The mobile phone is proving to be indispensable in the UK when organizing a holiday. Of the 1,550 UK smartphone owners surveyed by mobile payments and marketing group Weve, nearly nine in 10 used their phones to research and plan their vacations.
The top travel-related activities conducted via smartphone were looking for hotels, searching for flights and comparing prices. Searching holidays in general was also cited by more than four in 10 respondents. Despite the value the mobile phone has in organizing trips, the bulk of transactions were made on a desktop or laptop, and half of those who didn’t book via smartphone said this was due to sites not being optimized for mobile use.
Similarly, polling by TNS Infratest and Google found that smartphones were used the most during the middle of planning trips. Nearly seven in 10 UK smartphone users said they researched via smartphone in the middle of the travel purchase process; just 17% of respondents used such a device to make the final purchase.
Get the full story at eMarketer
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/lack_of_mobile_optimized_sites_leaves_travelers_booking_on_desktops
STRs expectation is for RevPAR growth that slows further to 5.3% in 2014 rather than accelerating to a faster pace of growth.
Two dynamics are at work. The first is that improving growth prospects for the broader economy will continue to produce gains for the hotel industry. However, the second dynamic is that demand has gone beyond the recovery period where above average rates of growth should be expected.
While the U.S. economy is still operating below its full potential, with many people still seeking full-time employment, the economic outlook is better than in the recent past. If the year unfolds as anticipated, 2014 will shape up as the first year average gross-domestic-product growth has reached 3% in eight years (since 2005).
Get the full story at Hotel News Now
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/us_hotel_forecast_sees_continued_march_to_normalcy
Aspiration travel startup Peek launched a little more than a year ago to offer interesting activities for travelers. Since then it’s expanded to 19 different locations and signed up thousands of activity vendors. But it’s looking to scale up even faster with $5 million in new funding led by Todd Kimmel and Montage Ventures.
Peek seeks to set itself apart from other travel sites by actually providing a variety of activities that can be booked online or through its recently released iPhone app. It provides real-time inventory of events and manages payment processing and scheduling, simplifying the process of connecting travellers and vendors.
With the new funding, Peek plans to expand into new destinations while also adding new activities in existing markets and launching its consumer-facing platform on more platforms. It also hopes to extend more features through its back-end merchant platform, Peek Professional.
Get the full story at TechCrunch
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travel_site_peek_raises_5_million_to_expand_to_new_cities
The release of Groupize.com is a precursor to the launch of the Groupize Network in the next quarter. All Groupize-powered affiliate sites will offer real-time pricing and group deals from a wide selection of group-friendly hotels for planners of meetings, events, conferences, weddings, tours, sporting events and leisure travel. Hotels that have joined the Groupize Network will be included in all offerings.
The launch of Groupize.com will be complemented by a uniquely advanced, broad-based digital marketing campaign. Groupize is confident that these campaigns will be successful as it offers a user experience that meets the expectations of online group travel planners. Because of the simple-yet- innovative user experience for planners, hotels participating in the Groupize Network can expect to receive more qualified leads, which will increase online conversions, group revenues and their market share. Added benefits include streamlined operations, reduced support costs, decreased distribution expenses and enhanced customer satisfaction by establishing member hotels as the ‘return destination of choice’ for their growing community of loyal planners and travelers.
Groupize accents their online experience by offering all partner hotels complimentary access to the Groupize Planner Relationship Manager (PRM) to action all leads provided to the hotel. The Groupize PRM is used to centralize, distribute and manage leads as well as a customer communications tool.
Get the full story at Hotel News Now
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/groupize_launches_hotel_group_booking_site
Users can check availability for single, double and twin rooms in real time; see the best available rate and pre-book directly through the system.
The platform will launch in the UK, France and Germany this year before rolling out to Asia in 2015.
From April users will also be able to book services such as dinner and luggage management.
Source: Travel Daily UK
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/accor_launches_new_group_booking_tool_for_travel_agents
Consumers don't like mobile commerce sites. In fact, 49% of shoppers on smartphones leave retailers' m-commerce sites to shop merchants' full desktop sites on their smartphones, according to data exclusive to Internet Retailer from Retail Systems Research LLC, a research and consulting firm that follows mobile commerce.
Does that mean that all the work retailers for years have put into optimizing and streamlining web sites for mobile shoppers was pointless?
No, experts say. Keep in mind, 51% of consumers use mobile sites to research and buy, RSR finds. What has happened, retailers with long experience in m-commerce and mobile experts contend, is merchants have dumbed down their mobile sites so much in a quest to make things fast and simple that many mobile shoppers don't have the tools they need to learn more about products and make informed buying decisions. These shoppers are then left with no choice but to touch m-commerce sites' View Full Site links to find what they need on the traditional desktop sites.
Get the full story at Internet Retailer
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/why_shoppers_still_prefer_full_sites_to_mobile_versions
By Max Starkov
At the recent HSMAI Digital Marketing Strategy Conference in New York, a panel of distinguished industry leaders discussed the prevailing two "schools of thought" regarding Responsive Website Design:
- Responsive Web Design (RWD): The "old-fashioned" way of fitting the same website into small or large screen sizes, and
- Adaptive Web Design aka Responsive Design on the Server Side (RESS): serving the right content to the right device from the same Content Management System (CMS)
RWD vs. RESS: What is the Difference?
The main difference between RWD and RESS/Adaptive Design is the type of web content served on the different devices: desktop, mobile (smartphones) and tablet.
- The traditional Responsive Website Design (RWD) will serve the desktop website across all devices while attempting to optimize the "viewing" experience. This may work for some small, non-revenue-focused websites, but just imagine using simple responsive design and trying to fit Marriott's humongous desktop website (Marriott.com) and all of its 22,700,000 pages, files, folders, PDFs, images, etc. that are indexed by Google onto the iPhone 5's 640×1136 screen.
- Adaptive Web Design aka Responsive Design on the Server Side (RESS) will serve the right website content in the right device category (desktop, mobile, tablet) while ensuring the maximum user experience, relevancy of information and conversions.
Further analysis of online travel consumers and the unique characteristics of each of the "three screens" explain the need for specialized content on each device i.e. the use of adaptive web design:
Desktop users: The traditional "desktop" travel consumers need as much information as possible, including a minimum of 25-50 content pages per property and another 50-100 specialized marketing and landing pages featuring special packages, promotions and events. Desktop users also place high value on visual galleries with photos and videos, customer reviews and other in-depth information.
Mobile Users: The always-on-the-go mobile traveler requires short, slimmed-down content with an emphasis on property location, area maps and directions, real time "smart rates" and availability, an easy-to-use mobile booking engine and a click-to-call property reservation number. Due to usability and security issues, six of every ten mobile bookings actually happen via the voice channel. Very few people are comfortable entering their credit card information into their iPhone in a public place. Very few hotel mobile websites provide an alternative to guaranteeing your booking without entering your credit card.
Tablet Users: This new breed of tablet users require deep, visually enhanced content about the property and its destination. A well-structured, highly visual hotel tablet-optimized website can generate conversion rates several times higher than those of mobile devices. In contrast, tablet users have no issues booking a hotel via their device. A well-structured, highly visual, hotel tablet-optimized website can generate conversion rates several times higher than those of mobile devices.
These user styles reveal why fitting the big and "heavy" desktop website into the smartphone screen or the hi-res touch screen iPad is not a very smart idea after all, with the exception of very small B&B, inns and property websites.
The Panel on Responsive Design at the recent HSMAI Digital Marketing Conference confirmed our viewpoint, concluding that:
- Responsive website design is here to stay in this three-screen world we now live in (desktop, mobile, tablet)
- If you want to do responsive design right, Adaptive Web design/Responsive Design on Server Side (RESS) is the better approach
"If I had more time and money, I would go with Adaptive Web Design," shared a major hotel brand executive at the conference.
"For those who wish to take redesign a step further and remain cutting edge, the panelists suggested looking at adaptive design rather than responsive design." Jason Q. Freed, News Editor for HotelNewsNow.com, wrote in his reporting from the conference. "Adaptive design lives within one content-management system but serves up different content based on what device the traveler is using. It requires sites to change the core content 'down in the depths of the systems' based on the context of the user, Kauffman said."
HeBS Digital has always subscribed to the Adaptive Web Design/Responsive Design on server Side (RESS) approach. A year ago we published an article that garnered many comments on the HOTELS Magazine blog: "Responsive Design, Demystified" where we argued that desktop, mobile and tablet devices should be treated as separate device categories and Adaptive Web Design/Responsive Design on the Server Side (RESS) was the right approach in our industry. Specifically we recommend that hoteliers:
- Treat desktop, mobile and tablet, and their respective marketing and distribution channels, as separate device categories
- Upgrade to the next generation of Content Management System (CMS) to effectively manage desktop, mobile and tablet website content (copy, photos, special offers, events and happenings) via a single centralized dashboard
- Adopt Adaptive Design/Responsive Design on the Server Side (RESS) to serve the right website content in the right device category (desktop, mobile, tablet) while ensuring the maximum user experience, relevancy of information and conversions
- Use analytics tools such as Adobe Omniture SiteCatalyst to determine contributions from and the dynamics of each of the three channels
Related Link: HeBS
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/adaptive_website_design_is_responsive_design_done_right
eMarketer expects nearly 190 million people in Western Europe to buy via digital channels in 2014, and a greater percentage of those purchases will be made on mobile devices, thanks to widespread increases in smartphone and tablet usage.
However, compared with more developed markets such as the US and UK—where mobile platforms are expanding and playing an increasingly vital role in a purchase journey that incorporates multiple digital devices—continental Europe isn’t yet exhibiting the same degree of sophistication, according to a new eMarketer report, “Western Europe Mcommerce: Rising Mobile Usage Will Boost Today’s Embryonic Markets.” Even as mobile shopping behaviors have become more varied and extensive, relatively few people in Western Europe actually bought via mobile in 2013, and many transactions were for low-priced items such as books, music, games and apps.
Confidence in online shopping differs in the main regional markets. For example, the “International Communications Market Report 2013” from the UK’s Office of Communications noted rather dramatic variations across EU-5 countries in the share of adult internet users who were nervous about paying for goods online. The UK had by far the highest confidence levels, with 70% saying they felt secure when making online payments and fewer than 10% saying they disagreed. Respondents in France, by contrast, were the least trusting of online payments, with the proportion of those who felt insecure (29%) not much lower than the share who felt secure (38%).
Get the full story at eMarketer
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/mobile_hotel_bookings_a_small_niche_in_western_europe
Set at 100 in 2004, the HPI tracks real prices that hotel guests actually paid for their accommodation around the world. The HPI for 2013 stands at 110, seven points lower than its peak in 2007 despite the recent growth, and just ten points higher than at its launch.
Latin America registered its strongest result yet, following a five per cent increase in hotel prices, and has now overtaken its previous peak set just before the global economic downturn. With reports stating that emerging markets are showing solid economic growth, prices rose as demand intensified.
Johan Svanstrom, President of the Hotels.com brand, said: "According to UNWTO (the United Nations World Tourism Organization), international tourist arrivals in 2013 grew by five per cent to a record global figure of 1,087 million, well above expectations. The growth in global hotel prices we are reporting today reflects that trend.
"There is no doubt that European hotel prices were some of the most badly affected by the economic fallout. However, most indicators now show that the economic squeeze is easing, if not yet completely over.
"Looking ahead, one phenomenon impacting global hotel prices in 2014 is the huge rise in the number of sports fans travelling this year, with the Sochi Olympics and Paralympics in February and March and the FIFA World Cup in Brazil in the summer," he added.
Higher occupancy levels recorded in many areas helped the North American HPI climb three per cent, matching the global rise.
Hotel rates in Europe and the Middle East grew by two per cent. With many financial indicators showing that the European economic recovery is gathering greater momentum, several of the destinations worst hit by the downturn have seen their prices stabilise, with some experiencing healthy increases.
The Pacific region was level. Softer domestic corporate travel in Western Australia, coupled with the drop in value of the Australian Dollar towards the end of the year, had a dampening effect on the overall average.
Conversely, the HPI in Asia fell by 2 per cent, which was good news for inbound travellers to the region as it continues to offer some of the world's best value hotel accommodation. The depreciation of the Yen, Rupee and Rupiah, coupled with a decrease in inbound visitors to China contributed to this result, although outbound travel from China remains buoyant. There also continues to be a longer term trend of more travel within the region.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/global_hotel_prices_rise_for_the_fourth_year_running
In terms of where hotels are compared to before the recession, in nominal terms the market is almost back at its pre-recession peak (reached during 2007) but it remains significantly behind in real terms. For example, European ADR is now only 5.7% below its pre-recession levels in nominal terms but 17.9% lower in real terms.
There are 18 cities in this econometric forecast – all are important gateway cities and/or business and tourism centres and some are en route to becoming mega cities. The 18 reflect the challenges facing other cities in Europe where position on the economic and hotel cycle is crucial, and some cities are clearly better placed to grow than others. We anticipate growth in 17 out of the 18 cities in both 2014 and 2015.
In this edition we give look back at 2013: give our forecast for 2014 and 2015, and provide a city by city forecast for 18 gateway cities in Europe. We also give our view on the challenges facing hotels in these locations, along our economic, travel and supply outlook, and we explore the megatrends that will be transforming hotel businesses.
Download the full report at PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PDF 2.2 MB)
Read also "London goes from strength to strength: Hotels forecast 2014 and 2015" at Hospitality.Net
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/room_to_grow_pwcs_european_cities_hotel_forecast_2014_and_2015
In the last year alone, China issued its first law dedicated to the tourism sector, crafted a path for how the tourism industry should be developed in order to create economic stimulus and improve the quality of life in China, and implemented a quality assurance program to certify travel companies that work with the China market based on a number of best-practices criteria.
The law, a 10-chapter document titled “Tourism Law of the People’s Republic of China,” went into effect Oct. 1. It addresses everything from the conduct of tour guides to safety guidelines and shopping arrangements.
For example, the law stipulates that travel agencies cannot offer tours at below-market prices and then force travelers into shopping arrangements for which the agencies receive kickbacks.
Get the full story at Travel Weekly
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/chinas_new_travel_laws_to_reframe_inbound_u.s._traffic
Moz put together a checklist of a) aspects of mobile sites that are often broken yet overlooked, and b) optimization options that many people miss.
Connecting your mobile site with your desktop site
Check your redirects
- Are redirects set up to get visitors to the specific page they were trying to view, not the homepage?
- Are mobile visitors redirected to the mobile version of the site?
- Are desktop visitors redirected to the desktop version of the site?
Allow mobile visitors to see the desktop version of the site
- Is that option easy to find?
- Once mobile visitors choose the desktop version of the site, will they remain on that version as they browse the site? Or will your redirects send them back to the mobile version of the site each time they click on a page?
Dynamically served sites: Check the Vary-HTTP header
- Have you set up a Vary-HTTP header to tell Google and browsers that you vary the HTML by user agent?
Get the full story at Moz
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/mobile_site_audit_checklist
Of the 195 million tablets sold in 2013, Android took nearly 62% of sales on 121 million tablets, while Apple sold 70 million iPad tablets for a 36% share.
In comparison, last year, Apple led the tablet category with nearly 53% of sales on 61 million units, compared to Android at nearly 46% with 53 million tablets sold.
What’s fuelling sales these days? “Low-end, smaller screen” tablets, along with first-time buyers, Gartner says. Ironically, one of the companies that had pioneered that form factor and targeted newbies, Amazon, isn’t faring so well.
