Weekly Roundup #15: Travel, Tech and Social Media
Hi, everyone! It’s great to “see” you on our blog, for the Weekly Roundup! You know how this goes down: we gathered and summarized the most recent industry news and stories from the hospitality business. So read away, we hope you enjoy. Also, don’t forget to follow our social media accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram), for even more interesting updates.
Enjoy your weekend and stay tuned for the following roundup next Friday!
Consumer Research Emphasizes Importance of Online Feedback Management:
We are so proud of our latest white paper, the final part of a “trilogy” of studies focusing on each stage of the guest journey. It is now time to unveil our findings from this research regarding the post-stay phase and the importance of collecting guest feedback. What we discovered suggests that it is in any accommodation provider’s best interest to both manage their online reputation and also to significantly impact it by collecting and building online review content. For example, did you know that hotels that ask for feedback can get 3.6x more reviews, which are 16% more likely to be rated extremely positive (5-stars)? Don’t miss out on the full white paper, available for free download! Plenty of interesting and useful findings are included.
AccorHotels Signs Strategic Agreement With Mantis Group:
Our client has recently announced a strategic partnership with the South Africa-based Mantis Group, a collection of award winning, privately owned, managed and branded five star properties and lodges located around the world, across all seven continents. From boutique hotels, eco lodges, game reserves and luxury houseboats to adventure tourism as well as a bespoke tour operating division. The agreement reinforces AccorHotels as a leader in curated one-of-a-kind experiences and resonates with the Group’s conservation platform with Planet 21.
Booking.com boasts more listings than Airbnb:
Booking.com has recently announced that, with 5 million “reported listings,” it now tops Airbnb’s reported 4.5 million. Booking.com also says the number of homes, apartments, and places it lists is 27 percent higher than last year. The announcement is part of the company’s switch to “reported listings” — from “total properties” — in an effort to emphasize that it competes directly with Airbnb. Separately, Booking.com said it has hit another milestone with its use of AI to improve customer engagement. The company says its Booking Assistant bot now resolves half of the thousands of daily customer support queries it receives within five minutes.
Trends and Insights
Integration of Meta-Review and Rich Snippets onto NH Hotels’ Website Improves Conversion and Traffic:
Once again, our dedicated clients deliver success stories after using the TrustYou feedback platform to manage their reputation. This time, the NH Hotel Group - world-leading urban hotel operator and a consolidated multinational player - integrated the TrustYou Meta-Review and Rich Snippets onto their brand website with the goal to add easy-to-understand, third-party review summaries to their direct booking experience. NH Hotels observed immediate improvements to conversion, traffic, and the resulting revenue. Make sure to download the case study to see the full successful outcome of our collaboration.
Hotel's Technology Now A factor In AAA Ratings:
AAA has updated the guidelines its inspectors use to evaluate hotels in the U.S., Canada, Mexico and the Caribbean, taking into account the need for connectivity and technology, among other things. For instance, ratings that were previously given for a business center have been replaced with a score for "connective technology," reflecting the hotel's capacity to connect with its guests, AAA said. That includes things like free WiFi, USB ports, mobile apps, mobile key technology, kiosks and digital messaging services. While technology was the focus of the updated guidelines, several other trends were taken into consideration: the popularity of open-concept lobbies and shower-only bathrooms; also, details like bedding, large TVs and bathroom lighting.
TripAdvisor, Booking.com Have Revolutionised Booking Holidays, But How Much Can You Really Trust Online Travel Reviews?
This is an interesting article that debates the topic of online reviews and the authenticity of guest feedback. Our VP of sales for the APAC region, Alex Tan, provided some valuable insights into the relevance and impact of guest reviews. He said: “Almost every traveler – 95 per cent – reads reviews and booking decisions are dependent on them. Our study on the effect of reviews on hotel conversion rates and pricing showed that travelers are 3.9 times more likely to book accommodation with higher review scores, given equal prices.” Tan also states that 76% of travelers are willing to spend more for accommodation that gets high ratings from others.”
Will Chatbots Replace IVR? - Insightful Point of View From RingCentral
Interactive voice response (IVR) is designed to reduce waiting times by guiding callers to the relevant operator or department. Unfortunately, because this technology is designed to follow a strict linear pattern, it becomes useless when your customer wants help that doesn’t fit into a preset script. The good news is that the recent surge in AI innovation is now helping businesses of all shapes and sizes to access the advantages of an assistant that can learn and respond to contextual concerns. Chatbot technology, infused with natural language processing solutions and machine learning algorithms, can deliver a more personalised experience for each customer so that your brand can stand out from the crowd. In fact, a Ubisend study found that 21% of consumers now see chatbots as the easiest way to contact a business.
Three Technology Trends that will Define the Future of Travel:
Sabre Corporation (NASDAQ: SABR), the leading technology provider to the global travel industry, has released the Sabre Labs 2018 Emerging Technology Report, its latest technology forecast focused on evolving technologies and trends that will impact travel over the next decade. The 2018 report evaluates automation, authenticity and blockchain as three major areas for consideration. The report offers an extensive analysis of the three major areas that Sabre Labs believes will have the most significant impact on the industry: automation, authenticity and blockchain. Check out the extended article and the report for more insights.