Weekly Roundup #18: Travel, Tech, and Social Media
A new Weekly Roundup is up on our blog and that means that another exciting week is coming to an end. As always, we’ve kept a close eye on the most relevant hospitality news and stories and summarized them for you. So make sure to check out these headlines and don’t forget to follow us on social media: we are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
We wish you a wonderful weekend!
This has been an extremely exciting week for us since we released our latest study: “Impact of Review Content on the Booking Behavior of Digital Natives”. This study addressed the central question of how digital natives perceive and use reviews as a means of communication in the tourism industry. Thereby, researchers investigated what characteristics of a review make it relevant and significant to the digital target group and which presentation type attracts attention to become a decisive factor for a booking. This study was done in collaboration with the IUBH University of Applied Sciences and Europe’s leading tour operator TUI. Among the key findings of the study is the fact that 83% of the digital natives say that reviews play an important or very important role in making a booking decision. Not only that but in order to trust a review, young travelers appreciate an authentic writing style (73%) as well as detailed (69%) and current (66%) reviews, not older than 3 months. Make sure to access the free white paper to learn more.
Also this week, we have proudly announced our latest partnerships. Our company expanded further into promising markets of the Middle East, by partnering with major players of the tourism and hospitality sector. The destination’s OTAs Almosafer and tajawal chose to utilize and display TrustYou’s review data to offer better experiences to travelers and guests. TrustYou analyzes and summarizes guest feedback from across the web to create the most valuable insights for the industry. The innovative Online Travel Agency (OTA) Almosafer, focused on Saudi travelers, tajawal, catering to the needs of travelers from the UAE, integrated TrustYou’s Meta-Review API. They now display review data in the form of the TrustScore and badges as well as offer filter options in the Arab and English language. Thereby, they can provide a better user experience to travelers. Both companies are part of the renowned Al Tayyar Travel Group and have grown significantly in recent months.
Hotelbeds Launches Microsite to Highlight Hotel Partners: Hotelbeds has launched Star Collection Online, a microsite that enhances the visibility of the hotel partners of Hotelbeds. Operating in both the Hotelbeds wholesale channel and the Bedsonline retail platform, hotels featured in ‘Star Collection Online’ microsite will maximize their distribution by appearing at the top of search results on Hotelbeds’ booking platform. Participating hotels will additionally also gain access to the world’s largest distribution network of high-value clients provided by Hotelbeds with more than 60,000 tour operators, points redemption schemes, airlines, and retail travel agents.
Trends and Insights
Google Hotels Prompts Trivago to Increase Advertising in 50 Global Markets: Officials from the Dusseldorf-headquartered lodging-metasearch site said in the first quarter Trivago greatly increased its participation in Google Hotels to 50 global markets, and they’re not done yet. Buying Google Hotel Ads, which places an advertiser’s hotel rates in Google Search, Maps, and Google Assistant, gives Trivago higher visibility around the world, Chief Financial Officer Axel Hefer told analysts Wednesday during Trivago’s first quarter earnings call. Although Trivago’s rates are present in Google Hotels in 50 markets, Trivago has yet to put all of its properties in there, and the company intends to make its presence even higher-profile in Google throughout 2019.
U.S. Hotels Enjoy Profit Growth, But It Is Becoming Harder to Achieve: While U.S. hoteliers enjoyed a ninth consecutive year of increasing profits in 2018, it is becoming increasingly difficult for managers to accomplish this task. According to the recently released 2019 edition of Trends in the Hotel Industry by CBRE Hotels Americas Research, total operating revenue increased by 2.6 percent in 2018 for the average hotel in its survey sample. Managers were able to limit the growth in operating expenses to 2.8 percent, thus allowing for a 2.3 percent increase in gross operating profits (GOP) at the Trends properties. The 2.8 percent growth in expenses is less than the long-run average of 4.0 percent over the past 40 years. However, it is greater than the 1.8 percent average annual growth rate achieved in the past two years.
Consumers are increasingly expecting seamless, personalized and experiential travel experiences, and hotel brands need to rise to the challenge by investing in technology solutions to meet travelers’ evolving needs. According to the new Drivers of Change in Hospitality report, produced by Amadeus in collaboration with InterContinental Hotels Group, Foresight Factory, and Cornell University, there are three key trends shaping what the booking process, loyalty, and service will look like in the future. The three themes - The Beginning of the End for Room Types, Achieving Cult Status at Scale and The Rise of Tech-Augmented Hospitality - emerged from a survey of more than 7,500 consumers across 12 markets as well as from interviews with industry experts. They indicate where hospitality companies need to innovate to accommodate guests, but the path to get there isn’t without its challenges.
Robot-assisted hotel services get generally high marks in a study of guests at 88 hotels in China. Guests reported making fairly frequent use of the robots, primarily for such relatively simple functions as turning on the lights and turning off the TV. Chief problems occur when the robot cannot recognize operation commands, when guests must repeat their request, and when the robot isn’t actually programmed for a particular operation. Asked what services they expect from a hotel robot, guests cited food distribution, delivering goods, handling check-in and check-out, and providing travel information and consumption recommendations. Two-thirds of customers considered that “robot rooms” present a good value, and a similar proportion were willing to make a return visit to rooms equipped with robots. Keys to the acceptance of hotel robots are that they must provide worthwhile services and be easy to use.
A recent survey of food and beverage leaders by Oracle Food and Beverage highlights that while a large percentage feel confident in their restaurant’s current use of mobile technology, only 48% feel prepared to capitalize on future innovations. Sixty-two percent of respondents expressed doubts over their ability to keep up with the speed of mobile technology changes. And more than half (59%) agreed that their company faces the threat of disruption from their more mobile-enabled competitors. The rise of mobile ordering and on-demand food delivery services are completely changing the restaurant and guest experience. The study's findings point to a clear and urgent need for restaurants to embrace the right mobile and back-end technology to drive higher ticket value, turn tables faster and enable more cross and upsell.