Weekly Roundup #21: Travel, Tech, and Social Media
Greetings and welcome back to a new Weekly Roundup! As always, we have an overview of what went on this week in hospitality and travel, so make sure to check out these summarized stories. Also, you can follow us on social media for more interesting updates: head over to our Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram!
Until the next one, have a wonderful end of the week!
We are extremely proud to announce the launch of our restaurant tool, in a continuous effort to help the representatives of the food and beverage (F&B) industry succeed based on their online reputation. The new Restaurant Analytics platform pairs advanced reporting capabilities with powerful semantic analysis to help users pinpoint their strengths and weaknesses and benchmark against their competitors. The comprehensive and multi-use tool for restaurants currently analyzes reviews from 25 online sources in one inbox in order for users to save valuable time and take full ownership of their reputation. The powerful capabilities of Restaurant Analytics are reinforced by the semantic analysis engine developed over more than a decade. Read more about the complete features of the new TrustYou restaurant tool in the official press release.
Goldman Sachs Group Inc. is in exclusive discussions to buy the B&B Hotels chain from European buyout firm PAI Partners. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of this year, PAI Partners said in a statement on Monday, without providing any financial details. Goldman Sachs is doing the deal through its merchant banking division, according to the statement. The announcement confirms a Bloomberg News report last week that the Paris-based private equity firm was close to a deal to sell the hotel chain for about 2 billion euros ($2.2 billion) to the lender, citing people familiar with the matter. PAI bought the French hotelier in 2016 in a deal that valued B&B at about 790 million euros, expanding the firm into new markets.
In the context of IMEX, Accor and meetago® agreed on a strategic international partnership for its core meeting and events business today. This deeper level of cooperation was officially stamped and sealed on the basis of their already existing successful collaboration. meetago® provides booking and software solutions in the fields of meetings, incentives, conferences & exhibitions (“MICE”, for short) and is one of the biggest players in Central Europe. meetago®’s booking technology and services will be offered by Accor, not only in the DACH (Germany-Austria-Switzerland) region but across Europe and in a few key source markets such as the US and China. With the launch of this partnership, the jointly developed Connectivity Solution will be available to more than 1,600 meeting hotels worldwide. The offer is focused on a comprehensive and attractive portfolio of meeting and conference hotels across all brands.
Trends and Insights
Improving the management process of internal operations is one of the most important goals of every modern hotelier. With so many tasks, responsibilities, and technologies that you have to juggle with on a daily basis, the simple act of listening might come across as too basic. But actually paying attention to what your guests have to say is the key to improving not only your hotel’s reputation but also the internal operations that you struggle with. Because we understand the complexity of all the hotel operations and the need for efficiency, as well as having a single, all-in-one tool, our TrustYou guest feedback platform encompasses a review marketing module and a guest messaging one. This means that, besides collecting and analyzing guest reviews, as well as providing easy-to-use means of replying to them, the TrustYou platform goes even further, by enabling hoteliers to keep communication opened during the entire guest journey and create personalized and 100% customizable guest surveys, for the post-stay phase of their journey. Read more about the best ways of improving operations in our latest blog post.
Driven by a fundamental evolution in the way Americans travel, spurred by the rise of the sharing economy and the prevalence of mobile booking, Priceline announced this week two major changes to its platform. Priceline has added more than two million listings of alternative accommodations, including apartments, vacation homes, even boats, and treehouses. Priceline has also unveiled Trip Builder, a remarkable new booking platform that lets users bundle all of the most popular options, including alternative accommodations, into one transaction. And when they do, travelers gain access to privately negotiated rates that are otherwise unavailable.
The latest issue of the UNWTO World Tourism Barometer from the World Tourism Organization shows that international tourism continued to grow over the first quarter of 2019. Though at a slower rate when compared with the last two years, the 4% increase registered in early 2019 is a very positive sign. The Middle East (+8%) and Asia and the Pacific (+6%) experienced the highest increase in international arrivals. Numbers in both Europe and Africa were up by 4%, and in the Americas, growth was recorded at 3%. Europe, the world’s largest tourism region, reported solid growth (+4%), led by destinations in Southern and Mediterranean Europe and Central and Eastern Europe (both +5%).
The Internet of Things is one technology concept that has a deep impact over the hospitality industry and we have previously touched base on this subject in our Tech Stack eBook. This insightful article by Comparitech provides a complex overview of the Internet of Things and how it is currently perceived as a major economic driver worldwide. Not only that, but IoT is revolutionizing a vast number of industries, including hospitality and travel, through the seamless integration between devices and the ability to automate processes. Make sure to check out the extended article for more than 60 relevant statistics about IoT and its implications in today’s business world.
Travel management company CWT has released research showing that travelers want to manage transactions via online channels and apps. The study reveals that 69% of business travelers prefer to book flights using online channels and 78% want to do the same when booking hotels. For ground transportation, 71% want to book using an app or web browser and 68% want to use these channels to check in for flights. It’s little surprise that the research shows travelers from Asia Pacific are more likely to choose online channels versus human interaction, given the already established chat platforms and payment mechanisms in the region. The research reveals almost three quarters, (73%), of travelers from APAC prefer digital channels to book flights compared to 71% of U.S travelers and 61% of Europeans. For hotel bookings, the figure rises to 84% of APAC travelers compared to 77% of U.S. travelers and 70% of European travelers.
As hotels continue to strive to offer the latest innovations in technology for their guests, they are turning more and more to new and more advanced uses of audiovisual equipment. This includes the use of video walls, wireless communications and larger screens for relaying hotel information in lobbies and other public spaces, providing food-and-beverage options and especially delivering enhanced presentations during meetings and conventions. "You are now seeing a generation of people who have grown up accustomed to big screens," said Gene Tiernan, managing director for teamDigital, a Bethel, Conn.-based digital marketing agency that does work in the hospitality industry. "[AV equipment is] no longer a one-way messaging device; hotels are now using AV to interact with attendees in meeting rooms during events."