Weekly Roundup Weekly Roundup #26: Travel, Tech and Social Media Laura Badiu // June 29, 2018 // 6 minute read Week 26/2018 Hi, everyone! It’s great to have you back on our blog, for a new Weekly Roundup! As usual, we kept a close eye on the media this week, to see what goes on in travel and hospitality. So you can find below a few news and stories, all summarized for you - take a look and then enjoy your weekend! We’ll be back next Friday with another Weekly Roundup, so stay tuned! Industry News AccorHotels Is Buying Half of SBE Entertainment Group for $319 Million: Our client AccorHotels is making yet another investment, and this time, it’s in lifestyle hotel and restaurant company, SBE Entertainment Group, for a total of $319 million. AccorHotels plans to acquire the common stock held by Ron Burkle’s Yucaipa Companies and the real-estate investment firm Cain International for $125 million, and invest an additional $194 million to acquire preferred equity that is also owned by Yucaipa and Cain. If Ron Burkle’s name sounds familiar, that’s because he’s also an investor in another lifestyle hospitality company, the Sydell Group, whose hotel brands include Freehand, the Line, and NoMad. SBE founder and CEO Sam Nazarian will continue to run SBE independently from its global headquarters in New York, and Nazarian will own the remaining 50 percent of the company. International Tourism Exceeds Expectations in the First Months of 2018: International tourist arrivals grew 6% in the first four months of 2018, compared to the same period last year, not only continuing the strong 2017 trend but exceeding UNWTO’s forecast for 2018. Growth was led by Asia and the Pacific (+8%) and Europe (+7%). Africa (+6%), the Middle East (+4%) and the Americas (+3%) also recorded sound results. Earlier this year, UNWTO’s forecast for 2018 was between 4-5%. “International tourism continues to show significant growth worldwide, and this translates into job creation in many economies. This growth reminds us of the need to increase our capacity to develop and manage tourism in a sustainable way, building smart destinations and making the most of technology and innovation”, said UNWTO Secretary-General, Zurab Pololikashvili. Digital Travel Sales in Russia Will Climb by More than 20% This Year: Digital travel sales in Russia will total $11.37 billion in 2018, up 20.5% over last year, according to eMarketer’s latest forecast on worldwide digital travel sales. The effect of the 2018 FIFA World Cup in the country is a chief reason for the sizeable increase. Other notable sporting events in the region have also driven growth over the past few years, including the 2016 IIHF Ice Hockey World Championship, as well as the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup, which have led to tourists hailing from the US, China, and other nations. These sporting events, along with healthy growth in online travel agencies (OTAs), intermediaries and car-sharing services have helped to drive digital travel sales in Russia. As a result, eMarketer has increased its estimates since its previous forecast. Trends and Insights 3 Tips To Encourage Guests To Write More Reviews: For hotels, more reviews = more visibility and more chances of getting booked. Feedback has a way of coming naturally, however, it is sometimes advised to give your guests a little push and encourage their feedback. Our latest study revealed that, when a review is requested by an accommodation provider, guests are 3.6x times more likely to submit one. Also, requested reviews are 16% more likely to be “extremely positive”, as in 5-star. Download this free best practice guide to learn 3 useful tips on how to better encourage your guests to write more reviews and boost your online reputation! TrustYou in the Classroom: Philipp meets Hospitality Management Students at IUBH in June 2018: “Introducing hospitality management students to TrustYou’s unique products and tools, and passing on knowledge about the impact of online reputation management, that’s what I enjoy most about my guest lectures at IUBH,” says Philipp Möllers, Senior Key Account Manager at TrustYou. Ever since he graduated from IUBH in International Hospitality Management in 2013, Philipp has stayed in touch with his Alma Mater in Bad Honnef, a town located in the West of Germany, close to Cologne. Twice a year he lectures on Online Reputation Management. The audience: around 40 hospitality management students in their 3rd bachelor year. Read more in the extended blog post. The Value of Social Proof, Part 1: Filmed In Front Of A Live Studio Audience: This is a new and, extended series that we are excited to be collaborating on with Hotelchamp. Social Proof is a powerful psychological technique that can make or break a business. But social proof is far more than just Facebook or followers – the power of ‘general consensus’ is present in everything from sitcoms to overdue tax reminders. In this series, we look at the objective value of social proof and how smart marketers can weaponize it to persuade and personalize it to their audiences. You can read now the first 3 parts of the series and stay tuned because there’s more to come. Technology A Brief History of Artificial Intelligence: Agreeing on a definition of artificial intelligence can be extremely challenging. Few experts seem to have as many disagreements as for the ones working in this field. At its core, however, AI is a machine behavior that mimics those cognitive functions that we (wrongly) assume are the exclusive preserve of humans and animals. If we accept this simplistic definition, therefore, AI is nothing more than a particular type of intelligence demonstrated by computers, not too dissimilar to the one that me, you or your dog may have. This article provides a detailed insight into the beginning of AI and its evolution through history, which makes for an interesting and useful read. Mobile Connectivity Crucial for Hotel Guests and Staff: Excellent cell phone service is a crucial competitive advantage for hotels, making a lack of coverage a huge issue - not only for hotel guests but also for staff. Poor cell signal can make guest satisfaction plummet, resulting in lowered work productivity, inability to stay in touch with loved ones and more. Also, many hotel staff relies on CRM software such as Guestware or Hyp3R that send and manage hotel requests via cell phones. Without good cell signal, the staff can’t adequately perform their jobs, which could ultimately result in a loss of guest loyalty. Thankfully, there’s a solution hotels can employ to ensure their guests and staff have access to excellent cell signal coverage. To ensure strong connectivity throughout their buildings, hotels have begun installing passive distributed antenna systems (DAS) which amplify cellular signal as much as 32 times.