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Airbnb moves into MICE accommodation space

April 20, 2018

The maps can be embedded on event web sites and used to help delegates and attendees find nearby homes.
The tool was piloted in Australia at the Adelaide Fringe and now being made available to all event organisers.

Adelaide Fringe director and ceo Heather Croall said the tool allowed visitors to easily locate Airbnb accommodation near CBD Fringe events and calculate how long it would take to walk or drive between the two.

Chief Executive of the Exhibition and Event Association of Australasia, Joyce DiMascio said: “This new feature of the Airbnb offering will create some easy pathways to booking event accommodation. Airbnb boosts the stock of accommodation in the marketplace especially during peak event periods and this has the potential to drive event attendance by making it easier to choose accommodation in the proximity of the venue.

Get the full story at BTN

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

Booking.com buying tours/attractions tech company

April 20, 2018

The FareHarbor acquisition will help provide content to expand Booking.com‘s upselling of consumers on tours after the consumers have already bought another product from the online travel giant.

The price tag could be relatively “hefty” - as in more than $300 million - speculated one source who is knowledgeable about the tours and activities sector. The reason is that FareHarbor has a substantial footprint in the distribution and reservation management parts of the sector.

TripAdvisor is believed to have made several offers, including one last year, to buy FareHarbor for well over $200 million, including cash, stock, and incentives.

Get the full story at Skift and Booking Holdings

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

Marriott-Alibaba partnership coming to fruition in 2018

April 20, 2018

Last year, Marriott and Alibaba announced that they’re entering a joint venture in the Chinese market that would “deliver more personal digital travel services” for Chinese travelers. In essence, the joint venture was intended to manage and improve Marriott’s digital offerings in the Chinese market with the help of Alibaba’s technology and products. This year, Marriott and Alibaba’s ambitions are coming to fruition with a range of new offerings for Chinese customers.

The news of the joint venture’s new offerings in the Chinese market also comes at a time when Marriott is revamping its loyalty programs on a global scale. In a move that Skift describes as reflecting Marriott’s “Amazon-like ambitions in travel,” the hotel group is bringing together Marriott Rewards, Starwood Preferred Guest, and Ritz-Carlton Rewards under one umbrella as well as re-launching its local experiences marketplace.

Meanwhile, in China, Marriott and Alibaba announced that they will launch an “exclusive booking portal” next week. In practice, the China-focused booking portal is a “flagship” store on Alibaba’s online travel marketplace, Fliggy (formerly known as Alitrip). The Fliggy store will feature 600 properties in the Asia Pacific region, but the ambition is to eventually offer all 6,500 properties around the world on the platform.

Get the full story at Jing Travel

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/marriott_alibaba_partnership_coming_to_fruition_in_2018

Airbnb initiative aims to combat problem it helped create: overtourism

April 20, 2018

The initiative is designed to drive visitors to lesser-trafficked destinations around the globe that stand to benefit most from tourism dollars -- a sort of antidote to the overtourism problem in larger markets.

"Right now not all tourism is created equal," says Airbnb global head of policy and communications Chris Lehane. "To democratize the benefits of travel, Airbnb offers a healthy alternative to the mass travel that has plagued cities for decades."

The company has also announced a Tourism Advisory Board comprising global travel industry leaders that will help oversee Airbnb's long-term strategy around sustainable tourism.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

Singapore launches customized travel hub for local firms

April 20, 2018

The new platform will allow local businesses to publish official information on operating hours and update other information directly. The platform will enable travelers to get accurate information, but also provides that information to third-party online travel agencies (OTAs) and online travel guides. So far, 600 companies in Singapore have already registered.

The hub is not designed exclusively for any single source market. However, given the importance of the China market for Singapore, it will invariably need robust Chinese language support and integration with Chinese travel platforms. Something that Ho-Strangas Shyn Yee, Director for Global Product Management at STB’s data partner Expedia, was quick to emphasize.

Get the full story at Jing Travel

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

Are you marketing effectively across generational lines?

April 20, 2018

Namely, consumers in different age groups have vastly different preferences when it comes to consuming, accessing, and discover content.

For example, millennials, an age group which roughly spans 18 to 34, aren’t just buying sneakers and gadgets anymore. Increasingly, millennials comprise a cohort of people purchasing homes, baby clothing, and B2B software. And their strong preference for video, social, and mobile-first content has implications for marketers working across an expanding array of industries.

Are you marketing effectively to different age demographics? Let's dig in and find out.

Get the full story at HubSpot

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

The digital transformation of the guest experience

April 20, 2018

If you are facing challenges meeting the ever-evolving expectations of guests, you are not alone. Find out what top hotel brands are doing to overcome these challenges and steps you can take to architect a better guest experience.

Guest experience is a make-or-break factor for hoteliers. Don't let it be your downfall. Download the report to begin driving your digital transformation.


Download the report at Sabre Hospitality Solutions

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

Top concerns hotels need to know about the GDPR and how to prepare your action plan

April 20, 2018

The GDPR is a regulation in EU law on data protection and privacy for all individuals within the European Union and regulates how companies manage, use, and share personal data. The GDPR will take effect on May 25, 2018. The GDPR applies to natural persons, whatever their nationality or place of residence, whose personal data is processed and whose behavior is monitored while within the EU. This change in legislation means that nearly every online service is affected, and the regulation has already resulted in significant changes for US users as companies begin to adapt.

The foundation of the GDPR builds on rules set by earlier EU privacy measures like the Privacy Shield and Data Protection Directive, and expands on these privacy measures in two critical ways.

1. The definition of and requirements around personal data have been expanded. First, the GDPR defines personal data as any information that can be used to identify directly or indirectly a data subject, such as an online identifier like an IP address. The GDPR sets a higher standard for collecting personal data than ever before. By default, any time a company obtains personal data on an EU resident, it will need a legal basis for collecting that data, such as explicit and informed consent from that person. Even more importantly, users also need a way to revoke that consent, and they can request all the data a company has collected on them as a way to verify that consent. These strong regulations explicitly extends to companies based outside the EU.

Get the full story at HEBS Digital

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

Marriott wants to be the Amazon of travel

April 19, 2018

For the first time, loyal guests can both earn and redeem points by shopping for these experiences—110,000 of them in all, across 1,000 global destinations. But anyone, regardless of their participation in Marriott Rewards, will also be able to buy a sunset cruise off Marriott’s shelf with good, old-fashioned dollars.

“The opportunity for us is to expand the travel experience for our members,” David Flueck, Marriott’s senior vice president of loyalty tells Bloomberg. “They’ve come to rely on Marriott for incredible brands and hotels; now we can deliver more to them.”

The pivot, he says, is about growing from a hotel brand to a lifestyle brand—something that Airbnb has already done with its own Experiences platform.

Get the full story at Bloomberg

Read also "Marriott simplifies loyalty programs, lowers point thresholds"

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

TripAdvisor Attractions is hopping onboard the Experiences bandwagon

April 19, 2018

The memo from Dermot Halpin, president of TripAdvisor Attractions and Vacation Rentals, and sent to employees, said the switchover of the Attractions business unit name to Experiences will take place April 23, and there will be more details to come.

The rebrand is mostly for internal use, and communications with suppliers and the travel industry for purposes such as conferences, and isn’t consumer-facing, the communication said. So the Things to do tab on TripAdvisor and the Viator website will remain, the memo said. TripAdvisor acquired tours and activities company Viator for $200 million in 2014.

So inside the company and for communications with suppliers, TripAdvisor Experiences will replace TripAdvisor Attractions and Viator — although the Viator brand will remain when it comes to selling experiences to consumers.

Get the full story at Skift

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

Meeting planners and travel agents prepare for reinvention amid hotel commission cuts

April 19, 2018

It’s hard to feel positive about your business partners reducing your compensation, even if tension has been building in the ecosystem over a period of decades.

The commission cuts from 10 to 7 percent—initiated by Marriott and followed just two months later by Hilton—are an assault on the giant hotel chains’ “trusted partners,” those indispensable to the chains’ distribution channels, said agents and planners who spoke to Skift.

They also aren’t buying the companies’ stated reasons for the cuts, which planner Christy Lamagna, CEO of Strategic Meetings & Events, called “heavily shrouded in spin.”

Get the full story at Skift

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

Hyatt CEO talks about group commissions

April 19, 2018

At the end of March, Marriott cut commissions paid on North America group bookings from 10% to 7% across its brands. Hilton will do the same on Oct. 1.

Hyatt still pays 10% commission on group bookings.

"There's an economic reality," Hoplamazian said at the World Travel & Tourism Global Summit. "The issue for us is not to just treat it as a cost issue and say we'll follow because it will have a reduction in this line item on our P+L. We are thinking about it more holistically. What is the whole value equation? What is the net bottom line result of how we go to market? That may or may not look like what Hilton and Marriott have done."

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

Read also "Accor has no plans to follow Marriott in commission cuts"

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

Can you trust influencer marketing to deliver real engagement that leads to sales?

April 19, 2018

Influencer marketing specialists Lumio launched its proprietary Quality Score, which ranks the actual quality of an influencer’s followings. This is an essential metric for any marketer looking to use influencers in a campaign. According to the company’s announcement of the initiative, the score “shows how traditional metrics like the “engagement rate” and “total following” are less reliable when attempting to determine whether an Influencer is influential.”

Truth is that the metrics available to marketers on social platforms are quite limited - and this is by design. Social media companies want to control the ‘free’ metrics available publicly to those who aren’t buying ads on the platform. There’s no clear financial incentive to help marketers to identify influencers for campaigns paid for outside of the platform.

So it’s even more important for marketers to move past vanity metrics when selecting influencers to work with.

Get the full story at Tnooz and Travel Weekly UK

Read also "How to vacation like an Instagram influencer" at People.com

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

Facebook to put 1.5 billion users out of reach of GDPR

April 19, 2018

Facebook members outside the United States and Canada, whether they know it or not, are currently governed by terms of service agreed with the company’s international headquarters in Ireland.

