasing and to make it a bit more personalized and conversational,” said Douglas Quinby, vice president of research at Phocuswright.

“We’re kicking off the beginning of messages with payments that will allow businesses to sell products and services directly to customers in Messenger,” Facebook said in a recent blog post. “Customers can check out with a few easy clicks, without ever leaving the Messenger app.”

Businesses can currently apply to be considered for a closed beta test of the payments-via-Messenger service, and Facebook said it expects the capability to roll out “more broadly by the end of the year.”

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

Webinar recap: 5 best practice tips to drive direct bookings

September 26, 2016

It’s clear that hotels need to find unique ways to differentiate themselves from the competition, so they can drive more direct bookings with their website.

In our recent webinar, “5 Best Practice Tips to Drive Direct Bookings,” we looked at 5 best practices to help drive even more direct bookings, reduce your dependence on OTAs, and ultimately drive more revenue.

Some of the topics we discussed included:

- How to give travel shoppers what they want and make it easy for them to understand why your hotel is the right choice. They want to “see” what’s unique about your hotel, they want to “see” your rooms, and they want a deal!

- The future of digital is visual storytelling; this isn’t surprising when you consider that we process visuals 60,000 times faster than text and 90% of information that gets transmitted to our brains is non-verbal.

- Why social proof is extremely important. Social proof includes things such as reviews, user generated content, awards, third-party certification, and other evidence that others are booking.

Get the full story at Leonardo

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/webinar_recap_5_best_practice_tips_to_drive_direct_bookings

An in-depth look at Google’s new Trip Planner for desktop

September 26, 2016

There are clearly a lot of big things going on with Google travel recently. In January we first posted about Google’s destination planning experience on mobile and have been waiting to see it pop up on desktop. We’re now seeing the experience firing on desktop when searching for a city like “San Francisco, CA”.

The knowledge panel now has a section to plan a trip, where the user can view a travel guide or launch directly into hotels or flights. We’ll spend our time focusing on the travel guide sections since this is where there are some really interesting new features.

Get the full story at Koddi

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

Marriott is using its muscle to fight off Expedia and Priceline

September 23, 2016

The bidding war for Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide Inc. made global headlines as Marriott International Inc. fended off China’s Anbang Insurance Group Co. to become the world’s biggest hotel operator. Now Marriott has to figure out how to use its new edge in another long-simmering battle.

This one is against the likes of Expedia Inc. and Priceline Group Inc., online travel agents with commissions that eat up 10 percent or more of what someone pays for a room. Marriott and others are fighting back with discounts and free Wi-Fi to frequent guests who book directly with them, and reminding travelers they earn zero loyalty points when reserving through other websites. The Internet agents in turn have tried to up the ante by pushing major brands lower in search results, says Thomas Allen, a Morgan Stanley analyst.

The stakes are substantial: Spending on hotel rooms in the U.S. alone was almost $150 billion last year, up 7.3 percent from 2014, and online travel agents captured about 15 percent of total room nights, according to lodging big-data provider Kalibri Labs. In some markets, such as Miami Beach, online agents account for a much higher percentage of bookings, says Robert Finvarb, who owns Marriotts in and around Miami.

Get the full story at Bloomberg

Read also "Marriott Is the New Dominant Force in Hotels" at Skift and "Marriott-Starwood merger expected to close Friday"

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

Google showing flights & hotel costs for vacation searches

September 23, 2016

Clicking on the one of the boxes takes you into Google Destinations or probably what they are calling Google Trips now.

It shows you a ton of information about the location and gives you a way to jump into Google Flight search and a way to book a hotel with Google Hotel search.

Get the full story at SEO Roundtable

Read also "Google launches personalized travel planner, Google Trips"

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

London hotels face corporate uncertainty and sharing economy

September 23, 2016

While security concerns continue, the weaker pound since the Brexit vote will make UK more affordable to tourists, according to PwC’s latest UK hotels forecast.

But the growth of home sharing sites such as Airbnb is having an impact on hotel profits and they are set to generate almost £30 billion by 2025.

Yet regional hotels have experienced a good year-to-date with overall revenue per available room (RevPAR) up 2.6% in the year to June and more growth expected in 2017 albeit at a slower pace.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK and download the report at PwC

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

Marriott adopts “Li Yu” to target Chinese guests

September 23, 2016

For example, Chinese members of Marriott Rewards members will be offered Chinese language concierge services via WeChat, the popular social media site. This applies to pre-trip advice and information, and requests made during the guest’s stay.

In addition, hotels participating in the Li Yu programme will employ dedicated Mandarin-speaking staff and offer Chinese-language hotel and destination guides, complimentary Chinese tea, appropriate F&B options, Chinese TV channels and newspapers, local phone cards, power adaptors and Wi-Fi. Members will also receive a Li Yu welcome gift upon check-in.

“China is the world’s largest outbound travel market and the new generation of Chinese travelers has a taste for exploration,” said Anka Twum-Baah, Marriott’s vice president of customer loyalty & content for Asia Pacific. “Our study conducted with Hurun Research Institute shows 42% of young luxury travellers want personalised experiences and 61% of them prefer electronic guest services.

Get the full story at Travel Daily Asia

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

All a travel website needs to build a world-class UX

September 23, 2016

Trip is not just flight bookings or hotel deals, it’s about traveling essentials, expert tips, inspirational advice, destination information, and much more. But you won’t be scrounging for information on multiple pages or sites, you will actually need a single landing page that can take care of all your traveling needs.

Booking.com has a nice layout where half of the space is designed to provide a quick access to site’s vital function that’s hotel booking and the rest of space features the popular traveling destinations. That’s such a relief for visitors who don’t have to browse any irrelevant content. In addition to this, home page also features last booking history, a section highlighting the free cancellation policy and even the 6 benefits of choosing booking.com for your lodging.

Get the full story at Inkoniq

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

Mobile SEO is just SEO

September 23, 2016

The problem is not in recognizing that SEO has a mobile component, but rather in treating mobile as a separate thing that is a niche of SEO.

But now that we live in a world where most people, regardless of country or industry, are using Google (or Bing, but mostly Google) on their mobile phones instead of, or in addition to, their computers and tablets, mobile SEO is just SEO.

If you’re not paying attention to mobile in a world where most searchers are searching from their mobile phones, you’re not doing SEO well.

Get the full story at Marketing Land

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

What characterizes a converting GDS description?

September 23, 2016

GDS corporate bookings are often of great value for the hotel’s distribution mix for several reasons:

- Business travelers generate frequent stays, also due to corporate policies

- Distribution costs on net rates are generally lower as opposed to OTAs

- Corporate guests spend on convenience e.g., order room service or visit the restaurant

- Although some corporate travel is booked via OTAs (e.g., via HRS in Germany) and increasingly via the sharing economy including Airbnb, GDSs clearly remain the preferred corporate client booking channel.

So, the question is: What keeps hotels from improving their GDS presentation on a regular basis? Keeping content fresh and targeted is time consuming and requires experience. For the decision-making process of the booker (travel agent), GDS content must be presented precisely on the spot i.e., brief, clear and relevant.

For increasing GDS bookings, your content display should consider the following:

- Correct IATA and geo-coding, making the property visible for travel agents
- Rate display must follow a clear and appealing strategy
- Special contracted (secured) rates must be available at the right time e.g., January 1st
- Correct loading of secured rate value and contracted amenities e.g., breakfast, free WiFi, etc.
- Rate and room type descriptions should follow a consistent, easy-to-grasp information structure (travel agents like it brief)
- Room size and bed types should be included in the room description
- Rate rules section (cancellation/penalty policy) should comply with general property cancellation information
- Rate descriptions targeting travel agencies must include important details (e.g., WiFi) without exceeding GDS character limits
- NTM rating (Sabre and Worldspan) in the U.S. is important and needs to match the property’s star rating
- Distance indicators to include the major points of interest
- Correct search criteria e.g., for travel agencies filtering hotels by business facilities (wrong/missing content results in hotel invisibility for filtered search requests)

H2c’s lessons learnt from hundreds of GDS content updates:

1. Properties normally have no GDS (system) access, resulting in both the unawareness of incorrect/missing content and the inability to fix it.

