A new Phocuswright report, Chat, Shop, Buy: Messaging as the New Traveler Medium, analyzes the use of text and messaging apps among U.S. travelers, and the impact they will have on travel planning, booking and experiencing. There has been a significant increase in the use of mobile messaging among travelers. Younger travelers – millennials aged 18-34, but also 35-44 year olds – are driving the use of mobile messaging.
Apart from mobile messaging services and platforms that enable travelers to share their trip experiences, numerous entrants have emerged within the growing field of trip planning via mobile devices and a chat-based user experience. In addition, mobile messaging represents an obvious opportunity for travel brands to offer on-demand traveler support. In the hospitality segment, a slew of startups have stepped in to facilitate guest relations via instant messaging.
"Travelers' use of mobile messaging has risen dramatically, and the impact on travel – from shop and book to experience and share – will only grow," says Phocuswright's vice president, research, Douglas Quinby. "Nearly half of U.S. travelers used text messaging and more than three in 10 used chat apps to share their travel experiences in 2015, up significantly from previous years."
Get the full story at Phocuswright
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/is_messaging_the_future_of_travel
Marriott has two WeChat accounts that it uses, one to communicate with customers and the other for employee retention and recruitment. The Marriott Rewards WeChat is aimed at Marriott customers and loyalty program members, while the Marriott Careers WeChat is for Marriott staff and potential employees, said Anka Twum-Baah, vp of customer loyalty and content at Marriott International in Asia.
While Starwood and Hilton have generic hotel accounts on WeChat, Marriott uses its Rewards account to tell members about hotel openings, new Marriott brands and opportunities for members, such as exclusive access to NBA games and events in China. The account also dispenses travel tips, such as the best ways to enjoy the cherry blossoms in Japan in March.
“Millennial travelers are expected to comprise more than 60 percent of our business over the next few years,” said Twum-Baah. “They are looking for unique experiences when traveling.”
Get the full story at Digiday
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_marriott_uses_wechat_in_china
Solid industry fundamentals have allowed many lodging brand owners to negotiate more favorable commission rates and contract terms, and hotel brand consolidation will perpetuate this trend.
However, OTAs have several avenues available to offset the latest round of the long-standing trend of commission rate pressure. The scale and breadth of their bookings platforms will continue to make OTAs a relevant and valuable hotel-distribution partner, especially for higher margin independent hoteliers who may not already have the loyalty base or marketing budgets of the larger chains.
Fitch expects more hotel M&A (and related potential bondholder event risk) during the one- to two-year Rating Outlook horizon as scale increasingly demarcates lodging company success. Larger brand owners, such as Marriott International and Hilton Worldwide can negotiate more favorable OTA contract terms, including lower commission rates and no last room availability and price parity clauses. These are attractive benefits for current and potential franchisees that should result in outsized unit growth.
Get the full story at Yahoo! Finance
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/u.s._hotels_gain_incremental_negotiating_strength_over_otas
Request a room and Overnight averages just 45 seconds until you get a response, and in LA, the startup says its spots are 23% cheaper than equivalent dwellings on HotelTonight.
Overnight is Airbnb for people who don’t plan ahead. With $2.3 million in seed funding from Accomplice and CrossCut Ventures, it’s now officially expanding from LA, Austin, and Coachella valley to San Francisco. It also has hosts scattered across 40 countries around the world.
Overnight is designed to drop the heavy-handed calendaring of Airbnb and keep listings private unless a host approves a potential guest.
Get the full story at TechCrunch
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/airbnb_hoteltonight_new_startup_overnight
In March, domestic hotel prices were up 2.9 percent from a year earlier and international rates, 1.2 percent, according to a report from Adobe's Digital Price Index. In the most popular destinations, summer hotel rates are up an average 17 percent, according to Orbitz.com.
"There's a very clear trade-off," said Mickey Mericle, vice president of marketing and consumer insights at Adobe. As cheap airfares and gas make it more enticing to travel, hotel inventory fills up, she said — and the Adobe report found that destinations with the lowest flight costs per mile had the highest hotel prices.
But travelers still have plenty of tricks and strategies they might employ to keep higher lodging costs from busting their summer travel budget.
Get the full story at CNBC
Read also "U.S. summer forecast calls for record hotel demand, but low room rate growth"
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotel_prices_could_bust_your_summer_travel_budget
With mobile search volume surpassing desktop a year ago, marketers are looking for better experiences and Google is under pressure to boost mobile revenue generation, which continues to lag desktop. Google tried to deliver against both of these needs this week with a number of AdWords adjustments, including separating tablet and desktop bids, new ad formats and a tighter integration with Maps for clearer online-offline engagements.
“Google's new AdWords changes are very significant and marketers should prepare to increase their mobile SEM and SEO budgets for late 2016 and beyond,” said Brian Klais, CEO and founder of Pure Oxygen Labs. “Most of the changes are systematic in nature and designed to increase advertiser competition.
“Google's theory is that larger ad formats will result in more clicks per impression,” he said. “More expansive headlines mean a bigger canvas for advertisers to compete on. The larger ads will mean fewer ads per page, creating further upward pressure on CPC rates.
Get the full story at the Mobile Marketer
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/are_the_days_of_cheap_mobile_search_over
True hospitality happens when you know the unique expectations of each guest and find ways to exceed those expectations, time after time. Doing this takes dedication, which hoteliers have in abundance. But it also requires knowledge of how consumers’ expectations change – and those changes can happen very quickly.
Our "Consumer Mega-Trends Impacting Hospitality" report is a deep-dive into trends that reveal what consumers will expect. As consumers’ expectations are set from experiences across all verticals, it’s not enough to just look at travel trends. It’s important to look outside the travel industry to know your guests as people, not just travelers. The knowledge presented here gives hospitality decision-makers actionable innovation opportunities for their hotel brands in 2016.
It’s dangerously easy to see today’s trends as only passing fads. Hotel brands that leverage these emerging trends will strengthen their current customer relationships by providing experiences that go above and beyond what guests expect.
As you turn these pages of the report, you’ll notice that each mega-trend discussion includes a look at sub-trends and drivers on the WHY page, with examples of transformational innovations from other industries. We also include ways that hoteliers can act on these insights and prepare for what consumers will expect them to offer – ways of bringing these trends to life for your guests.
But knowledge of trends is nothing if you don’t use it to drive future business growth and success. We hope this report will inspire you to act on these insights in order to differentiate and advance your brand, attract customers and, by doing so, maximize revenue.
We all know the proverb that says “Knowledge is power.” Those who can know and meet customers’ expectations with true hospitality will have the power to build lasting relationships and authentic loyalty that transforms customers into lifelong guests.
Download the free report at Sabre Hospitality Solutions
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_mega_trends_future_minded_hoteliers_need_to_track
"Data" is an intimidating word for many people. And "Big Data" continues to be a hot topic for many industries, hospitality included. But what do these terms actually mean? Why should hotels even care about their data in the first place? Because data is really just information– information that is the backbone of good business intelligence.
Today, various industries analyze information from thousands of sources every day, even every minute, second, or milisecond depending on the industry. For hotels, we're not quite there yet, but we are on the way. In fact, you may already be using real-time anaytics in your everyday hotel operations. If you're monitoring your social media channels, or local traffic or weather, you're doing real-time Big Data Analytics!
The problem for hotels, is all of this information, from inside the hotel and from outside the hotel, from guests, your local economy, macro-economic events, and everything in between can be overwhelmingly confusing. How do you make sense of it all? And how do you do it in a way that is immediately practical and helpful?
Get the full story and infographic at SnapShot
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/types_of_hotel_data_an_infographic
The number of rooms sold during the summer months will increase year over year by roughly 2.1%. That growth will follow the current trend of record-breaking demand performance in the U.S.
However, a healthy supply pipeline that will likely lead to a 1.7% increase in the number of rooms available is expected to keep occupancy growth muted at 0.4%.
Additionally, hoteliers are not expected to increase prices at the same level as 2015.
"Average-daily-rate growth, while still positive, is certainly not as strong as we first expected," said Jan Freitag, STR's senior VP for lodging insights. "The ADR forecast for the summer currently stands at around +4%. We expect that muted macroeconomic growth will have a small, positive impact on employment and corporate profit numbers. With that growth should be the desire for the American public to travel and for managers to send their people on the road."
Freitag also noted that revenue-per-available-room growth was moderate in August 2015 (+1.8%), thus creating the opportunity for August 2016 to be comparatively stronger. Overall, STR projects RevPAR to grow roughly 4.4% this summer.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/u.s._summer_forecast_calls_for_record_hotel_demand_low_room_rate_growth
A Google search for hotels brings up hotel results in Google Maps. When you click on a hotel listing, it will show you a ton of information, including the reviews. The reviews come from Google but now there is also an additional section that shows you reviews from third-party web sites including Booking.com, Priceline, Agoda and more.
Brad Brewer, who tracks this stuff closely, posted about it on Google+. He said "Google now displays deep-linked reviews from the around web. The review sites appear to be limited to Booking.com, Priceline, Agoda, and for the first time 3rd party platforms ...no Expedia or TripAdvisor. This suggests TrustYou is the primary data provider, with platforms like Bazaarvoice powering 3rd party sites from Marriott to Starwood and IHG reviews."
Get the full story at Search Engine Roundtable
Read also "Google turns to TrustYou for hotel review data" and "The facts about hotel review scores and rankings on Google"
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_adds_booking.com_hotel_reviews
As major hotel chains make a big push this year to increase the size of their loyalty programs through book-direct campaigns, they might take satisfaction in the fact that their programs grew at a healthy pace in 2015 but that presents a potential challenge — a large chunk of their rosters are inactive.
Major chains saw their numbers of loyalty program members in 2015 increase an estimated 13.1 percent to more than 344 million members compared with 2014. [See note below on how we calculated those numbers].
But it’s likely that more than half of these memberships are inactive or lapsed, which generally means that a member hasn’t redeemed points or miles within the past year to 18 months.
Get the full story at Skift
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotel_loyalty_programs_growing_members_faster_than_engagement
The Bay Area-based hotel has joined forces with guest engagement platform Sonifi Solutions to power the full-property installation. While entertainment options for consumers’ personal smartphones have been available on a slew of airlines, the concept is still relatively new for hotel chains, meaning brands that begin leveraging the strategy now will find themselves ahead of the pack.
“We've seen 'use your own' initiatives in the sky – Alaska Airlines is but one of many – so it follows that hotels will allow visitors to not just utilize their devices, but also the content that is theirs through purchase or subscription,” said Jeff Hasen, founder of Gotta Mobilize and author of The Art of Mobile Persuasion.
“As much as we like to view content on our phones and tablets, we will gladly trade up for a larger screen if the experience is seamless, easy, and already paid for.”
Get the full story at the Mobile Marketer
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hyatt_unlocks_mobile_enabled_amenities
Indeed, data from RetailMeNot revealed that a majority of respondents had used their smartphone to find a restaurant location. And 49% had used it to browse a menu.
Researching new restaurants was less common, and around a third of respondents had placed an order for pickup or delivery.