Next month, Facebook is planning to make that the case for only European users, meaning 1.5 billion members in Africa, Asia, Australia and Latin America will not fall under the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), which takes effect on May 25.

The previously unreported move, which Facebook confirmed to Reuters on Tuesday, shows the world’s largest online social network is keen to reduce its exposure to GDPR, which allows European regulators to fine companies for collecting or using personal data without users’ consent.

That removes a huge potential liability for Facebook, as the new EU law allows for fines of up to 4 percent of global annual revenue for infractions, which in Facebook’s case could mean billions of dollars.

Get the full story at Reuters

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/facebook_to_put_1.5_billion_users_out_of_gdpr_reach

How hotels can avoid marketing “traps”

April 19, 2018

It's not the first time such a scheme has been met with divided opinion. The Booking Genius programme, for example, is held by some hotels to provide a valuable segment of incremental bookings, but has been criticized by others for cannibalizing bookings and engendering loyalty for Booking.com at the expense of the hotel.

So, when how can hoteliers know when to take part in new OTA or metasearch schemes - and when to abstain? Is it possible for such programmes to serve the interests of both the hotel and the third party? Let's take a look at some examples.

Get the full story at Triptease

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

5 easy hotel promotions to increase revenue at your property

April 19, 2018

Promotions are great because you can be very flexible and targeted with what you offer, and often they’ll grab the attention of travellers searching online.

Here are just five examples of promotions you can run at your hotel to increase occupancy and revenue when needed.

1. Seasonal promotions

Most destinations experience a low season, where tourism is not as active as other parts of the year. However, with the right deals your hotel doesn’t have to suffer through empty rooms and hallways.

Get the full story at SiteMinder

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

Booking.com is on the road toward going full-service

April 18, 2018

When the Priceline Group changed its name to Booking Holdings a couple of months ago, the company spun it as better portraying the global nature of its business, and enhancing the alignment of its six major brands, all of which perform bookings.

But behind the scenes, the name change portends a deeper shift that Skift has been pointing to for months. Booking, which became a $102 billion company based largely on its hotel business, is headed toward becoming a full-service online travel agency with some parallels to Expedia Group and Ctrip.

In an interview at Skift headquarters in New York City last week, Booking Holdings CEO Glenn Fogel confirmed the company’s strategic direction.

Get the full story at Skift

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

How TripAdvisor is using AI to “humanize” its review community

April 18, 2018

Jeff Chow, TripAdvisor vice president of product and consumer experience says machine learning - which powers AI - is used to “derive meaning” out of TripAdvisor’s massive data sets, and AI is then “married to other techniques such as UX, interface design to make it more humanized.”

A process called collaborative filtering matches users with specific interests to reviews that include similar content - in essence looking for patterns to surface relevant reviews to each traveler.

Sentiment analysis helps determine where users are in the planning cycle as well as what types of reviews they’re looking for: Someone narrowing down a selection of 10 hotels, for example, likely won’t need to read full reviews for each property, however a traveler ready to make a purchase might want more information.

Get the full story at Phocuswire

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

Marriott simplifies loyalty programs, lowers point thresholds

April 18, 2018

Marriott said it will allow members of all three programs to combine their points within a single account. Members of all three programs will be able to redeem points at any Marriott International hotel without having to convert points between programs.

The simplified points program will make bookings more user-friendly for travel agents serving clients who are members of any of the three programs, said Brian King, Marriott's global officer of digital, distribution, revenue management and global sales.

"We wanted to make sure we had a simplified, unified program so that [agents] can become experts," said King. "Now, they can talk about the benefits of one program, starting in August. We wanted to make sure the travel agent community had time to digest."

Get the full story at Travel Weekly and Marriott

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

Booking.com reveals where sustainable travel is headed in 2018

April 18, 2018

However, 48% indicate they never, rarely or only sometimes manage to travel sustainably, suggesting that while promising strides are being made for a greener future, there is still plenty of room to turn intentions into action.

Sustainability starts where you stay as for almost half of travelers (46%), 'sustainable travel' means staying in eco-friendly or green accommodations, topping the list of what people think of when hearing the term. Looking ahead, more than two-thirds (68%) of travelers intend to stay in an eco-accommodation in 2018, reassuringly up from 65% in 2017 and 62% in 2016. Additionally, the percentage of travelers who have not considered eco-friendly stays because they were unaware of their existence continues to decline, resting at 31% this year, compared to 39% and 38% in 2017 and 2016 respectively.

Get the full story at Booking.com

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/booking.com_reveals_where_sustainable_travel_is_headed_in_2018

Morocco takes aim at Airbnb, Booking.com

April 18, 2018

Vacation rentals offered on online portal Airbnb Inc. will be subject to tax beginning in 2019, bridging a legal void that has hurt the more than 3,800 hotels and hundreds of travel agencies operating in the country, said Mehdi Taleb, head of regulation, development and quality at Morocco’s Tourism, Air Transport and Social Economy Ministry. Tax officials will work with undercover hotel inspectors and interior ministry informants to ensure enforcement.

Authorities will also help local online travel platforms offer attractive packages aimed at giving them greater footing against online global sites like Booking.com.

The changes are part of the North African kingdom’s efforts to confront a “new reality which is distorting visibility for our tourism development strategies,” Taleb said in an interview. With the help of online portals, 60 percent of the 10-million-plus holiday-makers visiting Morocco yearly plan their holiday by themselves -- sidestepping the conventional tourism market.

Get the full story at Bloomberg

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

Why do you leave restaurant reviews?

April 18, 2018

The three main reasons that Yelp tends to categorize most of the feedback it gets when it ask users why they contribute to Yelp. The first one is altruism, and that tends to be the biggest one so there’s this idea that they’ve gotten so much out of Yelp, and they want to give back to the community, or they’re champions for their local community and they want everyone around them to have the same great experiences that they’re having.

The second one is experience, so these are your food journalers, or your food bloggers, or people who are really participating in Yelp mostly for their own benefits. They like writing about their experiences. It’s kind of like their experience diary if you will.

The third theme is very feedback-driven. Thankfully, most of it is positive feedback, but it’s giving feedback either to other people, or mostly to the business themselves, so a thank you of what a great experience they had, or some suggestions for improvement.

Get the full story at The Verge

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

Can I stop OTAs from displaying wholesale rates?

April 18, 2018

When Triptease first covered this back in December 2017, it seemed as though Expedia may have been exploring a metasearch-type model, with one hotel group telling us they'd been approached by the OTA about testing direct links to the hotel website. Unfortunately the situation no longer looks as positive as first thought.

We know learned that Expedia may be introducing 'multi-source channel rates' into their contracts with hotels, which would mean they have license to display rates other than those from the hotel. This spells bad news for hoteliers struggling with rate parity, and especially for those being undercut by unpackaged wholesale rates. We've heard the impact first-hand from a hotelier being undercut on his own Expedia listing: "Any rate with a photo next to it is mine," he explained to us. "Any rate without a photo - I have no clue where that came from. And those rates are the ones that are undercutting me."

Get the full story at Triptease

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

How hotels can use Facebook throughout the purchase funnel

April 18, 2018

And this is where many hoteliers are falling down. Because it’s not just about the number of travelers on Facebook—rather, it’s how you use Facebook to influence the traveler’s path to purchase. Here’s how you can achieve your marketing goals at all stages of the funnel.

Did you know 38% of travelers say they found ideas for their most recent trip on Instagram? Facebook’s inspiring formats like video and canvas are great for inspiring those just starting their travel planning. Raise your property’s profile early on by showcasing the best of your hotel on these formats, including its facilities, services and amenities.

And even better - Facebook Dynamic Ads for Travel (DAT) offers advertisers the chance to retarget those who have visited their site, but haven’t converted, as well as prospect new guests through DAT for broad audiences - so you can reach those who haven’t been to your hotel site before, but who are likely to be receptive to your offering.

Get the full story at Sojern

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

The future of guest retention: Building loyalty in a disloyal age

April 17, 2018

To continue building loyalty with the hotel guests of today, you must know your customer - what do they want and what can you deliver? Sounds simple, right? If only.

Currently, the choice of solutions available for a variety of guest scenarios and/or preferences can appear overwhelming. For instance, younger guests may prefer not to interact with anyone at check-in or wait in line. For these guests, there are mobile apps, keyless entry and secure payment options. However, just because one traveller wishes to streamline their check-in experience doesn’t mean every traveller wants to avoid personal service.

An automated chatbot might recite breakfast hours or the daily in-room dining specials, but when a guest is looking for a unique brunch experience, they want to speak with a human. This means hotels need to ensure they cater to a wide range of guest types and preferences. But is it feasible, or even good practice, to try and meet the needs of every possible guest? How should hoteliers meet the needs of guests and encourage loyalty now and into the future?

Get the full story at eHotelier

Read also "When it comes to loyalty, new study reveals split in the perception of hoteliers and their guests"

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

Sabre pushes for seamless end-to-end travel

April 17, 2018

During the opening session of Sabre’s annual client conference, Sabre STC, President and CEO Sean Menke described a scene in the not-too-distant future when a traveler, facing flight cancellations on a routine trip from New York to Dallas, will feel different.

For example, Menke said, instead of the client having to call their airline to be re-accommodated, a push notification will go out to the traveler’s smartphone based on their profile. Once they accept a new flight, say early the next day, their hotel will be contacted to reflect that new check-in date and time.

“Think about how technology can push that to the ground transportation next, and update the car service provider. Since the hotel knows you have changes in your plans, they may give you the opportunity to do early check-in.”

Get the full story at Travel Market Report

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

Getabed and roomsXML announce merger

April 17, 2018

The owners of both firms will remain with the merged business and the make-up of the full will be announced shortly.