2. Some GDS content is updated manually and some is automatically transmitted via the CRS. Some fields contain dynamic content others are static content. It is a training issue to make users aware of the meaning of the different content fields and how they translate to the GDSs (i.e., some characters are not accepted and look skewed on the GDSs).

3. Each GDS uses different content fields, complicating necessary updates for hoteliers.

4. Hotel staff fluctuation is often high, and sometimes CRS training is dated. Both can lead to the delayed implementation of required content amendments.

High quality content is important, but time-to-market is also a key prerequisite for driving conversion as well as effective reporting including GDS content quality scores (e.g., which search criteria were relevant by property and by travel agency/implant booking?). Better knowledge of these criteria usually increases the hotel’s willingness to amend content fields rather sooner than later.

View the Belmond Hotels Case Study, showing the benefits of h2c’s content checks.

Related Link: h2c

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

Answer your calls to lower customer-acquisition cost

September 23, 2016

While the number of direct phone calls you are receiving might vary, every hotel has this opportunity.

Hotels affiliated with major brands, those that host primarily short stays from frequent return guests and those that have a large base of group and conference business might have fewer calls than others, but the phones are still ringing. Hotels that are independent, host longer stays, are more heavily weighted toward leisure guests and offer nonstandardized lodging will receive more calls each day. Essentially, the higher the rate, the longer the stay, and the more important the purpose of travel, the more likely the guest is to call directly.

So properly fielding direct phone calls should be a priority for every hotelier. Now, let’s think about how the phones are currently answered.

Get the full story at Hotel News Now

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

Expedia launches revenue management tool

September 22, 2016

Expedia is officially launching Rev+, a revenue management tool designed to provide hotel partners with smart, actionable data and insights. As part of Expedia® Partner Central (EPC), the company’s partner portal which helps hotels manage their properties and rates, Rev+ brings in new functionality that empowers partners to make smart pricing decisions to optimize their revenue. Rev+, an essential tool for revenue managers, comes at no additional costs for hotel partners, and doesn’t require additional sign-up.

“We’re going through an exciting period of evolution at Expedia, providing partners with more technology services and product offerings,” said Benoit Jolin, vice president of Expedia’s Global Product. “Our hotel partners see value in the data we provide and have expressed a need for additional support, insights and access to greater intelligence to help them more effectively refine their revenue strategy and make informed business decisions. Rev+ was created from this feedback, along with months of testing that informed the first version of the product. The phased rollout is starting now, and we expect to make significant enhancements over the coming months.”

As a global business with more than 200 travel booking sites globally and more than 307,000 hotel partners world-wide, Expedia has the necessary scale to provide partners with comprehensive and accurate analysis that makes a difference to their business. Current features include:

- Price Calendar: A comprehensive view of a hotel’s pricing relative to their market for the next 90 days.
- Market Demand Score: Hoteliers can view future demand for their market based on millions of data points from the Expedia, Inc. family of websites
- Daily Market Alerts: Notifies Hotel Partners of changes to public prices in their market within the past 24 hours
- Competitive Price Grid: Surfacing pricing trends for their market over the next 90 days

Expedia’s Rev+ is unique in its ability to provide Expedia hotel partners with a comprehensive view of opportunities in their market and the tools to quickly take advantage of them. All data and insights provided by Expedia PartnerCentral are based on powerful market segmentation customizable by every hotel partner, ensuring they are receiving the most relevant and impactful insights for them.

Rev+ will be gradually rolled out to hotel partners across the world, at no additional costs for hotel partners.

Get more information including screen shots at Tnooz

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

For more direct bookings, brand loyalty comes before channel loyalty

September 22, 2016

The two-day event, featuring speakers and workshops, was organized by technology provider Triptease.

“It’s not that there isn’t a really great value the OTAs bring the industry, hotels and consumers,” said Charlie Osmond, listed as Triptease’s “chief tease.” “We think they can add great value, especially in bringing incremental bookings. But the power has shifted a little too far, and the result of that is a large cost to the hotel industry, which means they can’t reinvest in guest experiences in the same way.”

The rationale for those investments in loyalty and highly personalized stays was highlighted by several executives at the Sept. 13 event, a day of panels and speakers.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

Seamless customer experience key for more direct bookings

September 22, 2016

Driven by discussions of rising distribution costs, terms like book direct and personalization are becoming widely used in industry. The hotel industry recognizes that they should encourage guests to develop a direct relationship with the hotel through offering favorable rates, personalized experiences, and an engaging relationship.

As product of the digital transformation, consumers today are starting to compare their interactions with hospitality companies to every service they do business with - and their expectations for the quality of those interactions are getting higher and higher. You don’t just have to be better than other hotel companies; you have to be at the level of all retailers, banks, grocery stores, and insurance companies that consumers come in contact with, all of whom are constantly innovating in their consumer experience. If expectations for seamless experiences are not met, particularly in digital or technology-enabled interactions, it is not hard for consumers to go somewhere else.

Get the full story at Cornell SHA

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

Expedia stops “dimming” hotels that offer low value

September 22, 2016

The idea behind the strategy was to remove photos or bits of information in a listing during a user’s search results for any property that Expedia deemed as “offering low consumer value” compared to other hotels.

Expedia’s tactic came to prominence earlier this year when the mainstream media picked up on the story from a consumer-champion angle, criticising Expedia for being the “most prominent dimmer in the business” and allegedly restricting visibility and choice to travellers.

The online travel agency’s biggest detractors claimed “dimming” was being used to punish hotels that wouldn’t offer it the best rates.

Get the full story at Tnooz

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

Marriott looks for social buzz with upside-down hotel room

September 22, 2016

The idea of the experiential marketing ploy is to highlight Marriott’s new room decor by turning one of its rooms upside down. The installation has a chair, a desk and a bed hanging from the wall on one side, so when you walk in and take a picture, it appears as though you are on the room’s ceiling.

“This was a really fun, creative way for us to be able to showcase our new design, where we’re literally taking the guest room and flipping it on its head,” said Matthew Carroll, Marriott’s vp of global brand management.

Marriott is no stranger to experiential marketing. Last year, the brand offered its guests virtual tours of Chile, China and Rwanda right from the comfort of their hotel rooms. In 2014, it tapped Oculus Rift to give guests tours of Hawaii and London through a giant simulator.

Get the full story at Digiday

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

Four Seasons gives firsthand look at in-air hospitality through live broadcast

September 22, 2016

The 35-minute Facebook Live broadcast on Sept. 18 invited consumers to meet crew members and see features of the aircraft’s hospitality through the eyes of one of its social media team members. Much like other streaming platforms, Facebook Live enables brands to show an unfiltered perspective, taking brand film beyond carefully produced montages.

"For many consumers, taking an extended vacation with the Four Seasons Private Jet is not a reality, so an opportunity to see a bit of the behind-the-scenes of the private jet is certainly attractive," said Damon Banks, editor-in-chief of LuxeGetaways Magazine. "For affluent travelers looking at the many private jet vacation options available today, seeing this might encourage them to consider this particular vacation solution."

Get the full story at the Mobile Marketer

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

Can hotel apps build instant brand loyalty?

