Hilton’s ‘Stop Clicking Around’ campaign misguided, says Expedia

Mar 07, 2019 / Hilton

Hilton CEO Chris Nassetta might disagree, especially as the company’s loyalty membership jumped from 51 million at the end of 2015 to 85 million today.

Hotel and online travel agency CEOs like to play down the direct booking wars, which is kind of understandable given the mutually beneficial relationship the two groups have, but it doesn’t mean they agree on everything.

“I completely understand what they’re trying to do and I would be trying to do the same thing and I am doing the same thing versus Google,” Expedia Group CEO Mark Okerstrom said on Thursday at the ITB Berlin travel conference.

While Okerstrom praised the CEOs of the big hotel companies, he disagreed with some of their tactics, including Hilton’s controversial “Stop Clicking Around” campaign that launched in February 2016.

Products & Services

Airbnb customers are booking photoshoots to #vacation like Instagram influencers

Mar 07, 2019 / Instagram

For a growing number of travelers, travel is all about posing in front of a camera, preferably against a suitably Instagrammable background.

In cities across the world, photographers and gig economy entrepreneurs are offering Airbnb Experiences designed less for the IRL experience and more for the #authentic content that results.

Wanting to document your well-earned vacation is nothing new, of course. Still, it’s telling that in the era of smartphones and “pics or it didn’t happen,” actually being somewhere doesn’t feel real to some without the Instagram photos to prove it.

Related: Parisian residents demanding gates to keep Instagrammers off their famous street

Market Data

Top 10 fastest-growing European destinations for Chinese tourists

Mar 07, 2019 / China

Europe is now the second largest destination for Chinese tourists after Asia, according to a new report by Huacheng International Travel Co., Ltd.

Bookings to European countries through Huacheng rose 27 percent year on year in 2018; and according to top Chinese online travel agency Crip, Europe took up 11 percent of Chinese tourists' outbound tours the same year.

Traditional destinations still remain a big draw for Chinese tourists with the most-visited European countries including Russia, Italy, Britain, Germany, France and Spain. It is also worth noting that some other countries are getting increasingly popular among Chinese tourists partly because of a preferential visa policy.

Ctrip: Chinese travelers opt for luxury across Europe


Google brings its Duplex AI restaurant booking assistant to 43 states

Mar 07, 2019 / Google

Starting this week, Pixel 3 owners in 43 U.S. states will be able to use the Duplex technology to book appointments.

No moment wowed the audience at last year’s I/O more than Duplex. The demo of the artificial intelligence restaurant and appointment booking program left many in the audience wondering whether Google had just pulled a fast one over on them.

In the coming weeks, the service will be rolled out to users on other Android and iOS devices, as the company continues to tweak the program based on user feedback. Meanwhile, that may or may not give the rest of us time to come to grips with the creepily natural interactions of Google’s new AI.

Related: Google Assistant to call restaurants and make reservations for you

Digital Marketing

Major retailers, restaurants not ready for voice search

Mar 07, 2019 / Voice Recognition

Consumers are trending toward using their voice to search for products and conduct purchases, but few brands have incorporated a voice optimization strategy into their marketing plans.

A Chatmeter Local Brand Report looked at how a dozen of the largest retail and restaurant brands are preparing for voice search in 2019 to determine their level of readiness. Most failed miserably, according to the findings.

The average rankings score across all 12 brands came in at 39, the highest rankings score is 57 for TJ Maxx; the lowest, Starbucks at score of 25.

Digital Marketing

Back to basics: Search engine marketing


Search engine marketing (SEM), or buying traffic through paid search listings, is a relatively easy way to drive qualified traffic and more direct bookings to your hotel website.

While launching an SEM campaign is fairly straightforward, it’s important to have a strategy based solidly in keyword research to ensure standout ads that generate traffic to your website. Selecting the right keywords and phrases is the core of any SEM campaign and determine where and when an ad will appear.

While you can launch ads on your own, working with an experienced hotel marketing agency will ensure your SEM and SEO initiatives are aligned with a comprehensive strategy to achieve a higher ROAS.

Digital Marketing

3 keys to meeting customer expectations in 2019

Mar 07, 2019 / Screen Pilot (sponsored)

A generic, shotgun marketing approach is dated, and increasingly ineffective. Giving your audience a personalized digital experience, on the other hand, isn’t just productive, it’s desired.

Some 63% of people expect brands to use their purchase history to provide them with personalized experiences. One recent study even noted that a full 83% of Millennials said they would let travel brands track their digital patterns if it would provide them with a more personalized experience.

Hospitality brands, in particular, should be eager to personalize their digital marketing outreach. There are more tools and channels available today than at any point in the past, and while that fact alone can, at times, seem overwhelming, it’s actually a sea of opportunity.