It was confirmed roomsXML’s Ruchir Bang will be chief executive of the new company while getabed managing director Matt Stuart will be chief commercial officer.

Stuart said: “This is a hugely exciting time for both getabed and roomsXML.
“With the accommodation wholesale market evolving rapidly, we needed to ensure that we remain relevant.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

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

Pegasus ambitious on its return to the fold

April 17, 2018

The company was once synonymous with the mechanics behind the the hotel sector, having overseen one of the first CRSs and considered one of the leading providers for many years alongside the likes of Sabre and Oracle.

Following a split in the original business in 2014, when the distribution switch was spun-off to eventually become DHISCO and the main business sold to Regent Equity Partners, Pegasus is attempting to return to its former glories.

This period coincided with a number of its long-term customers deciding not to renew their contracts and other players coming into the marketplace.

Get the full story at Phocuswire

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

5 tips for reducing your hotel cancellation rates

April 17, 2018

To entice consumers to book early, OTAs frequently advertise a free cancellation policy. Along with booking well in advance, the same tactic is used to encourage consumers to book multiple properties, which they can then choose from later.

But this all comes at a heavy price for hotels. Guests are incentivized to book without worrying about whether they’re certain about their choice. After all, they can always cancel if they change their mind. Unsurprisingly, this tactic has led to notoriously high OTA cancellation rates.

These rates vary significantly among the OTAs. For instance, hotels on Booking.com, (which heavily promotes their free cancellation policy), experience cancellation rates of around 40%. In contrast, hotels on Expedia (which doesn’t heavily advertise this policy) see a cancellation rate of about 20%.

Overall, approximately one in five online hotel bookings are cancelled, causing major headaches for hotel revenue managers everywhere.

On top of hurting a hotel’s bottom line, a property that relies heavily on OTAs for bookings will find it tough to make good revenue management decisions when so many of these bookings are cancelled.

Fighting back against this issue begins with having a better understanding of the booking and cancellation patterns OTAs employ, and then using proper revenue and rate strategies to combat them. Here are five tips worth considering.

Get the full story at Travel Tripper and SlideShare

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

The evolution of the hotel booking journey

April 17, 2018

InterContinental Hotels Group stated recently that “mobile will account for 40 percent of online travel sales by 2020”. According to McKinsey, one in every four consumers also uses social media to make purchasing decisions.

What we’re seeing is the evolution of three key pillars. Firstly, consumer behavior related to the purchase journey. Secondly, the way consumers interact with hospitality businesses through mobiles and, thirdly, customer loyalty dynamics. Hoteliers must now sit up and take note, or ignore this at their peril.

If we take the issue of loyalty, some hotels are under the illusion that loyalty starts when the customer checks in. This is no longer the case, given the changing dynamics of the three pillars mentioned above. By using digital influencers, hoteliers have the opportunity to build loyalty before guests even come to stay. You can do this because the images shared by influencers evoke emotion and desire, so at the point when the potential customer starts looking for a hotel, your property should be the first they go to.

Get the full story at École hôtelière de Lausanne

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

How to develop a successful hotel content marketing strategy

April 17, 2018

So why do so many businesses, hotels among them, botch up something that is ‘king’ and crucial to any digital marketing program? It turns out it’s not what a hotel does that creates holes in their content marketing, it’s what they don’t do.

While almost no other aspect of hotel management happens without a strategy, when it comes to the all-important content marketing part of their digital marketing, it is often handled on the spot by telling an assistant that “we should start a blog.”

Your content marketing benefits from a well-thought out strategy as much as anything else. And it might deliver higher returns than you expect.

Get the full story at Vizlly

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

TripAdvisor Tips: How to boost your hotel rating with these useful and effective ideas

April 17, 2018

1. Ask guests to leave a review

TripAdvisor gives more weight to new reviews, and properties with more reviews receive a higher ranking than hotels with only a few hotel ratings.

The more 4- and 5-star reviews you can get, the faster you will rise up the rankings as you aim to be the top-rated property in your area.

Ask guests to review you at check-out or in a follow-up email after they depart. Place review information on guest receipts at the end of the stay. Include a TripAdvisor badge on your website’s guest testimonials page. As the saying goes – if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

As the saying goes - if you don’t ask you don’t get. Always make requests to guests for reviews and feedback.

Get the full story at SiteMinder

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

When it comes to loyalty, new study reveals split in the perception of hoteliers and their guests

April 16, 2018

Rather than having an open attitude to the programs, the consumer research bears out a far more selective approach. Some 61% of business respondents believe guests will sign up to every loyalty program on offer, where in reality only 24% of guests do, with a third rarely signing up to any loyalty program at all, a figure hotels guessed to be just 6%.

Relevancy of offers and rewards is another area that throws up a large discrepancy: 54% of hoteliers thought guest offers are mostly relevant, while only 22% of guests think they are. Conversely only 6% of hoteliers thought guest offers are rarely relevant whereas 39% of guests think offers are not relevant. Furthermore, 62% of hoteliers currently do not engage influencers and 71% do not have brand ambassadors, yet 43% of guests are influenced by YouTubers.

It’s clear that if hotels want loyalty programs to be successful, a rethink in strategy is required.

Get the full story at Lodging and download the study at Oracle (free registration)

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

Travel trade at ‘watershed’ on distribution

April 16, 2018

That is the view of senior UK industry figure Ken McLeod, who is Advantage Travel Partnership director of industry affairs and president of the Scottish Passenger Agents Association (SPAA). McLeod warned: “Fares will be out in the market that most of our agents can’t access. A slew of fares that sit behind an API will not be available to the general market.”

British Airways, Lufthansa and Air France-KLM plan to make many fares available only via their own direct connect APIs – application programme interfaces – or online portals, in line with Iata’s new distribution capability (NDC), while surcharging on GDS bookings.

Lufthansa’s lowest fares on selected routes from Germany became available only to agents with a direct booking channel this month and UK senior sales director Andreas Koester said: “We envisage similar in the UK.”

Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK

Read also "Corporate travel giant signs to avoid Air France-KLM fee" at Travel Weekly and "Lufthansa tells agents ‘don’t wait’" at Travel Weekly

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

Can new hotel booking tools help level the playing field for travel agents?

April 16, 2018

This typically causes the agent to have to research the rate’s details and convey the differences between that rate and the rates the agent has quoted. It’s all too common that an internet rate carries restrictions the client wouldn’t want or that don’t fit their profile.

“Agents are worried that their clients are going to find something better on a B2C site,” said Traci Mercer, Sabre senior vice president, lodging, ground and sea, briefing Travel Market Report at the recently completed Sabre STX annual customer conference. “They tell us, I don’t want to lose face that I cannot validate and confirm the rate they say they found.

“Resoundingly, agents say their preferred method for booking hotel and car is GDS. Eighty-one percent of those agents say, 'I would book more hotel and car if I had it all available in front of me, but with all of the content across hotel chains, specific rates for one channel, B2C, direct connect, there are all of these different price and value points.'”

Get the full story at Travel Market Report

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

Why Booking.com will win the sharing economy race

April 16, 2018

Booking Holdings is a big company, but it continues to expand at a double-digit pace. It is the global leader in travel and accommodations and has taken steps to embrace the sharing economy and maintain its lead.

The company also has a track record of successfully adding related services to its platform, like restaurant reservation management, and is experimenting with travel experience reservations (like tours or visiting museums), similar to what Airbnb launched late last year.

Management's idea is to make Booking the central planner for the entire vacation, something it could feasibly patch together with the breadth of its offerings.

Get the full story at The Motley Fool

Read also "Booking.com claims it beats Airbnb in alternative accommodations listings"

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

Expedia’s agent affiliate program to roll out new dynamic hotel commission model

April 16, 2018

Diego Pedrani, senior director, Expedia Partner Solutions, said: “Our new dynamic model was developed specifically with feedback about commissions in mind. It incentivises agencies to focus, where possible, on hotels that pay Expedia higher commission and where we can share that upside with agents".

Four different commission levels are available: Basic, Basic+, Premium and Premium+ which give agents the control and flexibility to optimise their earning potential.

Premium+ level allows agents to share in the upside where hotels offer Expedia higher margins.

Get the full story at Travolution

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

How Facebook lets brands and politicians target you

April 16, 2018

When Facebook introduced its ad platform in 2007, advertisers could target people using information they had volunteered on the platform.

Three years later, Facebook introduced Custom Audiences, a feature that allowed companies to upload their own lists of people to target. A retailer, for example, could upload its customer list and target ads at those who had recently bought a specific kind of T-shirt.

In mid-2014, Facebook incorporated users’ online browsing history into its ad-targeting platform. The company had been collecting browsing data for years, from any web page that included a Facebook like button or had let people log in through their Facebook accounts.

Get the full story at The New York Times

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

What’s really happening at TripAdvisor?

April 16, 2018

According to Fuel, TripAdvisor not only stopped responding to agencies and hotels alike, TripAdvisor has also been approaching properties with hearty increases in their business listing costs - although performance of business listings steadily decrease over the years as - and Fuel as seen a disturbing trend for TripAdvisor rankings over the past 30 days, corresponding closely to the integration of vacation rentals into the main search results.

Get the full story at Fuel

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

CBRE: Hotel commissions vs. revenue trends are ‘alarming’

April 16, 2018

According to the CBRE Trends in the Hotel Industry report, commission expenses paid by hotels rose nearly 7% last year. And as the firm prepares its 2018 report, the trend appears to be continuing, says Robert Mandelbaum, director of research information services for CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research.

Duetto caught up with Mandelbaum recently to discuss the outlook for industry profit-and-loss statements during this year and beyond, with an emphasis on two areas: commissions and labor.