September 22, 2016

What happens when someone downloads an app on their phone? They’re literally saying out of the limited space they have on that 12 GB device (who hasn’t gotten a warning that their iPhone is low on storage and you must – gasp – delete photos or apps?), they think your product is worth the GB, the time it takes to download and update, and the home screen space the little icon takes up.

It also means every single time they use their phone – 46 times a day, according to Time, or several times an hour, accordingly to Gallup – they’re looking at your app.

And it may not mean they’re accessing it nearly that many times but subconsciously, it’s there, on their most treasured device.

Get the full story at TrustYou

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

Duetto accelerates expansion throughout Europe

September 22, 2016

Duetto now has more than 500 hotel partners in Europe, including iconic individual hotels, regional brands and some of the biggest hotel companies on the continent. Duetto also appointed Justin Sadler-Smith as Vice President of Sales for the EMEA region and Gary Torres as Director of Deployment, and has more than doubled the size of the company’s London EMEA headquarters in less than a year. Duetto’s new London office is located at 2-6 Boundary Row, near one of London’s most vibrant technology corridors.

Get the full story at Duetto

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

Think outside the room for new revenue streams

September 21, 2016

Speaking during the “Beyond rooms and F&B: Total revenue management practices” panel at the Hotel Data Conference, sources said there are several ways that many hotels are leaving money on the table.

Isaac Collazo, VP of performance strategy and planning for InterContinental Hotels Group, said there are lessons to be learned from how music festivals and amusement parks manage to create tiered experiences based on how much consumers are willing to pay.

“There are ways to make things easier for the customer and make revenues on that,” he said. “At music festivals, you can buy a regular ticket or a VIP ticket. In hotels, we don’t really think about things that way. We need to figure out what’s a VIP item we can charge for. It helps make the experience better and makes money for the hotel.”

Get the full story at HNN

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

GTA buys Europe’s largest inbound agency MTS Globe

September 21, 2016

MTS Globe is the preferred partner for many European tour operators, offering 12,000 hotels and customised destination services. The business generated gross sales of €500 million in 2015.

Under the agreement, its partner network and management team will remain unchanged and continue to trade under the MTS Globe, OTS Globe and Axis Data brands.

GTA chief executive, Ivan Walter, said: “With this transaction GTA takes an important step towards fulfilling its vision to be the world's easiest travel distribution partner to do business with. “MTS Globe’s large portfolio in the Mediterranean beach destinations ideally complements GTA’s global accommodation and destination services offering.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

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

Booking.com pilots mobile-based in-destination experience

September 21, 2016

The in-destination product, which had its initial launch in Amsterdam, is now available in London, Paris, Rome and Dubai. It is expected to go live in New York in autumn.

This is how it works: when you book a stay in one of cities offering Experiences you get access to instant booking to all the participating venues and attractions in that destination via a single QR code.

There is no need to book in advance or wait in lines to buy tickets. Just show up at the attraction, scan the code from your smartphone and enjoy. The QR code is automatically linked to your credit card.

Get the full story at WIT

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

Hilton piloting more restrictive rates at select properties

September 21, 2016

The Semi-Flex rates are refundable up to seven days before check-in but charge a cancellation fee thereafter. The Prepay Restricted rates are nonrefundable and unchangeable.

"We recently started a trial to learn how a variety of new products will be received by our customers, as well as uncover any unexpected technical challenges," Hilton senior vice president of commercial services Chris Wilroy confirmed in a statement to BTN. "The products, which are being tested at a handful of hotels, are intended to provide greater value and more options for our customers to save."

The initiative is not dissimilar from a pilot conducted by Hilton last year in which it charged guests at select hotels a $50 penalty for canceling any time after booking.

Get the full story at Business Travel News

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

Carlson Rezidor offers lowest rates to direct customers, agents

September 21, 2016

Carlson Rezidor joins several hotel companies that have done likewise, including Marriott International, Hilton Worldwide, Hyatt Hotels and InterContinental Hotels Group. By offering the lowest rates on their websites, the hotel companies aim to take market share from the OTAs, their most expensive distribution channel.

Carlson Rezidor said discounts will be available at about 1,000 of its 1,400 hotels. The companies’ major brands are Radisson, Radisson Blu, Park Plaza, Park Inn and Country Inns and Suites.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly and Carlson Rezidor

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

Marriott-Starwood merger expected to close Friday

September 21, 2016

Marriott International and Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide have received antitrust approval from the Chinese Ministry of Commerce, the final regulatory authorization necessary before the companies’ merger can be completed.

Now, with the approval of China and 40 other countries, the merger can close, later than its originally slated close in July.

With the close of the $12.2 million acquisition, Marriott will be the largest hotel company globally.

Get the full story at Luxury Daily

Read also "Starwood and Marriott join together to tune of $12.2B" at Luxury Daily"

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

How to use hotel data

September 21, 2016

We think hotel data shouldn't be so complicated. And we want to give you, the hotelier, practical action items you can start using now. We began this project with an idea: That if hoteliers just compared a couple different types of data, they might learn a lot more than when only looking at one type of data. After all, cross examining a data set with another is one of the best and most tried-and-true methods for uncovering new insights into your hotel business and your customers.

We took this "hotel data comparison" idea and visualized it in the form of a subway map where each train line is a category of data that hoteliers encounter every day: PMS or performance data, pricing and benchmarking data, social media, and website data. Where the different lines intersect is a "station" where you can find real-world examples of data comparisons that you can put into practice with your team. After consulting experts in various fields, and refining and revising our list, we ended up with this: The How To Use Hotel Data Chart. No need to hire a quant team or employ some magical algorhythmic solution. These are practical steps that you and your team can take today to start making your hotel data work for you. Trust us, it'll be worth it.

Get the full story at SnapShot

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

Choosing the right hotel PMS: The key to enhancing guest experience while streamlining operations

September 21, 2016

This statement of what a hotel PMS does sounds very simple, and in a perfect world it would always work this way – and it would always work perfectly.

In reality, however, a hotel PMS is often part of a complex set of solutions designed to help hoteliers serve their customers.

The PMS also coordinates the flow of information throughout the property or chain, including managing guest folios and pushing ARI information to booking channels and the GDS.

Unfortunately, in many cases these solutions can carry unforeseen costs for maintenance and support, not to mention the downtime that results when those solutions fail, or the burden on operations from supporting legacy IT hardware and systems.

Get the full story at Sabre Hospitality Solutions

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

Google launches personalized travel planner, Google Trips

September 20, 2016

We already knew Google was working on a travel application, thanks to a leak earlier this year when the app was being tested within Google’s Local Guides community. Local Guides help to improve Google Maps and business data by writing reviews, correcting listings, and taking photos. In return, they gain exclusive access to try out new Google products and features, such as Google Trips.

The app looks today much like it did then.

The home screen includes a search box with a prompt “where do you want to go?” for planning new trips, and other cards let you keep track of your current and upcoming vacations and plans.

Get the full story at TechCrunch and Google Trips

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

Business travelers booking with travel agents aren’t using the sharing economy

September 20, 2016

When asked, “What percentage of your business travel clients are using an alternative supplier for their accommodations?”, the majority of respondents said none clients used alternative accommodations, and 34% of agents said 1-10% of their clients did use companies like Airbnb and others.

When asked “What percentage of your business travel clients add a hotel reservation to their travel itinerary?” nearly 70% (69.5%) of Travel Leaders Group agents reported that more than half of their clients request a hotel booking in addition to their airline reservation; while 20.7% stated that between 21-50% of their business travel clients require a hotel booking in addition to their airfare.

When asked “Which hotel category would you say the majority of your business travel clients book?” 0% of Travel Leaders Group agents stated the “Luxury” and “Upper Upscale” categories, while 27.7% indicate “Upscale” and “Upper Midscale” categories.

