Weekly Roundup #28: Travel, Tech and Social Media
Greetings, once again and happy Friday! It’s great to have you back for our Weekly Roundup. You can find here this week’s most important and interesting news and stories from our favourite industry, travel! So read away, we hope you enjoy it!
Until next week, have a fabulous weekend!
Our client Kayak is the first online travel player to let shoppers book hotels via Amazon’s smart speakers. Kayak has debuted the capacity for its customers to book hotels by talking to Amazon.com’s Echo family of voice-activated internet speakers. The Stamford, Connecticut-based company is the first online travel player to offer the booking of hotels via Amazon Alexa, the persona of the retailer’s Echo devices. Its Alexa tool pulls inventory for hotels worldwide that offer free cancellation, Kayak says. The Kayak tool sources hotels from two launch partners — Booking.com and Priceline.com— who, like Kayak, are two sister brands of the Priceline Group-owned company.
Egencia, the business travel arm of the Expedia group, announces results from its 4th edition Egencia Business Travel and Technology Survey* highlighting the increasing desire by business travellers for technology access and cross-device integration, along with greater productivity offerings, on the road. Instead of incentives such as priority boarding and airport lounge access topping business travellers’ wish lists, the study revealed travellers are looking to technology to make the corporate travel journey more productive and manageable.
With all the hoopla over hotel-direct bookings and online travel agency retaliation and maneuvering, the balance of power in U.S. market share among top players has been surprisingly even-keeled over the last year with overall share shifts amounting to less than one percentage point up or down for each sector. From May 2016 to May 2017, according to new bookings data from Hitwise, hotels’ market share of all online bookings in the U.S. fell from 31.36 percent to 30.56 percent, or less than a percentage point, while online travel agencies picked up a corresponding amount, seeing their market share of hotel bookings rise to 69.44 percent, up a bit from 68.64 percent a year earlier.
Trends and Insights
This week, hotelexecutive.com published our CEO’s point of view on how a platform’s approach to feedback looks like. Our team at TrustYou set out to identify the guest experience through the lens of guest communications, running a survey and observational study that encompassed nearly 1,000 participants. We identified the likes and dislikes of these guests. Along the way, we found some very interesting numbers relating to how travelers like to communicate with their hotel, and how these communication methods impact satisfaction levels. Make sure to check out the extended post to get more interesting insights.
It’s no secret that consumers rely on online hotel reviews to make reservations. According to a recent TrustYou study, 95 percent of all travelers use online review sites like TripAdvisor to help them make their final decision. While a hotel’s overall brand reputation is still important, potential guests want to know the nuances of individual properties. Joseph Ogden, professor of communications at Brigham Young University, who studies online reviews and their impact on the hotel industry says: “Social media pages and online reviews are your new ‘lobby. Making a good impression there really does lead to higher occupancies and higher rates.”
Want to know what the hottest holiday destinations for 2017 are? Do you find it hard to budget while you’re on holiday, and you’d like some fantastic money saving tips? Would you love to find out what kids enjoy doing most on their holidays, to make your family’s experience even better? In the very first Thomas Cook Holiday Report, you can find some amazing research into what travelers love about holidays, as well as receiving great recommendations to make your next holiday the best it can be.
EyeforTravel looked into the growing role of chatbots in its latest report: Are Chatbots Worth the Bother? and found travel companies can find different uses for the technology. Instead of using them as an acquisition tool, the report suggests chat bots could be of better use improving the customer journey or analysing the data chat bots collate to learn more about the way customers interact digitally with the brand, using artificial intelligence. “I think with artificial intelligence there’s a huge opportunity,” said Tim Gunstone, managing director of EyeforTravel. “The travel industry has been focused on bookings, bookings, bookings for so long, but the direction has changed and they are trying to increase the lifetime value of customers.”
Hotel apps and mobile capabilities have become a vital part of guest experience and a key contributor to overall hotel guest satisfaction, according to the J.D. Power 2017 North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Index Study. While that may be a positive development for an industry that has been building out its apps and mobile functionalities, use of mobile sometimes leads guests to book via online travel agencies, which contributes to lower guest satisfaction, according to the study. "As mobile usage becomes increasingly ubiquitous for guests, the challenge for hotels becomes twofold. First, they must persuade guests to book directly with them, and second, they must encourage easy utilization of this technology," said J.D. Power travel and hospitality practice lead Rick Garlick. "By forging direct relationships, hotels can become guardians of the guest experience, but at the center of these relationships is an establishment's mobile strategy."