Get the full story at Duetto

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

TripAdvisor releases path to purchase study: How consumers research and book travel online

April 13, 2018

The study determined that across the globe, TripAdvisor is the number one most-visited site and app by consumers prior to booking in the top travel markets included in the study. Every month, hundreds of millions of travelers come to TripAdvisor to read candid reviews, check out photos and compare prices to make sure they are booking a vacation that's right for them. Following TripAdvisor, Booking.com, Trivago, Hotels.com and Expedia were the most visited pre-transaction sites.

The study also shows that TripAdvisor's unquestionable influence of consumers' travel purchasing decisions spans categories, regardless of whether consumers ultimately end up booking on a hotel, online travel agent (OTA) or airline site.

The study found that travelers don't often have a clear destination or even a specific hotel, airline or OTA brand from which to purchase their trip in mind when they begin their research, and are increasingly more comfortable beginning their travel research without a brand or destination in mind.

Get the full story at TripAdvisor and download the full report at TripAdvisor (PDF 3.3 MB)

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

Travel agents respond to Marriott’s claim that agency channel has declined

April 13, 2018

Agents who spoke to Travel Market Report say Marriott is reaping the fallout from its own policies, which have disrespected travel agents in favor of direct bookings from consumers.

“Marriott is probably seeing a decline in bookings from travel agents because they have been the first to cut commissions and do everything possible to cut us out. Because of this, they are never the first option I offer clients,” said Susanne Yonts, Certified Travel Consultant at Any Seasons Travel in Odessa, Texas.

“Also, I rarely if ever book hotels direct," she added. "There is a lack of trust that hotels will actually pay commission if we book direct. By booking with a tour operator, we know we are going to get paid and we know we have backup if anything goes wrong. Unless they are getting reports about individual agencies from the tour operators, they will never know if we are booking or not.”

Get the full story at Travel Market Report

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

Airbnb’s response to Paris lawsuit is the same old story

April 13, 2018

Airbnb’s No. 1 market in the world, Paris, is not happy with the platform’s business operations.

The city is suing the online travel company, as well as its homesharing peers Paris Attitude and Wimdu, in a lawsuit that could have a lasting impact on how short-term rentals are regulated in major metropolitan cities.

Paris wants Airbnb and other platforms to ensure that any short-term rental listings on their sites without a formal registration number, as well as those that do not comply with the city’s 120-day annual cap rentals, are removed.

Get the full story at Skift and VentureBeat

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

Kayak enables flight notifications on Amazon Echo

April 13, 2018

Saying the invocation name "ask Kayak," users can ask Alexa for a flight's status, a notification when a flight lands, or a notification at a specific time before a flight lands.

For instance, a user could ask, "Alexa, ask Kayak to notify me 30 minutes before Flight 123 lands," or "Alexa, ask Kayak for the status of Flight 123."

Users must enable notifications from Kayak through the Alexa app.

Source: Travel Weekly

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

Google testing vacation rentals callout on hotel ads

April 13, 2018

The most interesting of these new experiments is the inclusion of a callout specifically for vacation rentals. Vacation rentals have consistently shaken up the travel space over the past few years as sites such as Airbnb and HomeAway have come onto the scene. These sites have transitioned from a focus on leisure travel to targeting the business demographic. Does the inclusion of vacation rentals in metasearch point to a shift in the way that metasearch publishers perceive these accommodations? Below we will discuss these UI changes and their potential impact on your metasearch business.

Certain users are being shown an option to search for vacation rentals above all the conventional hotel lodgings. While this test seems to be small (only one of our analysts was able to get this experience), it nevertheless indicates a potential change in how vacation rentals may play in the travel industry, and more specifically metasearch.

Get the full story at Koddi

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

Google’s “More Results” test could spell drastic change in paid search

April 13, 2018

If that button says “Next” instead of “More Results,” the next 3 or 4 results are ads. At the top of page 2. It appears that with More Results, however, in order to avoid listing six/seven ads in a row, Google has pushed those ads beneath the 10 organic results you would normally see on page 2. That means that if your ad was in the 11th position in the mobile SERP, it’s now in the 21st. Likewise, scroll down and tap “More Results” again, and the ads you would normally see at the bottom of page 2 have been relegated beneath 10 more organic results.

To put this in a less muddled conceptual lens, and using “mobile ads” as an example: in the old mobile SERP, the ratio of organic results to paid results per page was 10:7. On pages 1, 2, 3, so forth. In the new mobile SERP, the ratio changes from 10:7 to 10:3 after your first click of “More Results.” Way less ads, way more organic results.

Get the full story at WordStream

Read also "Google is officially testing “more results” button to load more search results"

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

Mobile dominates hotel traffic

April 13, 2018

Website Visits: Mobile continues to dominate site traffic. As of March 2018, 60% of sessions are on mobile devices (an increase of 13% on last year), with both desktop and tablet in a continued decline. In general, according to a recent report from Ericsson, between 2016 and 2022 the traffic generated by smartphones will increase tenfold!

Revenue: Desktop is steadily losing ground but remains the largest source of revenue at 56% for Q1 2018 (down 6% on last year). The strong revenue is in part related to the higher average booking values achieved on desktop, with a 23% difference in ABV between mobile and desktop.

Tablet has been on a continued plateau since Quarter 4 2016 with very little movement in terms of traffic and revenue share and only a marginal decline in transaction volume.

Get the full story at Net Affinity

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

Voice search and digital voice assistants: The next big thing in hotel distribution and marketing

April 13, 2018

Termed “the next billion” by the Wall Street Journal, voice search through digital assistants is here and the possibilities for the technology are endless.

With the forthcoming generation of Internet users worldwide preferring communication with images and, most importantly, voice activation, there is a great opportunity for hotels in this landscape. Speaking to a digital voice assistant that can understand and execute a request comes naturally to humans. Seventy-three percent of users would like to be able to complete tasks by speaking to a virtual assistant, and the world’s tech giants are striving to meet that want.

Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, Apple’s Siri and Microsoft’s Cortana dominate the market in digital voice assistants; Amazon alone has sold over 20 million Alexa units so far. By 2021, more than four billion mobile assistants will be used globally, and many of them will have the functionality to execute travel bookings (Juniper Research).

Get the full story at HEBS Digital

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

How hotels are using Artificial Intelligence to improve the guest experience

April 12, 2018

At the Cosmopolitan Las Vegas, you’ll meet Rose - a quixotic chatbot you can text for advice on where to eat or what to do. Though most recommendations are in-house, Rose treats guests to VIP access to select restaurants, bars, and clubs, letting them skip lines and entrance fees or get first crack at reservations for pool cabanas and spa treatments. She can offer extra amenities on-demand or even a tour of the hotel’s art. Guests are given a mysterious envelope when they check in, which provides Rose’s phone number and this teaser: “Know my secrets. Text me.” Both flirty and a little funny, she’ll crack a joke or play games like "Would You Rather" or "Kiss, Marry, Diss." (Don’t worry, what happens with Rose stays with Rose).

In Spring 2018, Rose will be the first chatbot to serve casino and loyalty customers from the resort’s Identity Rewards program, automatically lavishing extra attention on them. She may text about free spa treatments, concert tickets, or other benefits they could then automatically book. If a guest has been frequenting a certain bar, she might suggest different on-site venues where they can use their Identity membership card, or recommend her favorite drinks.

Similar programs can be found at Aloft Boston Seaport, where guests can use the ChatBotler (get it?) to ask for amenities or obtain information about the hotel, and Caesar's Palace Las Vegas, where over 10,000 rooms have access to Ivy, who helps with everything from wake-up calls to billing.

Get the full story at Condé Nast Traveler

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

‘Airbnb is forcing everyone to up their game’: how hotels are changing tactics

April 12, 2018

“This could be their uniqueness or their connection to a local area,” says Fergal McGivney, senior travel analyst at Mintel. “Younger consumers want an authentic experience, away from tourist traps and the masses of holidaymakers. Independents could also offer apartment-style rooms for guests, although they’d have to make sure it would be profitable for them.”

Salisbury agrees that hotels should focus on their links to the locality. “A strong food and beverage offering attracts both tourists and locals and hopefully creates a great atmosphere.” He adds that excellent service is another area where hotels can excel.

Even if hoteliers do get on board with Airbnb, they remain annoyed that the platform’s hosts face less regulation. “I’m angry that we have to jump through regulatory hoops and checks, while a normal household can just be let out. We have to pay 20% VAT, and business rates are horrendous, but people hiring out their own homes are able to earn an income without any of those requirements,” says Bishop.

Get the full story at The Guardian

Read also "Booking.com claims it beats Airbnb in alternative accommodations listings"

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

Amazon’s options for disrupting online travel: try or buy

April 12, 2018

Expedia could be one such acquisition target.

In today’s world, with $17.4 billion market capitalization, Expedia is on the smaller size, especially compared to Booking Holdings’ market cap of $105 billion.

Amazon knows how to drastically improve website user experience and conversions, how to upsell and cross-sell, and how to be efficient at low margins.
By integrating its retail offerings into Expedia’s fabric, Amazon could potentially change the online travel consumer marketplace.

Get the full story at PhocusWire

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

Low-commission Hotel Bonanza tempts hotels from ‘big two’ OTAs

April 12, 2018

Hotel Bonanza celebrated its 10,000th hotel sign up in February, a month after its first marketing campaign launch in January.

Its puts a big emphasis on its fixed commission rate, but also provides discounts and deals to consumers who are members of its Bonanza Club.

Co-founder Suzie Barber explained that the idea has been in the pipeline from 2014, when she started helping her partner Bhavin Swaly with the rates and availability of his Earl’s Court hotel.

Get the full story at Travolution

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

Marriott Hotels inspires new perspectives with TED partnership

April 12, 2018

Marriott Hotels expands its partnership with idea engine, TED, to include even more innovative programming in its second year.

With recognition and high approval from guests, the hotel kicked off 2018 with the launch of the first co-branded TED and Marriott Hotels video as shown in the article.