Get the full story at Travel Leaders Group

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

Luxury travelers reliant on agents, claims report

September 20, 2016

The findings, from a study by market research firm MyTravelResearch.com, were released in Sydney today. Co-founder, Carolyn Childs, said: “Luxury travel is a high reward, high investment sector. Suppliers need to invest in service, design, quality and uniqueness at all times.”

The luxury market is now defined by nine key trends, outlined in the study :

- A demographic widening away from the dominance of the 40-60 year old age group, especially in emerging luxury markets such as China and India

- A new focus on experiential travel at the expense of hedonism and display

- A growth in mindfulness and wellbeing as HNWIs turn to nature (such as the Galapagos, Iceland, the Antarctic) to replenish body and soul

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

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

Ad campaign takes Airbnb to task for fighting San Francisco’s short-term rental laws

September 20, 2016

“Dear Airbnb,” reads one of the Share Better ads. “You told us not to spend your tax payments ‘all in one place’ but now you’re making us spend taxpayers money on defending your frivolous lawsuit? Love, San Franciscans.”

“We’re trying to encourage Airbnb to be a good citizen,” said Janan New, executive director of the San Francisco Apartment Association, which represents landlords. “We want to make sure that the public is aware of the ongoing issues. We did our part in negotiating legislation and attempting to uphold the law, and we’re asking that Airbnb do the same.”

Airbnb launched its own San Francisco ad campaign on Wednesday. The company plans to spend close to $1 million on a blizzard of spots on radio and TV that profile hosts and the ways the service benefits them. Share Better’s budget is a modest $51,000, largely paid for by hotel worker unions and a national hotel trade group, New said.

Get the full story at the San Francisco Chronicle

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

The robot revolution is coming to the travel industry

September 20, 2016

Disruptive technology shifts have broad implications for the travel industry, Hafner explained. “What we’re seeing is there’s a whole generation of people who are more familiar with text messaging and voice via Siri who are looking for a different interaction with an online travel agency,” he said, speaking of Apple’s automated helpmate.

Kayak, which is part of Priceline, has been investing in “a lot of artificial intelligence” and “services that help the younger generation connect with us,” the CEO said.

“We’ve got a Facebook Messenger chat bot for example. We have voice interaction with Alexa, which is a service from Amazon, where you can actually talk to Kayak…and say, ‘Hey Kayak, what’s the status of my flight to Denver later today? Where can I go this weekend for US$300?’“

Get the full story at the South China Morning Post

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

Marketers need to do more marketing

September 20, 2016

Inbound marketing is about matching the way you market and sell with the way people actually want to shop and buy. And according to HubSpot, inbound marketing is beginning to change at a pace more rapid than anything we've seen before.

New technologies are being introduced. Consumers' habits are evolving. Things are different. In five years time

What does that mean for the future of this movement? For HubSpot it means that in five years time marketing and sales as you know it will no longer exist.

Get the full story at HubSpot

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

How to jumpstart your hotel’s direct bookings through social media

September 20, 2016

As social media continues to grow and evolve, more and more businesses are increasing their social media marketing efforts, and this trend shows no signs of slowing down. By 2017, social network ad spending will reach $35.98 billion, representing 16% of all digital ad spending globally (eMarketer). Social media has already become the #1 customer engagement and reputation management channel. In the same time, social media is among the top 3 hotel booking decision influencers and is firmly among the top 10 hotel direct booking channels.

What does this mean for hoteliers? In order to remain competitive in the digital space, hoteliers need to take advantage of the customer engagement and revenue opportunities this channel has to offer. Here is a checklist to help you jumpstart your hotel’s direct bookings through social media.

Get the full story at HeBS Digital

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

How to write CTA that converts: Hoteliers edition

September 20, 2016

If guests aren’t inspired to click that CTA, they won’t end up staying, so, ensuring that your CTA is doing its job is of the utmost importance.

Generally speaking, your CTA should complete the sentence “I want to _________.” For example, “I want to book now,” “I want to get the package,” or “I want to learn more.”

Our eBook dives into how to overcome a number of challenges for converting travelers, but here we’ll guide you through some top tips for crafting the perfect CTA for your property.

Get the full story at Sojern

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

Travel marketing is more frustrating than ever

September 19, 2016

This trend forced the minnows into paid channels—originally Adwords, more recently Facebook. But ad networks are auctions where higher demand means higher prices, so having been forced into paid traffic acquisition these companies simultaneously faced an ever increasing cost per click (CPC).

These days an Adwords CPC for travel queries can range from $2 to $7 and beyond. Depending on a website’s conversion rate that can shake out at a cost per acquisition (CPA) at anywhere from $40 to $200+.

This isn’t just a travel thing—the exact same process has unfolded across all industries and the collective response has been the move towards content or “inbound” marketing.

Get the full story at Tnooz

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

Hotel Urbano founders regain control, buy back shares of Priceline

September 19, 2016

Hotel Urbano wouldn’t provide further details surrounding the circumstances of brothers Joao Ricardo Mendes and Jose Eduardo Mendes regaining control when Skift asked for comment.

Brazilian business publication Valor International, however, reports the Mendes brothers repurchased the stakes of Insight Venture Partners, Tiger Global Management and the Priceline Group, which collectively held more than a 50 percent stake in Hotel Urbano.

João Ricardo Mendes told Valor International that he and his brother repurchased the stakes, adding he may seek new partners in the future. The Mendes brothers continued to sit on the company’s board after stepping down in November 2015.

Get the full story at Skift

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

Marriott launches new advertising campaign starring Marriott Rewards members

September 19, 2016

Using the tagline "You Are Here" across multiple marketing channels, the campaign will debut tonight on U.S. broadcast television during NFL football, followed by placements on Facebook's new, immersive mobile experience, Canvas, and through multi-platform sponsorship with CNN in over 126 countries. You Are Here will expand globally into markets in North America, Europe, Latin America, Middle East, Africa and Asia.

"We are inspired by our Marriott Rewards member stories and are thrilled to showcase their joy of travel in our campaign," said Karin Timpone, global marketing officer, Marriott International. "By having members tell their stories in their favorite locations, they bring our portfolio to life in an exciting way. From diving in the Caribbean, exploring the canals of Venice, and experiencing the natural beauty of South Africa, our members show the allure of travel."

In addition, all Marriott Rewards members will be invited to share their own memorable travel moments at events, on our website, and on Marriott Traveler, the company's digital travel magazine. The members story section on Marriott Traveler will launch with ten member and social media influencer stories with more added throughout the year.

Exclusive partnerships provide unique access for Marriott Rewards members and are another way the portfolio initiative is coming to life. Members can fuel their passions by taking advantage of Marriott's partnerships with the NFL, NBA, Universal Music Group and others. Throughout the year, members can explore the recently introduced Experiences Marketplace which provides once-in-a-lifetime experiences including meet and greets with sports legends, and access to popular concerts, and huge sporting events like the 2017 NBA All-Star and Super Bowl LI.

Throughout the year there will be other opportunities for Marriott Rewards members to capitalize on the partnerships including:

- An exclusive concert for Marriott Rewards members on September 22 at L.A. Live featuring multi-platinum artist Demi Lovato and acclaimed funk-pop quartet DNCE.

- An opportunity to make the most of their tailgate at select NFL games by tweeting their tailgating requests to @MarriottRewards using #YouAreHere. Fans can leverage Marriott to replace that broken folding chair, deliver the BBQ tools accidentally left at home, get sideline passes to the game, or even Super Bowl tickets.

- With burgers, brats, and beers, Londoners will get a taste of tailgating American style at the NFL on Regent Street Fan Fest. The Marriott Rewards football fun precedes the kickoff of the NFL International Series game on October 2. Nearly 150 members will get exclusive access to watch the game in style from a luxury suite in the famed Wembley Stadium.

