Market Data

No one likes being a tourist: the rise of the anti-tour

Jan 29, 2019 / Trends
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Shutterstock

With the tourism explosion affecting even smaller cities, visitors and locals alike are looking for more ‘authentic’ days out. But is that possible?

Many sociologists and anthropologists have long considered “immersive tourism”, as the travel industry packages it, to be a futile quest: by the simple act of stepping into other people’s worlds, we change them.

The Jane’s Walk movement makes a virtue of the limits of genuine immersion: it treats the city tour as a co-creative experience in which participants learn from one another rather than just gawp.

Inspired by the urban studies guru Jane Jacobs, Jane’s Walks are pitched as an opportunity for people to “observe, reflect, share, question and re-imagine” the places where they live and work.

Data Protection

Travel brands hijacked to dupe customers

Jan 29, 2019 / Internet fraud
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Shutterstock

Leading travel brands such as Qantas, Thomas Cook, Butlin’s and Carnival Cruise Line are the latest names being used to dupe consumers with fake Facebook promotions.

According to Hoax-Slayer – a website that aims to highlight internet scams – the identities of these well-known companies are being hijacked by fraudsters to obtain consumers’ personal details.

The Facebook page is just another scam designed to trick you into providing your personal information on suspect websites.

Loyalty Program

Red Lion eschews point-based loyalty program with new digital currency

Jan 29, 2019 / Red Lion Hotels
Red Lion Hotels
Red Lion Hotels

Red Lion Hotels recently expanded its offering with the unveiling of Hello Bucks, a new digital currency that rewards all of its hotel guests - not just frequent travelers.

That’s a significant distinction since most hotel loyalty program benefits kick in for the consumer after a number of visits. Though the average North American traveler takes 7.6 trips per year, that threshold has limited the “everyday” traveler from taking advantage of many loyalty programs.

“We as a franchisor are particularly focused on reinventing what we think has been a static industry with minimal innovation in it and we really want to step forward and say that today’s consumer has changed and the needs of today’s owners have changed. We need a currency that will work for both of those parties and not just one or the other,” said Leslee Torres, RLHC’s SVP of digital, loyalty and partnerships.

Distribution

Travel agents balk at Karisma direct booking move

Karisma Hotels & Resorts
Karisma Hotels & Resorts

Karisma Hotels & Resorts caught the ire of the agency community this week when they sent out mass emails directly to agency clients with the “Top Five Reasons to Book Direct.”

When approached about the move, Karisma company executives were quick to say it was an error and pledged their allegiance to their travel agent partners – but not before travel agents had their say.

According to a statement from Mandy Chomat, chief marketing and sales officer for Karisma Hotels & Resorts, the email was intended for guests “in our database [who] have booked through our website. Unfortunately, it was distributed more broadly in error.”

Despite issuing an apology, travel professionals who spoke with Travel Market Report were not inclined to dismiss the matter and some questioned why the company would be promoting direct bookings at all.

Digital Marketing

WhatsApp expands business tools to desktop

Jan 29, 2019 / Messaging
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Shutterstock

To mark the first anniversary of its launch, WhatsApp is now extending some WhatsApp Business features to both desktop and the mobile web.

Last year, WhatsApp rolled out it's WhatsApp Business app, which enables business users to "interact with customers easily by using tools to automate, sort, and quickly respond to messages". A year on, and WhatsApp says that there are now more than 5 million businesses using the app.

The expansion will make it easier for more businesses to utilize the app's business tools within their regular social customer service flow, which may lead to more brands adding WhatsApp to their communication options.

Distribution

Metasearch isn’t dead; you’re just doing it wrong

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Shutterstock

Compared to other channels, metasearch doesn’t offer hoteliers endless possibilities to differentiate themselves from their competition.

Success on metasearch channel is mostly dependent on both brand name recognition and the effectiveness of other digital marketing efforts (if available) in generating brand search demand.

Despite some limitations of metasearch, it’s an absolute mistake to disregard this channel. In fact, it can be one of a hotel’s most profitable marketing initiatives. So, why is metasearch such an important channel and why do so many hoteliers miss out on it?

Digital Marketing

Don’t let the WhatsApp API delay you from implementing guest messaging

Jan 29, 2019 /
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Shutterstock

Here are four key reasons why hotels should get started with implementing guest messaging right away.

For the time being, WhatsApp is limiting the rollout of its business API to select brands. Some hoteliers are using this an excuse to delay the implementation of guest messaging, but that will leave them scrambling to put things into place when the API comes available.

WhatsApp is not the only important player: Data shows that many users have more than one messaging app installed on their phones, for example, Messenger and WhatsApp, or WhatsApp and Viber, and phones also still come with SMS pre-installed.