“We saw an immediate, positive impact on our guests’ experiences after just the first year of our partnership with TED, but that was just the beginning. At Marriott Hotels we’re constantly looking for creativity and new ways to push the envelope, just like our guests. Through our partnership with TED, we can continue to evolve the travel experience like never before,” said Matthew Carroll, vice president and global brand manager of Marriott Hotels.

Get the full story at and watch the video at Travel Daily

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

Marketing to European travelers? Take these steps on personal data

April 12, 2018

The definition of "personal data" covers just about every piece of client information that a travel agency or other travel business gets: "'Personal data' means any information relating to an identified or identifiable natural person ... an identifiable natural person is one who can be identified, directly or indirectly, in particular by reference to an identifier such as a name, an identification number, location data, an online identifier or to one or more factors specific to the physical, physiological, genetic, mental, economic, cultural or social identity of that natural person."

Since you may be getting personal data from EU individuals you are going to target, you have to do these things:

First, make sure all of your staff is aware that personal data must be protected. Have them sign confidentiality agreements or policy statements, and prohibit transfer of personal data out of your office unless specifically authorized by a contract with a data processor.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

Sabre launches new guest-centric solutions on the SynXis Enterprise Platform

April 12, 2018

The revolutionary SynXis Property Hub is the first guest-centric, cloud-native property management system that allows hoteliers to refocus their processes on the guest in an entirely new way.

As hoteliers look to provide memorable experiences for guests that differentiate their services, many are moving away from traditional hospitality software and are turning to strategic technology partners. Today’s launches on the SynXis Enterprise Platform further distinguish it from competing solutions for hoteliers to better support the needs of their guests and business – and will further benefit from more advanced personalization, such as dynamic offers, with the launch of SynXis Guest Experience, also coming to the SynXis Enterprise Platform later this year.

“We have been intensively focused on trends in consumer behavior and their impact on hospitality. It’s clear that guests have an expectation for a personalized experience across devices and touchpoints, and hoteliers are searching for scalable ways to transform the guest experience through technology,” said Clinton Anderson, president of Sabre Hospitality Solutions. “This has proven to be a challenge for properties using legacy, disparate systems for hotel distribution and property management. But the brand new, mobile-enabled SynXis Property Hub, along with our upgraded Booking Engine and Voice Agent, leverages information from our SynXis Central Reservations system to connect the dots as customers shop, book and travel, resulting in a much more robust picture of the guest and greater opportunity for personalizing offers and amenities.”

Get the full story at Sabre Hospitality Solutions

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

How do you know if your hotel website is accessible to all your guests?

April 12, 2018

Accessibility refers to the design of products, devices, services, or environments – including hotel websites – for people who experience disabilities. It should be achieved equally through user experience (UX), design, front end web development and content.

There are two types of people who may be affected. Those who have a disability, but can use websites unassisted – and those who require assistance in the form of tools like screen readers, braille displays, or magnifiers.

Common disabilities include:

- Conditions associated with learning difficulties
- Blindness or vision impairment such as colour-blindness
- Motor control disorders
- Dyslexia or related conditions

Get the full story at SiteMinder

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

Booking.com claims it beats Airbnb in alternative accommodations listings

April 11, 2018

Booking.com says with 5 million “reported listings” it now tops Airbnb’s reported 4.5 million. The company also says the number of homes, apartments, and places it lists is 27 percent higher than last year.

Separately, Booking.com said it has hit another milestone with its use of AI to improve customer engagement. The company says its Booking Assistant bot now resolves half of the thousands of daily customer support queries it receives within five minutes. That’s up from 25 percent in July and 30 percent in December, when the company launched the bot out of beta.

The advancement is proof that Booking’s AI efforts are paying off, said James Waters, VP of customer service, in an interview with VentureBeat about the bot’s advancements. Five minutes may sound like a long time for resolving queries with AI, but travel questions can be complex and varied.

Get the full story at VentureBeat and Skift

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

Travel companies grapple with customer data and the creep factor

April 11, 2018

Michelle Gilman Jasen, the regional director of sales and marketing for Accor Hotels, said balancing privacy and personalisation is an issue that gets a lot of attention. Tackling it means doing as much listening to humans as diving into what the data says.

“How do you draw those lines? Frankly right now it is with a lot of customer feedback,” she said. “We sit through a lot of customer advisory sessions and ask how much do you want us to take that into consideration? We don’t want to let you down, but we also don’t like to overstep.”

For example, she said that travel brands need to understand that consumers are, “no longer bucket-able”. While it’s often useful to create profiles and spot general trends, data needs to be used to make the type of product offerings hit the right note. Customers want to feel there is a worthy payoff in how their data is used.

Get the full story at EyeForTravel

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

Expedia unveils a gaze-driven video campaign for resort hotels

April 11, 2018

This time, it’s working with Palace Resorts, a chain of luxury hotels in Latin America. So luxurious, apparently, that this campaign is built around the company’s theme that you will “Never Lift a Finger” at their paradises.

After launching the online video quiz, the user is asked for permission to use the webcam. If denied, the user can select the videos manually.

If webcam permission is granted, the user is then asked to line up her face in the camera, so that a red outline of a face becomes green when the user’s eyes are properly aligned.

Get the full story at MarTech Today

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

Travel industry eyes blockchain potential for fees, delays, lost bags

April 11, 2018

Major players including Lufthansa and citizenM hotels are partnering with startups and talking to large corporate clients about whether they can do group bookings via blockchain instead of using middlemen, who charge up to 25 percent of ticket or room prices in fees.

Blockchain, which functions as an online record-keeping system maintained by a group of peers rather than a central agency or authority, also offers new business opportunities in tracking bags and flight delays.

Because transaction data is openly available and not controlled by any one party, blockchain offers an opportunity to build new platforms that can connect travel providers and customers more directly and replace decades-old technology.

Get the full story at Reuters

Read also "Sabre explains blockchain" at Tnooz

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

Hotel’s technology now a factor in AAA ratings

April 11, 2018

For instance, ratings that were previously given for a business center have been replaced with a score for "connective technology," reflecting the hotel's capacity to connect with its guests, AAA said. That includes things like free WiFi, USB ports, mobile apps, mobile key technology, kiosks and digital messaging services.

In addition, inspectors now review the technological capabilities has at Five Diamond properties, especially looking at guest-request systems.

"Inspectors use the hotel's digital systems during their stay and evaluate responsiveness, communication, presentation and follow-up," AAA said.

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

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

How custom and automated Schema markup increases incremental revenue for hotels

April 11, 2018

At its core, Schema.org is about standardizing and simplifying the process of adding semantic markup to web pages and providing tangible benefits for doing so. The most visible and measurable benefit comes in the form of rich snippet results. For the hotel sites, we see these rich results come in the form of star ratings, price range, and reviews in search results.

Schema.org, founded by Google, Microsoft, Yahoo and Yandex in 2011, is the collaborative community tasked with the mission to create, maintain, and promote schemas for structured data (vocabularies) on the Internet, web pages, and beyond.

In its inception, Search engine companies’ main goal was to help with semantic search. For example, the difference between when a user searches for Apple, the company, and apple, the fruit. Does the company or the fruit populate the search results? Schema markup data implementation on sites help the search engines understand what content on web pages are truly about and return the best search result based on this information.

Get the full story at HEBS Digital

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

HEDNA releases two highly anticipated new white papers for hoteliers

April 11, 2018

Hotel Descriptive Content White Paper: Presented by the HEDNA Content Working Group, the white paper titled, “Hotel Descriptive Content: Considerations for Sourcing and Exchanging Content,” describes the current state of content today, including the various content API standards available. The report identifies different content usage scenarios, the key attributes typically applicable to each, and examples of companies that have implemented those scenarios. It also explores the critical questions to ask when evaluating your content needs and the solutions that are available – with a listing of content providers who are offering access to an extensive collection of chains and properties.

Hotel Distribution, Data Management, and Analysis White Paper: The HEDNA Hotel Analytics Working Group analyzed the results of one of the most abundant survey samples collected and published the outcomes in the white paper titled, “Hotel Distribution, Data Management and: A 2018 assessment on global and regional practices.” The 20-part survey was released in October 2017 and over an 8-week period, generated 1,053 global responses, representing over 40,000 hotels and Management Companies. The Survey responders come from all major continents and represent hotels, management companies, and independents. The survey set out to quantify current practice in data collection, storage, and usages, as well as test respondents’ overall data satisfaction. Next steps are for the Analytics Working Group to share best practice recommendations for the hotel industry.

Get the full story at HEDNA (PDF 100 KB)

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

AirGain to offer better control to Airlines on Rate Parity

April 11, 2018

With the new features and upgrades, Airlines can now monitor OTAs violating rate parity on their products by exactly matching products across different channels.

According to Anand Medepalli, CPO, RateGain, “We are excited to introduce AirGain 2.1 with additional valuable features designed to help the airline industry take control of rate parity & pricing operations, efficiently. In our research, we found that rate disparity is one of the major concern for airlines. Rate/availability disparity not only adversely affects direct business, customer’s data but also their confidence on the brand .Considering this, AirGain 2.1 release introduces the parity module that helps airlines identify improvement opportunity, and address them quickly through the tool itself. Along with this, the airlines can now access the parity score like Revenue Loss Indicator, Consumer Confidence Index etc to track airline’s progress over time”

Get the full story at RateGain

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

The future business model of hospitality brands

April 10, 2018

The concept of the experience economy describes the transition from a product- and service-driven economy to an experiential one. Figures from Barclays and other economic research centers point to 2001 as the tipping point when consumers started to buy fewer products and consume more services. Eventually, the combination of advances in technology with the changing values of consumers led to the success of social media and sharing networks as commercial platforms.