Get the full story at TechCrunch
Read also "A Tablet Takeover’s Coming. Are You Ready?" at Monetate
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/tablets_are_becoming_a_mainstream_phenomenon
1 - 60% of leisure travelers and 53% of business travelers rely on search engines.
This is NOT shocking, or even new, but should continue to be a point of emphasis. The bottom line is that you can have the most beautiful and engaging website in the industry, but if travel shoppers can't find it, it's worthless! And how are the bulk of those shoppers finding your direct—
also known as independent or vanity—website (their preferred location for booking according to #1 in this article)? Search engines, namely Google and Bing (per Search Engine Land, Google currently has 2/3's of the market share). And it's simply not sufficient to have a one-time setup approach to search engine optimization (SEO). Professional, ongoing SEO that adheres to Google's algorithm updates, researches trends in themed searches, understands the impact Google+ has on the first search engine results page, and realizes how SEO and pay-per-click advertising work in concert is 100% imperative. No questions asked.
2 - 42% of leisure travelers and 55% of business travelers read reviews.
It's actually surprising that these numbers are not higher. Unless I've stayed at a hotel previously, I read reviews before every booking. So do my all friends and family members. Travel shoppers put a high value in earned media, such as reviews… it's less corporate website copy from the hotel and more honest opinions from their peers. First, you have to monitor your review and other social media mentions with one of several programs available. Second, you have to promptly, sympathetically and tactfully reply to ALL of your negative reviews and some of your positive reviews on sites like TripAdvisor and Yelp in order to show travelers you genuinely care. No one is a better authority on this matter than Daniel Edward Craig.
3 - 25% of travelers book hotel rooms on smartphones.
Do you have a separate mobile website that displays when visitors are on smartphones? Or do you have a fully responsive design that renders well across all devices? If not, you're behind the times. Travelers are increasingly researching and booking rooms on both smartphones and tablets. As they get more comfortable with the security and usability of these devices, 25% is going to be 50% before we know it. You must have a mobile solution that is condensed enough so that it's easy to use, yet still provides ample information so that travelers can make a purchase decision. And make sure your website experience is seamless across all screens, as shoppers often jump from one screen to another in various patterns, from the beginning to the end of their purchase process.
Get the full story at Vizergy
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/six_things_you_need_to_know_from_googles_the_2013_traveler_study
You don’t have to look very far to realize social media’s importance in today’s economy. Even in commodity markets, online sentiment can shift demand in 140 characters or less from one supplier to another. And in the hospitality industry, cultivating and nurturing your online reputation is critical for success.
The path to purchase is increasingly social, and hotels with a solid online presence and a unified brand are able to reach more customers in more places.
In 2014, the best social strategies mix content types and platforms; they connect with customers at all stages of travel and create a loyal customer base. An informed, engaged and connected social audience cultivates brand loyalty among your guests and drives one of the most important trends in social media sentiment: online reviews.
What once may have been viewed as a minor factor in pricing decisions has quickly become an increasingly important indicator for revenue managers. The global trend of reputation management has prompted several studies over the past couple of years exploring the link between online consumer behaviors and pricing decisions.
Get the full story at Hotel Year Book (PDF 1.7 MB)
Read also "Moving from revenue management to revenue strategy"
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/socials_influx_on_hotel_revenue_management
Speaking to Travolution during a visit to London this week, Lee McCabe said mobile was “on fire” at the moment, with both users and usage growing. Last week Facebook itself underlined its faith in the channel with the eye-popping $19 billion deal to buy instant messaging service WhatsApp.
“People are moving to mobile faster than ever,” McCabe said. “Desktop and laptop ownership is declining and ownership of tablets and smartphones is on the increase.”
McCabe dismissed scepticism that mobile will ever be a significant booking channel for travel, saying it is forward-thinking OTAs rather than suppliers selling direct that are challenging this assumption.
“We can see travel bookings are coming as people understand the opportunities more, and that’s probable being driven by the OTAs.
Get the full story at Travolution
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/whats_app_your_window_of_opportunity_says_facebook_travel_head
Orbitz Worldwide announced that it has acquired certain assets and contracts of the Travelocity Partner Network which provides private label travel technology solutions for bank loyalty programs and online commerce sites. The operations of the Travelocity Partner Network will be integrated into the Orbitz Partner Network.
"The acquisition of Travelocity Partner Network assets will accelerate our growth in the private label space and expand the range of customized solutions we are able to offer to customers, in particular in the loyalty area," said Ronnie Gurion, president of Orbitz Partner Network. "We look forward to welcoming the customers and employees of the Travelocity Partner Network to Orbitz Worldwide."
Orbitz Partner Network (http://www.orbitz.com/OPN) is a leader in the delivery of private label travel technology solutions to a broad range of partners including some of the world`s largest travel agencies and airlines. Orbitz Partner Network provides a suite of customized products, including air, hotel and car rental booking, loyalty program fulfillment, dynamic packaging and mobile solutions.
"We are extremely pleased to announce this agreement with the Orbitz Partner Network," said Yannis Karmis, president of the Travelocity Partner Network. "We are confident Orbitz will continue to provide the strong level of service that has been a centerpiece of the TPN offering. At the same time, we expect our customers to benefit from Orbitz investments in technology and hotel distribution."
Terms of the transaction were not disclosed. The company said it does not expect a material impact on Adjusted EBITDA in 2014.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/orbitz_acquires_travelocitys_affiliate_business
The hotel shortlists also aggregate content from the likes of Foursquare and Google Street View to make results even easier for users to take in. And Top10.com compares live prices from major booking sites including Booking.com, Expedia and LateRooms to ensure its prices (and therefore recommendations) are up-to-date.
“We’re competing with lots of major brands across the travel landscape - from traditional review sites like TripAdvisor to price ‘metasearch’ platforms like Kayak or Skyscanner,” says the startup. “The aim is to provide an ultra-quick hotel discovery experience on every device, without bewildering people with options.”
Its focus on incorporating popularity within its hotel filtering algorithm means it can surface hotels that are “trending” in a particular destination - i.e. by looking at things like booking velocity, and traffic to particular hotels’ websites.
Get the full story at TechCrunch
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotel_metasearch_top10.com_closes_8m_series_to_expand_in_europe
Geared towards modern travelers who seamlessly blend work and play, TravelBrilliantly.com has been soliciting travel ideas for design, culinary, wellness and technology since it launched with the brand's Travel Brilliantly marketing campaign in June 2013. Visitors to the site can also watch videos of innovations Marriott Hotels is working on now for the future of travel.
"With Travel Brilliantly, Marriott Hotels is rethinking the travel experience beyond the four walls of the hotel," said Mara Hannula, vice president of Marketing, Marriott-endorsed Brands. "As we transform the iconic Marriott Hotels brand, we are continuing to engage our guests, giving them a voice in co-creating the future of travel with us."
A panel of four judges -- Shira Lazar, Host/Founder of What's Trending, Faris Yakob, Founder, Genius Steals LLC, Chris Baer, Director of Innovation at Marriott, and Anjana Kallarackal, grand prize winner from TravelBrilliantly.com's first co-creation contest -- will choose the next grand-prize winner. In addition, three first prize winners will receive prize packages, including items from Herschel Supply Co. and Brookstone** that will enable brilliant travel.
From more than 700 submissions to TravelBrilliantly.com in last year's co-creation contest, Kallarackal's concept, a healthy and nutritious vending machine, rose to the top. Kallarackal traveled to the London Marriott Hotel Grosvenor Square to work with Marriott Hotels' experts and local innovative partners, Simon Prockter, the Founder/CEO of Housebites, Shaun Clarkson, interior designer and owner of Pitfield Cafe, and Laurence Holloway, recipient of the 2013 British Young Business Award for his company, Lovestruck, to further develop her winning idea. A video of Kallarackal's trip can be viewed on TravelBrilliantly.com. Once fully developed, her inspirational idea will come to life at a Marriott Hotels' property later this year.
Related Link: TravelBrilliantly.com
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/marriott_looking_for_new_ideas_from_the_public_to_change_the_future_of_trav
Courtyard New Orleans Downtown/Iberville is one of the hotels that have embraced the idea of offering smaller meeting spaces. The Marriott property introduced six “media pods” in October 2012, and it has turned out to be beneficial in a variety of ways for the hotel and its guests.
For one, the whole idea of having a series of intimate spaces in the lobby — instead of one roaring hub — generally tends to create a more relaxed social environment. Not only does it work well for small groups or business partners trying to get work done, it also tends to be more family-friendly, said Frank Romano, general manager of Courtyard New Orleans Downtown/Iberville.
That’s not mentioning the fact that each media pod is free of charge.
“With our business travelers, you may be traveling with one or two partners,” Romano said. “You can come down to the lobby and have a semi-private area to gather without having to rent a room or suite.”
Get the full story at TravelPulse
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotels_see_big_potential_in_micro_meetings
The eMarketer of the Year honors excellence in hospitality digital marketing. It was presented by TravelClick, a global provider of innovative cloud-based solutions that enable hotels to grow revenue, together with Hospitality Sales & Marketing Association International (HSMAI).
In 2013, Best Western focused on launching several social, mobile and online initiatives to boost brand awareness and bookings. These initiatives were hugely successful, resulting in an overall increase of 31 percent in reservations. Additionally, 50 percent of all reservation revenue was generated from the web, and first-time web bookers increased by 42 percent.
“Best Western’s understanding of what its guests want online and via social media has led to deeper guest connections. The company is consistently innovating in the digital, mobile and social space, and in doing so engages its guests in a way that inspires envy in other brands. The company’s appetite for taking risks, creativity and a true understanding of its customer make TravelClick and HSMAI proud to name Best Western International eMarketer of the Year,” said John Hach, Senior Vice President of Global Product Management at TravelClick.
Mobile was a major focus for the international hotel chain in 2013, as it completely redesigned its mobile app Best Western to Go®. The updated app includes the option to store travel itineraries, organize trip planning tools, and a new convenient way to manage Best Western Rewards® accounts. It has been downloaded 350,000 times since it launched in June.
Additionally, Best Western was the first player in the travel industry to merge a digital promotion, for a Disney Teen Beach Movie, with augmented reality technology. In-property guests were able to take virtual photos with teen stars from the movie and share them on social media. This app was downloaded 43,500 times and was shared a record-breaking 1.5 million times.
As the first major international chain to enable travelers to book hotel rooms directly from its Facebook page, Best Western continues to lead the category with 800,000 followers, up 60 percent from last year. Two new Facebook campaigns turned heads and got guests even more involved with the brand. The “Vacation Citation” spring promotion used Facebook to reach out to business travelers and increased reservations revenue 20 percent year-over-year. Additionally, the “Loyalty Millionaire” campaign called upon fans’ creativity by asking them to imagine ways to spend one million Best Western Reward points for assorted prizes. As a result of this promotion, 1,500 new members signed up for the awards program through Facebook, a 6:1 return on investment.
The 2013 eMarketer of the Year panel of judges were made up of digital marketing and e-commerce experts who based their results on detailed data from hotels’ e-marketing campaigns.
The 2013 panel of judges included:
- Barbara Taylor Carpender, CMM, CHSC, Creator and Developer of Taylored Alliances & Marketing Director at Global Marketing Services
- Daniel J. Connolly, Ph.D., Senior Associate Dean, Daniels College of Business at the University of Denver and former Senior Hotel & Lodging Analyst with PhoCusWright
- Glenn Haussman, Editor-in-Chief at Hotel Interactive Network and hospitality trend tracker
- Tim Peter, Founder of Tim Peter & Associates, online marketing and e-commerce guru, and former brand hotelier
Related Link: TravelClick
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/best_western_international_named_2013_emarketer_of_the_year
Nearly 900 attendees were present as HSMAI honored the year’s most exceptional campaigns and leaders in hospitality, travel and tourism.
“Every year, the submissions to the Adrian Awards represent the best campaigns our industry has to offer and this year was no exception,” said Robert A. Gilbert, CHME, CHBA, president and CEO of HSMAI. “The rigor and creativity each campaign required shone through every entry, and we hope all winners enjoyed a much-deserved night of celebration last evening for tireless hours spent bringing these campaigns to life.”
HSMAI received more than 1,200 submissions globally for the 2013 Adrian Awards. From the entries, HSMAI presented 46 Gold Adrian Awards in Advertising, 87 in Digital Marketing and 130 in Public Relations. Platinum winners were selected from the most-outstanding Gold Award entries, and the show’s highest merit winners, Best of Show, were chosen from the Platinum frontrunners.
Get the full story at HSMAI
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/57th_annual_adrian_awards_gala_celebrates_best_in_the_hospitality_industry
You don’t have to be a professor of economics to realize the industry is nearing an inflection point. Industry-wide revenues continue to increase, but commissions paid to distribution partners are growing twice as fast. In some cases, customer acquisition costs are as high as 40%. If hotel owners can’t regain control of their bottom line, one of the most lucrative industries could join publishing, music and the airlines on the list of industries forever altered by the Internet.
Revenue management - a field that is vital to the success of any hotel—is no longer enough. A new revenue strategy is critical for hoteliers to survive and thrive in this new world of not just intermediaries, but now metamediaries that are taking a bigger cut of the action. This strategy must integrate revenue management and marketing and take advantage of all the tools and technology available.
Times have changed
When Marriott took a page from American Airlines’ yield management in the 1980s, the Internet barely existed. Expedia was still a decade from launching, Mark Zuckerberg was just a baby and Google was 20 years from changing the world.
Think about how customers booked hotels back then. Think about how it’s done today. How many bookings today are processed or touched by others? Even the most profitable customers visiting the hotel’s website to book are likely first visiting other sites, more than 10 by some accounts, and many of those are getting a piece of the pie. In the case of Facebook and Apple, it’s believable (check the patents), if not expected, that those sites will soon be even more involved in the hotel- booking process and taking more money from hoteliers.
Very little today constitutes a “direct booking,” and tomorrow, it will be even less. The Internet, cloud computing, open source software and mobile technology have changed the industry for good. The distribution and data science side of the business has become far more demanding, with new channels, social media and one-to-one marketing.
Yet many, if not most hoteliers today still use the same revenue management systems and strategy employed decades ago. Best-available-rate pricing is no longer acceptable when open and dynamic pricing is a viable option. Managing (and pricing) to meet budgets and mistaking inventory management for revenue management are costly mistakes that can’t be made with today’s thinning margins. If the right segments of customers aren’t first understood and defined, and then yielded independently, money is being left on the table. Why don’t most revenue management systems track customer behavior and take into account web-shopping data that could help get a clearer picture of price elasticity?
Download the full story at Hospitality.Net (PDF 1.7 MB)
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/moving_from_revenue_management_to_revenue_strategy
Over the past decade, technological and commercial innovations have generated substantial interest in opportunities to drive online distribution and mobile discovery of in-destination events, activities, attractions and tours. Between 2005 and 2012, travel activities startups attracted over US$130 million in capital, and the investment flow continues. However, a substantial majority of activities continue to be booked offline.
"The travel activities opportunity is substantial, but so are the segment's challenges," says Douglas Quinby, PhoCusWright's vice president, research. "The tools and technologies needed to transform the activities marketplace exist, but numerous inhibitors -- including a highly fragmented activity provider landscape, entrenched booking behaviors, barriers to last-minute availability and challenging economics -- are slowing the digitization of one of travel's stubbornly offline segments. The potential remains for a disruptive player to drive rapid gains within the segment, but the profits will be painstakingly earned."