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

TripAdvisor and Viator launch content solution for hospitality providers

September 19, 2016

The enhanced attractions content solution can be integrated across multiple touch points throughout the customer journey via a single API, including mobile and desktop web, mobile apps and email.

This enables hoteliers and other partners to showcase top rated attractions, things to do nearby or specific categories of things to do.

The integration provides hotel partners in particular with a new way to convert potential guests; 82% of global travellers cite proximity to key attractions as important to their decision to book accommodation, according to TripBarometer.

Get the full story at Travel Daily Media

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

4 lessons Airbnb’s marketing strategy can teach hoteliers

September 19, 2016

Airbnb has excelled at digital marketing because of its dedication to getting the basics right. By leveraging hosts' and guests' feedback, Airbnb communicates the authentic experiences it can deliver to travelers of all stripes.

To accelerate your digital marketing capabilities, take a few pages from Airbnb's playbook:

1. Optimize your site with A/B testing.

Let's be honest: A lot of hotel websites need work. That's a problem, considering that Google found 74 percent of leisure travelers and 77 percent of business travelers plan trips online, beating out all other sources of information.

Leverage A/B testing like Airbnb to build a site customers love. The home-sharing giant tests everything from site layouts to slider bars for price filters to determine customers' preferred configuration. You might not have the resources of Airbnb, but constantly improving conversion rates is key to online marketing. Try Google Analytics Content Experiments or the Visual Website Optimizer to get started.

Get the full story at Hospitality.Net

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

5 travel SEO hacks that work

September 19, 2016

Accelerated Mobile Pages have become the latest fad for the search engine as well as for mobile users. You can easily convert your travelling web page in to AMP HTML page and give your website that extra boost on search engine results.

With AMP pages your travelling website caters to user query with precise set of information that concerns the travelers.

How does AMP work?

Get the full story at Sociable Blog

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

Webinar: Discover how to protect your hotel’s online reputation

September 19, 2016

With the power of the internet, a negative comment on TripAdvisor or a threatening tweet can negatively impact your brand’s reputation within seconds. Often, businesses panic and lash out without realizing this will do more harm than good. There are several strategies hotels can implement in order to protect their brand and minimize damage.

Topics include:

- How to manage misinformation, trolls and review threats
- When is it appropriate to respond to, dispute or ignore a comment?
- Protecting your hotel from hacking and brandjacking
- Internal threats: managing employee behavior on social media
- Policy and prevention
- Strengthening reputation with positive reviews and advocacy

Get the full story at ReviewPro

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

Back to hotel basics: Offering guests a good nights sleep

September 19, 2016

Don’t lose sight of this basic hotel need or you’ll end up with a contingent of grumpy travelers checking out in the morning – or worse, not telling the hotel directly and instead sharing a bad review to colleagues or online. Fifty-five percent of travelers said they look for reviews that specifically address sleep quality in a TripAdvisor survey and a good night’s rest impacts everyone. Although you can’t cater to everyone’s sleeping quirks, all hotels can work toward providing a restful stay.

Bedding has become such a selling point for brands that some chains go as far as to sell mattress and linens for home use. That speaks volumes about how much the actual bed impacts a guest’s stay.

Not all hotels can invest millions in sleep research or upgrade all their rooms to high-end linens, but every property should strive to offer a bed and pillows that offer support. Pillow menus are a great way to offer variety for different sleeping styles without having extras stored in every room. Particularly if guests don’t have access to adjust their own thermostat, have extra blankets available as well and don’t overlook guests who may just want an extra thin sheet if the standard duvet is too warm.

Get the full story at TrustYou

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

Big brands continue to dominate travel industry’s search traffic

September 16, 2016

Digital market intelligence firm, SimilarWeb has identified the most popular desktop keywords driving traffic to online sites in travel, revealing the individual travel sites wining the battle for these super searches between May and July 2016.

The study found that the biggest online search in travel is "flight tracker" followed by "flights", "hotel", "car rental", "airline tickets", "restaurants near me", "cheap hotels", "plane tickets" "cheap tickets" and "train tickets".

For “plane tickets” Expedia.com picks up 46.4% followed by TripAdvisor 16.19% and Kayak (6.67%).

Another big brand dominates the top traffic for “hotels” (of which 45% is paid search) where more than 40% market share goes to Hotels.com.

Get the full story at Travel Daily News and SimilarWeb

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

Study finds Marriott to be consumers’ favorite brand

September 16, 2016

More than 9,000 consumers were polled for the study, which was designed to uncover which hotel and motel brands are excelling, competitive differentiators, hospitality technology usage and satisfaction with the hotel experience, among other insights.

For the rankings, Market Force asked participants to rate their satisfaction with their most recent hotel or motel stay, as well as their likelihood to refer that brand to others. The results were averaged to attain a score on the Composite Loyalty Index.

Marriott ranked No. 1 with a 70 percent score, Hampton Inn & Suites and Courtyard by Marriott tied for second with 66 percent, and Hampton Inn, Hilton Garden Inn and Embassy Suites rounded out the top five. The top nine brands were tightly clustered on the Index, underscoring the competitive environment and showcasing a need to differentiate.

Get the full story at Lodging

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

Ritz-Carlton blurs lines between business and pleasure for corporate events

September 16, 2016

Combing through Pinterest, online platforms and onsite holiday window displays are just a few of the methods in which experts are gleaning inspiration for creative event experiences designed to motivate attendees. Ritz-Carlton’s new A Meeting of the Senses program selects all details of events, such as food, cocktails, individualized itinerary and wellness breaks, to fully immerse participants.

"Meetings and events are a significant revenue generator for hotels, especially during the shoulder and off seasons," said Taylor Rains, managing partner at Flugel Consulting, Charleston, SC. "The "A Meeting of the Senses" program effectively takes all aspects of meeting planning in house, allowing Ritz-Carlton to exercise tight control of the output.

"This helps to ensure that all on-property events are consistent with the brand's trademark level of luxury and service," he said. "Planners are able to cultivate an event unique to the property that houses it, which is certainly an appealing offer to corporations scouting a host location.

Get the full story at Luxury Daily

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

What Kayak learned about conversion

September 16, 2016

The theory is that when a would-be customer sees the term “Book,” it hinted at a degree of commitment for which the customer might not be ready, Zacharia acknowledged. “Select” was seen as less prescriptive, and “View” has been deemed completely neutral. Eventually, click rates soared.

A SWAT team also developed Kayak’s Amazon “skill,” which lets users with Amazon’s Echo devices ask Alexa questions like, “Alexa, where can I go this weekend for $200?”

Another change made at the suggestion of a non-technical employee was to move the hotel photos from the right hand side of the page to the left. They tried the switch, click rates soared, and now it’s the law of Kayak land - at least until a better idea comes along.

Get the full story at Fortune

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

UK hotels urged to help OTA rate parity investigation

September 16, 2016

The British Hospitality Association (BHA) has previously campaigned against rate parity agreements which it claims ‘handcuff’ hotels.

The terms are seen as being especially harsh on smaller independent operators, which may be forced to rely on OTAs for bookings while struggling to pay their commission fees.

BHA chief executive Ufi Ibrahim said: "The CMA’s decision to reopen their survey is an opportunity for our industry to lead European policy, and we urge all hoteliers to respond. The online market place is constantly changing so it is vitally important that the industry’s voice and experience is heard in this consultation.

Get the full story at Big Hospitality

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

HTTP vs. HTTPs: What’s the difference and why should you care?

September 16, 2016

But, can a product that costs around $100 per year really make that much of a difference? And if so, how straightforward is it to make the switch?

