Weekly Roundup #23: Travel, Tech, and Social Media
Our trusted Weekly Roundup marks the end of another productive week in hospitality and travel. We summarized the most important news and stories for you, so make sure not to miss out: we have everything worth knowing, from trends and technology. Also, don’t forget to follow our company’s social media accounts, to keep up with updates: you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Until next Friday, have a wonderful weekend!
Our client Accor has opened its 1100th hotel in Asia Pacific, with the launch of the new Sofitel Beijing Central, bringing the group’s APAC network to more than 210,000 rooms. The announcement comes just six months after Accor celebrated its 1000th hotel and shows how rapidly the group is expanding in Asia, with the region now representing 50% of global growth. Accor is the largest and most geographically diverse hotel group in Asia Pacific and, with 38 brands within its portfolio, is heavily focused on further expansion in the luxury and lifestyle sectors. The opening of Sofitel Beijing Central brings the group’s luxury and premium hotels in the region to 320.
In a game-changing move to better compete against Booking.com, Airbnb is eliminating guest fees for many property managers and hotels that sign up for its service beginning June 4, Skift has learned. Under the new business model, property managers that create accounts starting June 4 and connect to Airbnb via software in the Asia Pacific (except Japan), Europe, the Middle East, and Africa will be charged a 14 percent host-only fee by default. Until now, the default was that Airbnb charged hosts a 3 to 5 percent fixed fee, and guests paid a fee of up to 20 percent of the rate for the listing. Existing and newly enrolled property managers will have the choice to switch to a 14 percent host-only fee “or a shared host and guess fee,” Airbnb has informed hosts in an internal communication.
Tripadvisor’s CEO said the platform was not expecting growth in hotels in the second quarter, but remained hopeful of improvement in the second half. The news came as Amazon made another move on travel, offering flights in India, and Ctrip said that its international hotel business had seen strong first-quarter growth. Commenting on its hotels business, Steve Kaufer, president & CEO, Tripadvisor, said: “We’re not expecting growth in the second quarter. We may actually decelerate a few points. But we are still set up for growth in the second half or improvement of the second half of the year.” The group has continued to change its hotels product, including more personalized hotel listing, based on a consumer’s browsing behavior and more localized search results. The company added 100,000 new listings in our hotel business, up approximately 10% year-on-year.
Trends and Insights
In what is slowly but surely turning into a tech-driven industry, hotel chains require and implement a multitude of hotel technologies. With new mergers and acquisitions, this has become particularly challenging for today’s hotel chains. In order to provide a comprehensive guide on the best and most efficient ways of consolidating new hotel tech, we are breaking down all of the necessary phases that a new acquisition requires. Access this free best practice guide to learn the answer to the following pressing questions: Which are the technologies that will set you up for success? How to simplify and prioritize multiple software selection? What are the benefits of all-in-one platforms?
Simply managing your hotel reviews is no longer enough for reputation management companies. Saying this may get some flak, but it’s not to say that reputation management companies are bad or inherently trying to fail their customers. The point that needs to be made is that most online reputation management (ORM) companies, especially in the hotel industry, aren’t doing enough to provide comprehensive solutions that work together for the main goal of easing pressure for the end-user, the hotelier. Don’t believe us? Take a look at this free downloadable infographic - "The Power to Compare" - which points out some of the missed opportunities.
Generation Alpha - defined as those born after 2010 - plays an active role in family travel inspiration and planning, new research from Expedia Group Media Solutions shows. Although not yet making purchases themselves, the truly digitally native Gen Alpha is expected to be the wealthiest, longest-living and most formally educated generation, reaching nearly two billion in number by 2025. The Generation Alpha & Family Travel Trends study, unveiled at Phocuswright Europe earlier this month, surveyed more than 9,000 consumers across nine countries who have children or grandchildren aged 9 or younger. According to the findings, more than 8 in 10 travelers say planning a family trip is a collaborative activity for the entire family, and 60% say travel ideas come from both children and adults. Read more about gen Alpha in this insightful article.
The focus will initially be on the headline news of the day: Google will close its Google Trips app in August this year. The search giant quietly updated the app's help page this week to reveal support for the product will cease after almost three years in the market. The app was available for both iOS and Android smartphone users and was seen as another step in its ambitions to organize itineraries and keep travelers within the Google ecosystem when on the road. Closing the app allows Google to concentrate on a web-based service with no need for app store updates and the ability to collect a user's data for reservations not limited to that held on a smartphone. Whilst branding is rarely a consideration when it comes to Google, having everything under one roof (Google Travel, rather than Google Travel and an app called Trips) will help channel users into a single place for search, shopping for travel products, itinerary management, and information.
Today, over 100 million Americans are following special diets with multiple restrictions. To help restaurants address this reality, New York City-based solution provider THE.FIT has launched a menu personalization engine that allows them to create customized menus for each guest, according to their individual dietary preferences, in a matter of just a few seconds. The artificial intelligence (AI)-powered platform is designed to enable restaurants to increase ticket sizes and strengthen margins while delighting guests. Upon each subsequent visit, THE.FIT’s technology leverages AI to collect data—including ordering habits, demographics, and social engagement—to improve the customer experience through enhanced personalization.