Will Google make online holiday booking better?

Apr 10, 2019 / Google

When travel professionals gathered in Dubai’s Sofitel Jumeirah Beach this week for the Web in Travel Middle East 2019 conference, there was a collective thought on their minds – Google.

Having quietly introduced hotels to its online travel offerings last month, listing properties around the world and giving customers the chance to book directly through the platform, Google instantly became a one-stop solution for people looking to plan holidays or book trips.

For travelers, Google’s move could be good news. As other digital travel companies realise that they cannot compete with Google in terms of search results, they will look to new ways to diversify their offerings.

Yet, while Google has an obvious advantage when it comes to online travel, it may not be best placed to deliver the hyper-local knowledge for which today’s travellers are hungry.


Japan: Rakuten, Expedia and Booking.com under suspicion of room price fixing

Apr 10, 2019 / OTAs

The companies are suspected of signing contracts with hotels asking that they be allowed to offer lower rates or the same as those offered by the facilities themselves through their own websites or on other competing websites.

Such parity provisions are considered a violation of Japan's Anti-Monopoly Law because the lodging facilities that enter into such contracts will be unable to freely conduct business since they would be obligated to provide favorable treatment to the booking sites.

In particular, such contracts prohibit the lodging facility from offering rooms on its own website at rates lower than those listed on the booking sites.

The contracts also make it more difficult for competing booking sites to undercut rivals by offering lower commissions to the lodging facility.

Products & Services

Is Accor the next Starwood? What’s next for hotel mergers

Apr 10, 2019 / Accor

Whether or not Accor is in play, it’s clear that the hotel industry as a whole is still very much in a consolidation phase.

Starting with IHG’s $430 million purchase of Kimpton in 2015, the hospitality industry has seen a wave of massive mergers and acquisitions, two of the largest being Marriott’s $13.3 billion merger with Starwood in 2016, and Accor’s $2.7 billion buy of Fairmont, Raffles, and Swissotel.

If there’s one thing that does seem certain in the hotel industry, it’s that consolidation has become the norm - and more is likely on the way, whether it’s mega mergers between giants, or larger players looking to snatch up smaller, more regional specialists.

Business Travel

The psychology behind room-block bookings

Apr 10, 2019 / Meeting Planners

Event organizers need to do a better job educating attendees on the perks of booking a hotel stay in their room block. Otherwise, more people will simply book through the channels they prefer.

Encouraging conference attendees to book inside the group’s room block helps meet financial demands on both sides of the equation. Half of U.S. conference goers, however, will book however they like.

New research from Kalibri Labs, Prism Advisory Group, PCMA Foundation, Hilton, and NYC & Company shows that just under half of conference guests regularly book a room from an event’s hotel block. Those who don’t have a variety of reasons for booking elsewhere.

With group business for U.S. hotels slated to decline slightly over the next two years, event organizers would do well to bolster marketing promotion of block perks and reduced rates for conference attendees.

Data Protection

Symantec: Two out of three hotels accidentally leak guests' personal data

Apr 10, 2019 / Direct Bookings

The study, which looked at more than 1,500 hotel websites in 54 countries comes several months after Marriott International disclosed one of the worst data breaches in history.

Compromised personal information includes full names, email addresses, credit card details and passport numbers of guests that could be used by cybercriminals who are increasingly interested in the movements of influential business professionals and government employees, Symantec said.

The research showed compromises usually occur when a hotel site sends confirmation emails with a link that has direct booking information. The reference code attached to the link could be shared with more than 30 different service providers, including social networks, search engines and advertising and analytics services.


The decline of rate parity clauses and what this means for hotels

Apr 10, 2019 / OTA Insight (sponsored)

As more nations restrict rate parity agreements, hoteliers enjoy a new dynamic that supports channel-specific rates.

Hotels have bristled at contractually-obligated rate parity since the day such clauses originated. Many are relieved to see hotels untethered from artificial pricing restraints.

Parity works both ways, with hotels and OTAs each sometimes feeling that the other party is at an unfair advantage.

We often look at how OTAs’ rates can undercut hotels when the rules aren’t properly applied. But hotels sometimes feel restricted from setting lower rates in circumstances that they would argue are competitively fair.

Digital Marketing

Four steps towards a 2019-ready hotel website

Apr 10, 2019 / Triptease (sponsored)

Travelers became more accustomed to responsive web pages, memorable content and moving images.

That's why they will also expect it from your hotel's website.

For hotels that want to capture more direct bookers, a responsive, visually stimulating and fast-loading webpage is crucial. Sites with content that takes too long to process might find it hard to win over the direct bookers in 2019.

Here are the top four must-haves for a better website experience that drives more direct bookings.