PhoCusWright's "When They Get There (and Why They Go): Activities, Attractions, Events and Tours in Europe" takes a comprehensive look at more than 30 types of travel activities across five key countries in Europe -- France, Germany, Spain, Italy and the U.K. The report provides insight into progress made in the broader travel activities ecosystem in the past several years and examines lingering barriers to online and mobile activities growth.
Related Link: PhoCusWright
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/phocuswright_finds_european_travel_activities_market_tops_38_billion
One of the most important things in mobile checkout is cutting down on the information consumers need to input, so Hotels.com decided to let consumers save all of their information to an account that can be accessed on both mobile and desktop. Once consumers sign in to their account, they simply put in the three-digit security code on their credit card to checkout.
Hotels.com also recently integrated PayPal as a checkout method, so consumers who do not want to create an account with Hotels.com can still checkout more easily.
In addition to storing consumer information, the new user interface of the app also enhances the mobile experience. The app features high-resolution images and easy-to-use maps.
The rich imagery is especially played up on the iPad app since that is when consumers tend to be more leisurely looking through hotels.
The app also lets consumers book via the app but pay at the hotel. Additionally, consumers can check future, current and past bookings without needing to be online.
Get the full story at Mobile Commerce Daily
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotels.coms_app_update_streamlines_checkout_prioritizes_loyalty
USA TODAY assembled five of the industry's top executives last month at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit in Los Angeles in the L.A. Live JW Marriott hotel for a discussion of the industry's latest developments and challenges. Participating in our third annual roundtable were: Marriott International CEO Arne Sorenson; Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants CEO Michael A. Depatie; Choice Hotels International CEO Stephen Joyce; InterContinental Hotels Group President of the Americas Kirk Kinsell; and Best Western CEO David Kong. USA TODAY's Nancy Trejos moderated the discussion. The text has been edited for clarity and length.
Q: The hotel industry is rebounding from the recession. Average daily rates are up, occupancy levels are up. This is good for you. How is this good for the guest?
Marriott's Sorenson: What the guest really gets is the ability to travel, which they love to do. And the guest gets choice. Choice is very important - choice in terms of where they stay. The capability is there for hotel companies to continue to develop and grow in their product. And the guest continues to be demanding, which they should, and wants to have things like technology and advanced opportunities to use the tools that they have at home in the hotel room. We in the hotel business are able to deliver that.
Get the full story at USA Today
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotel_ceos_talk_free_wi_fi_twitter_room_service
The Global Business Travel Association (GBTA) recently surveyed more than 500 business travelers in the United States and identified the top setbacks, disruptions and concerns travelers encounter while on the road. The GBTA study, Business Traveler Mishaps: The Real Risk of Business Travel, found that during the past 12 months, 75% of travelers encountered a mishap while traveling to their business destinations. The most frequently reported issues during travel included:
1. Travel delay due to weather (54%)
2. Delayed flight/train departure (48%)
3. Airplane incident (mechanical issue, late arrival, etc.) (40%)
4. Missed connecting flight (16%)
Frequent travelers are also concerned with safety while on the road. The main concerns during a business trip included:
1. Location of hotel (50%)
2. Airline safety record (36%)
3. Safety of ground transportation (35%)
4. Knowing who to call if issues arise (34%)
“Delays, cancellations and mechanical issues are an unfortunate, unpredictable aspect of business travel,” said GBTA vice president of research Joseph Bates. “Travel managers face all of these challenges and leading companies are working to address these issues. This research looks to provide travel managers with data that can help them uncover new methods and polices to ease stress for their business travelers.”
Surprisingly, nearly half of the study’s respondents (46%) said their company does not provide travel insurance or assistance services and they have not purchased these benefits from an outside agency. The benefits from these insurance policies compensate frequent travelers for trip interruptions and other unexpected expenses, which can help alleviate the burden from the traveler and improve the overall business travel experience.
“It’s important for individuals to feel confident in their travels, whether for business or leisure,” shares Scott Ackerman, Senior Vice President, Sales, Travel Guard. Travel Guard, a worldwide leader in travel insurance solutions and assistance, including emergency assistance, was a co-sponsor of this study. “To learn that business travelers have concerns about their safety, in addition to worries about travel disruptions that could derail their plans, is understandable, but they need not feel helpless. There are resources that offer 24/7 access to travel emergency and assistance services, which can help business travelers move beyond the travel disruption and keep business moving forward.”
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/gbta_study_identifies_top_business_traveler_concerns_when_on_the_road
A new ASTA study finds that an increasing number of travelers are using travel agents, and that agents make vacations better. The number of travelers who use agents is still relatively small at 13%, but up from 11% a few years ago, according to the study titled “Value of Travel Agents.”
Of leisure travelers who booked with an agent, 59% of millennials, 53% of Generation X and 58% of baby boomers indicated that vacations planned with travel agents were better than those organized without their assistance.
Those who used agents traveled more often, taking 4.7 trips in the past year versus 3.6 trips for those who didn’t use an agent.
The study asked travelers why they didn’t use travel agents. The biggest reason was control.
Get the full story at Travel Weekly
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/use_of_travel_agents_is_up_as_is_their_image
Building on the success of its United States-based conference – which gathered 1600+ attendees in 2013 – PhoCusWright Europe will bring together European travel leaders to network, learn and build strategic partnerships with the industry's most influential leaders, innovators and visionary thinkers. Registration is now open: phocuswrighteurope.com/register.
Topic discussions will include alternative accommodations, the state of startups, impact of social media and online reviews, multi-modal development, the business of business travel and PhoCusWright research highlights. PhoCusWright Europe places the most informed and dynamic speakers in the spotlight with keynotes from Darren Huston of Priceline and Booking.com, Gilles Despas of HolidayCheck and Gary Morrison of Expedia. View the current speaker panel below.
"The pace of change and the growing impact that innovative new technologies have across the travel industry in Europe are unprecedented," said PhoCusWright's managing director, Tony D'Astolfo. "We bring a live research project to the stage, putting theory into practice to delve into the innovations, issues, trends and disruptions impacting the European market."
PhoCusWright Europe will feature three key events: The Travel Innovation Summit, Center Stage and Workshops, as well as an awards program, exhibit hall and numerous networking events.
The Travel Innovation Summit (20 May): Selected companies (exclusively from Europe) reveal the travel industry's latest innovations through onstage demonstrations of their technologies and tools. Attendees have open access to the innovators and are encouraged to connect and provide feedback throughout the event. The award for PhoCusWright's European Travel Innovator of the Year will also be presented during the event. Applications are now being accepted: phocuswrighteurope.com/travel-innovation-summit.
Center Stage (20-21 May): PhoCusWright analysts probe Europe's travel luminaries about what's next on the horizon and delve for the inside story on some of the industry's most noteworthy developments. Center Stage contains a mixture of one-on-one interviews, keynote addresses, roundtable discussions and PhoCusWright's signature "Talkback."
Workshops (21 May): Industry leaders present a range of dynamic, educational content via interactive workshops. Sponsors take the lead in tailoring the content, along with PhoCusWright's expert guidance. The presentations are efficient, thought provoking and insightful. Workshop sessions are still available.
PHOCUSWRIGHT EUROPE 2014 SPEAKERS
Harry Nelis, General Partner, Accel Partners
Olivier Grémillon, Managing Director, Europe, Airbnb
Thomas Drexler, Global Head of Rail and Ground Transportation, Amadeus
Christophe Peymirat, Senior Vice President Europe and APAC, Egencia.com
Eric La Bonnardiére, CEO, Evaneos.com
Gary Morrison, Senior Vice President and Global Head of Retail, Expedia Inc.
Dr. Johannes Graßmann, Managing Director, fromAtoB GmbH
Johannes Reck, CEO, GetYourGuide Inc.
Michael Tangney, Global Travel Manager, Google
Gilles Despas, CEO, HolidayCheck AG
Petra Friedman, President EMEA, HomeAway.com Inc.
George Hadjigeorgiou, Chief Operating Officer, HouseTrip SA
Dean Forbes, CEO, KDS
Glenn Fogel, Head of Worldwide Strategy, The Priceline Group
Darren Huston, President and CEO, The Priceline Group and CEO, Booking.com Ltd.
Jochen Mundinger, CEO and Founder, RouteRank
Peter Long, CEO, TUI Travel PLC
Matteo Coló, Co-Founder and CEO, Wanderio
Maxim Nohroudi, Managing Director and CEO, Waymate
Geoff Cowley, Managing Director, Wyndham Vacation Rentals UK
View the full speaker listing at phocuswrighteurope.com/speakers-presenters.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/phocuswright_launches_european_edition_of_its_flagship_phocuswright_confere
When running a paid campaign (as in pay-per-click advertising, or PPC), Vizergy often bids on terms that we rank well for naturally (from our search engine optimization, or SEO, efforts), and we may lose some natural traffic to paid traffic. This phenomenon is referred to as "cannibalization." Because of this, some of our clients feel strongly that bidding on brand terms and terms they already rank naturally for is unnecessary. But we'd like to dispel this notion.
What We Wanted to Know
Assumption: We don't need to bid on brand terms (my hotel name) because someone looking for my hotel will find me anyway.
Proposal: Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) are bidding on your brand, so someone looking for your hotel may end up on the OTA website instead of your website. The best case scenario here would be that the shopper still books with your hotel, but it would be through the OTA, so you're forced to pay a commission. Worst case scenario, the shopper sees a better deal with another hotel on the OTA and doesn't book with you at all.
70 % of people don't know where they want to go when first looking into booking a trip.
Source: Google/Ipsos MediaCT US, August 2013
Assumption: Bidding on terms that we already rank for in natural search is a waste of money.
- Natural rankings can drop and fluctuate from time to time. Then where will you be?
- You aren't the only hotel ranking in natural search, and paid search gives you more real estate on search engine results pages. The more real estate the better.
But instead of just telling you facts, we decided to test it.
What We Did
We picked a fairly new client, and with their permission, paused their paid campaign. We didn't look at any traffic data from before we paused the campaigns; we wanted to start fresh (and we didn't want to get cold feet if/when we saw the traffic drop).
To prepare for the test, we allowed two weeks with no paid campaigns running while we built very specific campaigns. The data collected in those two weeks provided a baseline – no paid traffic, all natural traffic.
We built one brand paid campaign and one non-brand paid campaign to run, and the non-brand campaign contained only high-traffic phrases (exact match) for which we ranked very high in natural search.
Part 1 – Running Non-Brand Terms Only in PPC
After the two-week period of running no PPC ads to establish a baseline, we launched the non-brand campaign and let it run for two weeks.
We saw pretty much what we expected. On average, the natural traffic went down a little over 3%, while the PPC campaign added almost 12% to our overall traffic. Very impressive, considering the relatively low number of phrases for which we were bidding.
Part 2 – Running Brand Terms Only in PPC
We then paused the non-brand campaign and waited a week to launch the brand campaign, to get back to the baseline. We then ran the brand campaign for two weeks. The results of Part 2 of the test surprised us greatly. Any difference in natural traffic was negligible when compared to the baseline, but PPC added over 8% to the overall traffic. After the two weeks, we paused the brand campaign for a week and then ran it again for a week, just to double check. We saw the same results.
Bidding on brand appeared to take almost nothing away from natural search, while adding significant numbers to overall website traffic. So we started digging into why this might be.
The culprit turned out to be a combination of the Google Carousel and OTAs.
What we found was, when a shopper does a non-brand search (like "hotels in Atlanta"), the hotel appears in the Google Carousel. When the shopper clicks that listing, instead of being taken to the hotel website or Google+ listing, Google automatically does a SECOND SEARCH. This second search automatically runs a brand search for the hotel and serves up another page of results where paid ads for the hotel are listed at the top of the page (the way paid ads are always displayed). The result is Google has added an extra step in the natural search process that increases the likelihood that a user will click on a paid ad to get to your website, rather than a natural search result.
We knew this is how the Carousel has operated since day one, but what we didn't realize was how many OTAs were bidding on our clients' brand names. Many even had ads that appeared, to the average searcher, to be an ad for the brand itself, not an OTA. By not bidding on brand terms in Part 1 of the test, we were losing a lot of traffic that originated from a non-brand search.
Spending a few days spot-checking, we found this to be the case for all of our franchised (Marriott, Hyatt, etc.) clients and many of our independent clients.
What This Means for Hotels
For hotels (especially franchise properties), bidding on brand terms and phrases is now doubly important because, thanks to the Carousel, brand searches can now originate (and often do) from non-brand shopping phrases. Your property brand terms have become one of the least expensive advertising channels, yet the most valuable. By not investing in paid search ads hotels can risk missing out on both natural and paid search traffic to their independent website. If an OTA has paid search advertisements on your brand name, and an online travel shopper clicks on the Google Carousel opposed to the search results, then that shopper is directed to the OTA instead of going to your property. The result is the shopper being more likely to book with the OTA and your property could potentially lose the entire booking. And with OTAs bidding on your brand… don't you think you should too?
Related Link: Vizergy
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/does_my_hotel_website_even_need_to_run_ppc
A major change coming is the immersion of the industry into e-check-in, according to Jim Holthouser, Hilton Worldwide Holdings’ executive VP of global brands. E-check-in largely exists today; the industry just hasn't done a good job marketing it or operationalizing it.
The straight-to-room idea is the big nut to crack in hospitality, but this is the way the 3D customer wants to work with us now. We can lament that we’re losing touch points with the customer, but the customer is speaking: "We're into speed; we're into convenience. We want to knock down barriers. We don't want to stand in line anymore."
That doesn't mean it won’t bring some positivity to hotels. It’s an efficiency play for hotels because they’re not going to need as much labor. But the front desk does not get away. It's mission becomes less focused on transactions, more focused on service and problem resolution.
And there is Google’s continued expansion that will continue to force hoteliers to alter many aspects of their business, including technology. “They have turned their attention to photographing rooms, lobbies, hallways of hotels,” Holthouser said. “You might not even know they’re in your hotels doing this but they are, and they’re going to sell it, and the (online travel agencies) are going to want to buy it.”
Get the full story at Hotel News Now
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_straight_to_room_trend_and_how_3d_consumers_will_affect_hotels
According to Google Travel’s Mike Giannotti, the best travel websites answer three key questions when the user finds them:
1. Is it what is says it is, ie. an accurate representation of reality?
2. Is this right for me, ie. is it what I am looking for?
3. Am I getting the best value?
“All content should be aiming to answer those three questions. Rich content and video can do a good job of answering a user’s questions.
Get the full story at Travolution
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travel_brands_must_grasp_the_power_of_video_says_google
For brands, this deeper integration of apps provides a greater opportunity to tap into the captive audience of drivers and passengers on the road to guarantee brand engagement where it may have previously been hard to do so. Content-heavy brands that can translate this content across multiple platforms have a particular advantage. SYNC AppLink now provides the chance to deliver personalised content to the driver based on a whole host of data, including journey type, time of day, length of time spent in the car and location.
This means drivers on their morning commute could read the day’s top stories from their favourite news app, get an update on their current account balance or tell the car they’re hungry and receive a selection of localised restaurant recommendations. Partners already offering their services include Spotify, Hotels.com, TomTom and Domino’s, meaning drivers can listen to their shared playlists, reserve a hotel room and order a pizza from behind the wheel.