Because consumers are spending so much time on mobile, restaurants are investing in technology to meet their needs. Separate January 2016 research from Edgell Knowledge Network found that most US restaurant IT decision-makers plan to invest in technology to improve operational efficiency.
Get the full story at eMarketer
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/smartphones_lead_diners_to_restaurants
Google says the new interface is designed for these three principals:
- Data at your fingertips: This principle about making data-backed insights easier to surface and more actionable.
- Focus on your business: With this one the goal is to make it easier to optimize campaigns based on your specific business goals and targets.
- Powerful, yet simple: The new design is intended to be generally sleeker and easier to use.
Not even in beta, the new AdWords Interface will be introduced sometime in 2017.
Get the full story at WordStream
Read also "Google AdWords launches significant changes for mobile ads and maps"
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/a_sneak_preview_of_googles_new_adwords_interface
If you haven’t read the recent article in Hotel News Now by STR’s Jan Freitag, you need to check it out. In a clear and simple way, it presents the historical trends across the most recent, relevant hospitality industry cycles. There’s agreement that the rest of 2016 will continue on the up side, but in 2017 - you can expect a change. Jan cites these three specific observations for the next phase:
- Supply overtaking demand as a result of the latest new inventory boom, coupled with a slowing economy
- More empty guest rooms resulting in lower occupancy rates for hoteliers
- Threat of a “race to the bottom” as hoteliers are tempted to reduce rate to get more rooms
The key is that hoteliers have the choice. The choice to follow their competitors with rate reductions - or to think differently and act differently to protect rate and maintain occupancy.
Get the full story at nSight
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_much_longer_will_this_up_cycle_last
The result is a user-friendly, visually appealing newly launched site, optimized for the three screens and focused on driving direct bookings.
As a way of promoting the new site and generating user interest and awareness, the property launched a multichannel campaign with a Limited-Time Offer Interactive Application. After the site relaunch, Cheeca saw revenue increase by over 80%, among other substantial year-over-year improvements including:
- Unique Visits: +36% YOY
- Total Visits: +36% YOY
- Bookings: +60% YOY
- Room Nights: +83% YOY
- Revenue: +80% YOY
Get the full story at http://www2.hebsdigital.com/l/73012/2016-05-25/5618mp">HeBS Digital
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/cheeca_lodge_spa_website_relaunch_boosts_revenues_by_over_80
Following the launch of book direct campaigns by a few of the major hotel brands, some articles have surfaced with unsubstantiated information questioning the value of the business through direct channels. Hospitality Upgrade sought the guidance of an industry expert to find out what the industry data actually shows. Kalibri Labs, a Rockville, Md. based big data firm maintains a growing database from more than 25,000 hotels and tracks all bookings, revenues and customer acquisition costs with a history back to 2011.
Get the full story at Hospitality Upgrade
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/direct_bookings_9_more_profitable_for_hotels_billboard_effect_a_myth
Coming off the heels of a lackluster performance for the US lodging sector in Q4 2015, average daily rate (“ADR”) growth in the first quarter was the lowest since Q4 2013. While overall demand conditions in the US are expected to remain positive, driven, in part, by firming group travel, increasing supply growth is expected to contribute to stabilizing occupancy levels. Average daily rates are expected to continue to increase, but at a slower pace than previously expected, impacted, in part, by lower growth in the overall economy. The estimates from PwC are based on a quarterly econometric analysis of the lodging sector, using an updated forecast released by Oxford Economics in May and historical statistics supplied by STR and other data providers.
For 2017, PwC expects demand growth to slow, just as the pace of supply growth accelerates above the long-term average for the first time since 2009. As a result, PwC’s outlook anticipates occupancy levels to decline, but still remain near peak levels. Average daily rates are expected to continue to grow, although at a decelerating pace, driving a more modest RevPAR increase of 3.7 percent.
Get the full story at Hotel Online
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotel_revpar_growth_decelerates_according_to_pwc_us
However, the travel management company’s annual performance to March 31 was helped by a strong performance by its Fraedom technology business, which saw revenues rise by 13% and operating profit ahead by 75%.
HRG’s full year pre-tax profit rose by 15% to £26.7 million despite a 4% drop in revenue to £328.3 million year-on-year , with most of the decline driven by Europe and the Asia Pacific regions.
Looking forward, the company said it saw similar conditions in the UK and North American travel markets during the next 12 months, with variable conditions in Europe and continued softness in Asia Pacific.
Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hrg_predicts_business_travel_revenue_to_remain_under_pressure
“After five years of strong increases in occupancy, average daily rate (ADR) and profits, U.S. hotels reached the top of the current business cycle in 2015,” said R. Mark Woodworth, senior managing director of CBRE Hotels’ Americas Research. “Therefore, it is not a surprise that Total Operating Revenues grew just 5.3 percent from 2014 to 2015. What stands out as a concern for hotel owners and operators was the 4.7 percent increase in expenses, especially during a year when inflation was just 0.1 percent.”
From 2014 to 2015, 56.9 percent of the hotels in the Trends® sample posted an increase in occupancy, down from the 70+ percent marks posted the prior few years. “This clearly is an indicator that hotels are approaching the top of the cycle when occupancy is at near capacity levels, and in certain markets the negative consequences of new supply growth are being felt,” said Woodworth.
86.1 percent of the properties in the sample were able to raise their room rates during the year, while 80.5 percent of the hotels were able to enjoy an increase in revenue per available room (RevPAR). On average, the Trends® sample achieved a RevPAR gain of 4.6 percent.
Get the full story at Hotel Online
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/u.s._hotel_revenue_growing_but_slowing
Guests at Four Seasons or Peninsula can use the brand sites to book experiences such as a dim sum class with master chef Henry Fong in Hong Kong, or a day of beach volleyball training with Olympian gold medalist Todd Rogers.
However, few brands leverage content to attract bookings. Just half of brands in L2’s Digital IQ Index: Luxury Hotels offer local destination guides, and Four Seasons and Peninsula are the only ones providing guests with exclusive experiences.
Moreover, implementation is often incomplete. While guests can explore Four Seasons experiences on the brand site, they can only make reservations over the phone.
Get the full story at L2
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/luxury_hotels_invest_in_experiences
With the news that over half of the trillions of Google searches happen on mobile, Google announced Tuesday that it will soon change the way advertisers set bids for targeting ads by device type in AdWords. Other coming changes announced at Googler Performance Summit in San Francisco include an update to Google text ads on all devices and responsive mobile display ads that can access native mobile ad inventory on the Google Display Network.
The change in bidding is significant in that it accomplishes two things: 1. Untethers desktop and tablet bids; and 2. Allows advertisers to make mobile the focal point of their campaigns. Advertisers will be able to set separate bid adjustments for mobile, desktop and tablet.
“This lets you anchor your base keyword bid to the device most valuable to your business and then set bid adjustments for each of the other devices. You will also have a wider range to adjust bids, up to +900%,” explained Sridhar Ramaswamy, Senior Vice President, Ads and Commerce, in the blog post announcing the update. The news was also announced during Google Performance Summit in San Francisco.
Get the full story at Marketing Land and Search Engine Watch
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_adwords_launches_significant_changes_for_mobile_ads_and_maps
Here are five ways automated revenue management can increase your bottom-line business performance.
Understand & capture valuable demand
Start with a solid understanding of the total demand that exists for your asset, including how much of that demand will typically cancel, no-show or depart early. Knowing your unconstrained demand (demand that could be sold if you hotel had unlimited rooms) and wash forecast is fundamental to profitable revenue decisions.
Get the full story at IDeaS
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/5_ways_automated_revenue_management_increases_your_bottom_line
It's crucial that hotels set up an effective long-term demand generation strategy. To begin, hotel stakeholders first need to define exactly what “Demand Generation” is. Then decision makers can determine how best to apply new technologies for its optimization.
Demand Generation as it applies to the hospitality industry, is best defined as: Focused sales, distribution, and marketing activities that drive interest and awareness in a company’s services and products. Think of it as a modern, more comprehensive, holistic approach to revenue management. To understand your company's own demand generation strategy, answer each of these questions for yourself:
1. What is the product?
2. How clear is the value proposition?
3. What is the value to the customer?
4. Who are the customers?
5. How much does it cost?
6. What is a healthy business mix?
7. How do those connect technologically?
Get the full story at SnapShot
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_hotels_can_use_technology_to_better_understand_and_serve_guests
With classic French élan AccorHotels is making it absolutely clear that it is on song with leisure industry trends. The latest senior appointment at Europe’s largest hotels group (3,900 hotels) is that of serial digital entrepreneur Tribault Viort (43) as chief disruption (sic) and growth officer.
Viort’s CV includes creation of Facebook’s first online games (lsCool Entertainment), digital data factory Ysance, French travel app Wipolo (now owned by AccorHotels) and transformation of Cityvox, a French online review site specialising in restaurant and nightlife. For 20 years he has also been teaching at the prestigious French college, Ecole Polytechnique.
AccorHotels says the appointment is to help it “increase its agility in new businesses”. So his main missions will be to “track down new opportunities for growth”, to oversee the group’s new ventures and to “reinforce interactions with start-ups that reinvent the sector”. Sounds as though he is going to be busy.
Get the full story at EyeForTravel
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/accorhotels_creates_new_role_to_deal_with_growth_digital_and_greedy_otas
Generalizations? Absolutely, but they also reveal patterns that property managers can use to their advantage: After all, if you know which amenities potential guests care about, you can use that information to highlight the fact that you offer them.
Such insights speak to one of the less-publicized objectives of Expedia’s Usability Lab, a two-room facility in the company’s headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., which Tnooz recently visited.
Designed primarily to explore consumers’ path to purchase - and to see how online design elements facilitate or hinder the process — the lab is also predicated on the premise that anything that makes the process smoother is good for all concerned.
Get the full story at Tnooz
Read also "Expedia shows off website psychology lab"
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/inside_expedias_usability_lab_consumer_behavior_provides_insights
The analyst noted that HomeAway is benefiting from "Expedia's expertise in driving transactions, variable ad spending (particularly on paid search) and improving traffic conversions."
Cantor Fitzgerald analysis showed online bookable listings with a traveler services fee (TSF) dominate top search results, which could drive transaction-based revenues over time. The analysis also found higher paid click volume, reflecting growing focus on variable advertising and transactions.
"While HomeAway's transition to a transaction-driven model is still in the very early stages, we view the increase in paid click volume as an indication that HomeAway's efforts to replicate Expedia's playbook (by leveraging variable traffic to drive more transactions and improving conversions through iterative test/learn) are well under way," Khan highlighted.
Get the full story at Benzinga
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/homeaways_transition_under_expedia_progressing_well
HouseTrip was bought for an undisclosed fee in late-April this year, in a bid to bolster its growing vacation rental business.
Part of that deal was to take on the KeepMeBooked service which HouseTrip acquired in 2012 from its founder and CEO Bruce Greig, who stayed on with the business until December 2013.
KeepMeBooked was originally launched in 2010 (TLabs here) with a platform for guesthouse owners and independent hotels to manage their reservations.
Get the full story at Tnooz
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/tripadvisor_to_switch_off_keepmebooked
But "living there" is just the start of the Airbnb benefits.
