Business Travel

Business travel trends to watch for in 2019

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

With more booking options arising, it has become easier than ever for travelers to book on the open market instead of with a TMC.

The intersection of business and leisure travel also complicates the old form of booking only for your business needs through a travel management company.

As companies continue to become more employee-centric and value the desires of their business travelers, these travelers will command greater customization of their itineraries in ways not all TMCs are equipped to handle.

Distribution

Expedia fined for allegedly violating Cuba regulations

Jun 17, 2019 / Expedia
Expedia
Expedia

Expedia has agreed to pay more than $325,000 to settle U.S. government allegations that it improperly helped people travel inside Cuba or between the island and places other than the United States.

The case Expedia settled, dates to a period between April 2011 and October 2014. The Treasury Department said that the online travel agency helped 2,221 people - including some Cuban nationals - with travel services that violated U.S. sanctions on the island country.

The government said Expedia disclosed the apparent violations. It also credited the company for taking remedial steps to strengthen compliance with U.S. economic sanctions and for cooperating with Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control, which handles the Cuba-sanctions regulations.

Technology

RLH Corporation launches virtual reservation agent

Jun 17, 2019 / AI
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

The company has deployed an industry-first artificial intelligence (AI) virtual agent for central reservations to support all of its 1,400 system hotels.

The second-generation virtual agent adds broader central reservations systems integration to support additional hotel information searches and the ability to confirm, modify, or cancel reservations. It also enhances the central reservations office ticketing system integration to ensure a seamless transfer between the caller and a live agent when necessary.

Over the next several months, RLH Corporation will continue to build out it’s AI capabilities with further enhancements to support reservations, its Hello Rewards loyalty program, and telephony solutions.

Artificial Intelligence: Where could and should AI be adopted in our industry?

Products & Services

How hoteliers balance group, leisure needs on property

Jun 17, 2019 / Guest Experience
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

When trying to accommodate both group business and leisure travelers, hoteliers should perform a cost analysis, offer alternatives and provide extra benefits to leisure guests.

Operating a successful hotel these days is almost a constant balancing act. Hoteliers juggle the wants of all of their different types of guests with the need to make money and turn a profit.

Sometimes that juggling act can be particularly delicate when there’s group business and leisure or individual business guests bumping heads, such as when a group using the pool and paying for that space for a reception and the vacationers at the hotel want to swim.

Data Protection

One year after GDPR, hotels and consumers are more tuned in to data privacy

Jun 17, 2019 / GDPR
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

As of yet, the hospitality industry has not been a target for GDPR-related fines; however, that will likely change as crackdowns become more frequent.

Adam Corey, chief marketing officer at Tealium notes that GDPR and the conversation around data privacy can be particularly complicated when it comes to the hotel industry. “Hospitality is a very challenging place to execute initiatives around privacy because hotels want to get to know their guests so that they can better deliver a valuable experience. There’s just a really great case for gathering customer data and using it to improve the guest’s stay,” he says.

Corey recommends that hotels take the time to think about data security across all areas of the industry when developing a compliance strategy. “Hospitality is made up of large, complex organizations with third-party companies in the mix. It is a lot of work to think about all of the moving pieces and build a guest-centric data model that also satisfies compliance requirements.”

Related: GDPR one year later - What’s changed and what’s still to come for hotels

Technology

Artificial intelligence and the will to automate

Jun 17, 2019 / IDeaS (sponsored)
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Machines are learning faster than we mere humans can ever hope to. The reality is the human brain can no longer keep up with the influx of data being generated by today’s technology.

We have also witnessed a rapid uptick in newcomers to the hospitality & travel markets. Startups have disrupted the playing field and made the booking and customer experience more personalized, leading the way toward greater engagement and satisfaction.

Now is the time to lean in and tap into the additional power you can gain by fully leveraging AI technology, not only to stay ahead of the competition, but also to satisfy your customers.

Distribution

Guiding your hotel marketing strategy this summer

Jun 17, 2019 / Net Affinity (sponsored)
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Your summer rate plan and corresponding website / landing page content need to be best friends – truly in sync, finishing each-other’s sentences and complementing one another effortlessly.

The first step in your summer campaign creation is to develop your summer rate plan. Nail down who exactly you’re targeting and come up with a rate plan that is full of compelling elements that will be genuinely valuable.

Your language, features, images – everything relating to your summer rate plan on-site should be clear and consistent.