Get the full story at The Drum
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_ford_will_let_you_book_a_hotel_from_behind_the_wheel
The character, played by an actor named Brandon Moynihan, is called Captain Obvious, and is being introduced this week in a humorous campaign for Hotels.com. The idea is for the character to personify the concept that Hotels.com is “the obvious choice” in a crowded category, with the phrase becoming the company’s new ad theme.
Captain Obvious gets around, as befitting the symbol of a website for travelers, and is dressed in a Ruritanian uniform comically festooned with medals. He is bearded like the Most Interesting Man in the World or Commander Whitehead, the venerable brand mascot of Schweppes beverages.
The captain is modeled on a Captain Obvious meme in popular culture, found widely online and in social media, that is used to describe someone whose utterances are just that — obvious. The new character is no genius, but neither is he intended to be an idiot or Captain Oblivious; it is just that everything he says is self-evident.
Get the full story at The New York Times
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/for_hotels.coms_campaign_the_answer_was_obvious
The new app puts an easy-to-use map at the heart of the hotel search, enabling users to find a hotel in the right location almost instantly. It is even easier than before to find local deals for tonight for last minute bookings. The new app makes extensive use of high resolution imagery, and the booking process is now even smoother, with the app remembering customer details and securely storing payment information.
Adam Jay, VP Global Product for the Hotels.com brand, comments: "At Hotels.com we are committed to delivering the best possible customer experience throughout everything that we do. With our suite of apps, across mobile, Kindle and tablet, now represent a growing proportion of overall bookings it is critical that our apps make it easy and fun to find and book the right hotel.
Our latest update for iOS7 has created a beautiful and highly intuitive user interface, making it even easier to find the perfect hotel. It is quick for customers to access any information they might need, and there is advice and inspiration from the millions of genuine customer reviews available through the app."
With the Hotels.com app, customers are given the choice to pay for their hotel at the time of booking or once they arrive at the hotel, enabling customers to manage their travel budget and preferences. Further functionality means that Hotels.com customers can easily access their account to check future, current and past bookings without needing to be online.
Other upgrades to the app for iOS7 include improvements to the user experience when it comes to in-app access to Welcome Rewards, the Hotels.com award winning customer loyalty programme. Since its launch in the US and Latin America in 2008 and the extension to all Hotels.com sites worldwide in 2011, Welcome Rewards, the industry leading customer loyalty programme, has attracted more than 10 million members, who have collectively redeemed over 1 million free nights. The new update to the app now makes it even easier for users to navigate their Welcome Rewards account and reap the benefits of the service.
The Hotels.com apps offer customers access to more than 260,000 hotels worldwide in more than 25,000 destinations, more than 20,000 last minute deals, more than 10 million user reviews and last-minute hotel rooms close to their location and is available to download for iOS7 now.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/new_hotels.com_app_re_designed_for_ios7
This change is important for all marketers as it will assist both senders and customers in the long run.
From the customer standpoint, it will potentially make the unsubscribe link easier to find and will reduce frustration when customers no longer wish to continue to receive messages from a particular brand. Additionally from the marketer’s standpoint, this change could reduce the number of messages that are marked as SPAM, which have an overall negative impact on a senders’ reputation; while unsubscribes do not.
Some marketers might be concerned that making the unsubscribe option more prominent and easier to find by the customers will increase overall unsubscribe rates and diminish a brand’s overall list size. In response to this concern, remember that it’s always a deliverability best practice to send email messages only send to those users that wish to receive them. By allowing customers to remove themselves more easily you are reducing possible SPAM complaints, unengaged users and increasing the overall ROI of your digital marketing dollars.
Get the full story at Experian and Econsultancy
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/gmails_new_unsubscribe_tool_good_news_for_customers_and_email_marketers
This storytelling medium gives the hospitality industry an opportunity to connect with guests in a dynamic and engaging way but, in the past, video production has been associated with a large price tag. Hotel marketers should be taking advantage of the benefits of video but perhaps, not sure how to do so without your draining resources. Check out these useful tips on creating a video that won’t break the bank:
1. Video is a valued resource to travel shoppers; a guest-generated video can establish a personal relationship between the consumer and the hotel while amplifying your hotel’s ability to connect socially with travelers
2. Encourage guests to use their smartphones to record and post short videos and then tag your hotel when posting on social channels. You’ll be notified when your property is tagged in a video on channels like Facebook and Instagram.
3. Try hosting a contest on social media encouraging guests to engage with your hotel. “Instagram a video of your favorite feature at our hotel and best photo will win a free cocktail in our lounge!” It’s a #winwin.
Get the full story at the Leonardo blog
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/15_ways_to_create_hotel_video_without_breaking_the_bank
eRevMax now provides XML interface connectivity to all channel classes (OTAs, Wholesalers, Tour Operators, Social Media, Metasearch sites) from a single platform and allow hoteliers to bid for higher positions in the meta-search channels and increase the visibility of the rates available on the hotels' website. WIHP will also provide hotels with a managed service to execute the Bid Management process from a digital marketing perspective based upon a monthly or daily advertising budget.
"While meta-search has existed for several years, it hasn't been available as a direct booking channel for hotels on a broad scale. A few years ago we made it our business to give access to meta- search and all levels of qualified direct booking leads to hotels. By working with eRevMax we're giving this access to tens of thousands of hotels which is a great thing for everyone who wants to increase direct bookings," said Martin Soler, VP - Sales & Marketing, World Independent Hotel Promotion.
"Meta-search has become really mainstream, and has witnessed 13% growth in travel search traffic over last year. With over 28% travellers preferring meta-search to compare hotel rates, it is a highly effective tool that will allow our customer hotels to reach out to a much larger audience and offer an extended scope for pushing more direct bookings through a direct booking eco-system of meta- search sites," said Michael McCartan, CEO, eRevMax.
This new offering will help hotels to increase bookings and revenue for their property, by driving qualified leads from metasearch sites to their own website. This will help them in reducing OTA commissions and improve overall profitability. The advanced tracking available with the service will help hotels to know the exact return on investment for each metasearch channel they are advertising on. They will have access to custom-built hotel analytics platform, where they can monitor the performance of their campaign and most importantly, see the revenue generated by the campaign.
The new functionality is immediately available to all existing hotel customers of eRevMax.
Related Link: eRevMax
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/erevmax_adds_metasearch_channels_in_its_distribution_offerings
TripAdvisor collects more than 90 user contributions a minute that allow travelers worldwide to make informed decisions based on the personal experiences of other travelers. More than two billion unique worldwide visitors a year** visit TripAdvisor to research, plan, and book their travel at more than 3.7 million accommodations, restaurants, and attractions.
More than 500 million people worldwide are also able to find TripAdvisor ratings, reviews, and opinions on the websites of almost 1,000 brands every month. Partners include hotel groups such as Wyndham and other leading online travel suppliers.
The review celebrated as the 150 millionth piece of content posted on TripAdvisor was written by TripAdvisor member Erin S. after a Valentine's Day weekend retreat with her husband. It's the first review she has written on TripAdvisor. The review titled "A warm and inviting retreat...you'll want to return!" is of the Cameron House Inn, a bed and breakfast in the Outer Banks of North Carolina.
"Fourteen years ago, TripAdvisor saw an opportunity to help travelers help each other make informed travel decisions by sharing their first-hand experiences, reviews, and photos," said Steve Kaufer, co-founder and CEO of TripAdvisor. "Now, the internet and user-generated content have completely changed the way we plan, book, and share our trips."
The power of a review
According to a recently commissioned report conducted by PhoCusWright*** on behalf of TripAdvisor, more than half of global respondents do not want to make a booking commitment until they read reviews and find out what other travelers think about a property.
More than 80 percent say the site's reviews help them feel more confident in their travel decisions, and help them to have a better trip.
The survey also reveals some interesting findings about why travelers write reviews and how they use them when planning a trip.
Why do travelers write reviews?
The majority of respondents write reviews for positive reasons, with 74 percent of travelers stating that they 'feel good about sharing useful information with other travelers' and 70 percent of respondents stating that they wanted to share a good experience with others.
How to use reviews
When researching places to stay on TripAdvisor, 80 percent of respondents read at least 6-12 reviews before making their decision, and they're most interested in recent reviews that will give them the freshest feedback.
"Travelers keep coming back to TripAdvisor because they find the user-generated content useful," said Kaufer. "It's so helpful that hundreds of other travel and lifestyle brands see the value in integrating our content onto their sites. We thank our passionate community for sharing their travel experiences on TripAdvisor and helping other travelers plan their perfect trip."
- 24,710 TripAdvisor members have contributed more than 100 reviews.
- For a hotel in the top 500 most searched destinations on TripAdvisor, the average number of reviews is 174.
- The most reviewed hotel is the Luxor Las Vegas with 13,677 reviews.
- The most photographed hotel is the Majestic Colonial Punta Cana with 16,274 photos.
- The most reviewed restaurant is Mon Ami Gabi in Las Vegas with 4,729 reviews.
- The most photographed restaurant is Mama's Fish House in Hawaii with 1,196 photos.
- The most reviewed attraction on TripAdvisor is the Eiffel Tower with 24,413 reviews.
- The most photographed attraction is the Eiffel Tower with 9,181 photos.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/one_third_of_tripadvisors_150_million_reviews_were_posted_in_2013
While price and availability details are clearly from Hotel Finder and Hotel Price Ads, many of Hotel Finder’s core filter capabilities are absent from this search unit.
Hotels without availability or pricing information are shown in the results list. This differs from the Hotel Finder search results, where “No Availability” properties are typically not shown.
When selecting result from the new unit, the user is taken to another set of search results with the selected hotel at the top of the results. This is similar to the experience of Carousel, where a user is taken to a new set of search results with the Knowledge Graph or Local Universal results shown at the top right of the screen.
Get the full story at Koddi's Travel Search Blog
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/google_improves_hotel_finder_interface_for_mobile
Priceline, Expedia, and Orbitz all reported earnings in February, and each had different areas of strength that led to large gains.
The industry's most valuable company, Priceline, continued its remarkable run of above-industry growth. Specifically, its revenue increased 29.4% year over year to $1.5 billion, which was easily better than analysts' expectations. Furthermore, the company's gross bookings -- a closely watched metric of user engagement -- rose 38.8% in the quarter, showing an acceleration of bookings growth, with 85% of total bookings coming from international markets.
Expedia's revenue growth of 18% didn't match Priceline's performance but was impressive nonetheless. In addition, its gross bookings rose 21% after growing just 15% in the prior quarter. This bookings growth was fueled by a 25% boost in hotel room nights purchased, which is a staple of Expedia's business.
Orbitz's numbers weren't nearly as impressive as either Priceline or Expedia, as its revenue grew just 4.2% and gross bookings displayed 4% growth. Clearly, these numbers aren't great, but what led to a near 30% stock jump is that expectations were very low following a poor third quarter. Also, 17.5% of its float was short, further showing the number of people betting against Orbitz, which then backfired when the quarter was better than investors feared.
Get the full story at The Motley Fool
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_good_and_bad_of_the_online_travel_space
Global OTAs take around 25% commission from accommodation providers and do not always pay tax in the UK, with the Bennetts saying more money for providers will mean more will be able to stay open for tourists to experience something different.
The pair has launched a new website for UK independent hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs at bestroomsdirect.com and called on British accommodation providers to get behind the campaign.
“To avoid a future choice limited to faceless, bland, corporate hotel chains, it is imperative that Britain’s independent hotels, guesthouses and B&Bs come together to raise awareness of the importance of direct booking and we are trying to harness this strength in numbers with Best Rooms Direct. Global booking sites are monopolising the travel industry, taking a huge slice of our income and making it even harder for tourism businesses to stay afloat,” said Wendy.
Get the full story at Travel Daily UK and Travelmole
Related Link: bestroomsdirect.com
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/uk_hotel_owners_take_on_global_otas
Nearly half of consumers had tried a new restaurant or menu item based on a mobile ad, and three-quarters said they were more likely to try a new menu item after seeing a mobile ad for it.
Because quick-service and casual dining restaurants had seen success with menu-focused ads, this was one of the primary ad creative focuses used, claiming the majority of banner ads.
Get the full story at eMarketer
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/menu_trumps_restaurant_when_choosing_where_to_dine
A new report by Ledbury Research discusses the power of pictures, storytelling, retail improvements, art of the temporary and taking responsibility.
The “Global Luxury Themes” 2014 report contributes to the growing case being made for visual commerce, since brands from all categories are vying for social media prominence. Brands will continue to try to solve the puzzle of social-driven ecommerce, but other areas of brand identity must also be groomed.
Brands such as Four Seasons have excelled on Pinterest with early adoption of new components, while Michael Kors sped ahead with Instagram’s advertising.
Get the full story at Luxury Daily
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_case_for_visual_commerce
With the emergence of social media, and visual-rich website experiences, visual storytelling has become a necessity for hotels to stand out online today. Hotels don’t necessarily need to produce a sea of content in order to have plenty of fresh, interesting media. This is the 21st century, take advantage of the internet and social media by crowdsourcing content from guests.
What is Crowdsourcing?
In case you didn’t know, crowdsourcing means accomplishing a task with the help of a crowd of people on the internet. Collectively working together and putting their ideas together online with hundreds or thousands of other people allows for an optimized result. It is basically the outsourcing of a task to a crowd of people to complete cooperatively, and it works particularly well for hotels looking to become visual storytellers. You can use an online community to obtain endless amounts of unique and inspiring guest photos and videos by encouraging guests to tag your hotel in their social media posts, especially on Instagram.
Get Started with Crowdsourcing
With all that in mind, why shouldn’t your property take advantage of this modern and exciting marketing tool? Encouraging guests to share photos and videos on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and review sites is a great way to keep content current and see your property through the eyes of consumers. Often the photos shared by guests online are telling your hotel’s story on your behalf or even identifying a story you may not be aware of. Use this to your advantage by curating and amplifying those visual stories.
Get the full story at the Leonardo blog
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/using_guest_content_on_your_hotels_site_dos_and_donts
Previously, OTAs have dominated the third party selling market. However, the numerous advantages of meta search engines are drawing more and more travellers to their sites.
The meta industry is currently so strong that it is expected that sales through meta search engines will account for 20 percent of all bookings by 2020. The question is, what makes meta search so good, and why is it time for all hotels to include these channels amongst their distribution portfolio?
Meta Search Allows for Direct Bookings
While OTAs continue to lead the third party sales industry, they have one very big disadvantage for hoteliers - bookings are made exclusively through the merchant site, for which the brand will pay a nominal fee.
Meta search allows for visitors to book either through OTAs or through the brand website, helping to increase direct sales. Meta search sites such as TripAdvisor have been criticized for favoring OTAs with which they have a partnership, but direct information is available, which is more than can be said for OTAs themselves.
Traditional Search is a Dying Breed
Meta search may still be a back burner when compared to traditional searching, but reports show that meta search statistics are up by 13 percent in recent years and are continuing to grow. In this age of technology, traditional search is definitely a dying breed, as more and more Internet users opt to take advantage of the features of meta search that traditional search simply cannot offer.
In utilizing meta search channels, hotels can remain modern and relevant, and can widen and diversify their audience.
Comparison Features can be Beneficial
A popular feature of meta search channels is the availability to compare select hotels against each other - something that OTAs typically does not offer.
Believe it or not, comparison isn't solely based upon price. For example, it has been found that an estimated 71 percent of users look to basic information, while 67 percent of users compare photographs. Comparison may seem daunting, but it's actually a good chance to show off.
