Weekly Roundup #31: Travel, Tech and Social Media

Week 31/2018
Hi, everyone! It’s good to have you back on our blog, for another Weekly Roundup! As usual, we kept a close eye on the news this week and we summarized the most interesting ones below. Take a look to get your reliable dose of information and don’t forget to follow us on social media: we have Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram!
Until the next time, enjoy your weekend!

Industry News
AccorHotels buys majority stake in boutique lifestyle chain 21 c Museum Hotels: The group announced it intends to spend $51 million to acquire an 85 percent stake in 21c Museum Hotels, a relatively small luxury hotel chain in the United States. It has eight hotels and three more under development. The deal does not include any real estate. Under terms of the agreement, the co-founders of 21c Museum Hotels, Laura Lee Brown and Steve Wilson, will retain a 15 percent stake in the company and will continue to work closely both with AccorHotels and 21c Museum Hotels CEO Craig Greenberg. The brand will also remain headquartered in Louisville. The deal is expected to close by the third quarter of 2018.
Ctrip eyes Asian and global presence with Trip.com’s diversifying services: As one of the world’s major online travel agencies, Ctrip is eyeing not only Chinese citizens’ booming domestic and outbound travel, but also the opportunity to be a game-changer in the global travel landscape. The acquisitions of UK metasearch engine Skyscanner and tour recommendation site Trip.com are strategic steps toward its goal. Ctrip acquired Skyscanner for £1.4 billion in 2016, and snapped up Trip.com last November for an undisclosed sum and then transformed the site into a flights and hotels reservation platform. Prior to the acquisitions, Ctrip already had its own multi-lingual Ctrip.com to service 300 million-plus registered users. Through Trip.com, the company is now offering global users services including flight and train search, hotel reservation and car rental.
Firm fined for misleading consumers on TripAdvisor but still makes it into Top 25: A consumer protection case against Australian serviced apartments operator and developer Meriton has concluded with the Federal Court fining the company AU$3 million (US$2.2 million) for deceptive practices. The case centers around masking customer emails in an attempt to game the TripAdvisor Review Express system. Review Express is intended to help travel brands build their reputations by making it easier for customers to post reviews through follow-up email requests. Properties can set up Review Express campaigns by managing customer addresses on a spreadsheet for up to 1,000 customers to send as a mail campaign. While Review Express is an optional service, it can, according to TripAdvisor result in a 28% uplift of the number of reviews a property collects, helping build the reputation. However, while Meriton wanted to benefit from a greater number of reviews, the company wanted to minimize the risk of negative reviews.

Trends and Insights
Online accounts for 80% of under-30s travel bookings, OTAs dominate (for now): OTAs are the most popular option for booking flights and accommodation within the youth and student market. A survey of more than 57,000 travelers aged under 30 by WYSE Travel Confederation found this age group booked around 40% of its flights and 47% of accommodation through OTAs during 2017. The most popular websites used to book flights were Expedia, STA Travel, Skyscanner and StudentUniverse, while Booking.com was the top option for accommodation followed by Hostelworld, Airbnb, and Expedia. The New Horizons IV report found more than 80% of bookings were made online by under-30s in 2017, with an increasing number of bookings being made on mobile devices and through social media channels.
Sojern data reveals desktop still rules for travel search: The latest global travel insights report from marketing platform Sojern highlights the continuing resilience of desktop despite the rising importance of mobile. Sojern’s analyses billions of travel intent signals annually for its quarterly reports to travel brands better understand the booking behavior of travelers and how to reach them. While in North America, 72% of travel searches happened on the desktop during the second quarter of 2018 in Asia-Pacific that figure was 67% and in Latin America it was 64%. Though desktop reigns supreme in much of the world, mobile search is dominant in two regions. Europe saw 53% of travel searches take place on mobile while the Middle East and Africa it was 52%.
Generation X more likely to overspend on vacation than Baby Boomers and Millennials: With its tenth annual Vacation Confidence Index*, Allianz Global Assistance finds 10 percent of Americans admit to going over budget while on vacation last year, and those who did, on average, overspent by 27 percent ($534). Breaking down by age group, 92 percent of Millennials (ages 18-34) and 91 percent of Baby Boomers (ages 55+) did not overspend, while 87 percent of Gen X'ers (ages 35-54) were able to stay within budget. Gen X'ers also tend to overspend more, averaging 32 percent over budget, which amounts to $836 based on their anticipated spend, while Millennials overspent by 26 percent ($362) and Baby Boomers overspent by 20 percent ($369). The 2018 survey reveals that the average anticipated spend on vacations this summer, $1,936, has decreased slightly from last year when it was $1,978. Still, the projected total spend will crack the $100 billion mark for the second time in the survey's history, amounting to $100,400,000,000.

How integrating AI in hospitality impacts operational dynamics: Over the past couple of years, changes within the technology space have brought forward a paradigm shift and disrupted a myriad of industries. In the case of hotels, artificial intelligence in hospitality has the power to impact and transform the industry completely. Given the rising need for smart automation of existing processes, AI has entered the traditional hospitality landscape with a promise to enhance hotel reputation, drive revenue and take customer experience to the next level. To meet changing consumer expectations, hotels across the globe must upgrade their operational system and services by integrating intelligence-based predictive analytics in hospitality. In this article, it is explained how the adoption of AI further impacts the overall operational dynamics of the hotel industry.
How mobile and self-serve technology can set your hotel apart from the competition [Guide]: From dating apps to online shopping, app-based taxi service and food delivery, mobile check-in and more — the modern consumer has demonstrated a decided preference for on-demand, uninhibited access to services via mobile devices. This trend has quickly worked its way into the hospitality industry, breaking down the traditional hotel service-model to one which is more personalized, intuitive, responsive and friendly to self-service. With the influx of tech-savvy, millennial consumers, we're witnessing a new wave of travelers who prefer mobile/app check-in, self-service kiosks, virtual keys on their smartphones, text-based communications with hotel properties and more. To help hoteliers meet the emerging needs of modern guests, StayNTouch has released their latest guide, titled, How Mobile and Self-Serve Technology Can Set Your Hotel Apart from the Competition.

Laura Badiu

Laura is a passionate bookworm and a gifted writer. Since joining TrustYou’s marketing team, she has embraced topics in the travel and hospitality sector with enthusiasm. Using her degree in Journalism, Laura creatively weaves words into insightful stories with a focus on reputation management.

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