Weekly Roundup #2: Travel, Tech and Social Media
Hello, dear readers and welcome to the official first Weekly Roundup of 2019! We hope you had a wonderful vacation and the happiest holidays. Now if you want to catch up with what’s been going on lately in hospitality and travel, check out the news down below - we’re back on track and we kept a close eye on the most interesting news and stories. Also, don’t forget to follow our social media accounts for even more updates: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram!
Have a great weekend and here’s to another great year!
Once again we kick off the year with great news: our guest feedback the second place in the HotelTechAwards! Each year along with individual awards for the top-rated product in each category, Hotel Tech Report recognizes the top 10 most customer-centric global companies in the annual People's Choice Awards. The People's Choice Awards serve to honor and recognize companies who have balanced strong growth with a relentless focus on customer centricity. Over 100 of the world’s elite hotel technology companies competed for a chance to win this prestigious title. The first place is occupied by IDeaS and you can see the rest of the winners in this official announcement article.
Travelers can now book a hotel room through a conversation with Google Assistant on Android and iOS devices, an update the company's vice president for travel product management, Richard Holden, initially teased at The Phocuswright Conference in November. For now, the system can handle bookings via Choice Hotels, AccorHotels, InterContinental Hotels Group, Priceline, Expedia, Mirai, and TravelClick, but Google says more partners will be added. The bookings are powered by the partners’ existing “Book on Google” integration. Requests can be specific or general, such as, “Hey Google, I’d like to book the Cambria Hotel in New York on January 12th,” or, “Find hotels nearby for tonight.” In either case, Assistant will display availability and pricing options from both online travel agency partners and the brand itself, if it is integrated.
Ctrip has invested in Yunji Technology, a Beijing-based company that makes robots for a variety of industries, including hotels. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. In an email, Ctrip says the two companies will work together to “promote smart service applications in the hospitality industry” and “make travel smarter and happier for its users.” Yunji’s robots are already being used in more than 500 hotels in China to escort guests to their rooms, deliver room service, and provide concierge-type assistance. The robots are also in operation in hotels in Japan, South Korea, Singapore, Thailand, Saudi Arabia, and North America.
Trends and Insights
As people begin to start thinking about 2019, the latest Skift Research report, Skift Global Travel Economy Outlook 2019, provides a look-back on 2018 as well as details our 2019 economic expectations for the U.S. and globally. Skift provides their global travel outlook which offers forecasts for growth in tourism, international arrivals, and business travel as well as our expectations for key sectors within travel including hotels, airlines, online travel agencies, and cruise. Overall, 2019 is expected to be another strong year of economic growth, with a few different puts and takes, which should translate well for travel. Take a look at the Skift article for more insights.
One third of buyers will have bigger corporate travel budgets in 2019, according to research by the Business Travel Show. This is on par with 2017, but down from 40 percent last year. The poll of 134 European buyers also showed a slight increase in the number of budgets on the downturn – from 13 percent in 2018 to 15 percent next year. The show’s annual survey also showed fewer buyers will see a reduction in their accommodation budgets – 14 percent compared to 24 percent year-on-year, although there is a slight rise in buyers with less to spend on air travel – 16 percent compared to 11 percent. One third of buyers will have more trips to manage, significantly fewer than the 45 percent last year. Also, there was a drop in the number who forecast an increase in travel costs – from 47 percent last year to 43 percent.
A strong online and social media presence is really important if a hotel hopes to attract millennials, according to a new report. U.K. furniture maker Knightsbridge commissioned the survey to find out how the sought-after demographic group finds and selects hotels. The study, conducted with global data collection agency Viga, polled 1,000 18- to 34-year-olds who had booked hotels in the last two years. It found that 80% of millennials find a hotel using Google, and more than half wouldn’t book a property if its website was difficult to use. Apparently impatient, 49% put off making a booking if they couldn’t do it instantly online. A prospective hotel’s social media presence is important to millennials, with 73% saying they check the company’s social media feed before booking. In fact, 33% would be put off booking altogether if a hotel had no social media presence.
The type of customer relationship management (CRM) that you choose will depend on not only your type of business but also on the processes and systems you employ - this is what Enlightened Digital emphasized on in their newest article. An effective CRM provides a variety of benefits, from taking control of routine tasks and tracking leads to monitoring client relationships and maintaining contact details. However, there’s more to choosing a CRM than simply making the decision to go ahead and buy. With so many CRMs on the market, how do you know which one to go for? This insightful article explores the ins and outs of what businesses should analyze before making a CRM purchase, in order to ensure the best possible outcome. Take a look at the extended post to learn more.
In EyeforTravel’s industry-wide AI survey, over half of all travel executives disclosed that they were investing in AI and machine learning. AI and deep learning were also found to be the number one set of tools set to be the most transformative for everyday business. The industry now appears to accept that artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, and advanced digital marketing and pricing are the only means to win back lost loyalty, optimize revenue, and grow market share. EyeforTravel spoke to over 250 travel executives to create the Analytics & AI in Travel Survey, which, in an infographic format, discloses investment patterns, insight on job security, concrete results on how AI is already benefiting travel, and the sources of data you need to be using to drive growth.