Upgrading to two-way connectivity can help you improve your channel content, by making it quicker and easier to update multiple channels with up-to-date information regarding the establishment.
With meta search considered to be one of the biggest marketing techniques of the year, there has never been a better time to add these channels to your distribution portfolio. Make sure you choose to work with digital marketing specialists with relevant channel connections to get it right the first time.
Related Link: eRevMax
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/why_its_time_to_include_meta_search_in_your_distribution_portfolio
Online holiday bookings at a record high. According to the latest ITB World Travel Trends Report, 65% of all holidays are now booked online, compared to just 24% that are booked via travel agencies.
Mobile travel bookings are also on the rise, with one in five UK holiday-makers now booking holidays using a mobile device, according to a recent survey by Tradedoubler Insight Unit.
As competition moves from the high street to digital channels, it’s now more important than ever for online travel operators to ensure customers have the best possible experience across all channels.
Broken links, payment problems, poor navigation and a lack of information can force customers to competitors’ sites, ultimately losing business. To avoid this, online travel operators need to take action fast.
Get the full story at Econsultancy
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_can_travel_operators_provide_a_first_class_digital_customer_experience
1. Be sure your your hotel’s Expedia listing is optimized. The first thing to check is your hotel’s thumbnail photo – is it the best representation of your property? If you don’t have a great exterior shot of the hotel, it doesn’t hurt to use a pool image or a beautiful room or lobby photo. This is your hotel’s first interaction with a potential guest – showcase your hotel’s best assets! You can also add up to 4 photos for each room type. Make sure each room type has at least has 1 photo, but try adding 4 if possible so you can create a visual experience for your shoppers. This can be the view from the room, an amenity photo, a bathroom photo – anything that will help sell your room. Lastly, check your descriptions and available amenities. Are you highlighting everything a guest will love about your hotel? Is all of the information completely accurate? Guests will not appreciate false promises – and you can be sure incorrect information will come back to bite you in the reviews later on.
2. Read a few of your hotel’s best Expedia reviews to determine what to highlight in ad copy. Maybe all of your guests are raving about an outdoor fire pit during winter – might be worthwhile to try out an ad highlighting that inviting amenity in your copy. This is actually a good place to get ideas not only for TravelAd copy, but also for hotel descriptions and your website copy. Keep in mind, TravelAds don’t need to be written for SEO – your goal is to grab users’ attention so they click for more information. Write compelling travel ad copy that will resonate with your potential guests!
3. Don’t set Search/Booking dates if your hotel has ads targeting Travel Dates within the next couple of months. For example, if you have an ad targeting travel dates during the first week of March, it’s pretty likely that folks are booking right now in early February. You don’t want to miss out on those potential guests traveling in March if you have your ad scheduled to appear only for guests searching towards the end of February. The Travel Dates are important – Search/Booking dates, not so much.
Get the full story at Blue Magnet Interactive
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/five_tips_to_increase_roi_from_expedia_travelads
The role of RM has become far more complex which means today they are more on a par with sales and marketing professionals – and rightly so
In a tough business environment, revenue managers need to take a granular approach and they also need access to analytics. In addition RM teams need to pay close attention to the development of advanced revenue management and distribution systems. Why? Because these can help with decision-making as well as helping coordination with other departments to define a common commercial language.
EyeforTravel’s Ritesh Gupta talks to Daniela Hupfeld, Europcar International’s Group Director Revenue & Capacity Management, about some of the challenges for a fast-changing discipline.
Get the full story at EyeForTravel
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotel_revenue_management_a_fast_changing_discipline
Benchmark Resorts & Hotels, a division of Benchmark Hospitality International, announces the "Top Ten Meeting Trends for 2014" as observed by its properties. Benchmark Hospitality International is a leading U.S.-based hospitality management company, which operates 40 award-winning hotels, resorts, and conference centers coast to coast and off shore.
"With 33 years of history and experience delivering exceptional meetings, we are honored to share our 2014 meeting trend insights with the industry," said Alex Cabañas, president & CEO of Benchmark Hospitality International. “The good news is...there's good news! Booking pace is very strong and the economic hangover is mostly worn off, and companies are spending again on training and development. We look forward to 2014 and beyond.”
Trend #1 Lightening Speed! Free, FAST, and it better be reliable -- highly effective WiFi is the #1 issue for planning professionals and conferees in the meetings business today. Conferees often come with up to 3 wireless devises per attendee so greater bandwidth is a necessity to drive multiple devices. Planners are expecting adequate bandwidth to keep meeting guests not only connected and engaged, but happy as well.
Trend #2 Content Leads to Discovery How do planners and conferees discover and learn about properties in 2014 - primarily through good old fashioned Google searches. Targeted exposure on the Internet has never been more important, or more utilized by planners. What drives this? Meaningful web content.
Be visible and connected, but never forget that well executed, timely, and informative website content is king when trying to communicate a message, delineate one's brand and engage meeting professionals.
Trend #3 Demand Trends UP! Meeting Demand & Booking Pace is consistently on the upswing. As the economy picks up momentum, so goes meeting demand. Short term bookings are still prevalent, but the booking demand window is increasingly stretching into 2015, 2016 and beyond. Not quite the good old days….but getting closer!
Trend #4 Creating The Experience Just as with consumer travel today, the demand for out-of-the-ordinary unique experiences is increasingly factoring into meeting destination decisions. Those properties partnering with local assets, such as wineries, historic & natural wonders, intriguing adventure resources, and unique off-site reception & dinner venues have a strategic advantage in the pursuit and the capturing of meeting demand.
Trend #5 Green is Good, But … Though it sounds enticing, and feels like the right thing, being green is not seen by most planning professionals today as a critical factor in property selection, and no one is losing business because of the lack of it. This isn't to say properties aren't doing their upmost to be good green citizens; it's just that other issues are often paramount to the success of a meeting.
Trend #6 Select Social Media has a place in Meetings Social Media has minimal impact on securing corporate meetings business, with the possible exception of LinkedIn. During meetings, however, planners and conferees use Twitter and LinkedIn for communicating with each other, and also with moderators.
On the horizon; the rise of meeting-specific property apps tailored to optimize communication during the planning & implementation phases -- and these may soon supersede the role of social media. Facebook is rarely utilized to bring in meetings business or communicate during a conference, as it's seen to be a personal communications tool for staying in touch with friends & family.
Trend #7 Meeting ROI Meetings & Budgets are finally increasing following over six years of recession. This is especially true in the Association market, with larger meetings growing in attendance. As corporate purse strings slowly loosen, meeting professionals are increasingly becoming more firm with demands of flexibility, including the negotiation of attrition clauses. The demand for value in their investment has never been higher. It all ties back to more accountability for meeting ROI.
Trend #8 Health Conscious! Food & beverage in 2014 is all about health & variety -- for refreshment breaks and meal menus. Planners and conferees want healthy choices verses pre-ordained menu options, and they want value. Creative Spa breaks may substitute for refreshment breaks at those properties that offer this service. A 10-minute 'lift your spirits' Yoga session can be an energizer as well. Planners and attendees want breaks that perk them up; not the opposite.
Trend #9 Teambuilding Climbs Back Groups that have the budget are looking for unique ways to motivate, inspire, and build camaraderie as the business environment continues to improve. Socially conscious groups or those with a more streamlined budget tend to look for other camaraderie-building opportunities, such as developing fellowship through teambuilding volunteerism initiatives, like building bikes for kids in the local community.
Trend #10 Who's Meeting in 2014? Across the country, the traditional industry segments are once again delivering business to meeting properties, including the Financial, Pharmaceutical, Insurance, Association, and increasingly Healthcare industries. Silicon Valley and the High Tech Northwestern U.S. are on the rebound too, significantly benefiting properties in this market.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/top_ten_meeting_trends_for_2014
Facebook knows a lot about its 1.2 billion users. Thursday’s changes put that information to even better use for advertisers than before, a key interest for Facebook as it looks to woo more ad dollars into its coffers.
For example, advertisers can now target users by a mix of countries, states, cities and zip codes. Until now, if advertisers wanted to target multiple locations they all had to be the same geographic type such as all cities or all states. The changes now allow, say, a political campaign to target users in New York City, Chicago and all of California. Advertisers can now also exclude areas as well. So, a small coffee chain that has stores only in New York’s Manhattan borough could exclude users located in Brooklyn and Queens.
Facebook is also letting advertisers reach users based on recent life events that have happened in the last three months. Previously, the timeframe was within a six-month or 12-month window.
Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/facebook_narrows_the_target_for_advertisers
The company plans to allow all members to pen long form articles using a new tool on its website. At first, articles will only be delivered to people in the author’s network of contacts. If they get traction, they’ll be distributed to a wider audience of LinkedIn users.
Since October 2012, LinkedIn has offered up a platform for what it called Influencers, a hand-picked group that includes the likes of Bill Gates, Deepak Chopra and President Barack Obama. As part of the plan being announced Wednesday, authors of what LinkedIn deems to be particularly insightful and well-written pieces could join those Influencers.
“We ran some data and we literally believe there are 432 million years of professional experience” on LinkedIn,” said Ryan Roslansky, who led the new publishing venture, in an interview Tuesday. “I don’t think there’s been anything like this to elicit this type of content at scale.”
Get the full story at The Wall Street Journal
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/linkedin_to_let_all_users_post_articles
Made up of editorial contributions from over a dozen opinion leaders, the publication focuses on the rapidly evolving digital marketing tools and techniques that are changing the way hotels and guests find each other. Search and meta-search, revenue and reputation management, and the unique characteristics of the social media landscape in China are among the topics covered.
Facebook, Google and TripAdvisor
Also included are exclusive interviews with three executives whose companies are shaping the future of the hotel industry's capability to reach and attract guests: Lee McCabe and Rob Torres, the key executives responsible for developing the travel business at Facebook and Google respectively, and Stephen Kaufer, CEO of TripAdvisor. These three men share insights with Hotel Yearbook readers and discuss not only their companies' strategies but also some of the new products they are launching to bring hotels and guests together more effectively.
In the role of publication partner, HSMAI Foundation (Hospitality Sales and Marketing Association International) helped the editors develop the publication's concept and content. "A quarter of the hotels we have surveyed are dedicating more than half of their marketing budgets to digital tools," says Fran Brasseux, Executive Vice President of HSMAI. "So this topic is vital to the industry's future success, and we were especially pleased to help make the publication a reality."
Focus is squarely on the future
The Hotel Yearbook's founder and publisher, Woody Wade, said, "Hotel industry executives making marketing decisions need to understand how fast this landscape is changing. Since The Hotel Yearbook was first published in 2007, its aim has always been to give readers an opportunity to think about future industry scenarios that are developing. The theme of this special edition is a perfect example of this."
Henri Roelings, Founder & CEO of Hsyndicate, added, "No other area of the hotel business these days is evolving so quickly, and has such a huge potential impact on the future success of the industry. This special edition is a must-read for anyone in a managerial position in the hotel business."
The Hotel Yearbook 2014 - Special Edition: Digital Marketing is available at Hotel Yearbook (€ 14.50)
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/digital_hotel_marketing_insights_from_tripadvisor_google_and_facebook
Online leisure hotel bookings in January achieved double-digit growth over nearly every year back to 2007 globally, with the exception of 2013. Bookings made by leisure travelers through online channels were still a healthy +3.1% ahead of January 2013 levels, having improved by as much as +52% over recent years, according to Pegasus Solutions. Pegasus, which processed bookings valued at $14 billion in 2013 alone, predicted volumes to continue the upward climb.
“Travelers are utilizing online channels to shop for hotels, which are also drawing interest from business travelers who have traditionally booked exclusively through the GDSs,” said David Millili, chief executive officer of Pegasus Solutions. “The challenge for hotels is how to be found and booked by travelers insistent on booking, but needing to be ‘sold’ to. Hotels that blend attractive presentation (through multiple points of sale), immediate access to information and a simple booking process will be more likely to pull their share of the bookings out there.”
Global online leisure bookings were up last month by +3.1% over January 2013, with rates rising by +2.7%. Online corporate bookings stayed ahead of last year by +1.0% globally, as rates paid by business travelers in January grew +2.9% over January 2013. Corporate bookings are expected to outpace prior year by an average of +4% through May, possibly rising as high as +9% worldwide. The leisure segment is expected to slow slightly before potentially realizing double-digit bookings growth due to the Easter holiday in April. Rates for the channel are expected to continue increasing by a monthly median average of about +4% for global arrivals February through May.
Data reported by Pegasus Solutions comes from billions of transactions processed monthly by the company, which is the single largest processor of electronic hotel transactions. The Pegasus View, produced quarterly, is the only industry report to reflect data drawn from both GDS and ADS transactions, representing the business and leisure markets respectively. Pegasus’ PegasusView Market Performance business intelligence is a monthly reporting product augmenting the global data provided quarterly in The Pegasus View.
Related Link: Pegasus Solutions
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/corporate_hotel_bookings_expected_to_outpace_prior_year_up_to_9
Booking.com, the world's number one accommodation site, continues to see strong growth in mobile bookings. The total transaction value of mobile accommodation bookings more than doubled from over $3 billion in 2012 to over $8 billion in 2013. Looking back at the 2011 figure where Booking.com saw $1 billion in mobile bookings, it is clear that mobile accommodation booking continues to grow rapidly year on year.
"Booking.com has more than 425,000 accommodations across 25 different accommodation types, bookable via all devices, which is more than any other accommodation site. The seamless booking experience across Booking.com's mobile and desktop devices combined with the quality of our highly rated apps, has driven customers increased usage of their mobile devices," says Booking.com CMO, Paul Hennessy. "We're seeing a shift in consumer behaviour from simply booking last minute accommodations on mobile devices to planning, researching, booking and utilizing post booking functionality on our mobile platforms. That's why we recognize the importance of delivering a world class, end to end experience that works well for both immediate and longer term bookings."
The online mobile hotel and accommodation bookings referred to above were made through the Booking.com family of hotel booking apps including native apps for iOS and Android, and through Booking.com's mobile websites. More information about Booking.com's apps can be found here.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/booking.coms_mobile_bookings_grew_260_in_2013
And with 424,000 properties in total globally, Booking is only “scratching the surface of the iceberg” in terms of product, according to its chief marketing officer Paul Hennessy. Future plans include expanding the product mix, adding more B&Bs and even holiday cottages, while winning customers by stopping at nothing to make sure it is the best shopping portal out there.
It will also increasingly help users not only find their ideal accommodation but destination too by matching their specific requirements to known location attributes.
With enormous scale comes the possibility of capturing ever increasing amounts of consumer data with which to hone its offering. The 25 million “real, relevant and recent” reviews it has from customers, as well as the mining of data from social media, means Booking.com has a treasure chest of data on product and customers.
Get the full story at Travolution
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/booking.com_still_on_the_runway_says_marketing_chief
As the flood of third-party intermediaries continues to clutter the booking landscape, hoteliers must respond with renewed efforts to capture guests’ bookings and data, according to panelists Tuesday during the Hospitality Technology Europe show.
While the first task spreads throughout the booking funnel, panelists paid particular attention to increasing the rate of conversion for customers who find their way to brand.com.
Providing relevant user-generated content, such as TripAdvisor reviews and social media postings, is becoming more important, said RJ Friedlander, co-founder and CEO of ReviewPro, an online analytics and reputation management firm.
“Once you get people there you need to provide the social content to help facilitate the decision-making process,” he said during the panel titled “Tech disruption and hotels: Threat or revenue generators?”
