Weekly Roundup #35: Travel, Tech and Social Media
Hi, everyone! Welcome back to our Weekly Roundup, for your fresh dose of hospitality news. It has been an interesting week, so you can take a look at what we found in the media and see for yourself what the most interesting and relevant stories are. Don’t forget, we do this every Friday, so pay us another visit next week and until then, feel free to check our social media accounts: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram!
Have a great, fun weekend!
It’s been another productive period for our client AccorHotels, since they are expanding even further in Asia Pacific luxury market. The group confirmed six luxury and upscale openings in the next three months. This upcoming openings will see the expansion of the Sofitel and Pullman brands, which fall under AccorHotels’ luxury and upscale collection. Raffles Hotel, Fairmont, MGallery by Sofitel, Swissôtel and Grand Mercure brands complete the group’s high-end offerings. We can only say “way to go”!
Ctrip‘s second quarter earnings release talks about a 50% improvement in mobile conversion rates from the early iterations of Skyscanner’s direct booking business. Executive chairman James Liang summarised the rationale for its introduction of direct bookings to Skyscanner, which Ctrip acquired for $1.75 billion last November. He said: “It is a more effective way to convert Skyscanner user traffic while helping its partners to retain the customer relationship and the ability to upsell ancillaries.” Ctrip itself was one of the early partners selling via the direct booking option. Conversion rates on mobile, he said, were 50% higher for partners using the platform.
Keep an eye out on Chinese travelers, because It seems that in the past 12 months, more Chinese have traveled overseas compared to the prior year and are continuing to drive retail spending at tourist destinations globally. Chinese outbound tourists will account for an estimated USD 315 billion in travel revenue in 2017, according to the estimation, making them the world's biggest spenders on foreign travel. By 2021, China Luxury Advisors estimate that 192 million Chinese tourists will travel overseas and that their total overseas spending will reach USD 419 billion.
Trends and Insights
For hoteliers, receiving positive guest reviews is always a reason for joy and a confirmation of their hard work and dedication. However, that work does not stop after the guest leaves the establishment and management responses to post-stay reviews are a must. In order to help hoteliers get a clear picture of how to properly reply to positive guest feedback, we came up with this new best practice guide, that you can download for free. This contains 5 easy tips and strategies that hoteliers can adopt in order to reinforce the guest’s positive opinion even after his departure.
Any hotelier will agree that getting travelers to book directly is the absolute goal, in order to not pay fees to third-parties (OTAs). However, studies show that millennials, the largest cohort of consumers in history, is currently preferring to go through OTAs when booking a hotel stay. Worry not, though, since there are ways of influencing their decision and turn them around to direct booking. Without giving too much away, we suggest that you take a look at our latest blog post, to see how you can use guest feedback and reviews in your advantage and to get millennials to book directly on your hotel’s website.
Driving direct bookings is every hotel’s goal, particularly for revenue managers, who want to avoid third-party commissions and fees. And Last-minute bookings are only a small part of hotel distribution, one that is usually dependent on online travel agency partners. Hotels need to optimize a booking experience and a distribution strategy for consumers searching for accommodations in the more typical window. The competition for attention and, ultimately, bookings comes not just from OTAs but also review sites or social media, new research has found. The extended article also presents extracts from our previous white paper, about traveler’s online search and booking behaviours.
Business travellers, despite carrying carry different types of tech devices including tablet and laptop while on the road, consider the smartphone their one indispensable device. A new study released by Carlson Wagonlit Travel from a survey of more than 1,900 global business travellers aged 25-65 shows business travellers are bringing more devices, and feel more productive conducting their business According to the CWT Connected Traveler Study, more than 80% of global travellers use their phone to conduct business, stay in touch with family and for health and security purposes. Most travellers (88%) believe travel is easier to navigate today with technology, with a majority (78%) seeking opportunities to travel for work and just as many (72%) finding business travel to be stimulating.
While technology has transformed and advanced the hospitality industry in a positive manner quite rapidly, the biggest challenge that comes with technological advancement is the probability of replacing existing staff with a technological device, since the device can do the same job just as well. According to Tshifhiwa Tshivhengwa, CEO of the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA), the hospitality industry remains ‘labour intensive’ and as a result continues to work hard to boost employment levels. And with South Africa’s unemployment rate at 27.7%, the economy in recession and tourism a key driver for economic growth in the country – job creation and retention is necessary. He adds that the hospitality industry depends on human interaction to deliver the experiences to the customers and that is always the ‘key differentiator’. More insights in the extended post.