There also is space. Squeezing a family into a typical hotel room is plain uncomfortable. Often for just a couple too. Upgrading to a suite at a resort is expensive.
Wouldn't you rather have a whole house or apartment? Of course and with Airbnb et al. you can, often at a price sharply below that of a suite at many resorts.
That math is daunting - it should be - but know that you can still win.
Get the full story at Hospitality.Net
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_resorts_can_beat_airbnb_at_living_there
At last week’s I/O conference Google made some huge statements about mobile apps. Firstly – and most obviously – there are the Firebase announcements, where Google basically rebranded everything to do with app indexing and app store optimisation – and then gave marketers some official tools to do the job for the first time.
That makes a big difference to how marketers do the job now, but Google did hint at much bigger things to come with Android Instant Apps. Increasingly the lines between apps and web are becoming blurred; the announcement of Android Instant Apps is a huge leap ahead in this respect.
Android Instant Apps allows users to download only the parts of a mobile application corresponding to a URL, so a user is able to see a map or place an order without downloading the whole application.
Get the full story at The Drum
Read also "The age of apps is over and cards are taking their place" at Inc.com
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_google_is_going_all_in_on_app_search
Digital marketing platforms are changing the way all kinds of businesses – large and small – manage their marketing, including hotels. Technology puts the control back in your hands.
But not all cloud-based digital marketing systems are created equal, so before you commit, make sure you know what to look for. Ultimately, you want the solution that is easy to use, lowers your costs and improves your performance.
Here are three must-haves.
Get the full story at Leonardo
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/save_time_and_money_with_marketing_technology_three_must_haves
This recognition highlights the Company’s excellence in revolutionizing the online booking process, enabling hotels to customize the booking experience for users from start to finish. Part of the WMA’s 2016 Internet Advertising Competition (IAC), the award recognizes TravelClick’s iHotelier Web 3.0 booking engine application at the Grand Hotel Amrâth Kurhaus and showcases the platform’s ability to seamlessly integrate into a hotel’s website to increase conversions and drive revenue.
“Since implementing TravelClick’s iHotelier Web 3.0 booking engine with integrated property and room videos, our guests have been able to design their stay and book much more quickly and efficiently, which drives more room revenue for our hotel overall,” said David Dreese, Operationeel Directeur, Amrâth Hotels. “Additionally, guests can easily upgrade their rooms, extend their stays and add additional services at the point of purchase, and the platform’s superior customization capabilities ensure that our guests’ expectations are met throughout their time on our property. This ultimately increases guests’ level of satisfaction and makes repeat visits much more likely in the future.”
Get the full story at TravelClick
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travelclicks_ihotelier_web_3.0_booking_engine_named_best_hotel_and_lodging
Marriott's approach, as always, starts with the guest and a desire to better serve their needs and deliver on their preferences. But now, the company is extending that culture into the digital age by listening, learning and responding to its guests’ needs using data, intelligence and compelling content to provide a more personalized experience.
Last year Marriott became the first hospitality company to integrate Facebook’s Dynamic Ads, enabling it to deliver more personalized content to travelers in the largest social community on the planet. Marriott customized the content displayed based on an individual’s shopping behavior. The company started with driving bookings and now are extending this personalized approach to additional activities such as signing up Marriott Rewards members or downloading the Marriott Mobile app to take advantage of benefits like mobile check-in and checkout and mobile requests while on-property.
Through this guest-centric approach, Marriott can engage with its guests continuously and ensure its content is relevant to their needs and wants in the moment.
Get the full story at Chief Marketer
Read also "How Marriott delivers seamless, consumer-first experiences" and "Marriott launches third M Live studio in Florida"
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_marriott_personalizes_at_scale
Travelers on the go rely on their smartphones to book last minute hotel stays, according to Criteo’s new study “Travel Flash Report.” The study is based on Criteo’s 1,000-plus worldwide travel advertising clients, including both travel suppliers, such as airline brands, and online travel agencies (OTAs), such as travel aggregator sites.
60% of hotel bookings made off of an OTA website with less than 24 hours between the booking and check in are conducted on a smartphone, according to the study. 7% are made via tablet and 33% desktop. For hotel suppliers, 30% of their last-minute bookings on the site are made via smartphone, 11% tablet and 59% desktop. This data does not includes app bookings.
In fact, as time gets shorter between when a consumer books a hotel and plans to check in, the more likely it becomes the booking will be made via a smartphone for both OTA websites and supplier websites.
Get the full story at Mobile Strategies 360
Download the full report at Criteo (PDF 946 KB)
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/smartphones_dominate_last_minute_hotel_bookings
Hyatt’s new Hyatt House in Denver offers local art and craft beer. Marriott’s Moxy Hotels opened this April in New Orleans, with a photo booth in the lobby. And Hilton will begin rolling out Tru later this year, with rates starting at $90 per night.
“The question was how to design a new hotel brand without thinking like a traditional hotel,” says Phil Cordell, Hilton’s global head of focused service. The answer: Think like a Starbucks, a community center and a modern office.
So, what to expect? Entrepreneur.com compares Tru to Hampton by Hilton, the brand’s next step up.
Get the full story at Entrepreneur.com
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_major_hotel_brands_are_downsizing_in_all_the_right_ways
According to a Chinese outbound market report from the Chinese Outbound Tourism Research Institute (COTRI), 20 percent of the 120 million Chinese outbound travelers booked travel using an online travel agency in 2015. That’s a seven percent increase over 2014 and the strongest indicator that booking sites continue to be more accepted throughout China.
Chinese consumers felt less pressure from pricing wars late last year when Ctrip took a stake in Qunar and began working together, a powerful alliance among two of China’s largest booking sites. That’s likely one factor swaying more consumers towards booking sites, COTRI said.
Still, 80 percent of Chinese travelers booked offline and used one of the more than 27,000 brick and mortar travel agents in China last year. The number of travel agencies in China has increased by 50 percent since 2006 and shows little signs of slowing, and COTRI projects Chinese outbound travelers will spend nearly $80 billion at travel agents this year.
Get the full story at Skift
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/online_travel_booking_grows_in_china_but_traditional_agents_still_dominate
Looking at luxury travel trends of the future, Faith focused specifically on the guest experience, service, destinations as well as hotel design. She believes that Virtual Reality (VR) escapism and immersive brand experiences will shape service and guest experiences in the future of luxury travel:
- Clanning Experiences: VR technology will enable real-time sharing of adventure and luxury among friends or family who are spread around the world. It will mean that guests and their loved ones can enjoy simulated adventures in real-time, whether it be a walk through the Serengeti or an ocean swim with extinct marine life.
- Customised Wardrobes: Hotels will partner with fashion brands to sponsor guests' in-room wardrobes, complete with 3D printed designer clothing. Wardrobes will be customised to suit personal taste based on online shopping habits, size and local weather conditions.
- Fantasy Escapes: Luxury as we know it today will become so accessible that consumers will seek more extreme and un-attainable experiences. Hotels will provide guests with game-like environments for fantasy escapes, which could involve living out danger in a safe environment.
Get the full story at Intercontinental Hotel Group
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/ihg_checking_in_to_the_future_of_luxury_travel
What started with Siri in 2010 is quickly leading to an age where consumers engage with the internet using only their voices, in much the way Captain Picard engaged with the computer on the USS Enterprise.
Google’s foray into voice search has been calculated and planned for years, according to Google CEO Sundar Pichai. It currently appears to be based on a closed system owned and overseen by Google, not on an open system like the trillions of websites that populate the internet are built on (i.e., HTML). I predicted this eventuality more than two years ago, after the Nest acquisition.
Here are the problems and challenges brought by Google’s new assistant that marketers and SEOs alike need to be aware of.
Get the full story at Search Engine Land
Read also "Google says 20 percent of mobile queries are voice searches"
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/what_marketers_need_to_know_about_google_assistant_and_google_home
This year’s customer conference is very special as we unite under one brand “Amadeus” inclusive of all new members of the Amadeus hospitality family, hotel SystemsPro and Itesso. The Amadeus Hospitality Customer Conference is specially designed to provide attendees with the opportunity to network, learn, collaborate, engage with thought-leaders, and gain new skills that will gear them up for success in the exciting future of the hospitality industry.
The industry’s changing landscape was a popular topic of discussion throughout the general sessions, and developments including OTAs adding reward programs, mega mergers, and the shared economies model were at the forefront of these conversations. Conference attendees were keen to explore this new reality facing the hospitality industry and I was encouraged by some of the dialog that came out of this discussion as we strive to help the industry to adapt to these changes and gear them up for successes
Another topic of particular interest throughout the day was the changing profile of hotel guests and how millennials will play a significant role in shaping the future of how we traditionally provided the hotel guest with various services that matches their profile and personal preferences. As demographics change, by 2020 millennials will represent approximately 46% of the work force in the United States. This new hotel guest is more tech savvy, always connected, and more informed than ever before with access to online reviews and social media.
Get the full story at Amadeus
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hospitality_pros_talk_tech_future_of_industry_at_amadeus_hospitality_custom
This episode of Fuel Hotel Marketing Podcast discusses the good, the bad, and the ugly of TripAdvisor and give hotels some advice on how to maximize their exposure on the platform.
Listen to the podcast at Fuel
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/podcast_tripadvisor_friend_or_foe
The direct-booking push, as manifest in member discounts and other perks, is a reaction to the increasing dominance of online travel agency (OTA) giants like Expedia and Booking.com. In an attempt to wrest back control of their revenue stream, hotel chains have begun offering the lowest rates to members who book directly.
Starwood Hotels and Resorts led the way with exclusive discounted rates and free wifi when booking direct. Marriott’s Rewards members now receive lower rates when booking direct, and also benefit from free wifi, mobile check-in, and an option to earn points or discounts when reserving their room on the chain’s website. Likewise, Hilton has recently introduced discounted rates and online check-in for HHonors members, as well as the existing points program.
Discounts and points alone, however, can be problematic. “Offering points is about buying loyalty,” says Nix. “I define loyalty as an emotive response to a brand.” He uses Jimmy Choo shoes as an example: You don’t buy a pair because they’re on offer. You buy them because you identify emotionally with the brand. “That’s loyalty,” he adds. “By offering discounts, hotels end up cannibalizing their rate.”
Get the full story at JLL Real Views
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_big_tech_drive_to_encourage_hotel_loyalty
According to the analysis, the Booking.com cancellations are 104% more than the direct channel ones, while they are 31% up in the case of Expedia. The relation between Booking.com and Expedia is +56% in favour of the former.
It’s important to note that Expedia’s cancellation varies a lot subject to the model that hotels are using. The cancellation of the Package rate is very low, less than 3% (airline rates are mostly non-refundable); the Expedia Collect (Expedia charges the client) cancellation rate is around 12% and the Hotel Collect (pay directly at the hotel) cancellation rate is close to Booking.com levels at around 35%.
When we compare the costs per channel, we should broaden the analysis and have a global view. Direct commission is just one of the many costs that each channel has. One that is rarely included in the analysis is cancellation costs.
