Technology

Travel apps have much room for improvement

Mar 28, 2019 / Guest Experience
Starwood Hotels and Resorts
Starwood Hotels and Resorts

Many travel industry apps are falling short of user expectations, according to J.D. Power's inaugural U.S. Travel App Satisfaction Study.

Hotel, OTA and rental car apps scored an average of 849 on J.D. Power's 1,000-point scale. Airline apps scored an average of 840. Those figures compare to average customer satisfaction scores of 874 and 867 for credit card and retail banking apps, respectively.

Among the eight hotel apps ranked in the study, Hyatt led the way, followed by InterContinental Hotels Group. The Starwood app had the lowest score.

Orbitz led the way among the five OTA apps ranked in the study. Priceline was second. CheapOair was last.

Business Travel

American Express GBT’s big integration continues apace

Mar 28, 2019 / American Express
American Express GBT
American Express GBT

As corporate travel giants work to refine and improve their technology stacks, travel managers and travelers alike will be empowered with new tools and suggestions.

When American Express Global Business Travel, the world’s biggest travel management company by transaction volume, acquired serious competitor HRG last year, some wondered how the process of integrating the company would fare.

American Express Global Business Travel was still in the process of integrating technology company KDS into its platform, and sources inside KDS indicated at the time that the process was extremely challenging.

A year later, though, the integration of HRG seems to have moved more quickly than expected, despite both companies offering a variety of similar tools to clients.

Personalization

Why hoteliers should jump on the personalization bandwagon

Mar 28, 2019 / Guest Experience
Shutterstock
Shutterstock

While technology plays a critical role on the facilitation side, the primary push for personalization is coming directly from consumers.

The reason hoteliers want guests to have a lovely experience is so they will come back, and talk to their friends about how great it was to create some word-of-mouth referral business. The end game is all about building loyalty by giving customers a reason to like you and return to your property.

Relevancy is the core issue for hoteliers wondering if or how personalization can translate to the bottom line, according to Max Starkov, founder and director of HEBS Digital. “The relevancy of the offers always produces higher conversions on a website,” he says.

Starkov believes that personalization will follow a dynamic and broad trajectory that will eventually enable hoteliers to push out highly individualized offers to guests.

Google: How to win travelers in the age of assistance

Distribution

Expedia cooks up culinary-centric content hub with Puglia, Italy

Mar 28, 2019 / Expedia
Expedia
Expedia

Expedia Group Media Solutions and the Puglia Tourism Board launched "Puglia Travel Flavors," an Expedia subsite that uses authentic culinary content to attract U.S.- and U.K.-based travelers to the region.

"Puglia Travel Flavors" features visual content and videos, including a "tasting menu" quiz where users choose a desired dish and a video showcases one of Puglia's regions and its landscapes, culture and local ingredients. The platform also offers customized travel itineraries determined by the tasting menu selections and allows for social media and email integration, so users can share their itineraries.

The site also includes images from Puglia's Instagram feed, information about regions in Puglia and nearby hotels. The campaign was created by Expedia's in-house creative agency and is supported by social media, email and display ads.

Expedia: Puglia Travel Flavors

Technology

World’s first robot hotel loses love for robots

Mar 28, 2019 / Guest Experience
Economist
Economist

The world’s first robot hotel has ditched half its 243 android staff - as they do not work as well as humans.

The Henn-na Hotel in Japan found that robots annoyed the guests and would often break down.

Guests complained their robot room assistants thought snoring were commands and would wake then up repeatedly during the night. Meanwhile the robot at the front desk could not answer basic questions. And human staff ended up working overtime to repair robots that stopped working.

One staff member said, “It’s easier now that we’re not being frequently called by guests to help with problems with the robots.”

Economist: Why the world’s first robot hotel was a disaster

Digital Marketing

The top 5 things you need to know now in hotel digital marketing: March edition

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

This month, the latest digital innovations include Google algorithm updates, new e-commerce and influencer features on Instagram, and video rolling out to Google responsive display ads.

On March 12, Google announced what the SEO community is now calling The Google March 2019 Core Update, which Google is being very elusive in regards to the changes that can be expected in SERPs. The changes from this update are rumored to be a reversal of the Medic update back in August 2018 or related to the Penguin or Panda updates.

Google Lighthouse adds tap target spacing to audit results. With mobile page speed and optimization taking the forefront in SEO, Google Lighthouse has become a vital tool for measuring mobile impact on search engine rankings.

HEBS Digital: The top 5 things you need to know now in hotel digital marketing: February edition

Digital Marketing

How to find and convey your hotel’s brand voice through marketing copy

Shutterstock
Shutterstock

Using words that strike a chord with your audience can encourage potential visitors to book directly on your website instead of heading out to the generically-worded OTA booking engines.

Before developing a brand voice, it’s important to define your hotel’s personality. A good place to start is to think about the human-like qualities that best describe the property. If your hotel was a person, how would you describe it to a stranger?

Is your hotel outgoing, eccentric, adventurous, playful, quirky, edgy, reserved or sophisticated? Try to narrow the list down to three-four words.

Next, think about how someone with those traits would behave and communicate. What kind of language would they use? How expressive would they be? Would they be formal or informal? Make sure your personality is distinct and well-defined so it translates easily into your marketing and website copy.

Travel Tripper: Six ways to generate killer ideas for your hotel blog