Let’s face it, until recently, HTTPS was really used only by ecommerce sites for their payment pages. Things can get confusing, and the question many business owners face is whether or not the hassle of switching to HTTPS is worth it.

So, let’s look at the arguments for and against. But first of all, what exactly is HTTPS?

Get the full story at Entrepreneur

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

Where to positon your “Book Now” button to boost clicks

September 16, 2016

In particular, the position of your call to action, or Book Now button, on your homepage can be strategically positioned to drive more clicks.

In this article, we examine two concepts, the F-Pattern and Z-Pattern, to understand the most valuable on-screen real estate of your homepage, and where

Get the full story at Leonardo

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

Arm your sales team with dynamic rate strategies

September 16, 2016

Today, hotels can set dynamic rates for most channels. The exception has been negotiated contract business, mostly through groups that book in advance and wholesalers.

Until now, it appears. In response to a large push from hotels, it’s no longer unusual to see contracts with flexibility for hotels to adjust the built-in rate.

Revenue managers must convey to the sales team that it’s in the hotel’s best interest to negotiate a dynamic rate in a contract. Sometimes there are limitations.

Get the full story at Duetto

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

The great hotel distribution debate

September 15, 2016

A session from the recent Hotel Data Conference entitled, “Red, White & Brew Debate: Dissecting Distribution Decisions and Dilemmas,” offered a variety of perspectives.

As expected, the issue of the cost of different distribution channels was at the center of the debate. Doug Browne, President, The Peabody Memphis, talked specifically about the cost of distribution from the perspective of owners.

“There are so many different costs coming at you from different angles it is hard to figure out, but it’s probably somewhere in the 35 percent range, which is very expensive,” he noted. “The biggest concern is the costs of OTAs. Sometimes there’s a feeling among us [owners] that’s there a disparity in what’s charged from one hotel brand to another. You start wondering, why are there differences?”

Get the full story at Hotel Interactive

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

Concur buys Hipmunk to add search to its travel and expense management platform

September 15, 2016

The deal for Hipmunk is expected to close in 2016. “We are excited to welcome Hipmunk, the innovation leader in travel search, to the Concur and SAP family,” said Elena Donio, President of Concur, in a statement. “Concur has always strived to provide the best experience for travelers on our platform and we’re confident Hipmunk will continue to delight consumers while informing the innovation agenda for our corporate clients.”

The move is interesting in light of the fact that Hipmunk’s co-founder and former CEO, Steve Huffman, has more recently been dedicating a lot more of his time to news and public conversation aggregator Reddit, an earlier startup that he founded, where he has returned as CEO.

Hipmunk has carved a place out for itself as a Kayak-style travel search portal with a catchy interface. But in a wider trend of consolidation around a few platforms - the very successful Kayak itself was acquired by Priceline in 2012 for $1.8 billion - it’s not a surprise to see Hipmunk also getting snapped up.

Get the full story at TechCrunch

Read also "Concur's plans for Hipmunk" at Business Travel News

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

Airline CEOs defend the complexity of Global Distribution Systems

September 15, 2016

The CEOs – Mark Dunkerley of Hawaiian Airlines, Gary Kelly of Southwest Airlines, and Brad Tilden of Alaska Airlines — argued airline systems are more complex than what other industries use, making it unfair to compare airlines with other businesses. They also noted many passenger complaints come not from the outages themselves, but the fact it takes airlines longer than the typical business to return to regular operations after any disruption.

“What’s somewhat unique about airlines is our customers are experiencing our product as we are making it,” Southwest’s Kelly said at a panel discussion in Washington, D.C. organized by Airlines for America, an industry trade group. “If we suspend flying for an hour, it’s not a matter of turning the airline back on. It takes time to recover. That’s true for any logistics business. But an online service could go down for an hour and turn back on, and you’d never know the difference.”

It has not been a good summer for airline technology. In July, Southwest was forced to cancel thousands of flights for several days after a router failed and a backup system did not work as planned. In August, Delta Air Lines had its own technological meltdown when a power failure knocked out key systems. Delta’s backups also did not kick in properly, and the airline’s operation was crippled for days. And last week, British Airways had similar issues, if on a smaller scale.

Get the full story at Skift

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

Fall 2016 leisure travel expected to soften

September 15, 2016

“This fall is set to be least traveled of the past several years” notes Cheryl Schutz, Vice President at D.K. Shifflet & Associates. “Even those who are planning to travel this fall will be taking shorter trips. Only Millennials, who are known for taking shorter trips, are planning to spend slightly more days away from home this fall.” Schutz goes on to say that, “this softening in leisure travel is expected to continue through the end of 2016.”

Get the full story at Hotel Online

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/fall_2016_leisure_travel_expected_to_soften

Trip planning comes to Google Maps on desktop

September 15, 2016

Until now, Maps on desktop provided users with a limited set of information. Maps has been lagging behind its mobile counterparts, which both offer the ability to plan for multiple stops in one trip.

Trip planning has caught up to desktop. It works by first entering a location, such as a continent, city, or state you’re thinking about visiting. You’ll now see a ‘Plan a Trip’ section in the knowledge graph panel, which contains information about weather, flight durations, popular points of interest, and so on.

Clicking on the link to the ‘travel guide’ is where things really get interesting. From there you will get even more information about the destination, including pre-planned itineraries so you don’t miss your favorite attractions.

Get the full story at Search Engine Journal

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

Travel industry digital marketing trends and benchmarks

September 15, 2016

The report was based on data from a survey conducted in May 2016 of 78 global marketing executives who work in the travel industry.

Some 78% of respondents say organic search is a primary driver of customer acquisition for their travel organization; 71% email is a primary driver of new business, 69% say paid search, 65% social media, and 50% retargeting.

Some 78% of respondents say organic search is a primary driver of customer acquisition for their travel organization; 71% email is a primary driver of new business, 69% say paid search, 65% social media, and 50% retargeting.

Get the full story at MarketingProfs and get the report at Performance Horizon

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

Adwords update for hotel marketers: Mobilegeddon continues

September 15, 2016

Here's whats new:

- Expanded text ads so that marketers get 50% more ad text to play with;
- Device bidding capability so that marketers can set ad bids for specific devices (smartphone, tablet, desktop); and,
- Responsive native display ads which allows ads to suit various websites, apps, and screen sizes.

These changes come after Google’s other mobile-centric updates, including Accelerated Mobile Pages (Which speeds up website load times for mobile users), and the delivery of more search queries to mobiles over desktops.

Get the full story at SiteMinder

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

Report offers deep insight into European travel

September 15, 2016

Travel and tourism marketers are actively looking for new ways to appeal to them. But there huge variability between European countries in their planning and booking behaviour. Messaging to all of Europe with a one-size-fits-all approach isn’t a strategic use of your marketing spend.

Our 2016 Europe Travel Trend Report breaks down those differences and provides travel marketers with the insights necessary to reach your target audience at just the right time in the booking cycle.

Get the full story at Sojern

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

Why Red Lion-Expedia-Marriott raises some curious questions

September 14, 2016

In essence, as we discovered last month, this smaller US-based chain has climbed into bed with Expedia and sister site Hotels.com by allowing them to show members only rates. At the same time, the OTAs are also allowed to auto enroll non-members in Red Lion’s Hello Rewards programme. In exchange, Red Lion gets the customer's email address and, very likely, to pay much lower commissions.

Responses to the move from hoteliers, former hoteliers and other industry commentators have ranged from ‘pretty strange’ and ‘a move in the right direction for data sharing’ to ‘setting a dangerous precedent for the industry’.

Says Marco Corsi, Third Party and Distribution Manager at Sokos Hotels: “Honestly, the decision seems a little odd.”

So, again, the question why?