Get the full story at Hotel News Now
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/expert_panel_discusses_how_to_capture_direct_hotel_bookings
Hotel occupancy in the Asia Pacific region fell 3.6% to 62.1% in January, while average daily rates (ADR) slid 1.9% to US$125.75. This pushed revPAR down 5.4% from just over US$82 in January 2013 to US$78.03 last month.
“There has not been a lot of positive news coming out of the region, and that is reflected in hotel performance in January,” Elizabeth Winkle, managing director of STR Global, admitted.
“Thailand performance was varied in January, as the country reported declines in both occupancy (-13.8%) and revPAR (-3.9%), when measured in local currency. Bangkok reported steep performance declines while ADR and revPAR in Phuket were positive when measured in local currency,” she added.
Across the region, only Bali reported a double-digit occupancy increase, rising 10.2% to 66.0%, but four markets experienced double-digit occupancy declines: Bangkok (-25.8% to 57.0%), Beijing (-13.8 to 54.7%), Hanoi (-10.7% to 60.8%) and Ho Chi Minh City (-10.0% to 65.0%).
Get the full story at Travel Daily Asia
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/asian_hotel_slide_continues_in_2014
Never one to shy away from the bold and forward-thinking, Design Hotels announces the launch of its new website. Sleek stylings fuse with powerful technology, providing a one-stop source for inspired movement around the world. With integrated content of videos, visuals and information not found anywhere else, the new DesignHotels.com is expanding the view into a brave new world. For over 20 years, Design Hotels™ has championed innovation in the industry, bringing creativity to the forefront and putting a face and story to destinations.
“With the incubation of spaces, both digital and physical, our aim is to foster compelling movements, be it artistic, culinary, design, green or beyond”, says CEO and founder, Claus Sendlinger.
Community, Networks and Perks
In keeping with Design Hotels vision to create an unrivaled global community for design, architecture and culture, the newly minted site is a space for like-minded globetrotters and the inspirationally inclined. Through community connections and multimedia content, online ambitions are turned into tangible actions. Merging the on and offline world, the Community is a portal connecting the two. Just by registering, members receive exclusive invites and offers, further connecting those in-the-know around the world. After booking a stay, benefits abound, ranging from late checkout, upgrades, free breakfast and up to 50% discounts on new hotels.
With a combination of unique content, value and experience DesignHotels.com is the ultimate travel companion. Find out about a man who saved an entire Italian village, a woman who transformed the hospitality landscape in India, or an Alpine resort powering Porsche chairlifts by solar energy. Prominent in conscience and on the website, is Finding Infinity – an eco-initiative intrinsic to Design Hotels™ core beliefs and long-term values.
Simply put, the new website will make it easier and quicker to find exactly what you came for, plus a whole lot more. Key standout technical functions:
- Clickless functionality to compare room types, prices and size at-a-glance.
- For best deal, increased transparency with a two-month availability calendar showing live, bookable rates.
- Clean, well laid-out pages are longer and faster than ever, bringing scrolling ease and fluid navigation.
- Retina optimized high resolution images.
Trends in consumer luxury, technology and travel are driving the demand for a holistic digital experience. With this re-launch, Design Hotels™ enriches the relationship with its community, translating real life experiences into the digital realm.
Related Link: DesignHotels.com
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/upping_the_digital_ante_all_new_designhotels.com
After months of testing both in France and abroad, Smart Booking Engine was released on 28th January this year. With its streamlined design, enhanced clarity and improved functionality, Smart Booking Engine is unrivalled when it comes to ease of use. This online booking engine features a simple, streamlined yet powerful design that features new dynamic filters for refined searching and an interface that is easier than ever to use, meaning customers can make a booking in just a few simple clicks.
The result is a booking engine that saves time for both visitors looking to book a room or package and hotel owners seeking a clear, fully secure interface and added peace of mind.
"Our aim was to provide a booking engine that more closely reflects the needs of both users and customers. We ran a series of user quality tests to ensure that our solution delivers an unrivalled user experience, thereby streamlining the booking process and driving conversion rates," explains Philippe Lamarche, Chairman of Availpro.
Availpro: bringing innovation to hotel owners
With Smart Booking Engine, hotel owners have a new, simpler way to promote their offers, packages and extras and boost average spend.
The booking page features photos and crystal-clear descriptions to give customers added peace of mind and drive direct sales.
Some user reviews:
- "The layout is clearer and easier to read. The rate information is transparent so there are no surprises when you actually confirm your booking." Stéphanie, Lyon
- "The booking engine is clear and simple in design. It instils more confidence than the other websites I normally use." Morgane, Paris
- "The filters are really useful when you're in a hurry. You can find what you're looking for quickly, and all the information you need is right there in front of you." Oliver, London
Availpro was founded in 2001. The company develops e-booking software solutions that allow independent hotels, hotel chains and aparthotels to sell their rooms directly through their own websites, their Facebook pages and through e-distributor partner sites. The company has six offices in Europe, as well as partnerships with several providers including trivago, TripAdvisor and HotelBeds. Availpro has received numerous awards for its innovative hotel booking solutions, including the European Seal of E-Excellence Award in 2013.
Related Link: AvailPro
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/availpro_launches_innovative_new_hotel_booking_engi
“Each of our hotels is situated in a prime Swiss location, and offers features distinct to that hotel and area,” said Matthias Ramer, operations manager of Sorell Hotels Group. “Pegasus Connect+ serves our hotels two ways. First, it provides distribution and reservation services to rival major brands that have more technology resources. Secondly, it groups our hotels with other similarly independent global hotels for buyers seeking a unique travel experience.”
With Pegasus Connect+, the full Sorell portfolio uses RVNG, the only central reservations system built to manage selling hotel rooms in the Internet age. Each of the 17 hotels also leverages one seamless connection to the four GDSs, and more than 1,000 travel websites.
“Hotel groups like Sorell Hotels are perfectly positioned to realize the benefits Pegasus Connect+ delivers,” said Alexis Dobbelaere, senior vice president of global sales, Europe for Pegasus Solutions. “We combine affordable connectivity with a modern central reservations system. And, we work with Sorell’s team to ensure they are able to seize the real revenue opportunities available through Pegasus Connect+.”
Related Link: Pegasus Solutions
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/switzerlands_sorell_hotels_group_signs_with_pegasus_connect
About half of travelers want to explore the local area while on a business trip, according to a 2013 survey released this week by Millward Brown. For business travelers, “discovery” now ranks higher than “escape” or “indulgence,” per the survey.
“Consumers have overcome their fears and discomfort from being in a new place, since they now have access to lots of information from Google Maps, review sites like Yelp and social media,” said Oscar Yuan, vp at the Millward Brown Optimor brand consultancy. Home-sharing services such Airbnb show how much people are open to having a local experience, he added.
As a result, instead of hotel brands positioning themselves as familiar, quiet refuges from the outside world, more chains are offering unique settings and stimulating local experiences. Examples include Red Lion Hotels, which cater to middle America and the boutique Hotel Indigo chain, owned by InterContinental Hotels Group.
Get the full story at AdvertisingAge
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_airbnb_yelp_are_changing_hotel_marketing
Priceline.com, the online travel agency known for its name-your-own-price auctions, posted a higher-than-expected quarterly profit on Thursday, boosting shares in extended trading.
Darren Huston, the former chief of Booking.com who became chief executive officer and president of Priceline.com in January, said bookings for hotel stays, airline tickets and rental cars picked up at the end of the quarter for the start of 2014. He added that advertising for Booking.com was paying off in the United States.
"There was broad-based strength throughout the world but the U.S. in particular was a very healthy market," Huston said in an interview.
Get the full story at Reuters and Priceline
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/priceline_profit_tops_estimates_as_booking.com_advertising_in_the_u.s._pays
Most hoteliers have adopted pricing strategies that allow them to offer the right price at the right time, as demonstrated by results from a survey of French professionals by Hospitality On. Thus, 91% of hoteliers declare that they practice flexible rates (43% apply this as their only strategy), this means prices are regularly adapted to market conditions. Close to half of hoteliers (44%) claim they also offer early booking rates for reservations made in advance (more than 30 days before the departure date), or last minute. These different practices are complementary for close to half of hoteliers that use at least 2 different price strategies.
As far as concerns price flexibility, the frequency of adjustment varies: 39% of respondents adjust their prices daily, showing a very strong reactivity of these professionals in light of changing demand. 26% adjust rates weekly, while 35% adjust them only monthly. Hotels are thus not all equal in their ability to react to pricing adjustments at the competition.
The channels through which the price strategy is "executed", meaning through which the new rates are made available to clients, are also different. 14% of hoteliers apply their rate adjustments to all their distribution channels, while most (52%) choose 2 or 3, usually direct and with one or two third-party channels that are often "OTAs" (booking.com, expedia...). One third of hoteliers adopt a flexible pricing strategy on only one channel, in which case they are generally direct rate offers (28%) rather than on OTA sites (6%). Thus, one is more likely to find advantageous promotional rates through direct reservations than OTAs. Hotel professionals should ask themselves: is this the perception of the general public today?
Get the full story at Hospitality On
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/pricing_strategies_what_prices_are_hoteliers_practicing
With original, specific and authentic experiences now the expected norm among luxury travelers, hoteliers must enlist support or train in-house teams to develop experiences on a guest-to-guest basis. Some hotels have taken heed of the shifting landscape by assembling programs that anticipate and help realize consumer wants.
“Luxury travel is as much about the experience as it is about the accommodations,” said Taylor Rains, account executive at Rawle Murdy Associates, Charleston, SC. ”Brands spent years developing on-property initiatives that would allow for maximum comfort and luxury while on property.
“Only recently have they started to apply similar strategies to the off-property experiences their guests are looking for with their stay,” he said. ”It’s important for hotels to help guests cater their whole travel experience to meet their expectations.
Get the full story at Luxury Daily
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/matching_the_boutique_feel_with_customized_experiences
The notification system works not just for sold-out hotels but also for sold-out room categories. Say you want a room with double beds but those are sold-out. Sign up with Hotel Room Alerts to get notified when a double-bed opens up again.
Hotel Room Alerts founder, Dylan Loch, came up with the idea after trying to nab a certain room type at a hotel for a weekend getaway. He was constantly refreshing the hotel's online calendar before finally getting the room he wanted. But it took him a month.
The site officially launched last July but at the time, it was charging 99 cents per alert. However, Loch did away with the charge in late November and has made the alert system totally free. Since then, Loch said 500 people have signed up for room alerts. And we imagine that number is only going to go up now.
Get the full story at HotelChatter
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/hotel_room_alerts_watches_sold_out_hotels_for_new_availability
This roll-out will take a few weeks and users who dislike the new version will be able to switch back to the old one for the time being, though at some point, Google will likely turn off the old Maps.
The new version Google announced last year was relatively basic, so until now, Google kept it as an option and didn’t move all users over to the new experience. It was still missing a number of important features, but Google also wanted to get it out at I/O 2013 to see where it still needed to tweak the service and how users would react to it.
Now, Google considers the new Google Maps on par with the original version in terms of features and is starting to push it out to all users worldwide.
Get the full story at TechCrunch
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/new_google_maps_becomes_default_for_everybody
The aim of the sessions is to provide hotels with valuable insights into how to capture their fair share of bookings in these emerging markets from the key online distribution players in the region.
Travel research study shows there is willingness to self-manage/book travel via the web among Asian travellers with 46% saying they mainly make their own travel arrangements, including hotel bookings, online. This provides a ready market for hoteliers wanting to reach out to a newer client base through these leading demand channels in Asia. Agoda, Rakuten Travel and Wotif.com, all part of the eRevMax Channel Ecosystem, will be presenting at TigerTime during ITB Berlin.
The TigerTime sessions will be held at eRevMax Stand 132 in Hall 8.1 and are scheduled on the first 2 days of the event. Agoda, one of the fastest-growing online hotel platforms worldwide, will share distribution insights on Wednesday 5th March from 3pm; Rakuten Travel, Japan's largest online hotel reservation website with over 1.8 million room nights booked per month will present its value proposition on Thursday 6th March at 11am. This will be followed by a presentation by Wotif.com, a leading Australian travel website for accommodation, flights and packages, at 3pm on the same day.
The sessions will have short 15 minute presentation where these channel partners will talk about their unique value propositions and how hoteliers can benefit from advanced XML connectivity. The presentations will be followed by refreshments and a networking opportunity.
These interactive TigerTime sessions take place at the eRevMax Stand – Hall 8.1, stand 132.
Related Link: eRevMax
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/erevmax_to_host_tigertime_at_itb_berlin_for_hoteliers
The G20 Hotelvision, which was held in the Provincial Government Building in Maastricht, is a new by invitation only sub-event of Food Executive Europe (FXE). Jones Lang LaSalle, Google and Expedia sent their top representatives to discuss their expectations on digital marketing in the hospitality industry. It became evident that digital techniques, such as apps, social media, etc., can offer many opportunities. Opportunities, which the industry should grab with both hands.
Six digital insights for the Hospitality industry;
1. Growth for the sector, especially in the big cities; this year 16 billion dollar sales volume
Jessica Jahns from Jones Lang Lasalle predicted that in 2014 there will be positive developments in hotel transactions in Europe: “Many new hotels are entering the market, especially in the cities London, Amsterdam, Berlin and Stockholm. The UK, Germany and France shall experience the strongest growth, but Spain, Ireland and Eastern Europe will also experience a growth. Some concrete figures of the growing amount of hotels: London +10%, Amsterdam +8%, Berlin +9% and Stockholm +7%. This coming year will be a good year to be in the hospitality market. Jones Lang LaSalle expects a 16 billion dollar sales volume in Europe in 2014.”
For more information, see http://www.joneslanglasalle.com/hotels/EN-GB/Pages/Hotel-Investment-Outlook.aspx
2. Google: “The first hotel chain with a mobile first strategy can create an enormous advantage”
The world is rapidly shifting to mobile internet and hotels need to anticipate on this. That was the advice Diana van Roest, Industry Head Travel of Google The Netherlands, gave the hotel executives: “The hotel industry still thinks too much about the internet via computers, but meanwhile, this has already been overtaken by the mobile phone. People are constantly connected. 72% of the Dutch population has a smartphone and 42% have one or more tablets at home. The consumer uses all these ‘devices’ simultaneously to obtain his information, to share and to buy. The new buy- or book times lie mainly between 21 and 24 hours. But more will change in this area. Think about internet TVs, Google Glass and Smart Watches. Today, around 20% of the travel searches are done from a smart phone, and this amount is increasing rapidly. Therefore, it is about time that the hotel industry embraces this mobile-commerce (m-commerce) whilst not shying away from the professional use of social media. The first hotel chain with a mobile first strategy can create an enormous advantage.”
3. Carlson Rezidor: “Invest in Digital Marketing, possess the knowledge about your guests”
Remy Merckx, Senior Director Global e-Business Development of the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group, confirmed this argument: “E-commerce is not a task a hotel manager can do in addition to his normal tasks, but it is a job on its own. OTAs (Online Travel Agencies) are already 10 years in the market and Google knows us best, as they possess all the information about our surfing habits. They know us better than any other company in the world. It is about time that our branch takes action, by investing in digital marketing. Possess information about your guests, do not let another organisation to do this!”