Get the full stroy at Mirai
Read also "Cancellations shooting up: implications, costs and how to reduce them" at Mirai
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/booking.com_leads_in_cancellations
A survey of more than 1,000 UK corporate travelers making frequent trips found just 2% would prefer to stay in accommodation booked though sites such as Airbnb.
The study, by research firm AudienceNet on behalf of the GTMC, found 75% of business travellers surveyed would rather stay in chain hotels and only one in five (21%) would choose independent hotels.
The results surprised AudienceNet research director Ben Fowler who noted "a really small percentage" would opt for Airbnb-style accommodation.
He said: "There was very little difference by age. I was surprised, but it proves the value of research."
Get the full story at Travel Weekly UK
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/airbnb_shunned_by_business_travelers
"While Uber has steadily expanded to more cities across the US, we expect demand for transportation-oriented sharing economy services, like Uber, to reach a cap," said eMarketer forecasting analyst Oscar Orozco in a statement.
The firm predicts 15 million U.S. adults will use ride-sharing services in 2016, and 17 million in 2017. The numbers reflect growth in usership of 20.5 percent and 13.3 percent, respectively. Users grew by more than 50 percent in 2014 and 2015, so growth has already slowed. By 2018, eMarketer predicts the number of riders will increase by only 7.2 percent.
Why the projected slowdown? Orozco points out a few factors:
- Continued competition from traditional taxi services
- Regulations and government bans
- Saturation among business travelers, a group that has driven growth
Get the full story at Inc.com
Read also "Will Airbnb Be the Shared Economy’s MySpace?" at Hospiality.Net and "Uber Bummed: How Uber and Lyft Lost an Important Political Fight" at Entrepreneur
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/airbnb_has_more_room_to_grow_than_uber
Some hoteliers might dismiss VR as a fad that will run its course with tech geeks. But its foray into the mainstream market is just getting started. The hugely hyped Oculus Rift, Samsung’s Gear VR (powered by Oculus), HTC Vive, and other VR devices will bring to the marketplace an entirely innovative medium of online advertising, and will be able to integrate to video channels, popular social media platforms, and even messaging platforms. Marriott has taken advantage of this technology in several of its hotels by testing the first in-room 4D virtual reality travel experience. “VRoomService” allowing a guest to “visit” destinations such as Chile, Rawanda, and Beijing through what they call “V Postcards”.
Video marketing, and even live video streaming via channels like Periscope, is already a hot trend that will continue to be even more so. If a picture is worth a thousand words, then videos are worth a million. On websites, videos translate to lower bounce rates, greater engagement, and can showcase your hotel in multiple scenarios. Social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, already offer effective video advertising, and in a move that promises to be a game-changer, Google is looking into incorporating video ads in search results.
Video marketing can tell a story that resonates and allows for more out-of-the-box, immersive engagement, beyond the “look how amazing our rooms/grounds/location are” are scenario. For instance, you might promote your restaurant by showing your chef creating his signature dish or the arrival experience from a guest’s POV.
Get the full story at Cvent
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/top_2016_hotel_digital_marketing_trends
To think about the mobile mindset in a concrete way, let's consider two scenarios of booking a hotel room. One involves Robert, who is on his mobile phone but not under any time pressure, and the other involves Tom, who is using mobile on-the-go and feeling time pressure.
Robert is sitting on his comfy couch at home. He knows he's traveling on business next week and while watching TV and playing with his dog, he reaches for his phone to decide on a hotel. He has time while browsing to toggle back-and-forth among different hotel options, considering and contrasting the benefits of different hotels to weigh the convenience of location near his meeting versus the ability to earn hotel points at his preferred chain, with a guaranteed king-size bed, nonsmoking room - and also a gym.
Tom is also on his mobile phone and needs to book a hotel room, but he's at the Denver airport. He had a late connection and just missed the last flight out for the night. He needs to book a hotel room for tonight! He's hoping to get one of the last available hotel rooms while calling his wife to rearrange child care drop-offs for the morning, and postponing his next morning's team meeting because he won't be there in time. Tom is experiencing one of the typical impacts of time pressure - the so-called "narrowing effect" - and as a consequence he pays attention only to the hotel's proximity to the airport. He is more likely to focus on location and choose one of the first hotels he finds that fits his criteria.
Get the full story at Think with Google
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/understanding_time_pressure_in_customer_experiences
- Take a multipronged approach: Managing distribution and driving more direct bookings is not going to happen overnight. First and foremost it’s important that hotels get a handle on how they are faring in the online market place versus their competitive set. They also need to understand which channels are working best, and where they are being undercut.
- Understand how rooms are priced: Also ranking and position is crucial. There are tools already from firms like Fornova and iDeas, which can help hotels and surprise, surprise, it is something booking.com is also working on. A spokesperson tells us it will be sharing details of availability and functionality of new tools in the coming months. But like anything don’t rush into deploying new technologies before fully understanding what you need.
- Apply a rigorous approach to data: In order to start managing the direct channel more effectively, hotels brands need to consistently use data derived from the marketplace and their website.
Get the full story at EyeForTravel
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/dos_and_donts_on_the_battlefield_of_hotel_distribution
Research from leading industry analysts Phocuswright, co-sponsored by SiteMinder, took a deep dive into the usage of technology in US and European hotels. The findings, published in the ‘Independent Lodging Market Report’, reveal some fascinating insights and stats into the way hotels are conducting their businesses on either side of the Atlantic.
As we gear up for one of the industry’s biggest technology events, HITEC in New Orleans, this exclusive ‘SiteMinder TrendTracker’ is part of an online collection of graphics that examine US and European hotels side-by-side covering everything from the state of online bookings through to marketing budget spend.
Our first infographic provides a glimpse into the usage of hotel technology and the key differences and similarities between the sophistication of US and European properties.
Get the full story at SiteMinder
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_us_vs._europe_how_are_hoteliers_embracing_hotel_technology
Expedia Inc.’s chief executive officer is expecting more company in the world of online travel booking, predicting Facebook Inc. will follow Google into the business.
Facebook is already working on e-commerce, letting users save their payment information on the social media giant’s site and purchase products they see advertised there directly through “buy” buttons. It’s just a matter of time before that turns into booking vacations too, Expedia CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said in a May 11 interview at the company’s headquarters in Bellevue, Washington.
“We do think that travel is such a significant portion of e-commerce that Facebook will have a travel-specific product,” he said.
Get the full story at Bloomberg
Read also "Expedia CEO Says Facebook Will Emerge as an Online Travel Booking Threat" at Skift
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/expedia_expects_facebook_to_follow_google_into_online_travel
Affirm, run by PayPal co-founder Max Levchin, appears as a payment option during the checkout process of online merchants, and allows consumers to buy goods immediately and pay for them in monthly installments. Expedia, in addition to its namesake travel site, also owns Orbitz, Hotels.com, Travelocity, Hotwire and HomeAway.
The additions mark Affirm’s entry into the travel and ticketing markets, although the company’s service on Expedia is currently limited to hotel bookings, not flights or vacation packages.
Affirm was founded in 2012 and offers consumers, especially young ones, an alternative to credit cards and traditional bank loans. Interest rates on its loans — often approved instantly — can range from 10% to 30%, it says online, while they vary for purchases at online merchants. The company says it doesn’t charge “late fees, service fees, prepayment fees, or any other hidden fees.”
Get the full story at BuzzFeed
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/expedia_users_can_now_pay_for_hotels_via_monthly_installments
Taking into consideration the recent terrorist events, survey participants were asked, “Are there any countries in Europe you would specifically avoid this year?” More than 6 in 10 (64%) answered no, though the others mentioned Turkey, Belgium, and Russia.
“The survey data shows many are still choosing Europe, and France specifically, as their destination of choice,” said Travel Leaders Group CEO Ninan Chacko.
For the 8.2% of survey participants who’ve?already traveled?to Europe this year, the top European countries visited have been: the United Kingdom, France, Italy, Germany, and the Netherlands.
Get the full story at Travel Market Report
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/where_u.s._travelers_plan_to_visit_this_year
The report, Shaping the Future of Luxury Travel, reveals the fresh challenges and opportunities that the luxury travel market will face over the next decade. Some key findings from the report include:
- We have entered a new age of luxury travel, where luxury is curated, real-time and experience-led
- North America and Western Europe account for 64% of global outbound luxury trips, despite only making up 18% of the world's population
- From 2011-2025, Asia Pacific's luxury travel market will see faster overall growth than Europe's, but this growth will decelerate from 2015-2025
- India's luxury market CAGR of 13% is higher than any of the other BRIC nations, and is the highest of the 25 countries explored in this report
- A human desire for more rewarding experiences provides an essential catalyst to evolve and improve travel industry quality and service standards
- A hierarchy of luxury travel needs is identified, ranging from 5-star quality and service standards to exclusive VIP privacy and security
Get the full report at Amdeus
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/luxury_travel_outpaces_the_rest_of_the_travel_industry
American Express Travel curates these programs through a rigorous screening process and accepts only a small percentage of hotel applicants into their programs each year. Hotel properties are assessed using a variety of factors, and those with the best product offering, most exceptional service and highest Card Member satisfaction are invited to join the programs.
“Our Card Members are avid travelers who expect a certain travel experience, whether they’re on a once-in-a-lifetime international adventure trip or spontaneous weekend getaway in a nearby city,” said Allison Beer, Vice President, Strategic Partnerships, American Express Travel. “To ensure we’re exceeding their expectations and offering the very best selection of hotels in our programs, we carefully analyze aggregated card spend data, independent property evaluations, and most importantly, the direct feedback we receive from our Card Members.”
Get the full story at American Express Travel
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/american_express_travel_expands_exclusive_hotel_programs
In December, Search Engine Land reported on survey data from MindMeld that found that there has been a significant increase in voice assistant and voice search usage, with 60 percent of survey respondents saying that they had started using virtual assistants and voice search in the past 12 months.
The range of virtual assistants, such as Siri, Cortana, Google Voice Search/Now, Viv, Amazon Alexa and now Google Home are collectively training people to search using their voices and to become more “conversational” with search and mobile devices.
As search continues its migration to mobile devices and a larger percentage of those queries are initiated by voice there are content and SEO implications. In addition, those queries will become more transactional over time as virtual assistants permit bookings and conversions using voice.
Get the full story at Search Engine Land
Read also "Meet Google assistant: A new search platform, rather than a gadget or an app" at Search Engine Land
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_says_20_percent_of_mobile_queries_are_voice_searches
Held this year on November 14 - 17 in Los Angeles, CA USA, the conference annually attracts over 1,700 senior executives, media, investors and startups from 44 countries worldwide to advance innovation and technology across the global travel, tourism and hospitality industry.
The sales funnel has had many names: customer acquisition and conversion, path to purchase, search, shop, buy. Whatever the name, the Funnel has long served as the battleground for online travel's greatest contests.
