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.