The initial success of Airbnb was underpinned by the desire of a growing share of travelers to have experiences and share a sense of community with like-minded people. Since then, the company has announced its ambitions to become a global travel company and has started to offer travel experiences in selected cities. However, Airbnb and similar platforms offering experiences are limited as they do not control the actual delivery of the experience. Customers are also faced with a large number of uncurated offerings and the choice can be overwhelming.

This provides an opportunity for traditional hotel brands to leverage their existing brand equity to offer a range of more focused services and experiences that go beyond hotel stays. Brands can capitalize on their knowledge of their customers and experience in service delivery to open up new revenue streams from a variety of sources and collect royalties through new collaborations.

Get the full story at École hôtelière de Lausanne

Read also "Adobe Summit 2018: Make experience your business"

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

AccorHotels acquires restaurant reservation system ResDiary

April 10, 2018

ResDiary provides venues with a high-end table management solution, using technology that optimizes their food and beverage revenues and helps control operational costs. Its yield and channel management tools help restaurateurs maximize revenues, while limiting booking fees by controlling availability displayed on third-party channels.

Sébastien Bazin, Chairman & CEO at AccorHotels, said: “I am delighted to see ResDiary join the range of services of the Group. Our ambition is to support ResDiary in its global expansion, consolidating its scale, and benefitting from its expertise to provide multiple attractive offers to our guests. This acquisition completes recent investments of AccorHotels in the Food & Beverage industry. It fully supports the Group’s ambition to increase touchpoints with a fast- growing customer base.”

Mike Conyers, ResDiary Co-founder and CEO: "We have had a very successful relationship with AccorHotels in Asia Pacific, and all the ResDiary team is thrilled to join the Group. We are looking forward to expanding our service on a more global level with AccorHotels.”

Related Link: ResDiary

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

Booking.com bets on non-hotel rooms in India

April 10, 2018

Booking.com started its India operations in 2012 but has faced stiff competition from not just homegrown online travel companies such as MakeMyTrip, Yatra and Cleartrip but also from hotel aggregators such as Oyo and Treebo, besides global competitors Airbnb and Expedia. Competition is set to intensify with homegrown online retailer Flipkart tying up with MakeMyTrip to provide its users travel options.

Booking.com says Indian travellers are increasingly showing preferences for non-hotel accommodation options such as villas, havelis and apartments, less expensive options like homestays, and eco-friendly options such as tree houses and houseboats.

Around 70% of the company's inventory of 44,000 rooms in India comprises non-hotel rooms and that helps it take on rivals like Airbnb, Vikas Bhola, head of Booking.com’s Indian subcontinent business, told TechCircle. This percentage share may well increase in the future.

Get the full story at Techcircle

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

Chinese travel B2B platform Octopus gets $95M funding

April 10, 2018

In 2013, the company raised US$25 million series A funding from Vision Knight Capital and SB China Capital.

"The investment shows the three investors’ confidence in our company," said Yu Dong, CEO of Octopus. "We will leverage Ant Financial’s services including online banking, Alipay, Zhima Credit and Tempus’s ticket booking and tourism businesses."

The Chinese online travel sector continues to receive a steady stream of funding, driven largely by the fact that China is currently the largest source of international travelers.

Get the full story at China Money Network

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/chinese_travel_b2b_platform_octopus_gets_95m_funding

Metasearch power plays: What hoteliers need to know about staying competitive

April 10, 2018

As part of a wider piece of research into digital media and online retail for travel and hotel bookings, PACE Dimensions analysed the top advertisers by metasearch site. Here are the main implications for hotels:

- Booking.com remains the leading retailer in metasearch: Despite reports that Booking.com pulled back on digital advertising spend at the end of last year, it still retained a 20% share of top placements averaged across all metasearch sites. Booking.com had the highest presence on Google, with a 25% share of top placements.

- The two biggest players outspend all hotels combined: Booking Holdings and Expedia outspend all hotel brands combined. Hotel company advertising generates only an 8% share compared to a 52% share for Expedia and Booking Holdings companies.

- Despite reports of rivalry, Booking.com still leads on top spot placements for Trivago: Based on our research, Booking.com had a 19% share of top placements on Trivago. Booking.com had a lower total share of top placements than Expedia companies combined (including Hotels.com) on Trivago, but still led all other advertisers.

- Hotel websites fared best for top spot placement on TripAdvisor and Google: Hotel websites had greater visibility on Google and TripAdvisor, as the top three advertisers on these platforms. By contrast, hotel brands fared worst of all on the combined flight and hotel metasearch sites: just a 7% share on Skyscanner and 4% on Kayak.

Get the full story at Tnooz

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

GDPR and the end of the Internet’s grand bargain

April 10, 2018

The grand bargain has been the fuel of digital growth for over two decades. But search engines, social media providers, and e-commerce platforms, along with user forums, news sites, and emerging internet-of-things service providers large and small, may rationally conclude that the new costs and potential penalties associated with collecting, analyzing, and marketing user-provided information have become unsustainable, requiring a new business model altogether.

That may also mean the end of customized recommendations from Amazon, streamlined searches from Google, tailored music from Pandora, and other services that use “private” information to give each user a personalized online experience. Again, the risks of collecting such information may be too great for services providers to stomach, despite the obvious value to users.

The age of the free and open internet may come to an end, and quickly. That may have been the true goal of many calling for “regulation” of tech companies in the first place. If so, the unintended impact on average consumers will be severe and, perhaps for many, decidedly worse than today’s admittedly messy and often leaky online experience.

Get the full story at Harvard Business Review

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

Hotel website functionality: Are you implementing these important features?

April 10, 2018

To stop them going elsewhere – or at least returning once they’ve made a final decision – you need to make sure your website is offering a seamless, frictionless experience.

Users want to be able to browse on any device, performing every action as normal. If certain options aren’t available, links don’t work, or pages load slowly, this means your website is not fully functional and is providing a sub-par experience.

Here are some features you can implement and how to make sure travellers don’t get frustrated with your website.

Get the full story at SiteMinder

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

How to advertise to a boutique hotel shopper

April 10, 2018

A typical budget-conscious shopper, “Leslie” plans a trip from Glasgow to New York City. While “Leslie” searches for the cheapest flight option, he looks to spend on amenities, activities, and upsells from his hotel.

As a hotelier, targeting direct bookers like “Leslie” is vital for your bottom line. To capture in-market travel planners to book directly to your site, implement prospecting. Prospecting allows you to reach upper-funnel searchers during their travel planning stage. With prospecting, you can stay top of mind with “Leslie,” creating brand awareness as he continues his search.

Get the full story at Sojern

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

The evolution of the hotel front desk: Why tech can only go so far

April 09, 2018

Consumers ignore the box office when booking tickets for a concert or a movie. They have learned to skip the airline counter when flying. They no longer expect to find a sales counter when buying an iPhone at an Apple store.

Yet the front desk of 2018 is much like the front desk of 1928. It has merely ditched the bell and added a Dell. The desk itself is outdated. Hotels no longer need a high barrier to keep robbers from stealing cash.

Many consumers want to interact with hotels flexibly, whether by texting to request an early check-in or by unlocking their guest room with keyless entry powered by a mobile app. Another force for change is the age-old desire to cut labor costs through automation.

Get the full story at Skift

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

Fixing airlines race to the bottom on customer satisfaction indices

April 09, 2018

Passengers are lucky to be offered a “welcome aboard.” Coach seats are too small for anyone overweight or taller than 6’2”. What started with removing the garnish from first-class appetizers has devolved into a state in which everything is considered an ancillary service worthy of monetization.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. Consider Singapore Airlines, which has developed a tremendous customer service culture. Its mission statement reads: “Singapore Airlines is a global company dedicated to providing air transportation services of the highest quality and to maximizing returns for the benefit of its shareholders and employees.” Compare that to a leading U.S. carrier’s mission statement: “We — ’s employees, customers and community partners — together form a force for positive local and global change, dedicated to bettering standards of living and the environment where we and our customers live and work.”

Generic to the point of being meaningless, this statement includes not a word about what its business does for its customers. While many U.S. carriers find ways to mimic ultra-low-cost competitors, Singapore Airlines considers every major issue, question or decision in light of its commitment to providing the highest quality of customer service. This in turn has allowed it to be profitable as revenues continue to grow and win coveted accolades such as best airline in Asia and one of the top three airlines in the world.

Get the full story at Customer Think

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

UK: Hitwise analysis reveals peaks upturn and busts affluent traveler myths

April 09, 2018

The market data, included in a myth-busting report for luxury operator Kuoni and digital agency Propellernet, found particular growth in cruises and luxury operators (both 16%) and holiday parks and attractions (25%).

However, aggregators saw an 11% growth in traffic, operators 14%, hotel direct sites 18% and airline direct sites 3%. The analysis was based on Hitwise data for the first eight weeks of 2018.

While budget hospitality brand Travelodge saw a 36% increase in searches, Kuoni saw click-through rates rise 51%, inbound calls increase by 47% and store appointments increase by an impressive 171%.

Get the full story at Travolution

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

Aussies turn to travel agents

April 09, 2018

The Roy Morgan Travel Agent Monitor Market Indicator Report, conducted by market research company Roy Morgan, has found that, although most Australians use websites to plan and compare holidays, when it comes to the crunch, 42.5 per cent of Australian travellers over the age of 14 turn to a travel agent to organise their trips.

The research found the TripAdvisor is the top site the Australians visit when planning their holiday, with 15.7 per cent visiting the website. Booking.com and Qantas came in second and third, with 13.6 per cent and 13.5 per cent visiting the site respectively.

Get the full story at ITIJ

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

‘Luxury Space Hotel’ to launch in 2021

April 09, 2018

That startup, called Orion Span, aims to loft its "Aurora Station" in late 2021 and begin accommodating guests in 2022. "We are launching the first-ever affordable luxury space hotel," said Orion Span founder and CEO Frank Bunger, who unveiled the Aurora Station idea last week at the Space 2.0 Summit in San Jose, California.