But the Funnel -- and the economic realities that define it -- is in upheaval. As costs rise and margins slide, the old Funnelnomics no longer add up. Travel's digital combatants have already optimized it to no end. This year's Phocuswright Conference theme is an invitation to contemplate new fields of play:
- Cultivating captive audiences (think mobile apps and loyalty perks) upstages generic customer acquisition
- Identifying -- and engaging -- new prospects as InstaFaceChat comes into its own
- Going, staying, experiencing is no longer overshadowed by searching, shopping, buying
- Exploring AI/AR/VR … some of the new tools in the battle for better marketing, engagement and true personalization at scale
Does this spell the end of online travel as we know it? Revolution can mean violent upheaval, but it also signals the completion of one cycle and the beginning of something better. Last year's differentiator is this year's commodity. And so it goes. The new rules and tools of engagement are unfolding in real time, but make no mistake: The Funnel's reign is at an end.
"We're happy to be back at the JW Marriott at L.A. Live in Los Angeles," said Phocuswright's managing director, Tony D'Astolfo. "Attendees will experience more of the thrilling content, innovators and networking that they've come to expect from our conferences -- this year with a better, more beautiful and responsive website experience."
"For more than two decades, Phocuswright, through its research and pioneering events, has sized, assessed and forecasted the impact of technology on travel. The Phocuswright Conference will again assemble the leaders at the intersection of digital and travel to tackle the pivotal forces shaping marketing, distribution, innovation and strategy across our industry," said Phocuswright's vice president, research, Douglas Quinby. "We have an incredible speaker roster for 2016 with more to be announced soon."
For more on the Funnel Revolution theme and the upcoming Phocuswright Conference (November 14 - 17, 2016, in Los Angeles, CA U.S.), click here.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/phocuswright_announces_2016_theme_for_the_phocuswright_conference
The properties will be using RateTiger Shopper & Channel Manager to monitor and manage rates and availability across multiple online sales channels from a single platform. The group has also subscribed to Managed Rate Services to receive competitive price intelligence reports for better rate management.
NH Hotel Group has been a valuable eRevMax partner that is currently using RateTiger and RTConnect solutions across several of its properties. NH China hotels will now leverage RateTiger solutions for online distribution and expansion to wider markets.
Get the full story at eRevMax
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/erevmax_wins_big_with_nh_hotel_group_china
TripAdvisor didn’t say much about the Priceline partnership during its first quarter 2016 earnings call. Nor did it disclose too many details on Instant Booking, at least in terms of overall contributions to the top line. Yet, the partnership remains critical to the future success of Instant Booking, as well as TripAdvisor’s overall positioning within the online travel ecosystem.
In order to gauge the relative dependence of Instant Booking on Priceline inventory, Skift checked over 200 listings on TripAdvisor’s hotel search page. We found that over half of Trip’s Instant Booking listings remain sponsored by Booking.com.
Get the full story at Skift
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/booking_sponsors_over_half_of_tripadvisor_instant_booking_listings
The move to tie preferential rates to direct bookings is not so different from the move hoteliers like Marriott and Starwood made in 2014 to tie free Wi-Fi to loyalty and direct booking on brand websites.
In that instance, the hoteliers faced criticism from groups like the United Kingdom and Ireland's Institute of Travel & Meetings for being "anti-business travel." Other companies like Hilton and Hyatt also dropped Internet charges for loyalty members, but they didn't tie the arrangement to any one booking channel.
If the industry shift toward loyalty rates is intended to challenge the OTAs, the question is whether managed travel programs and corporates booking through global distribution systems could once more get caught in the crossfire. "A lot of the TMCs wish that the communication would be a little bit clearer around lack of impact on travel management companies," said Eric Jongeling, Carlson Wagonlit Travel director of Americas hotel solutions. "It creates a lot of behind-the-scenes saying, 'How does this actually impact us as a managed travel program?'"
Get the full story at Business Travel News
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/direct_bookings_are_corporates_and_travel_agents_caught_in_the_crossfire
Orlando, which holds the number-one position this year, has ranked first four out of the five years Cvent has been creating its list; while Chicago and Las Vegas exchanged places, with Chicago moving up one and Las Vegas downshifting into third.
Here are the top 10:
3. Las Vegas
5. San Diego
6. New York
7. Washington, D.C.
9. Nashville, Tenn.
10. New Orleans
Get the full story at Meetings.Net and the Top 50 List at Cvent
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/cvent_releases_list_of_2016_top_cities_for_meetings
Boutique hotel pioneer Ian Schrager said he expects boutique and lifestyle hotel companies will be targets for larger companies, like the Marriott Internationals and Hilton Worldwide Holdings of the world, which will in turn fuel greater consolidation in the space. He said it makes sense because the smaller companies can plug into the larger companies’ economies of scale and distribution machines while maintaining their unique experience for guests.
“People want an elevated experience,” Schrager said. “They want good rates and good location, but that is not enough. Everybody wants convenience with an elevated experience.”
Mike Depatie, managing general partner of KHP Capital Partners and former Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants CEO, said the wave of mergers and acquisitions is a symptom of where the industry is in the cycle.
Get the full story at Hotel News Now
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/consolidation_could_be_new_norm_for_boutique_sector
Marketing agency Koddi analyzed the mobile metasearch experience for most of the major advertisers in this space. In almost all cases, there were large areas for improvement for mobile performance. One of the most persistent issues that we come across is that the mobile checkout process mimics the desktop checkout process, which often has too many inputs and steps to effectively convert mobile users.
The company sees many brands just accept their lower mobile conversion rate, assuming that a low conversion rate in mobile is unavoidable. Closing the gap between mobile and desktop conversion rates can drive hundreds of millions of dollars in gross booking revenue, so this could be a very expensive assumption to make. Winning in mobile metasearch means questioning this assumption and taking steps to constantly improve the mobile booking experience.
Get the full story at Koddi
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/winning_mobile_hotel_bookings_in_metasearch
The new tool seems cleaner, more spacious and faster than the previous tool. The first mobile-friendly testing tool from Google launched in November 2014; this is the largest-looking update to the tool since.
Yaniv Loewenstein from the Google Search Console Team wrote:
The updated tool provides us with room to continue to improve on its functionality, and over time, we expect it to replace the previous Mobile Friendly Test. Additionally, of course this tool also works well on your smartphone, if you need to double-check something there!
Visit the new mobile-friendly tool at Google
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_launching_new_mobile_friendly_testing_tool
Hospitality is the ONLY travel sector in which the OTAs are gaining share at the expense of brand.com; direct online revenues from the airline, car rental and cruise sectors are all increasing at the expense of the OTAs in 2016.
In addition, the above hospitality sector average is heavily skewed by the major hotel brands. For independent hotels – where the OTAs already control over 60% of online bookings, I would not be surprised if the OTA share increases to 70% in the next few years.
This trend isn’t promising. With the recent addition of new OTA-type services such as “Book on TripAdvisor” and “Book on Google,” brand.com vs. OTA ratios will likely shift even further into negative territory.
Get the full story at HeBS Digital
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_hospitality_can_heal_its_self_inflicted_wound_and_decrease_ota_dependen
The solution? Win at the summer rate game by not playing at all. Here are three creative promo ideas that will set you apart from your neighbors this summer without slashing your rates:
1. Minimum Stay Promotions – Version 2.0
Tiered minimum stay discounts are a tried and true revenue strategy for any hotelier looking to increase length of stay, but how low are you willing to go for the extra night?
Why not experiment instead with a tiered value-add promotion? You can start off small with a no cost add-on (free late checkouts are easy) and increase your offering based on length of stay. Evaluate your hotel amenities and get creative with your freebies. Think upgrades, F&B credits, local attraction tickets, etc. The best aspect of value-adds is that unlike straight price discounts, they can be used strategically to help drive incremental revenue. A small money voucher towards your spa or restaurant can entice a guest who might not normally do so to book a massage treatment or dine on-site.
Get the full story at Tambourine
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/put_some_sizzle_in_your_summer_adrs
While Hilton and Marriott have been leading the charge to push for more direct bookings in an effort to take away market share from online travel agencies (OTAs) like Expedia and Booking.com, they’ve been joined in recent weeks by their fellow hotel competitors, including Hyatt, Wyndham, and Choice, to name a few.
Judging by their collective statements, it’s clear hotel CEOs aren’t going to stop their campaigns for more direct bookings any time soon, even if they’re quietly making arrangements to offer those exclusive lower rates to travel agents. Or even if the OTAs themselves are hoping to strike deals with them to offer those preferred lower rates, too.
Here’s what the hotel CEOs had to say, put into context with comments they’ve made previously about booking direct.
Get the full story at Skift
Read also "The battle for direct bookings: What independent hotels can do" at Net Affinity
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/are_hotels_direct_booking_efforts_really_working
Speaking during the Phocuswright Europe event in Dublin, Ireland, last week, Christophe Peymirat, senior vice president for EMEA, says the company “does not have a big demand” for alternative accommodation options.
But there is a potential use-case to offer such products for those companies that are looking for longer term stays, he adds.
In addition, the fly in the ointment at present is around Duty Of Care issues with business travellers and how to assign non-hotel properties into a corporate policy, something that many organisations have yet to tackle.
Get the full story at Tnooz
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/no_demand_for_alternative_accommodation_from_corporate_travel_says_egencia
Marriott International’s and Starwood Hotels & Resorts’ first-quarter revenue per available room (RevPAR) advanced 2.7% and 1% in Europe, respectively, matching their global RevPAR growth rates. Hilton Worldwide’s European RevPAR growth of 2.9% even outpaced its 2.1% global increase.
And while Hyatt Hotel’s RevPAR for Europe, the Middle East and Southwest Asia plunged 5.9% from a year earlier, those results factored in both results outside of Europe and the fact that 250 of the 950 rooms at France’s Hyatt Regency Etoile were out of service because of renovations.
After the Paris attacks, bookings dropped off immediately for the remainder of the fourth quarter, with the effects spilling over into the first quarter for both Paris and, to a lesser extent, London.
Get the full story at Travel Weekly
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travel_to_europe_suffered_a_blow_from_terrorism_but_is_rebounding
Book. Stay. Go. has unveiled what it claims is the hotel industry’s first SaaS-enabled marketplace, including digital room keys and mobile check-in features alongside an inventory of eight million-plus rooms spanning six U.S. cities. Although consumers are already inundated with a plethora of mobile booking apps, Book. Stay. Go.’s foray into the market could prompt its competitors to integrate additional tools into their platforms to facilitate even more seamless experiences.
“The room key completes the entire experience for travelers, which makes it vital for any mobile application,” said Vikas Bhakta, co-founder and CEO of Book. Stay. Go.
Book. Stay. Go. users can search hotel rooms by best available rates, check in and choose their own desired room prior to arrival on premises. Once they reach the property, guests may bypass long lines at the front desk and walk straight up to their rooms, using their smartphones as a digital room key.
Get the full story at Mobile Commerce Daily
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/mobile_room_keys_check_in_and_booking_consolidated_in_book._stay._go
The millennial generation is larger than baby boomers or Gen X. 77% visit a restaurant once a week, and they are expected to spend an average of $3,900 on travel this year alone. Download our research report “Millennials and Hospitality: The Redefinition of Service” and learn how you can win the business of this unique group of individuals by:
- Tailoring your offerings to align with millennials’ different technology preferences
- Offering the perfect balance of mobile technology and personalized service
- Incorporating staff feedback to improve the guest experience
Get the full report at Oracle Hospitality (free registration) or view the infographig "How millennials want to use tech in hotels" at Hotel News Now
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_millennials_use_and_want_to_use_tech_in_hotels
Retailers are continually tackling shopping cart abandonment, but according to Q1 2016 research, the digital shopping cart abandonment rate is high worldwide, at 74.3%.