4. Expedia: Adapt flexibly and dynamically to the mobile bookers together with OTAs
Expedia’s Olivier Pernoud, responsible for the Benelux, gave his insights on the current generation, the so-called Millennials. “These consumers, aged 30 years and younger, book with their smartphones and manage their flight schedule on their smartphone as well. 8 out of 10 millennials use their mobile device to check availability for business travel, and 57% is willing to share information if they get something in return. Expedia offers this group all the filters in order to find the ideal journey and accompanying hotel. Nowadays, it is essential to update hotel information and to continuously improve, so that hotels can work more targeted, with OTAs instead of against.”
5. Hotel Management School Maastricht: Having a digital conversation with guests
Students of Hotel Management School Maastricht undertook research on what the hospitality industry can learn from other industries (such as the airline, retail and entertainment industry), in regards to e-commerce and m-commerce. In their research, they looked at interactive promotional screens, augmented reality, share and network and customized marketing. They advise hotels to implement in-store kiosks, a digital shop window where clients can ask for information, watch videos and make orders. Besides that, augmented reality is up and coming. Think about the virtual mirror with which you can try on clothes via a webcam. British Airways also has something new: ‘Picture Your Holiday’, where clients can choose pictures of desired vacation spots, such as white beaches, skylines and mountains. These pictures create a mood board, with which the airline company will suggest several vacations. Clients can share their ideas via Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and e-mail. Another use of these applications are sneak peeks of hotels; small digital tours through the hotel or of a customized room. Another innovation is share & network, such as Meet & Seat from KLM, where you use Facebook to see which interesting persons are on your flight. The same can be done for hotels, but then see who else is staying at the same hotel at the same time. This is especially interesting for people who are travelling alone.
6. Olery: “Online Reputation Management - because 95% of guests trusts in reviews”
Kim van den Wijngaard of Olery, specialized in the grading of online reputations by means of review websites: “95% of travellers consider reviews as a reliable source of information, and 53% do not book a hotel without a review.” Therefore, Van den Wijngaard wondered why hotels often do not reply on an online review: “If the guest would have made his remark to a colleague at the reception desk, immediate action would have been taken, or at least a conversation would have started. Meanwhile, one can find more than 167.130.000 reviews on the top 10 review sites, and this number is only growing. Every company will benefit from a good online reputation strategy.”
All in all, the specialists in online and mobile marketing gave the attendees a lot of things to think about, and with that the first G20 Hotelvision gave the industry a reason and methods to pull the future into the now.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/six_digital_insights_for_the_hospitality_industry
As more and more research shows, what consumers are looking for customized, personal experiences. In a recent article at Forbes, Micah Solomon argues that what customers (hotel guests are simply customers in pajamas) are looking for is “humanity” and “personalization,” and “not just more efficiency.” Such experiences are predicated upon human interaction, which Fast Company lists as one of 2013’s consumer trends:
“The most successful brands understand when customers need to be listened to or expect the nuanced expertise that only a person can provide. 2013 reverses the trend toward automated everything, as humanity becomes the crucial differentiator between a beloved brand and a commodity.”
A keyless key, is a reversal from this customized interaction and a return to standardized automation. But the hotel industry has always had to navigate the fine line between these poles.
Get the full story at Quartz
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/why_the_disappearance_of_hotel_room_keys_marks_the_end_of_hospitality
The travel sector is behind other retailers when it comes to offering customer a seamless shopping experience across multiple devices, according to research by Ampersand Commerce.
The research found that around 72% of UK retailers have multiple mobile presences, but overall a third are failing to offer consumers an integrated cross platform service. In travel only 33% of retailers in the travel sector provide a seamless experience, whereas 89% of department stores have invested in cross-channel integration.
Ampersand Commerce said this means shoppers are not able to place an item in their online shopping basket and continue the same shopping session via a mobile device.
Get the full story at Travolution
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travel_slow_to_develop_seamless_cross_channel_shopping_finds_research
Today Choice Hotels International launched an online system, Verified Reviews, for ChoiceHotels.com. This new functionality provides consumers with an added layer of authenticity regarding reviews of Choice Hotels properties. Unlike other review sites, guests posting reviews on ChoiceHotels.com will be asked to provide their booking confirmation number to verify their stay at the hotel, and thereby provide potential guests with information from real guests in order to help them make their booking decision.
Robert McDowell, senior vice president, global distribution and loyalty, said, "Research indicates that booking decisions for 81 percent of consumers is influenced by comments posted on review websites. Choice Hotels has launched this new system in order to ensure that its valued customers are provided the most accurate information possible."
Verified Reviews on ChoiceHotels.com will feature a star rating scale. The ratings will be from one-to-five stars (five being the best), and will be based on Overall Experience scores.
Reviews and responses to those reviews will be moderated by a third-party company, Bazaarvoice, which will check for appropriate language and other key parameters prior to posting the review. Hotel responses will also be moderated by Bazaarvoice.
Related Link: ChoiceHotels.com
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/choice_hotels_to_launch_verified_online_reviews
Highlights – Fourth Quarter 2013
- Hotel room nights stayed in the fourth quarter increased 48% to 7.4 million room nights compared to 5.0 million in the prior year period. Excluding the fourth quarter 2012 technology change with respect to recording groupbuy room nights, room nights stayed in the fourth quarter increased 58% compared to the prior year period.
- Hotel commission revenue for the fourth quarter increased 28% to RMB224.4 million (US$37.1 million), compared to RMB175.0 million (US$28.1 million) in the fourth quarter of 2012.
- Net revenues for the fourth quarter increased 25% to RMB261.0 million (US$43.1 million), compared to RMB208.8 million (US$33.5 million) in the fourth quarter of 2012.
- Mobile hotel bookings comprised more than 30% of total hotel room nights stayed in the fourth quarter, compared to 25% in the third quarter. Cumulative downloads of eLong mobile apps now exceed 45 million.
Get the full story at MarketWatch
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/elongs_hotel_room_nights_increased_48_in_q4_30_of_all_hotel_bookings_now_mo
Marketers have answered that question with their wallets: Facebook ads do work, especially when they're slotted in users' news feeds, on desktop and mobile devices alike. In the last quarter of 2013, the company's ad revenue increased 76%.
Ultimately, though, the big unknown that could imperil Facebook's future is how well it will age. Will people continue experiencing the compulsion of wanting to check it several times in their day?
Facebook is no MySpace. There's no implosion coming; it has its hooks into us too deeply. It's home to years of photos that the less prescient among us didn't think to back up elsewhere and a network of connections that can't be furnished by any competitor.
Get the full story at AdvertisingAge
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/marketers_pleased_with_improvements_facebook_made_to_its_ad_products
Though the app is still somewhat under the radar in the U.S., it said in December that it has 400 million monthly active users, and Facebook said Wednesday that the figure was now 450 million, 70% of whom are active on any given day.
Nineteen billion messages and 600 million photos are sent daily on WhatsApp, said its CEO, Jan Koum, during a conference call Wednesday. Mr. Koum will join Facebook's board.
The scale is impressive - five months ago Instagram said it had 150 million monthly active users - but it also means Facebook is now willing to spend $36 per active user to extend its reach among young people.
Maintaining high levels of user engagement is key for Facebook as it enters middle age, and messaging apps like WhatsApp, Line, KakaoTalk and Snapchat - which Facebook tried but failed to acquire for $3 billion late last year - are chipping away at its share of people's attention.
Get the full story at AdvertisingAge and Reuters
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/facebook_to_buy_whatsapp_in_16_billion_deal
U.S. District Judge Jane Boyle in Dallas found that the lawsuit, brought by consumers who claimed they paid inflated prices for their rooms, failed to adequately show that such a conspiracy existed. Instead, she said, the agreements between each hotel chain and each online operator could be explained by "rational business interests" rather than anti-competitive behavior.
The hotel companies include Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide Inc, InterContinental Hotels Group Plc and Marriott International Inc while the online agencies include Expedia Inc, Orbitz Worldwide Inc and Priceline Com Inc.
An Orbitz spokeswoman said the company was pleased with the decision, which she said was "well reasoned and accurately interprets applicable law." A spokeswoman for Priceline declined to comment, while representatives for other hotel and booking companies did not respond to requests for comment outside U.S. business hours.
Get the full story at the Chicago Tribune and Bloomberg
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/us_judge_dismisses_price_fixing_claim_against_hotels_otas
“As Tom Friedman recently pointed out in an op-ed piece, we’re living in a world of exponential change, where consumers have unprecedented access to information and the ability to use that information in new ways,” said Frits D. van Paasschen, chief executive officer, president and director of Starwood Hotels & Resorts, Stamford, CT, during the fourth-quarter earnings call.
“This is changing the way consumers interact with brands and what they expect from the companies behind those brands,” he said. “The challenge is to keep pace with these changes, as today’s novelties become tomorrow’s table stakes.
“Put simply, we see connectivity, especially through mobile, as the great opportunity for dialogue with travels. And this dialogue opens new avenues for innovation. Our efforts to become more agile have changed how we work and where we direct our energy.”
Get the full story at Mobile Commerce Daily
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/starwood_hotels_sees_mobile_bookings_grow_at_unprecedented_rate
17u.cn, a Chinese online travel service provider, has received $82 million in a massive round of funding. The deal was led by Boyu Capital with participation from existing investors Oriza and Asian juggernaut Tencent.
Tencent invested tens of millions of yuan in 17u.cn in mid-2012. An earlier rumor had it that the Chinese Internet giant bought a 30 percent stake in 17u in 2011. However, 17u never confirmed that deal. In 2008, the company received 35 million yuan in funding from Oriza. After the deal in 2012, 17u’s services were integrated into Tencent’s QQ Travel platform.
Commenting on this latest round of funding, 17u reps said the company’s goal is still an IPO. This round of funding will be input into sightseeing tickets, short-distance travels, mobile, among others. The company aims to be the No.1 in casual travel in China.
Get the full story at VentureBeat
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/chinese_online_travel_startup_17u_raises_82m_preps_for_ipo
These days, many hotel interactions with their guests happen through third-party platforms: The Travelocities, Yelps, and Foursquares of the world get the feedback that hotels need and depend on, and this generally happens in a public forum. One-to-one interaction and the direct relationship between hotel and guest has fallen somewhat by the wayside in a web-based, connected world. Montreal-based GuestDriven wants to help put the guest relationship back in the hands of the hotel, and today announced a $3 million Series A to help its platform accomplish that.
GuestDriven offers hotels a platform that provides real-time guest interaction, allowing businesses to send them messages, tips, perks and rewards before, during and after their stay. The startup calls it a “Guest Relationship Management platform,” and it’s designed to provide hotels with the kind of actionable data they need to identify what’s working for their business, and what isn’t. It also helps hotels manage guest relationships down to the level of each individual, as well as identify key social influencers among their customers and reward them for broadcasting positive messages about their stay on social networks.
“Most reservations come in from third-party products, and those products don’t provide CRM data points for the hotels,” explained GuestDriven CEO and co-founder Anthony Zebrowski in an interview. “There’s a mass push on price that becomes the determining factor of where you’re booking. At the same time there are 12-14 different IT systems on the hotel side that lack any ability of talking to each other, so there’s no real CRM or contextualization.”
Get the full story at TechCrunch
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/guestdriven_raises_3m_to_expand_its_hotel_guest_interaction_and_rewards_pla
Bing announced they have added three new Bing apps for the Windows Phone and refreshed several of their other apps. The new apps are Travel, Food & Drink and Health & Fitness.
Bing Travel App
The Bing Travel App helps you discover places to visit by providing destination guides, rich photos, expert reviews and more. You can pin your flights within the app, in order to track your flight status. You can search for hotels with sorting by price, class, proximity, or popularity and read reviews and book a room. You can view current weather conditions and currency conversion rates for your destination, as well as view professional photos and travel photos.
Get the full story at Search Engine Land
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/bing_travel_app_arrives_on_windows_phone
At a Forecast fireside chat in Chicago, Gamson and Base CEO, Uzi Shmilovici, talked about the sales landscape and which skills sales representatives must cultivate and the sort of talent sales teams must secure. Here are Gamson’s most memorable insights on the future of sales:
- The ability to discern the signal from the noise will be a key asset for sales reps. Not only do reps need to be able to accurately asses the information their contacts and contacts’ companies share, they’ll also need to keep their eye on trends and business developments. Sales reps who understand and embrace technology will be central to a company’s success.
- Since the advent of social media as a business tool, sales reps have been lifting cues from people’s online profiles to smooth out sales conversations. But social integration into CRM and calendars will make this information even more accessible and usable. The future of CRM looks like a calendar reminder with a social profile link and a seamless transition from hello, to small talk to the dotted line.
Get the full story at Business 2 Community
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/the_future_of_sales_5_predictions_from_linkedins_svp_of_sales
Presented by HSMAI, the award cited IDeaS’ ability to replace outdated methodologies, demonstrate a clear return on investment and fuel year-over-year growth in RevPAR and RGI for European hotels with its revenue management system IDeaS RMS.
“What an honor to be recognized by our peers for implementing innovative and intuitive solutions that provide immediate and measurable results for our partners,” said Fabian Specht, Managing Director in EMEA for IDeaS. “This award reinforces our mission to create tools that produce invaluable business insights and drive bottom-line results for hotels, and is a testament to our hard-working team in Europe and around the world.”
IDeaS RMS was recently updated and redesigned to include the industry’s first-ever mobile app capable of deploying pricing decisions anytime, anywhere. Additional updates included revised reporting and forecasting capabilities as well as a new @ a Glance Dashboard.
Taking place in London each February, the Hospitality Technology Europe Conference is the only specialist and exhibition conference for the European hotel technology community. The event connects technology professionals and leading suppliers covering guest experience, operational management and revenue generation.
For more information, visit http://www.hospitalitytecheurope.com.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/ideas_wins_best_in_class_technology_award_at_hsmai_european_awards
It’s no secret that travelers are planning for paradise - and booking - online more than ever, especially from their desktops and laptops. But more and more are using their mobile devices to find trip inspiration and as essential tools along the path to purchase.
While US mobile travel bookings sat at $6.15 billion in 2012, PhoCusWright forecast this would rise to $39.50 billion by 2015.
In a 2013 SITA and Air Transport World study, 37% of travelers worldwide said they’d “definitely” use their mobile devices to purchase airline tickets, and 33% would consider doing so. Nearly half of respondents would “definitely” make booking changes via mobile, likely while en route to the airport or queuing at airport counters.
Still, airlines, hotel chains and online travel agencies have been slow to beef up their mobile offerings, and US travelers studied were often too frustrated by whatever offerings they did have, as well as the limited capabilities of mobile devices themselves, preventing mobile from fully taking hold as an indispensable instrument for purchasing, according to PhoCusWright’s “Traveler Technology Survey 2013.” Respondents were most frustrated by small screen sizes (51%) and poor user configurations for websites and mobile apps compared with those on their computers (36%).
Get the full story at eMarketer
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/travelers_use_their_mobile_devices_mostly_for_inspiration
A survey of 288 independent hotels, b&bs and guest houses, in the wake of the recent OFT ruling on hotel room discounts, revealed that 61 per cent believe using OTAs is now a necessity, but 87 per cent would like to see third party commission levels capped.
Furthermore, the majority (75 per cent) believe the high search engine positions of OTAs are hindering their own marketing efforts, while 87 per cent said that the marketing budgets of larger hotel brands and OTAs have struggling to compete.
Steve Lowy, owner of umi Digital, told BigHospitality that many independent hoteliers were unhappy with the OFT ruling because it did not find any problems with rate parity.