"Affordable" is a relative term: A 12-day stay aboard Aurora Station will start at $9.5 million. Still, that's quite a bit less than orbital tourists have paid in the past. From 2001 through 2009, seven private citizens took a total of eight trips to the International Space Station (ISS), paying an estimated $20 million to $40 million each time.

Aurora Station will be about the size of a large private jet's cabin. It'll measure 43.5 feet long by 14.1 feet wide (13.3 by 4.3 meters) and feature a pressurized volume of 5,650 cubic feet (160 cubic m).

Get the full story at Space.com

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/luxury_space_hotel_to_launch_in_2021

Google is officially testing “more results” button to load more search results

April 09, 2018

Danny Sullivan of Google confirmed on Twitter this is a test they have been running for the past few days.

It seems to be visible to many, if not all, searchers when searching Google on their smart phone devices.

Google first tested this more results button in a more limited fashion but now Google has increased the frequency searchers see this test.

Get the full story at Search Engine Land

Read also "17 Google marketing tools you should be using" at HubSpot

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

Case Study: How to increase hotel bookings with a cohesive content strategy

April 09, 2018

The goal was to drive engagement among key customer segments, increase the traffic to the website, increase their social media following, and boost natural search efforts.

Based on their goals, website promo slides, social media posts, social media custom images, and blog posts were created to be utilized throughout the quarter. Items were strategically paired together – such as social media custom images – with events/holidays all leading to an increase in engagement on the website and social media channels.

Get the full story at HEBS Digital

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

GDPR: The checklist

April 09, 2018

First off, let’s revisit what GDPR is and why it matters for hotels. In a nutshell, it’s new legislation designed to align data protection rules across Europe and fit with today’s digital world. It will mean businesses have to be much clearer about what data they collect and why.

Hotels are likely to be considered a ‘data controller’ under GDPR, which means you determine the purposes and means of processing personal data. That comes with obligations as to contracts with ‘data processors’, which are responsible for processing personal data on behalf of a controller.

Though an EU law, GDPR may apply to businesses outside the EU if they offer goods or services to individuals in the region. Failure to comply risks a penalty of up to 4% of worldwide turnover.

Get the full story at Triptease

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

Why OTAs provide no value for your hotel on metasearch engines

April 06, 2018

We have always defended the notion that the value OTAs have is to provide visibility to hotels and help them generate new sales, sales that otherwise would be impossible to access. This greater exposure, by generating more demand for you, allows you to increase your average price, not only for OTAs but also for the rest of your channels, something which is highly positive and has a direct impact on your RevPar.

These are two great value proposals which, at least to this day, make OTAs key elements in online sales of hotels.

But that is where it all ends, or at least most of it. All sales channelled by Booking.com or Expedia whose origin is a client who already knew you, a recommendation from a friend or a client who found you on TripAdvisor are completely absurd. You are paying a high cost for a sale that was already guaranteed, so to speak, as long as you cover minimum requirements: good technology, website and booking engine, languages and adequate usability on your direct channel.

Get the full story at Mirai

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

Using occupancy data to improve metasearch performance

April 06, 2018

This provides several benefits for suppliers such as:

- More incremental bookings
- Greater spend efficiency
- Better support for property-level needs

While the process of factoring in occupancy data is highly complex, the Koddi platform makes it easy to identify where and when there is a need for more bookings and adjust the budget in response. Our algorithms weigh the need of the property against the opportunity, all while maintaining your budget constraints, and machine learning technology refines and improves the results over time.

Get the full story at Koddi

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

Corporate room nights increased in 2017

April 06, 2018

Figures for the report were gathered from Advantage’s corporate hotel programme of more than 30,000 properties worldwide. They show that from January to December there were 4.9 million room nights booked.

New York City continued to take the highest volume of bookings, with nearly 94,000 room nights booked across the year at an average cost of US$380 per night. Aguascalientres in Mexico saw a staggering 86 per cent increase in bookings, followed by Austin, Cape Town and Christchurch at 30 per cent each.

In the UK, Blackpool saw the biggest increase in booked room nights at 55 per cent, followed by Peterborough (48 per cent), Preston (35 per cent), Bradford (33 per cent) and Oxford (25 per cent).

Get the full story at Buying Business Travel

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/corporate_room_nights_increased_in_2017

Travelport and Priceline extend technology and content partnership

April 06, 2018

The renewal comes approximately twenty years after the two companies signed their first agreement for Priceline to process reservations through Travelport's GDS. Throughout the past two decades, Travelport and Priceline have worked together to make the process of buying and selling travel easier for customers seeking great travel deals.

"Travelport has proven to be a valued partner over the last twenty years in helping Priceline customers find and book the best deals," said Brigit Zimmerman, Senior Vice President of Flight, Hotel and Packages, Priceline.com.

Jason Clarke, Travelport's Senior Vice President and Managing Director for Agency Commerce, added: "Travelport is proud to continue our long-standing relationship with Priceline. We are committed to supporting Priceline with our industry-leading search and pricing capabilities, as well as offering Priceline new technologies that offer faster connections, greater content and more relevant choices."

Source: Booking Holdings Inc.

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

Radisson brand getting a makeover in the U.S.

April 06, 2018

According to Radisson's website, the brand has 86 U.S. hotels, which means 8 to 13 properties could be dropped. Radisson said a loan program would be available to owners whose hotels qualify for the upgrade.

The refreshed Radisson will be about the "natural balance and harmony of the Scandinavian way of life," Radisson said. The brand is shooting for "streamlined yet comfortable natural designs."

Radisson said it plans to "focus on creating experiences that center around social spaces, food and drink, guest rooms, meetings and wellness."

Get the full story at Travel Weekly

Read also "Carlson Rezidor rebrands as Radisson Hotel Group"

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

Adobe study notes social media’s effectiveness

April 06, 2018

Adobe just released its 2018 State of Digital Advertising, based on a massive amount of data captured by the Adobe Experience Cloud. One of the insights is that while 74% of marketers think they are driving relevant ideas to potential prospects, very few of the people who see them agree.

Others include:

- TV is now a digital channel: Connected TV website visits are up 40% since 2016

- OTT is hot: On-demand streaming and "TV Everywhere" is up 114% over the past two years

- Mobile is how retail wins: Growing retailers had 48% more visits from smartphones compared to 2016; shrinking retailers are flat

- Social media wins new customers: Non-customers are 3X more likely to visit retailers from social media than customers

- Search and email are still critical channels: 69% of retail web visits are direct or search-generated for non-customers; 20% are email-generated for existing customers

- Push messaging on mobile is the killer retail app: Push notifications are up 300% over the past nine months

Get the full story at Forbes and Adobe

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

TrustYou study emphasizes importance of online feedback management

April 06, 2018

To understand the relationship between travelers and online review patterns, the study surveyed individuals who have traveled within the previous 12 months. Both leisure and business travelers were considered in this survey, and the 920 U.S. consumers who participated had traveled and booked their accommodation. The study revealed that the majority of guests have left at least one review about their experience with an accommodation. Out of these reviews, guests state that they usually leave very positive reviews. Further, when an accommodation asks a guest to write a review, they are over three times more likely to get a response: plus, there is a much higher chance that the guest will leave them a 5-star review.

Key findings of the study:

- The majority, 54%, of guests have experience writing and submitting at least one review in the previous 12-months.

- On average, 95% of traveler reviews are positive; 93% of travelers’ most recent reviews are reportedly positive.

- When a review is requested by an accommodation provider, guests are 3.6x times more likely to leave a review.

- Reviews are also 16% more likely to be “extremely positive” 5-star reviews.

- After price, “Review Score” is the most important decision variable that travelers need to be convinced to book a certain accommodation.

Get the full story at TrustYou

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

Understanding hotel acquisition costs

April 06, 2018

Every hotel should be performing a regular analysis of their distribution channels, especially the online channels, including their own website, Booking.com, Expedia and other online travel agencies.

It’s important to be aware of the different clientele that each channel is bringing to the hotel. You should know the variances geographically and the type of guests be they business or leisure visitors, families or couples. Also take note of booking lead times for each channel, seasonality, cancellation rates and most importantly, the Cost per Acquisition. All this information will allow you see how each channel affects your bottom line.

One of the most important aspects to look at is how the OTA’s affect the bottom line – i.e. how much does a booking cost from each channel and the impact this has on the profit you are making from this sale. OTA commissions vary between 15% and 23%, so when looking at your ‘Direct’ business, event after you add the cost of your marketing strategy to the commission paid on your website, these costs should still be lower than your OTA commission.

Get the full story at Net Affinity

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

Business travelers are eager to purchase more from hotels

April 05, 2018

A new white paper commissioned by iSeatz, a technology company providing ancillary booking solutions, titled Business Traveler and their Demand for Ancillary Services, researched by Phocuswright, shows that business travelers are interested in purchasing more than just rooms from hotels. Hotels now follow a trend set by airlines, which were faster to adopt ancillary products into their purchase offerings, and have grown 10x to $28 billion from a decade ago for the top ten airlines.

Corporate travel represents 31% of the overall U.S. travel market, with business travelers both travelling more frequently, and consuming more travel-related products, than the leisure traveler.

- Business travelers are more loyal than leisure travelers: 59% of business travelers belong to one or more hotel loyalty programs.

- The majority of business travelers (56%) are between the ages of 25-45.

- 65% of online business travelers are male. Online business travelers are also more likely to have an undergraduate degree or better level of education and a significantly higher income ($97,500 vs. $81,600 for travelers overall).

A significant proportion of business traveler respondents indicated they are interested in purchasing more than "core" hotel products. Younger travelers in particular, (ages 18-34), demonstrate significantly higher demand for certain ancillaries, most notably in-room entertainment, retail sundries, on-property personal and business services and club level access.