By and large, retailers are constantly looking at ways to overcome shopping cart abandonment. According to research from Listrak, more top 1,000 retailers have sent a shopping cart abandonment message in 2015 compared to prior years.
Additionally, US merchants are using retargeting to reach shopping cart abandoners. In fact, Multichannel Merchant found that more than half of US companies, including B2B merchants and retailers, said they used retargeting for this purpose.
Get the full story at eMarketer
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/three_quarters_of_the_worlds_shopping_carts_are_abandoned
Larry Kutscher, who’s entering his sixth year as CEO for TravelClick, said his company’s business intelligence products have become the heart of the company and really stand out among other revenue management software.
One such product, Demand360, Kutscher said, is especially changing the way hotels do business. This is a data tool that allows hotels to analyze future booking information (sometimes as far as a year out) versus a competitive set.
Kutscher touted the detailed information that Demand360 provides, giving hoteliers insights into underperforming months or times of the year as well as different channels and types of bookings.
“Historical data is interesting, but it isn’t enough to help you know what you should do in the future,” Kutscher said.
Get the full story at TravelClick
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travelclicks_ceo_has_focused_on_growth_after_ownership_change
HiRUM’s general manager, Alex Blinko, says, “We are pleased to partner with SiteMinder, the recognised global leader in channel management. HiRUM’s partnership with SiteMinder is about bringing together two best-of-breed solutions so hotels can benefit from greater control and efficiency. The HiRUM and SiteMinder brands have very strong presence within the Australian market and so our partnership is about working together to provide local hoteliers with the choice to select the best that hotel technology has to offer.”
SiteMinder is today’s leading provider of two-way integrations for property management systems, integrating with more than 150 the world over to provide hotels with a seamless flow of room rates, availability and reservations between their selected property management system and more than 300 online channels – in real-time.
Get the full story at SiteMinder
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/siteminder_and_hirum_partner_to_increase_integrated_distribution_solutions
“The Google Hotel Ads product mimics a native experience allowing users to comb through reviews, pictures and maps before directly booking through a Google advertiser,” said Grant Torres, research associate at L2. “In effect, users are incentivized to stay on the original search landing page, to gather information about properties, compare pricing and purchase a night in a specific region.
“The regional search product leads a consumer from start to finish down the purchase funnel, making it a highly effective tool for luxury hotels,” he said.
TripAdvisor’s dominance by both measures makes it an obvious choice for a partnership. Its emergence as the go-to destination for researching and its more recent partnerships with Priceline-owned Booking.com and various hotel chains, including Marriott, are positioning it to dominate another section of the purchase journey.
Get the full story at Luxury Daily
Read also "How TripAdvisor is changing hotel strategies" and "Tripadvisor chief Stephen Kaufer sees no threat from direct hotel booking" at The Irish Times
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotels_look_to_tripadvisor_as_otas_kicked_them_out_of_first_page_google_res
A businesses’ photo that Google shows as their profile photos has always been a business’s most important photo, creating that critical first impression to the searcher.
The reality has always been quite different. The image Google showed was actually determined by their algo and by their preference. If your choice was consistent with that preference your choice might have been left to stand.
The only option open to the Hotel owner and any business for that matter is to make every photo at Google count and don’t count on that carefully chosen profile photo showing. And pray.
Get the full story at Blumenthals
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_to_hotels_we_pick_your_profile_photo
This had allowed OTAs in Europe to see a 16% boost in their own businesses during the same period, as they invest more in mobile technology than rival distribution channels.
Gasdia said: “OTAs are eating a larger and larger slice of the online market every year. It remains to be seen how they can stop that in Europe.
“OTAs are growing but don’t expect them to rest on their laurels. They’re investing in the mobile experience.
“This route is only going to get stronger moving forward.”
Get the full story at TTG
Read also "Online will be most popular travel booking channel in Europe by 2017" at Tnooz
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/otas_outperform_market_thanks_to_mobile
Expedia has outpaced the chains’ direct channels growth by demonstrating consumer value and, as a result, increased the OTA share of the mix of chain hotels’ bookings. This means that owners are now feeling the pinch of the large franchise fees that chains charge on bookings made via OTA channels even more.
Instead of moving to reduce the amount they charge their owners, the approach taken by some of those chains is to try to reduce the growth of the OTA by restricting what consumers shopping and booking through non-brand.com websites can access.
This could be their most competitive publicly available rates or blocking non-price benefits such as free Wi-Fi. They are discriminating against these consumers in the guest experience by, for instance, making online check-in available only to their loyalty program members who book on the chain’s own channels.
Get the full story at Tnooz
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/expedia_tells_hotel_owners_to_watch_their_franchise_brands
Evaneos competes with traditional tour operators by providing a marketplace for tailored travel experiences that claims to cut out the middle-person - that is, the tour operators and major travel agencies - by connecting travellers directly with a community of local travel agents.
Through the site you can browse a range of holiday ideas, then contact a local agent living in the destination country to design a tailor-made itinerary. Evaneos counts 650 partner agencies who operate locally in 150 countries, offering, says the company, “premium expertise without the premium price tag.”
The draw for consumers is more personalized travel experiences, while local agencies benefit from an additional source of direct revenue, retaining more income for the local economy. Of course, in a sense, Evaneos is the new middle-person, just a less hungry one.
Get the full story at TechCrunch
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/european_online_travel_marketplace_evaneos_picks_up_21m_funding
Joe Gebbia, the co-founder of Airbnb, bet his whole company on the belief that people can trust each other enough to stay in one another's homes. How did he overcome the stranger-danger bias? Through good design. Now, 123 million hosted nights (and counting) later, Gebbia sets out his dream for a culture of sharing in which design helps foster community and connection instead of isolation and separation.
View the video at TED
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/ted_how_airbnb_designs_for_trust
This is the third consecutive year that HeBS Digital, the leading hotel digital technology, full-service digital marketing and website revenue optimization firm, has won the Gold Stevie for its proprietary smartCMS. The American Business Awards represent the nation’s most prestigious software-for-business awards program.
The smartCMS website technology platform offers hoteliers complete control over their websites and direct online channel revenue streams. Powering some of the most innovative hotel websites in the industry, the smartCMS supports responsive and adaptive website design for both single property websites (from select-service vanity websites to complex full-service hotels, resorts and casinos) and multi-property, brand and multi-brand websites. Now in its seventh generation, v7, the first generation of the smartCMS was first developed by HeBS Digital in 2002.
Ge the full story at HeBS Digital
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hebs_digitals_smartcms_website_technology_wins_gold_stevie_award_for_third
Data is very important, really, because good decisions are based on data. The seismic shift that's taken place in our industry over the last twenty years has happened because the internet has made pricing essentially as good as transparent. Before, as a hoteliers I could easily say, “You're my friend, I'll give you a ten percent discount off rack rate,” which really meant that I'd still give you a high rate but you'd feel like you got a discount. Today, all of that is gone thanks to online travel agents and metasearch. You can see based on supply and demand what the best available rates are in the market.
At the same time, technology has become a lot cheaper. You don't necessarily need a large hotel management company to get decent access to global distribution systems anymore. There are specialists and products that can help a hotel in a more cost effective way. They know how you can market and distribute a hotel effectively via the internet. So what you see in North America and in Western Europe is that the value of a large brand like Sheraton, Hilton, or Marriott has significantly diminished. As a result of transparent distribution, access to data is easier for all bookers and this in turn has had an impact on the value of loyalty schemes. That's why you see companies like citizenM and 25hours aggressively entering the market with very limited overheads and small but effective head offices. Legacy hotel managers are dealing with legacy systems and a workforce that was structured 15 years ago. The new guys on the block achieve similar occupancies and average rates in a product that is smaller and cheaper to build. This is a seismic shift in our industry.
Get the full story at SnapShot
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/modern_hotel_asset_management_part_2_how_the_internet_has_transformed_hotel
GeekWire spoke with Khosrowshahi at Expedia headquarters in Bellevue, Wash., where employees on Wednesday marked the 20th anniversary of the company’s founding as a small division inside Microsoft. Two decades later, Expedia has more than 18,000 employees and $6.6 billion in annual revenue, and it continues to grow through an ambitious series of acquisitions.
Get the full story at GeekWire
View also "Video: Expedia’s CEO weighs in on the travel industry" and "Expedia undecided on HomeAway integration" at TTG
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/expedias_ceo_on_the_travel_giants_first_20_years_and_whats_next
Facebook has launched Dynamic Ads for Travel, which has big implications across the eTravel group.
Analyst Guggenheim Securities take: 1) Online travel agencies (OTAs) have been eyeing Facebook and its massive audience, but traditional products fell short, and this new ad unit may well open the door; 2) We see this as good news for the traffic-hungry OTAs and maybe Expedia in particular as its Trivago unit is a launch partner; 3) Facebook’s vertical effort may pose a threat to TripAdvisor via increased competition for OTA and hotel chain ad budgets.
Highlights of Facebook’s Dynamic Ads for Travel (DAT): 1) DAT will initially focus on hotels; 2) Advertisers will be able to target based on intent (i.e., user has conducted a travel search, viewed a hotel, or bought a ticket); 3) It will create highly targeted audiences based on a range of variables like length of stay, number of travelers, and star rating.
The OTAs are hungry for traffic and Facebook has a massive audience (1.65 billion monthly active users), but the traditional Dynamic Ad product was built more for retail advertisers. DAT looks to be a compelling way for OTAs to tap into that user base in a highly targeted way to drive hotel volume.
Commentary from Expedia and Priceline Group in recent earnings calls suggest that both likely worked closely in developing DAT and will be participants. Expedia’s Trivago unit is a launch partner.
Read also "Facebook extends dynamic ads to travel sector"
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/facebooks_travel_ramp_could_boost_expedia_and_hurt_tripadvisor
Starting off with a personal story on how technology has raised consumer intolerance – knowing something (in his case, Uber) is there and not being able to use it because of government regulations in Germany, he said, “What you used to accept for 12 years suddenly becomes intolerable.”
He then went on to share how the world was going mobile. Between last quarter 2015 and first quarter 2016, there’s been an almost 40% increase in mobile searches in travel, mobile’s share of visits to travel sites increased to 40%, there’s been a continual decrease in time per visit on travel mobile websites and there’s been a 10% increase in mobile conversion rates on travel mobile sites.
What this was doing was creating more micro-moments. He then went on to list everything Google was doing to capture every one of our micro-moments in travel – so that it can become our personal travel assistant.
Get the full story at Web in Travel
Read also "Responses to Google's Travel plans - bad news, they can go wrong and transformational" at Web in Travel
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/googles_quest_to_become_our_personal_travel_assistant_to_be_loved_or_feared
This is a high stakes game and at risk is the very existence of many of these firms. The OTAs have voiced their opposition to direct bookings efforts on a regular basis. However, lately the comments coming from OTAs have become more acerbic. Expedia's CEO Dara Khosrowshahi mentioned in the first quarter earnings on April 28th hotel chains that "play well with us" will be able to build great relationship whereas others will end up losing market share and audience. This is as direct a message as can be. Expedia already is testing a business model where it will be linking users on Expedia to hotel websites directly to help hotels build loyalty. This effort is an attempt to reduce the impact of direct bookings channel by the hotel brands.