Get the full story at EyeForTravel

Read also "Hotel execs discuss Red Lion-Expedia deal" at Travel Weekly, "Expedia and Red Lion partner for members-only rates" and "Marriott integrates Expedia’s package product to help drive incremental demand"

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

Expedia moving beyond distribution service

September 14, 2016

“We have been trying to be more innovative,” explains Melissa Maher, SVP of Expedia’s Global Partner Group. “We are really focusing on helping our partners grow their business and us being more than just a distribution channel. We’ve been able to use three key assets to accomplish that: Technology, marketing, and data and intelligence.”

This August, the company announced it would be providing Red Lion Hotels Corporation with a boost to its loyalty program. Consumers who come to Expedia who are interested in a Red Lion Hotel and wish to book the membership rate plan are automatically enrolled into Red Lion’s Hello Rewards program.

“Many of our partners find value in building loyalty relationships with consumers. We found that using Expedia as a way to enhance their customer acquisition goals has been very helpful. That was us listening to our partners and working together to address a need that they had,” Maher says. “In the first month, we’ve enrolled over four times the members in Hello Rewards than in the previous four weeks.”

Get the full story at Lodging

Read also "Hotels Offering Loyalty Programmes on OTAs: The Dark Side" at NetAffinity

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

Service is back in fashion

September 14, 2016

High-speed Internet has become table stakes for hoteliers, and it's showing in where the industry is allocating its money. Bjorn Hanson, a clinical professor at the New York University School of Professional Studies Tisch Center for Hospitality and Tourism, said spending on Wi-Fi upgrades could prove to be one of the largest capital expenditure costs for hotels in 2016. Top finishers Ritz-Carlton, Crowne Plaza and Best Western mentioned Wi-Fi as a brand improvement or emphasis during recent years.

An emerging theme among many of the best-performing brands this year, though, was an increase in service initiatives. Fairmont Hotels & Resorts, for instance, updated its Service Promise training program, introduced in 2006, and required every Fairmont colleague, from general managers to bell hops to kitchen staff, to go through the program. Hilton's Homewood Suites, which came in second in the upscale extended-stay segment, revamped its "I Am Sales" program, which encourages every level of the hotel staff to feel like they're part of the sales team and to be "outrageously pleasing our guests" or OPOG, according to Adrian Kurre, global head for Homewood Suites and Home2Suites by Hilton.

While these new initiatives may seem like a return to the old way of doing business, they're more a symptom of a world in which online reviews can make or break a brand. "When you please a customer, you're encouraging them to talk about us on social media, talk about us to their friends, to return to one of our hotels the next time they have an opportunity," Kurre said.

Get the full story at BTN

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

Corporate travel buyers name Ritz-Carlton as top luxury brand

September 14, 2016

It received the highest rankings in consistency, physical appearance and in-room personal amenities, as well as for its meeting facilities.

Ritz-Carlton also was ranked the highest luxury brand by J.D. Power in its 2016 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study, released in July.

Fairmont scored second in the luxury tier, beating out Four Seasons, JW Marriott and Grand Hyatt, according to BTN. The brand earned high marks for its sales staff, data quality and business amenities, in both public spaces and in-room.

Get the full story at Travel Market Report and BTN

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

Trashing a hotel on TripAdvisor may soon be protected, thanks to U.S. Congress

September 14, 2016

The U.S. House of Representatives took a major step Monday to bar such punitive actions by businesses. The House approved in a voice vote, indicating bipartisan support, the Consumer Review Fairness Act. The bill would prohibit businesses from issuing standard contracts to customers barring them from writing derogatory reviews, including publishing what the businesses might consider to be disparaging photos.

The House bill would have to be reconciled with the previously adopted and very similar U.S. Senate version before being sent to the President for his signature, In recent years, businesses have increasingly resorted to such punitive contracts, although such practices are not the norm when a guest stays at a hotel, for example.

Get the full story at Skift

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

Email continues to deliver strong ROI and value for marketers

September 14, 2016

A June 2016 survey of US marketers conducted by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA) and Demand Metric found that email had a median ROI of 122%—more than four times higher than other marketing formats examined, including social media, direct mail and paid search.

Agency professionals and in-house marketers worldwide are in agreement about email’s effectiveness, according to March 2016 polling from Econsultancy. Both groups named email marketing most frequently as a tactic able to provide a strong ROI, at 80% and 73%, respectively. The study also found that while respondents allocated an average of 16% of their overall marketing budget to email for 2016, the program contributed to 23% of total sales, a ratio that indicates email’s positive ROI.

Revenue from email has also improved year over year. A survey from the Relevancy Group sponsored by PostUp found that in December 2015, 24% of US email marketers said email marketing initiatives accounted for over a quarter of their overall revenues. This percentage was up from 13% in fall 2013.

Get the full story at eMarketer

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

Effective ways to measure and generate demand

September 14, 2016

The first step in understanding demand generation is to fully understand your product, customer(s) and value proposition. Take for example a 4-Star Hotel located in city center that has a good mix of both business and leisure travellers. Think about the target customers or target market segments and how you can create a unique value proposition to appeal to both.

For the typical business travellers, following are a few examples of value propositions that they’re looking for:

- Free & Fast Wifi
- Working Desk in the Room
- Laptop Safe in the room
- Business Center
- Healthy Breakfast Options
- Onsite gym
- Iron & Ironing Board in the room
- Laundry Service

Get the full story at RateGain

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

10 top tips for improving your TripAdvisor ranking

September 14, 2016

We’ve found that one of the most frequently asked questions from hoteliers is “how do I climb the ranks on TripAdvisor?”.

Firstly, it is important for hotels to understand how TripAdvisor’s ranking algorithm works. The quality, recency and quantity of reviews are the three key factors that interact to determine a property’s Popularity Ranking. You can find more details in our blog post here.

Hotels can put several strategies into place in order to climb the ranks on TripAdvisor and here are our Top 10.

Get the full story at ReviewPro

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

The generation divide in business travel

September 13, 2016

The GBTA Foundation and American Express Global Business Travel designed this study to identify key drivers of business travel satisfaction and differences for generational groups.

The study took a deeper look into what drives and impacts business travel satisfaction for frequent travelers by generation to help companies identify key areas that need attention. Understanding that different generations place a different value on business travel amenities and options will help companies build programs that will meet the needs of their workforce as a whole.

This cross-sectional study examines the causal relationships between frequent business travelers’ experiences and business travel satisfaction. The results are analyzed on first an aggregate basis and then a generational basis that is comprised of three defined generations: Millennials, Generation X, and Baby Boomers.

Get the full story and download the report at American Express Travel

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

Travelport creates new division

September 13, 2016

MTT delivers mobile travel solutions for airlines and travel agencies. Locomote provides a travel management platform for corporations and travel agencies. The new division will be headed by Travelport executive Bryan Conway.

Chief commercial officer Stephen Shurrock said that the division “will play an important role as we look to develop a comprehensive range of digital products and services with today’s ever-connected, mobile-savvy customers in mind.”

Travelport has also created a “Customer and Marketing Organization,” which will focus on delivering a “market-leading customer experience.”

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

Tui completes €1.19bn sale of Hotelbeds

September 13, 2016

The announcement marks the granting of all regulatory approvals for the deal, first announced in April, by the relevant authorities. Tui said it “continues its transformation to an integrated tourism group with main focus on hotel and cruise businesses”

Fritz Joussen, Tui Group chief executive, said: “With the successful completion of the disposal, we are consistently continuing our strategy. “TUI covers the whole tourism value chain, however, our investments focus on our own products that differentiate us from our competition.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/tui_completes_1.19bn_sale_of_hotelbeds

Hotels use exclusive extras to build image, bookings

September 13, 2016

The very word “Hamilton” has become associated with exclusivity, because the wild success of the Broadway show has made tickets very difficult to get. That’s why the Conrad Chicago decided to jump on the phenomenon even before the show came to the Windy City as part of the first national tour in a classic example of a hotel seeking to one-up competition with an exclusive benefit at a time when “experiences” have become key to marketing success.