“I think the OFT judgement leaves a bitter taste in the mouth as it has been done without in-depth knowledge of the hotel industry and the issues that are affecting the majority of owners,” he explained. “Rate parity is the biggest issue for most independent hotels because in theory it means they are not allowed to have the best deals on their own website.
Get the full story at BigHospitality
Read also "OTA commission levels should be capped"
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/bookingcom_top_rated_by_hotels_for_customer_service_and_cost_of_sales
As it turns out, they both are.
Expedia is basing its claim on its status as a full-service online travel agency that sells multiple lines of travel, allowing consumers to book things like flights, cars and hotels all in the same place. This was noted by travel news site Skift, and confirmed by the company this morning.
While TripAdvisor lets users search for similar offerings, it is primarily a hotel review and media site, and relies on online travel agencies to actually make the sale, putting it in a different category. That’s how each companies is able to claim that it’s the biggest travel site of its kind: TripAdvisor makes most of its money from ads, while Expedia makes its money from people paying to travel.
No matter what it calls itself, Expedia is doing well. The company reported this month that its fourth quarter revenue topped $1.1 billion, up more than 15 percent over the same period the year before. However, the company is trying to fend off reports that it has lost some of its search placement on Google due to punishment over improperly using paid clicks to boost its results.
Get the full story at GeekWire
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/worlds_largest_travel_site_expedia_and_tripadvisor_both_lay_claim_to_title
Indonesians use social media daily as a tool for sharing, collaborating, and communicating, which reflects the old tradition of community ties within the country. 77 percent of Internet users in Indonesia agree that the Internet helps them connect closely with people that are important to them, mostly using social media. Many of the cheap feature phones sold in Indonesia come with Facebook pre-installed and for many Indonesians, that’s their first online experience. They’re unaware of the online world beyond Facebook. In addition to Facebook, Jakarta was named the number one Twitter City in the world (Source: Semiocast 2012) and second most active Twitter country in a PeerReach study recently.
Indonesians are very keen to leverage everything in the realms of social media, including e-commerce. The ease at which people can now reach out to their friends or family on Facebook and/or Twitter for advice, tips, and make comparisons before any buying decisions has a huge impact on e-commerce platforms. This is why brands need to be proactive because social media is where their potential customers are.
Get the full story at ClickZ
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/wego_social_marketing_in_indonesia
A new study of the meetings industry conducted by Convene, the magazine of the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), has found that more of its respondents are looking to bring their events to Asia and Australia/Pacific Rim.
Sharing a selection of the results at the Business Events Week press conference on Monday, Sherrif Karamat, COO of PCMA, said 42 per cent of respondents intend to host their events in Asia, compared to 38 per cent in 2013, while 28 per cent are keen to take their events to Australia and the Pacific Rim, over 21 per cent last year.
While this is positive news for Asian destinations and sellers keen on attracting trade and association events, specialists warn that congresses that shift from Europe or the US to Asia-Pacific tend to lose delegate numbers due to the greater distance of travel - and therefore higher cost of travel - needed to get to the shows.
Get the full story at TTG Asia
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/asia_is_the_new_darling_for_congresses
“From an experience standpoint, we try and create experiences that are extraordinarily unique so that we have a competitive advantage against the other people they are looking at,” said Jeff McIntyre, partner at Gemstone Hotels & Resorts, an operator of independent, upscale resorts and urban hotels.
“There are things you can do for the group as a whole that might hit their happy button,” he said. “We can put together things that nobody else on the planet can. When you can scuba dive in a crater and then later that day be skiing and later that day be golfing, and we can package that in a unique way that's tailored to your group, that's pretty powerful.”
And the request-for-proposal process has become impersonal. Meeting planners “are in a hurry and there are so many hotels to choose from,” she said, adding that planners want rates and dates before considering a hotel.
Get the full story at Hotel News Now
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/independent_hoteliers_must_work_hard_to_offer_a_unique_group_experience
It is undisputed that capacity constrained operations such as hotels, casinos or transportation providers have realized significant financial benefits through the application of revenue management.
However, as users become more experienced, technology improves and the cost of data acquisition decreases, the methodology of optimizing top line performance must evolve with it. As with any evolution, there are challenges; sophisticated solutions now must process ever increasing amounts of data and provide answers in more detail, and traditional approaches that limit the ability to offer optimal prices or restrict the ability to gather crucial data are quickly becoming obsolete.
A new approach is required to provide capacity constrained hotels with integrated capabilities to implement optimal pricing decisions in real time while providing key stakeholders relevant and timely information to:
- Quantify and analyze the observed purchase behavior of customers
- Identify the attractiveness of offered products with respect to those of the competitors
- Optimally price each product so as to maximize revenue
- Provide pricing analysts with powerful tools that would give them precious insight into the current commercial dynamics of each business segment for all products that are offered for sale
Download the whitepaper at Ideas (free registration)
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/intelligent_pricing_through_data_driven_decisions
A new survey has revealed that independent accommodation businesses want stricter rules on OTA commission levels as they struggle to increase their own online bookings.
This comes in the wake of the Office of Fair Trading investigation rulings on new membership schemes that will make it even harder for independent hotels, b&bs and guest houses to win the price war. The OFT felt that the strict rate parity contracts imposed by OTA’s were not an issue in regards to competitiveness within the sector.
The majority of the 288 survey respondents are spending between 1-5% of their annual turnover on marketing activity but 87% said that the marketing budgets of large hospitality brands and OTA’s are making it increasingly harder for independents to compete for online sales. Surveyed by umi Digital, 61% of those that took part said that using online travel agencies is a necessity and 87% also stated that they believed OTA and third party commission levels should be capped.
Get the full story at Travel Daily News
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/ota_commission_levels_should_be_capped
In May 2013 Kayak launched a package holiday price comparison service on its site and also offers Kayak Holidays dynamically packaged deals via a tie up with On Holiday Group.
Giorgos Zacharia, Kayak new chief technology officer, said the move reflected the continued preference among UK and European customer for packages.
And he said it was now being trialled in the US where packages do not traditionally have a strong place in the travel market.
“We are working on getting as many relevant package providers as possible. The fact that you can combine a hotel with a low-cost carrier can provide significant savings and that’s unique to Kayak.”
Get the full story at Travolution
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/kayak_targets_uk_growth_with_packages_personalisation_and_pin_point_pricing
In order to do this, hotels should focus more on data analysis, understanding customer segments, and measuring behaviors before, during and after program participation. Only then can hotel brands consider specific loyalty tactics to boost program results - including tiered rewards structures, marketing to Millennials, targeting potential brand ambassadors with exclusive offers for area residents and incorporating augmented reality (AR) into the customer experience.
First, let's start with the axiom of the moment: data.
1. Data analysis should reflect company goals
Recently, Cornell University conducted a study on hotel loyalty programs which emphasized that loyalty programs must be measured by their objectives. Programs that just want to be a "switching barrier" and reduce churn rate would be measured differently from programs geared towards customer acquisition and increased spending. The researchers did their own study of a loyalty program at two groups of independent hotels. Among the results: frequent guests became more frequent after they joined the program, with a 50% increase in revenue compared to those who did not join the program. Hotels have to define their program's objectives before they analyze data. Maybe a hotel's frequent guests have not increased spending, but is that because loyalty doesn't work within their construct or because the program is not designed for that result?
Get the full story at eHotelier
To learn more about hotel loyalty program success and guest engagement trends, read also the "Kobie Quarterly Review Travel Edition" at Kopie Marketing
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/loyalty_programs_tactics_to_boost_results_in_2014
They also want to consult local experts and fellow travelers about their trips and share their travel plans with friends.
Tomorrow's traveler will want more connected travel going from door to door. As well as receiving a list of places to enjoy as soon as they arrive.
Tomorrow's traveler will want to travel with an eye on the planets future. They want travel companies to minimize their environmental impact and maximize the good they do for others.
Watch the complete video at Amadeus
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/how_tomorrows_travel_experience_will_look_like_according_to_amadeus
Building on the industry leading Marriott Mobile app for smartphones, Marriott Hotels announced today the addition of mobile checkout. Mobile checkout is the latest innovation from Marriott Hotels in a string of new services designed for today's connected travelers. The flagship brand of Marriott International leads the industry in offering mobile check-in and now checkout to 326 North American hotels*. An additional 22 international hotels will add mobile checkout next week. Later this year, the entire Marriott Hotels brand – all 500 properties worldwide – will offer mobile check-in and checkout, available in English, Chinese, French, Spanish and German. The new mobile service exclusively for Marriott Rewards members reflects the brand's commitment to enhancing the future of travel for its increasingly connected mobile guests. To date, the Marriott Mobile app has been downloaded over 2.8 million times.
With the Marriott Mobile app, checkout is simple. In the morning on the day of their departure, Marriott Rewards guests will receive a push notification on their Apple iPhones or Android devices alerting them mobile checkout is available. Upon completing mobile checkout, guests will then be prompted to provide an email address and their bill will be emailed to them, allowing guests to bypass the front desk on their way out.
The Marriott Mobile app, which can be downloaded in the Apple iTunes Store and Google Play, makes it easier than ever to join Marriott Rewards, as well as gain immediate access to mobile check-in and checkout at Marriott Hotels.
"By relentlessly focusing on the needs of the next generation of travelers who are mobile and global, Marriott Hotels is putting itself at the forefront of the hotel mobile revolution," said Paul Cahill, senior vice president of brand management for Marriott Hotels. "When we launched our Travel Brilliantly campaign last year, we made a promise to introduce innovations for our guests that provide a seamless and more customized experience throughout their entire journey. We're excited to add mobile checkout to our portfolio of innovations as Marriott Hotels reimagines the future of travel."
In July 2013, Marriott Hotels introduced mobile check-in and it quickly expanded throughout the continental U.S. and Canada* and then at select international hotels, making the feature the broadest mobile service of its kind. After more than 150,000 mobile check-ins, guests are reacting very positively. In feedback, they cite the convenience and faster check-in once they arrive. Guests also appreciate the alert notifying them their room is ready. It gave them less to worry about while traveling.
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/marriott_hotels_newly_upgraded_mobile_app_puts_fast_and_easy_checkout_in_th
According to Google, there are three versions of new tracking code:
Additionally, it is much easier to set up cross-domain or subdomain tracking. For anyone who has done this in the past, they know it used to be a chore on multiple levels for complex websites.
The new Universal Analytics also gives you access to new configuration options. These are organic search sources, session and campaign timeout handling, referral exclusions and search term exclusion. We will talk about each of these areas later, but each is exciting in its own way.
Get the full story at Marketing Land
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/why_switch_to_google_universal_analytics
The text-only websites of the early 2000’s have - slowly but surely - been replaced by graphically- and visually-driven web interfaces. Faster broadband speeds, cellular networks, and high- resolution screens have increased demand for attractive visuals to drive content, to the point that roughly one third of pixel real estate on the web is image content.
The trend is certainly obvious on the most popular social media networks. Websites like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are driven by visuals. Twitter, the domain of 140-character text bursts, recently added Vine, a video service showcasing 6-second visual bursts. And of course, you can’t mention video without mentioning YouTube and its one billion monthly visitors.
Visually-driven websites aren’t strictly for social sharing, though. The trend is stretching across the web and touching traditional web design as well, from retailers, manufacturers, service providers and more. The travel industry is no exception; more and more hotels, airlines, online travel agencies, tour companies and others are enhancing their websites with exciting, engaging visuals that tell the story of what it’s like to use their service or visit them in person.
The best websites don’t just throw some pictures and video on the home page. They use those pictures and videos to tell stories— stories that allow the audience to experience whatever it is the website is selling.
Download the eBook at Leonardo (free registration)
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/anatomy_of_a_visual_first_hotel_website_experience
To illustrate the point, nsight compared travelers to Berlin, Budapest and Rome.
In general, we found that for European travel, length of stay was typically less than 4 days and the average search to book window was 38 days. The top Search Persona for travel to Europe in 2013 was the Adventure Seeker. The Adventure Seeker is 25-35 years old, upwardly mobile in their career, active on social media, looking for cultural/adventure travel experience, often travels with friends and takes 6+ trips/year.
- Berlin: For travelers coming to Berlin, the average search to book window in right in line with the Europe average at 38.8 days. However, the travelers are more budget minded than the average European traveler with the Free Spirits, Self Seekers and Buck Listers being the top booking persona types. The top 9 of 10 source markets for search are in Germany, reinforcing high local and drive demand.
- Budapest: Budapest has the longest search to book window of the three destinations at 40.3 days. Consistent with the region, Budapest’s top search persona was the Adventure Seeker. And the Adventure Seeker was also the top booking persona, converting for Budapest at twice the rate of search. Source markets were distributed throughout Europe with demand from London to Rome and Madrid to Stuttgart.
- Rome: The shortest search to book period goes to Rome at 35.7 days, indicating that travelers have more definitive plans about their Rome travel. Adventures Seekers, like in Europe, were the top search persona, and together with Bucket Listers, generated 45% of total demand for Rome in 2013. These two personas are very different – one a young professional looking for adventure and one a senior looking to cross Rome off their must-see list. The source market list reflects the global appeal of Rome as it includes Europe, Asia, South America and the U.S. Each destination attracts a unique traveler with a unique set of search and booking characteristics that must be considered in the marketing strategy and campaign execution.
Get the full story at nsight
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/destinations_differ_by_search_a_study_in_traveler_persona_segmentation
The online travel agency said on a conference call with analysts Thursday that recent agreements with Amadeus, Sabre and Travelport to provide technology and travel-management services would help boost traffic to Orbitz's sites. A current agreement with Travelport that limits Orbitz's ability to work with similar systems expires at the end of 2014.
Chief executive Barney Harford said the agreements would help the company boost airline ticket sales in the second half of 2014 and more robustly next year. He added that airfare sales can help Orbitz gain potential hotel patrons.
"Net-net what ends up happening is you get accelerating air growth, which had really been a hindrance to topline expansion, starting in the back half of 2014," said Daniel Kurnos, an analyst with Benchmark Company.
"All of that, combined with some of the technological developments they have on the hotel side and the continued strength Orbitz has had there, gave investors a much better feeling about the outlook for the company, which has been continuously out of favor and has been heavily shorted," Kurnos said.
Get the full story at Reuters
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/orbitz_profit_aided_by_hotel_vacation_packages
Starwood CFO Vasant Prabhu said corporate demand in North America this year would be robust. “The mood in corporate America is positive, with a renewed focus on revenue growth and investment spending, which is good for our business,” he said.
Prabhu said that he expected rate growth to accelerate in Europe this year, with several hotels in the region nearing peak occupancy. China, meanwhile, continues to be affected by cutbacks in government travel, but Starwood has diversified sales efforts there to attract more corporate and leisure business, he added.
Starwood president and CEO Frits van Paasschen said group booking pace also is up for 2014, though the trend of higher volumes of smaller-sized meetings persists.
Get the full story at Business Travel News
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/starwood_sees_moderate_corporate_rate_hikes_for_2014
Here’s how it works: KLM sends a link to the customer in a private message on Facebook or Twitter. The customer can then select their preferred method of payment and complete the transaction. The social media service agent at KLM then receives a message to say that payment has been received and the customer in turn receives confirmation of the payment.
The 130 social media agents at KLM answer around 35,000 queries on Facebook and Twitter every week. Last week KLM welcomed its five-millionth Facebook fan, making KLM the airline with the most fans in the world.
Get the full story at AllTwitter
Article location: http://hotelmarketing.com/index.php/content/article/klm_introduces_payment_via_twitter_and_facebook