Weekly Roundup #19: Travel, Tech and Social Media
Greetings, fellow readers and welcome back to our Weekly Roundup! The time has come once again to go through a quick and informative recap and see what happened lately in the hospitality industry. We have selected for you the most interesting news and stories that came up this week and you can find all of them below.
We hope you enjoy the read and have an amazing weekend!
The Priceline Group, parent-company of our friends from Kayak, has seen gross bookings across the group for the first quarter of 2017 hit a record $20.7 billion. The increase of 24% year-on-year is more than $400 million compared to the same period in 2016 and just under $300 million higher than the record quarter the group had between April and June last year. Revenues for the business (including Priceline, Kayak, OpenTable, Agoda and Rentalcars) $2.42 billion for the first quarter of 2017, up from $2.19 billion in 2016.
Our client Best Western Hotels & Resorts has acquired Sweden Hotels, Scandinavia's largest hotel group. Together, the chains will manage a network of 135 hotels in Sweden and 180 hotels in Scandinavia under the new name, Best Western och Sweden Hotels. According to Breaking Travel News, Best Western and Sweden Hotels are attempting to "create a stronger platform to drive industry development in terms of distribution, digitalization, customer relations and purchasing." As part of their strategy, the companies will collaborate to make privately owned and individual hotels more successful and to offer guests a more personal and local alternative.
Reports show that Europe welcomed 615 million international tourist arrivals in 2016, a moderate 2% increase compared to 2015. Although recent events do not seem to have affected demand significantly early this year, perceptions of safety remain of utmost importance for continued growth. According to the European Travel Commission's latest report, "European Tourism - Trends & Prospects", almost one in two reporting destinations saw double-digit arrivals growth during the first months of 2017.
Holiday spending over the next three months is forecast to be “markedly lower” than last year. Long-haul travel spend is expected to be down by seven percentage points and short-haul holidays by eight percentage points for those aged 35-54. However, older consumers aged 55-plus are expecting to increase their spending on holidays over the next three months, with long-haul holiday spending up five percentage points from last year.
Trends and Insights
This week, we published on our blog a new post regarding direct messaging, a subject that we are very familiar with, due to our product, TrustYou Messaging. This time we chose to talk about what we consider to be the best and most important stage of direct messaging: the guests’ on-site experience. Take a look at the extended post to learn how to make full use of direct messaging and increase your positive reputation, during all stages of a traveler’s stay.
To achieve targeted profitability, hoteliers push to maximize their revenue, but there’s more to it than that. Along with driving higher rates and desired occupancy levels, hoteliers must also find what expenses they should cut and determine the best way to go about it. During the Hotel ROI segment of the 2017 Hospitality Law Conference, panelists in the “Minimizing costs” session outlined different avenues for reducing operational expenses at hotels.
Wholesale travel broker Tourico Holidays has revealed inbound hotel room bookings to China have increased by 106% over the last year. Tourico’s data also shows the Chinese continue to be among the biggest travellers in the world, as outbound hotel bookings from the market grew by 70% year-over-year in the first 17 weeks of 2017.
Google’s mobile app Trips, which was launched 6 months ago, recently got new features. The search giant has made it easier to share all reservation details from within the app by just tapping on an arrow. A further new feature is the ability to update plans and add new details and adding any past and future bus and train reservations.
A fascinating and at the same time scary topic is entering our working world: Artificial Intelligence (AI). Many industries are already looking for ways to apply AI. And although hospitality is not yet enjoying many sides of artificial intelligence, in this article you can find a few ways in which in could be implemented.