Aside from trying to gain an advantage over competitors, the Conrad is aiming to have guests try its newly redone premium suites. The “Hamilton” package includes two show tickets, a $150 voucher to the Conrad’s restaurant, and an overnight stay for two in a premium suite. Gordon Taylor III, the hotel’s director of sales and marketing, said simple packages created around unique experiences are often the most effective.

“Don’t overcomplicate things,” he said. “Is there an audience that has an appetite for what you are offering? Who is that audience, and how do you get the messaging to them? Will anyone care? What are you giving them that they can’t simply go direct and get? With our ‘Hamilton’ package, the show is sold out in Chicago through March. We not only give you two tickets but curate an entire experience you will never forget.”

Get the full story at HotelNewsNow

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

Marriott fulfills football tailgaters’ on-site requests via mobile

September 13, 2016

The hotel chain is simultaneously advertising its longstanding partnership with the National Football League by rolling out a series of mobile-first activations centering on fall football season excitement. One of these initiatives, called #AppYourService, invites fans at select major games to Tweet various requests – such as barbecue ingredients or folding chairs – to the Marriott Rewards Twitter account and have runners bring the requested items directly to their tailgating areas.

“The travelers who stay in our hotels, especially Marriott Rewards members, are huge NFL fans,” said John Wolf, vice president of loyalty, digital, marketing innovation and public relations at Marriott International. “#AppYour Service is a creative way to extend our mobile app experience and get fans excited about the Mobile Requests feature as they tailgate before the game.

“Mobile Requests has been hugely popular - having been used more than 13 million times so far - since we first introduced it for Marriott Rewards members who book direct on our channels. With the Mobile Requests, members have a fast and easy way to chat directly with hotel staff before, during and after their stays right from their smartphone.”

Get the full story at the Mobile Marketer

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

How mobile has changed how people get things done

September 13, 2016

Take a moment and think back to how you got information before smartphones existed. You probably printed directions before a road trip (or relied on a paper map you already had). Maybe you looked up movie times in the newspaper. Maybe you called a store to check its hours (or just took your chances and showed up, hoping to see the "open" sign).

And now? You turn to the nearest device - your smartphone.

To get a better understanding of how people meet their needs in a world of limitless online and offline options, we collaborated with the research firm, Purchased. All of the findings presented here are from this research study. We asked 1,000 smartphone users to take a quick poll several times a day for a week to tell us what kinds of needs they had throughout the day and the actions they took to meet them.

Get the full story at Think with Google

Read also:

- How People Meet Their Needs in I-Want-to-Go Moments

- How People Meet Their Needs in I-Want-to-Do Moments

- How People Meet Their Needs in I-Want-to-Know Moments

- How People Meet Their Needs in I-Want-to-Buy Moments

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

Does asking for social media engagement still work?

September 13, 2016

To find out, Ryan Solutions looked at over 100,000 hotel and resort social media posts shared during the last 12 months. We separated the posts that made some direct request for engagement (e.g., “Share this post for a chance…”) and compared the engagement rates on those posts to posts that didn’t.

Asking for likes earned 1.3x as many likes, asking for comments saw 20x as many comments, and asking for shares led to 11x as many shares. Asking for retweets, however, did not lead to more retweets. If anything, there appears to be a slight dip in the retweet rate when retweets are requested.

What’s most interesting about this is what happens when you compare this sample to that analysis Ryan Solutions did in 2013. Since then, engagement for posts that DON’T ask for engagement has dropped about 15-20% on average. But the average engagement on posts that DO ask for engagement has grown by more than 10%.

Get the full story at Ryan Solutions

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

Dynamic search ads for hotels; are they for you?

September 13, 2016

For those of you that are not familiar with Dynamic search ads for hotels, let me briefly explain what they are. Dynamic search ads, or “DSA” are a way to dynamically serve customized advertisements to your potential customers via Google Adwords. Google uses their web crawling ability to show the user the most relevant piece of content on your website and ties it into one of your AdWords ads1. If done correctly, this could mean better coverage of keywords, with ads that are relevant to the user, at impressive scale.

You can imagine the time-saving possibilities from a managerial perspective. You could save precious time because you won’t have to create each and every ad. If you are in Sales or Marketing, then you probably also caught on to the boost in relevancy for the user. It is safe to say, that if you put “time saving” and “more relevant” together, then the outcome should be BETTER ROI.

The purpose of this article isn’t to show you how good the ads can be, but instead to show you that there are some caveats to DSA’s. Below I will outline some of the most common in the hotel industry.

Get the full story at E-Marketing Associates

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

Hotel brands link user-generated content and influencers

September 12, 2016

Social campaigns that incorporate user-generated content see a 50% boost in engagement, yet many brands fail to take advantage of the strategy, according to L2’s UGC report.

In 2015, Le Méridien partnered with travel photographer Gray Malin to document several of its properties, then encouraged guests to post their own travel photos on Instagram using the related hashtag. Both Malin and the brand shared those submissions on their respective social platforms. Because the photographer’s following was more than five times the size of the brand’s, Le Méridien saw a dramatic benefit, generating 8.8 million impressions and boosting its follower count by nearly a third.

Get the full story at L2 and an excerpt of the report at L2 (free registration)

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

Airlines experts in generating customer loyalty

September 12, 2016

Singapore Airlines (96) is the brand that scores the highest across all sectors based on a maximum score of 140 and an ‘all sector average’ of 80. Overall, the airline sector performs the best with Singapore Airlines (96) Emirates (90) and Virgin Atlantic (87) leading the way.

However, it’s not all good news for airlines. Ryanair (66) is the worst performing brand of the 30 included in the survey. EasyJet (71), Thomas Cook (74), and Thomson Airways (78) also score below average.

Research focuses on people’s views of brands in three sectors that provide contrasting experiences: travel, retail, and telecoms. Within each sector Rufus Leonard selected 10 brands, five established brands and five challenger brands, based on longevity and revenue.

Get the full story at Travel Daily Media

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

The future of travel metasearch

September 12, 2016

Does travel metasearch drive more direct bookings for airlines, hotels or car rental firms? Is it really an alternative platform to Google and the big bad OTAs? OTA versus meta: is there really a difference? Not everybody thinks so.

Dan Wacksman, Senior Vice President, Global Distribution, Outrigger Hotels and Resorts, argues that “metasearch cost-per-acquisition (CPA) is really just OTA” and that you should “only shift share to this channel when the numbers work”. He also doesn’t buy the argument that meta drives more direct bookings.

Of course, Wacksman has a point. In the early days, the standard metasearch model was for partners – hotels, OTAs, airlines and so on – to pay a cost-per-click. However, with the arrival of facilitated booking like TripAdvisor’s Instant Book, partners must now hand over a cut of the booking value.

Get the full story at EyeForTravel

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

Young travelers driving Indian travel landscape

September 12, 2016

"Young Indians are the driving force behind the changing travel landscape in the country. About 66 per cent of the total trips were made by travellers in the age group 18-35 years," according to online travel company MakeMyTrip's 'India Travel Report 2016'.

The findings are based on the bookings seen on MakeMyTrip platform during January-June 2016, compared to the same period last year.

It revealed that smartphone penetration and adoption is driving shift from offline to online in the travel industry. Mobile is the most preferred booking platform, as 74 per cent of the bookings were made via app by travellers in the age group 18-35 years.

Get the full story at PTI

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


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