Both the big brands as well as OTAs have several levers which they can use to gain better terms from the other side. The top five brands have over half a million keys under each of them. They also represent an overwhelming percentage of rooms in the development pipeline. For example, IHG booked close to 200 million room nights in the last year compared to Expedia which booked 52.8 million room nights in Q4 2015.
On the other hand OTAs are at an advantage in terms of marketing reach. None of the major brands would like to build a similar infrastructure with heavy investments which Expedia and Priceline have built over the past decade and half.
Get the full story at SeekingAlpha
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/tug_of_war_between_hotel_brands_and_otas_to_continue
During the session, Changing the Center of Gravity, the executive detailed how the company eradicated segmented silos and the traditional advertise-at strategy, and instead put the point of view of the consumer in focus to provide more relevant and helpful experiences. As part of this strategy, Marriott is leveraging Facebook and dynamic ads, and is using data to steer its marketing decisions to where the numbers are most effective.
“We are inundated,” said Andy Kauffman, vice president of digital marketing and Marriott.com at Marriott International. “Most of you are on are on your laptop and your phones, you are trying and doing a great job of multitasking because the world is inundating us with emails, Facebook posts, tweets and snapchatting.
“This is having a real effect on consumers but it is a real opportunity for marketers if we put them in the center of things,” he said. “Our head of creative and content studio has a quote I really like, ‘we must stop interrupting what people are interested in, and become what they are interested in.’
Get the full story at Mobile Commerce Daily
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_marriott_delivers_seamless_consumer_first_experiences
Tablet use in all stages of travel has increased among travelers in the United Kingdom, according to a report from Expedia.
Smartphone and tablet ownership rates in the UK, at 79 percent and 43 percent respectively, are higher than those of the United States and continental Europe. While it is widely known that mobile and multi-platform use is growing, understanding these trends on a regional level could help brands fine-tune their marketing mix at a regional level.
Mobile-only travelers outnumber PC-only travelers, and the total mobile audience matches the total PC audience, demonstrating how quickly mobile has grown. In the UK, mobile rather than desktop is the primary tool for travelers.
Get the full story at Luxury Daily
Read also "The British traveler’s path to purchase"
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/for_hotels_desktop_is_still_the_dominant_platform
Throughout 2016 major hotel brands have announced new initiatives to win guest loyalty and increase direct bookings. Concurrently, online travel agencies and metasearch providers are stepping up their game and providing new incentives that entice customers to book on their sites. In the midst of these developments numerous local markets are showing signs of reservation weakness that thickens the plot. What impact are these initiatives having on channel distribution growth? Should hoteliers adopt direct booking strategies given the present state of local market demand? This webinar will examine how member rates and loyalty programs are impacting channel distribution strategies in 2016 and beyond.
Webinar content is based on TravelClick’s proprietary Agency360 solution, the only comprehensive database of agency bookings on the market, eMonitor market performance reports and Demand360 forward-looking hotel booking data.
- First quarter 2016 review and recap
- Regional analysis of key markets throughout the world
- Emerging trends and impact of member rates and loyalty programs
- Best channel management strategies
- 2016 outlook and RevPAR pace review
Three sessions will be offered to accommodate a range of time zones. Click the links to register:
23 May 22:00 (10pm EDT – New York)
24 May 10:00 (10am EDT – New York)
24 May 14:00 (2pm EDT – New York)
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_member_rates_and_loyalty_programs_are_changing_the_hotel_distribution_l
Fortunately for you, elasticity and competitor considerations take center stage in this third and final post in our series about revenue management system (RMS) must-have features.
Public pricing rates are the lowest non-restricted rate bookable by all guests and they impact revenue management in numerous ways. Arguably the most important is how their price sensitivity is measured and analyzed. Attempting to increase or decrease hotel rates without considering how the change will affect demand is like betting all your black chips on a hunch you only feel is right.
Does that mean hotel managers are all seeking that one magical price point and — voila! — they just wait for revenue to roll in? Not quite.
What makes pinpointing the best rates so complex is the elasticity of the industry. Elasticity can vary by market segment, time to arrival, day of the week, season and many other factors. That means there’s no single magic number. What’s more, competitor rates play a huge role in understanding price sensitivity.
Get the full story at IDeaS
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/rms_must_have_features_elasticity_competitor_rate_considerations
The British Traveller’s Path to Purchase study examined the 45-day period leading up to online travel booking by consumers in the UK, including desktop and mobile device usage, destinations considered, and resources utilised. The study found that British travellers spend 2.4 billion minutes engaging with digital travel content, which is a nearly 45 percent increase year-over-year. Nearly one billion of those minutes are spent on travel content from a mobile device – an 82 percent increase year-over-year.
As multi-device usage and its impact on content consumption and booking behaviour continues to evolve, travellers are presented with more options than ever before, leading to an extensive research and booking path – and creating myriad opportunities for advertisers to influence destination and purchase decisions.
In the UK, more consumers are engaging with travel content on mobile devices than desktops, though in general, users are becoming more device agnostic.
- More users now engage with travel content on mobile than desktop devices, nearly 28 million versus 25 million, respectively
- Forty-nine percent of users engage with travel content on multiple devices, compared to 28 percent of mobile-only users and 21 percent of desktop-only users
- Nearly half of smartphone owners and 63 percent of tablet owners used their device for trip research
- Browsers are still the primary way UK consumers access mobile travel information (64 percent), and the total share of browser minutes surpassed apps in most travel categories – most notably OTAs (80 percent), Airlines (72 percent) and Hotels/Resorts (72 percent)
Travel continues to be a considered and time consuming purchase, and the average online travel booker visited travel sites more than 121 times during the 45-day path to purchase.
- Sixty-eight percent cited an online source as the first resource used to help decide on a destination
- Users average more than 18 visits to travel sites per week during the 45 days prior to booking, and spend more than an hour and fifteen minutes on desktop travel sites in the week leading up to purchase
- By the end of the booking path, average visits per booker increased by more than 200 percent, resulting in close to daily visits to travel sites, on average
Destination decisions are influenced by many factors, and 54 percent of UK online travel bookers started the research process with multiple destinations in mind.
- British online travel bookers are two times more likely to book an international trip versus a domestic trip, and millennials were more likely to consider or book trips further abroad
- OTAs (12 percent) and search engines (12 percent) were the most common initial online resources when deciding on a destination, while recommendations from family and friends were the most common offline resource (15 percent). OTAs also have the most booker engagement, compared to other travel site categories, with 32 percent of total visits throughout the booking path.
- Search engines (68 percent) were used most as a resource near the beginning of the purchase path, but dropped to only eight percent at booking; OTAs (31 percent), airline sites (36 percent) and hotel sites (23 percent) were leading booking tools, and also used consistently throughout the path to purchase
The travel advertising marketplace is crowded, but full of opportunity.
- Thirty percent of travel bookers who were considering more than one destination were influenced by advertising; millennials were 25 percent more likely to notice travel advertising than other age groups, and 26 percent said advertising influenced their destination decision
- Forty-eight percent of online travel bookers said travel package advertising most influenced their booking decision
- Though travel only accounts for two percent of online display ad impressions, 10 percent of display ads served to an online booker during their path to purchase were travel ads, showing that targeting is working
“Travel continues to be a complex buying decision, and one travellers invest a significant amount of time in, as illustrated by the number of travel site visits prior to booking,” said Noah Tratt, senior global vice president of Expedia Media Solutions. “Considering that more than half of online travel bookers in the UK start with multiple destinations in mind, understanding how and when decisions are influenced throughout the path to purchase can help marketers better reach and engage British travellers in the weeks leading up to booking.”
Get the full story at Expedia Media Solutions
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_british_travelers_path_to_purchase
View the video at Bloomberg
Barry Diller on his Expedia investment, travel acquisitions and the promise of AI
The surprise guest at yesterday's Expedia’s 20th anniversary celebration this afternoon was Barry Diller, the media mogul who co-founded the Fox network and oversees a wide range of online brands as chairman of the IAC media and Internet company.
Diller spoke for a few minutes with GeekWire about his investment in Expedia, his thoughts on its recent acquisition spree, and his belief in the future of artificial intelligence.
Get the full story at GeekWire
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/tv_expedias_ceo_weighs_in_on_the_travel_industry
To enable the capability, users must add the Kayak “skill” on the Alexa smartphone app. To initiate Kayak, you need to say the somewhat cumbersome, “Alexa, ask Kayak . . .” But once in, Kayak users can track flights and ask a wide range of questions, which sometimes include extended “conversational” interactions. Currently, there’s no booking capability, but that will likely come in the future.
Most of the content is enabled through the Kayak “Explore” and “Flight Tracker” tools. Example questions users can ask include:
- “How much will it cost to fly to New York in June?”
- “Search for hotels in Michigan”
- “Where can I fly for $500?”
Get the full story at Search Engine Land
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/kayak_debuts_voice_enabled_travel_search_on_amazon_echo
Cityfront Hotel Associates Limited Partners, owner of the Sheraton Grand Chicago, and Dream Team Hotel Associates, owner of the Westin Times Square in New York, sued Marriott and Starwood in New York state court on Tuesday, arguing the merger will hurt their business.
The Starwood purchase has been a long haul already for Marriott, including a month-long bidding war with China’s Anbang Insurance Company. Valued at $12.9 billion based on Monday's closing prices, it would create the world's largest hotel operator by room count and give Marriott 10 new brands, including Sheraton, W, St. Regis, and Westin. It is scheduled to close midyear.
Get the full story at Bloomberg
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/marriott_starwood_hits_another_snag
Members of the Hilton HHonors loyalty programme using the HHonors app will now be offered more details about the hotel’s surroundings and their room’s potential view, before making a room selection.
“With the updated room selection feature, you can now be your family’s hero by choosing the room at the Hilton St Louis at the Ballpark Downtown that faces Busch Stadium, or by picking a room at Hampton Inn Marquette Waterfront that looks out at Lake Superior,” the company stated.
The updated digital floor plans include detailed geographical information about the hotel’s surroundings, so guests can get a better idea of where available hotel rooms are located in relation to city streets, public transport, parks and other attractions. They can also see if there is a major road outside their window or if their room faces east toward the sunrise.
Get the full story at Travel Daily Media and Mobile Commerce Daily
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hilton_app_integrates_with_google_maps_for_room_selection
The report showed that the packaged tours industry is seeing strong demand in the outbound segment, owing to language barriers, visa requirements and other complications in planning trips outside of China.
The industry saw a total transaction value of 500 billion yuan (US$76.7 billion) in 2015, up 19 per cent year-on-year, with the number projected to grow to about 700 billion yuan by end-2018.
OTAs are expected to be a chief beneficiary of this trend as online penetration for packaged tours are estimated to have only reached 13 per cent, compared to more than 50 per cent for air ticketing and about 20 per cent for hotel bookings.