- 82% of business travelers surveyed between the ages of 18-34 would be interested in purchasing extra loyalty program points or having this included in the nightly rate.

- More than 80% of business travelers surveyed are interested in purchasing late checkout (87%) or early check-in (85%), or have this value included in the nightly rate.

In addition to detailing the Corporate traveler landscape and the interest in purchasing travel add-ons, the white paper explores the differences in travel habits of business travelers with and without corporate travel policies; bleisure travel trends; and differences in purchasing habits for business travelers by age and type of stay.

- 47% of bleisure travelers surveyed utilized midscale (3-star) hotels with 31% utilizing upscale or luxury properties (4-5 stars).

- Services that travelers would like to secure at the time of booking include high-speed Wi-Fi (41%), parking (41%), early-check- in (40%), and pre-paid breakfast (37%).

This white paper also touches on the challenges faced by hotels, through interviews with key chain executives, on why many hotels do not offer travel extras. Hotels that were interviewed cited lack of technology, information sharing, employee incentivizing, and cost of implementation as challenges to offering ancillary services to their guests.

"The travel life cycle is now undergoing a phase of rapid evolution. Travel brands are looking to differentiate and decommoditize at every point." said Kenneth Purcell, CEO & Founder of iSeatz, "As a travel technology partner, iSeatz knows what travelers want. We help our partners build the technology to deliver it. Our goals are to help automate and simplify the search, booking and management of myriad travel and related goods and services; to suggest innovative paths to purchase; to capture responses; and to optimize users' experiences."

This whitepaper is the companion piece to Hotel Ancillaries: An Unexplored Opportunity which focused on the leisure traveler's interest in ancillary products, and published in 2017.

Download the white papers "Business Travelers and their
Demand for Ancillary Services"
and "The Hotel Ancillary Opportunity"

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

Sabre Labs reveals three tech trends that will define the future of travel

April 05, 2018

“Increasingly, people are coming to understand that the travel business is really a technology business,” said Philip Likens, director of Sabre Labs. “Even the simplest journey generates huge amounts of data. Collecting, indexing and understanding that data – and how we apply that understanding to improve every traveller’s experience – is what will drive real innovation across the entire travel ecosystem.”

“Whether it is A.I. and machine learning to automate and optimize tasks, the counter-intuitive ability to deliver authentic experiences digitally, or using new protocols (such as distributed ledgers) so a traveller can head to the airport and leave their wallet and ID at home – on purpose – tech is going to reshape the travel experience.”

This year, the report evaluates automation, authenticity, and blockchain as the three most important areas for consideration.

Get the full story at Sabre Labs

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

Expedia Group reaches an agreement to offer Air France KLM flights without GDS surcharge

April 05, 2018

This agreement saves Expedia, ebookers and Egencia clients €11 one way or €22 roundtrip when booking flights on AF, KL or A5. In addition, Expedia Group and Air France KLM, along with its selected GDS partners, have committed to collaborate on the integration of new distribution capabilities (NDC) – a technology standard developed by the International Air Transport Association (IATA).

Source: Expedia Group

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

Marriott close to debut of unified loyalty program with Starwood

April 05, 2018

Marriott President and CEO Arne Sorenson met up with Hotel News Now during the recent Hunter Hotel Conference to talk about the latest in relation to the new loyalty platform, along with other topics including the company’s approach to innovation and other benefits realized from the merger.

While still mum on what the joint loyalty program will look like exactly, Sorenson said the sense of optimism around it will be well deserved.

“Obviously, we’ve got three communities we want to make sure we’re focused on: The guests being the most important, but we’ve got our hotel owners, as well, and of course Marriott’s own involvement in this program,” he said. “What we think we can do is deliver even more value to our guests.”

Get the full story at HNN

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

Digital customer service is becoming the travel industry standard

April 05, 2018

In a 2017 survey, 81 percent of consumers “indicated that their expectations for digital customer service are higher today than they were a year ago,” according to Conversocial, a company that helps businesses deliver digital customer service channels. Fifty-seven percent of respondents indicated that they would stop doing business with a brand due to a poor digital customer service experience.

“Clearly, connectivity has ushered in a new generation of customers who expect more, and expect it fast. The proliferation of digital channels and mobile devices has given consumers and brands greater access to real-time interaction and fundamentally changed the way brands can service their customers,” Conversocial said in the report, “The State of Digital Care in 2018.”

Get the full story at Travel Market Report

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

Facebook does not plan to apply GDPR globally

April 05, 2018

His comments signal that U.S. Facebook users, many of them still angry over the company’s admission that political consultancy Cambridge Analytica got hold of Facebook data on 50 million members, could find themselves in a worse position than Europeans.

The European law, called the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), is the biggest overhaul of online privacy since the birth of the internet, giving Europeans the right to know what data is stored on them and the right to have it deleted.

Apple and some other tech firms have said they do plan to give people in the United States and elsewhere the same protections and rights that Europeans will gain.

Get the full story at Reuters

Read also "Facebook is rewriting its terms of service and wants the public to weigh in" at HubSpot and "Don’t fix Facebook. Replace it." at The New York Times

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

Are TripAdvisor’s Sponsored Placements a good idea?

April 05, 2018

While hoteliers can now pay to get their TripAdvisor business listing seen by potential guests, this is not the same as directing traffic to their own website. Guests are still free to choose any of the offered rates and channels on which to complete their booking - and the vast majority of channels available are OTAs. In the image above, we can see that the Waldorf Astoria Beijing has sponsored a listing that then highlights Expedia as the booking channel, despite the rates being the same. Hotels paying for a Sponsored Placement are not necessarily paying to be ranked highly in TripAdvisor's metasearch listings.

Many hotels choose not to invest in TripAdvisor's metasearch offering at all, believing it more economical to allow OTAs to pick up the cost of those incremental bookings. It is interesting to see many hotels choosing to use Sponsored Placements don't have a metasearch listing, meaning any booking made as a result of the sponsorship will almost certainly go to an OTA. The incremental volume of bookings they receive may well be worth it - but hoteliers should examine the likely impact on their OTA commission payments, as well as the CPC spend on TripAdvisor, in order to make sure the ROI is worthwhile.

Sponsored Placements will not be the advertising medium for everyone, and hotels should approach each campaign on a case-by-case basis. While some may generate incremental, direct bookings, others may direct people already aware of your brand to book elsewhere. We'll be watching with interest this latest addition to the hotel industry's advertising mix.

Get the full story at Triptease

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

Key changes in digital marketing for hotels: The story so far in 2018

April 05, 2018

1. Google My Business is being updated

In 2016 Google dropped a feature allowing owners and managers to add a property description that will appear in Google’s Local Knowledge Panel. This year sees the function return, allowing you to once again highlight key accommodation, amenities and what sets your hotel apart, to enhance your listing in local panel search results. You’ll have a 750 character limit and won’t be able to include URLs or HTML code.

Now’s a good time to log in to your account and think about the edits you’ll make to put your property on the front foot.

This year Google My Business will once again allow you to highlight key accommodation, amenities and what sets your hotel apart, to enhance your listing in local panel search results.

Get the full story at SiteMinder

Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/key_changes_in_digital_marketing_for_hotels_the_story_so_far_in_2018

Marriott aims to cut commissions for OTAs

April 04, 2018

Marriott will be renegotiating contracts with major online bookers for the first time since its merger with Starwood in September 2016.

Sorensen said the first major renewal would be Expedia’s, with the current deal expiring later this year.

Marriott, which currently pays a commission of upwards of 10 percent to online travel agencies, is set to renegotiate its contract with Booking Holdings sometime in 2019.

Get the full story at Reuters

Read also "Arne Sorenson, commission cuts and chaos theory" at Travel Weekly and "Marriott’s Sorenson on loyalty integration, innovation" at HNN

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

Skyscanner adds train travel booking, starting in UK

April 04, 2018

Skyscanner says the data behind its new rail feature is powered by Trip.com, Ctrip’s new international travel booking service, which will also provide 24-hour customer service.

While Skyscanner’s new rail feature is currently UK domestic only, a spokeswoman told us it expects to roll out to further international markets “in due course”. Doing so looks aimed at beefing up its competitive edge against the likes of multimodal travel planners, such as GoEuro.

In a statement, Bryan Dove, Skyscanner’s CTO, said: “Being part of the Ctrip group allows us to take advantage of elements of Ctrip’s technology and experience and bring that value to Skyscanner’s travellers.

Get the full story at TechCrunch

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

Hotel analysts share supply and demand data at Hunter Hotel Conference

April 04, 2018

As the U.S. hotel industry marks eight years of continued monthly revenue per available room growth, analysts are digging deeper into performance data to explain the trends behind these numbers and what hoteliers might expect moving forward.

Sara Duggan, regional VP of global business intelligence for TravelClick, shared data showing how average daily rate breaks out by channel. “GDS is the highest ADR channel in the fourth quarter,” she said, adding that the assumption is that corporate business is driving that. “Also, the (online travel agency) channel is pushing a higher ADR than brand.com.”

That made her pause, she said, and dig into when OTA ADR began to outpace brand.com ADR, and she said that inflection point is happening this year.

Get the full story at HNN

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

Singapore court imposes hefty fines for Airbnb rentals

April 04, 2018

Terence Tan En Wei and Yao Songlaing had pleaded guilty at the State Court in February to four charges of illegally renting out four units last year, in the first case of its kind in the Southeast Asian island nation.

Offering short stays in private homes is illegal in Singapore, where most residents live in subsidized public housing. The minimum rental period had been six months, but has since been reduced to three months. Officials have said the rule minimizes disturbances to neighbors.

Despite these limitations, Airbnb continues to thrive in the city-state, where the platform has over 8,000 active listings. Last year, 350,000 guests stayed in Airbnb apartments in Singapore, according to the company.

Get the full story at Bloomberg

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


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