The report cites leading Chinese OTA Ctrip as an example, which has been integrating the value chain since 2006 by investing in an airline, hotels, wholesalers and an offline retailer.
Get the full stoy at TTG Asia
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/more_consolidation_expected_in_chinas_package_tour_market
TripAdvisor shared findings from a Phocuswright study providing insights into the behaviour, spending patterns, and preferences of more than 3,000 outbound Chinese travellers. Entitled China Unbounded: The Rapid Rise of China’s Outbound Millions, the study (sponsored in part by TripAdvisor), which looked at all facets of Chinese outbound travel out of the mainland, has allowed TripAdvisor the opportunity to examine and thus unveil the changing profile of China’s emerging free independent traveller (FIT).
In 2015, the number of Chinese outbound leisure trips grew 20% year-on-year to 120 million, based on figures released by the Chinese National Tourism Administration 1, with expenditure reaching £142.38 billion according to China Unbounded.
“China’s growing number of FIT present vast, untapped opportunities for global tourism service providers and hospitality businesses,” said James Kay, TripAdvisor Spokesperson. “Businesses with the goal of attracting Chinese FITs not only need to come up with a strong, tailored strategy, but be prepared to constantly adapt to evolving expectations.”
Who they are
China’s FIT is young, well-off, self-reliant and increasingly experienced
The study revealed that more often than not, China’s FITs are young, well-educated and relatively affluent. Nearly nine out of ten (89%) Chinese FITs are adults aged 18-44, with 41% of them belonging to the Post-80s generation (aged 25-34). Three in four (77%) Chinese FITs had an undergraduate degree or higher and 44% earned a monthly income of £1,599 or more. Not surprisingly, a bigger share of Chinese FITs comes from 1st tier cities than in other tiers. Interestingly, more than a quarter of Chinese FITs surveyed lived in southern China’s Guangdong province, followed by Shanghai, Sichuan province, Beijing and Jiangsu province.
Chinese FITs are increasingly becoming more experienced outbound travellers. On average, Chinese FITs have taken 5.5 international trips in their lifetime, higher than the overall average Chinese outbound traveller at 5.2 international trips.
English proficiency is reasonably high among Chinese FITs with 41% saying they can understand most English. This type of Chinese traveller is also increasingly self-reliant, preferring to organise their own itinerary and shifting away from the antiquated stereotype of pre-packaged large and escorted group tours. In fact, nine in 10 Chinese FITs purchased travel components individually for their most recent international leisure trip.
Where they’re going, when they travel and for how long
They’re ready to go on holiday at the drop of a hat
Chinese FITs have a short travel planning cycle with nearly one-third (32%) choosing their destination one to two weeks prior to their departure for their last trip. Nearly one in five (18%) Chinese FITs decide on where to go within less than a week of their departure.
Chinese FITs have a propensity for longer trips, with travel peaks in early October
The outbound travel season for Chinese travellers kicks off with the May 1st holiday, and peaks at the early-October National Day. Over a quarter (29%) of outbound trips are taken in October, and 77% of outbound trips occur between May and October. One in three (34%) Chinese FITs spent three nights or less on their last international trip, compared to 40% who spent 4-6 nights and over a quarter (26%) who spent 7 or more nights abroad. Nearly a third of trips taken around National Day holiday (October 1st) consist of 7 nights or more.
Short haul travel to neighbouring destinations continues to dominate outbound trips
Short-haul destinations in Greater China, North Asia and Southeast Asia account for more than 9 in 10 outbound FIT trips. The top three countries visited by Chinese FITs on their last leisure trip were Japan, Thailand, and South Korea.
Top countries visited by Chinese FITs on their last outbound leisure trip:
3. South Korea
4. United States
8. United Kingdom
For those who visited Europe in the past 12 months, the most popular countries were France, U.K, Italy, Germany, the Netherlands, and Spain. The top five U.S. states visited by Chinese FITs were New York, California, Hawaii, District of Columbia and Washington.
Why they travel and what they want
They intend to shop but are looking for a more holistic holiday experience
The study showed that 42% of Chinese FITs said shopping was an important motivation for their trip, especially to North East Asian countries including Japan and South Korea. However, quality of shopping rated relatively low in importance in choice of destination, indicating that whilst travellers are expecting good shopping options in many travel spots, other factors play a big role in the final selection.
In fact, 56% of this segment are motivated to travel internationally simply by the desire to get away and relax – which seems to be the case especially for travel to South East Asia – and 47% are lured by the desire to see natural, cultural and historical attractions.
The top three most important deciding factors ultimately boiled down to whether a destination was deemed safe or politically stable (65% rated this “extremely important”), followed by whether it featured a clean environment with low pollution (36%), and if it had natural features and landscapes (35%). Australia and New Zealand were rated most highly on these destination characteristics by Chinese FITs who have travelled there.
How they’re spending
Their wallets are wide open when they are on holiday
The Chinese FIT spends on average £1,888 per trip, with 29% having spent £2,132 or more on their last trip abroad. Chinese FITs from bigger cities spent the most per trip. Surprisingly however, the difference in average spend by FIT in Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities is a mere 17%, pointing to the rise in purchasing power by FITs in Tier 2 cities. The biggest spenders were from Beijing (£2,818), Sichuan province (£2,362), and Shanghai (£2,353).
With an average spend of £730, shopping accounted for the lion’s share of Chinese FITs’ international travel budget regardless of destination. Chinese FITs are the biggest shoppers during trips to the U.S. and Canada with an average shopping spend of £1,874.
Second to shopping, Chinese FITs spend an average spend of £479 on airplane tickets and £328 on accommodation. The average spend on dining for Chinese FITs was £222.
And they plan to spend more and travel more in the next two years
Whilst short haul destinations in East Asia (especially in Greater China) remain a top choice for outbound Chinese FITs, there is also strong interest in long-haul travel to Europe, Australasia and North America in the next two years.
Nearly half (49%) of outbound Chinese FITs plan to take more trips in the next two years as compared to the last 12 months, and more than half of them plan to take longer trips (52%) and spend more (54%) whilst abroad.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/new_tripadvisor_study_providing_insights_on_chinese_fit_travelers
In October 2014, Google released results of a survey on voice search. According to Google, “55% of teens and 41% of adults use voice search more than once a day.”
The survey also discovered what people use voice search for. Over a third of teens and adults used voice search to ask for directions. Results like this hammer home how local SEO efforts will assist in voice search optimization.
For the most part, people use voice search for specific answers. This means they are searchers closer to the bottom of the search funnel. They are closer to making a transaction than non-voice searchers.
Get the full story at Blue Magnet Interactive
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/voice_search_optimization_for_hotel_websites
Since its launch earlier this year, the dynamic ads feature has only focused on retail and ecommerce verticals. However, Facebook thinks there’s an unmet need in the travel space, especially on mobile, and the company would like to help advertisers reach individuals planning or booking trips on their mobile device. Whether people are searching for accommodations or flights, dynamic ads could help businesses reach them at the crucial moment. So starting today, companies can target customers based on location and travel dates.
Facebook’s sharper focus on travel is trying to account for more of the data that can be gleaned about a person’s specific travel intent: this is not only something that Facebook can figure out, but is something that, used correctly, will make the ad more effective. In this case, Facebook will now add location and travel date data into the mix.
“Dynamic Ads for travel empower travel advertisers to offer hotel options to people who have shown interest in taking a trip, either by browsing hotels or searching and purchasing a flight,” Facebook notes. “For example, a travel business can connect with people who viewed a hotel on their website by showing them an ad featuring the hotel they viewed along with similar hotels in the area.” It will also extend to products beyond the one that a user is browsing for: one example are hotels that you might see in ads after you’ve booked a flight.
Get the full story at TechCrunch and Facebook
Read also "Marriott and Trivago Sign on to New Ad Product for Facebook" at Skift and "10 reasons why Dynamic Ads for Travel from Facebook heralds a new era of travel marketing" at Tnooz
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/facebook_extends_dynamic_ads_to_travel_sector
Marriott, for example, has made its rooms available on TripAdvisor’s Instant Booking platform. While Marriott does pay a commission for rooms booked on the third-party site, the partnership gives it ammunition against OTAs and makes up for the brand’s low visibility on the booking site. The partnership enables browsers on TripAdvisor to seamlessly book Marriott rooms without leaving the site.
But success on TripAdvisor also requires a strategy for visibility, which can be improved by using high-trafficked keywords in description, investing in property page content, and decreasing the response time to guest reviews. Yet, few brands are following these straightforward procedures. Just half (53%) respond to guest reviews on TripAdvisor and take on average a week to respond. The result is weak visibility for U.S. brands overall; just 55% of Index brands with a U.S. footprint appear in the first page of results in searches for the five key markets. New York and Miami are exceptionally weak, with only 20% of brands securing a first-page listing.
Get the full story at L2
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_tripadvisor_is_changing_hotel_strategies
This annual subscription card allows companies to optimize their employee travel costs and also offers a wider range of discounts and exclusive benefits in 2,700 hotels worldwide. Cyril Kovarsky, Senior Vice President Global Sales for AccorHotels explains, "Companies and their frequent business travelers are chiefly concerned with optimizing their hotel expenses and obtaining flexible services. With its significantly enriched range of benefits for business travelers, the Business Plus subscription card enables AccorHotels to address these concerns and to position itself as a major player with an extensive and competitive offer."
The Business Plus card, which can be purchased for €170 on http://www.businessplusaccorhotels.com, offers business travelers a host of advantages including:
- Up to 15% off in 2,700 hotels belonging to 11 AccorHotels group brands, from economy to luxury, and up to 20% off on the weekends
- 20% off Europcar car rentals anywhere in the world
- 10% off catering in ibis and ibis Styles hotels.
- 1,500 bonus points credited to the Le Club AccorHotels loyalty card for subscription renewals and first-time subscriptions to the Business Plus program
- Year-round access to exclusive one-off offers with the program's partners (Air France, Europcar, etc.)
- Early access to AccorHotels promotions.
The excellence of AccorHotels services at every stage of the customer journey:
- Guaranteed room availability up to three days before arrival, and the possibility of late check-out up to 4 pm
- A dedicated customer service and an account that's accessible 24/7 on AccorHotels.com
- Detailed monthly activity reports.
Find out more on: http://www.businessplus-accorhotels.com/
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/accorhotels_enriches_its_business_travel_program
The company explained in a press release that the new chatbot is “designed to deliver exceptional experiences for guests who prefer digital brand interaction,” including those staying in the chain’s busy Heathrow Airport and South Kensington, London lodgings, and too help resolve many straightforward requests but also fetch a human helper to tap in as needed.
Named for its patron brand, the conversational chatbot operates on a tailored Customer Experience Platform (CXP) by Aspect Software, a UK-based contact center, self service, and workforce solutions firm. According to Edwardian Hotels, Edward’s introduction addresses a growing consumer preference toward self-service, and is “part of a wider project to digitally transform the way that Edwardian Hotels London engages with guests across every touch point [with]Aspect’s cloud-based technology.”
Get the full story at Forbes
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/radisson_blu_guests_can_now_text_edward_the_chatbot_for_service