Weekly Roundup #37: Travel, Tech and Social Media
Once again, we welcome you to our latest Weekly Roundup! Here you can end your week with a few of the most interesting news and stories from the hospitality industry, that we carefully gathered and summarized for you. Don’t forget to follow our social media accounts, for more insights and updates: we are on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram!
Until next time, we wish you a lovely weekend!
Expedia Group, the world’s largest online travel company, and Scotland’s national tourist board, VisitScotland, are joining forces to help drive travel demand through supporting the country’s hoteliers. Through the new agreement, Expedia Group will work in collaboration with VisitScotland and hotel partners to build awareness of its suite of value-adding technology tools, help maximize hotels’ offering, and boost demand, particularly during low season. In addition, Expedia Group’s data expertise will help VisitScotland conduct a review of the visitor experience in Scotland, with a focus on improving regional spread across the country, as well as working with industry partners and sharing best practice.
Booking.com's effort to muscle in on tours and activities has taken another sizeable step with the launch of Booking Experiences in the U.S. The Booking Holdings-owned brand has slowly rolled out the functionality over the course of the last few years, beginning in its home town of Amsterdam and reaching other destinations such as London, Paris, Dubai, Hong Kong, and Singapore. For the time being, rather than being a consumer platform in its own rights, Booking Experiences works by engaging with consumers only once they have booked a hotel. Booking.com has now launched the service in a number of high-profile cities in the country, including New York, Miami, San Francisco, and Los Angeles.
The U.S. Department of Commerce International Trade Administration’s National Travel and Tourism Office (NTTO) announced that the United States welcomed nearly 77 million international visitors into the country, who collectively spent a record-setting $251.4 billion experiencing the United States in 2017, a two percent increase when compared to 2016. Over the course of 2017, travel and tourism exports helped support more than 1.2 million American jobs across the United States. “International travelers continue to set spending records visiting the United States, and I expect that trend to continue in 2018 spawning further job growth,” said Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. “The American tourism industry, which generated a trade surplus of more than $77.4 billion last year, continues to help drive our economy to new heights.”
Trends and Insights
With 2019 budget season ahead, we’ve collaborated with Hotel Tech Report on this insightful Reputation Management Software Buyers Guide. This is directed towards hotel owners and operators and it assists them through the research, selection and vetting process when identifying a new technology partner to improve their guest satisfaction scores and online reputation. Download the free guide and get valuable insights into how reputation and review management solutions can positively impact the reviews and ratings that travelers are seeing when making a booking decision and how hoteliers can stay on top of their reputation management strategy.
Long-term planning with communities at the center; increasing resilience by preparing for crises; and transitioning to a seamless traveller journey through the use of technology have been highlighted during the World Travel & Tourism Council’s (WTTC) first Europe Leaders Forum as three critical areas for action in order to ensure Europe’s Travel & Tourism sector maintains competitiveness. The first WTTC Europe Leaders Forum took place on Wednesday in Lisbon, Portugal, hosted by Turismo de Portugal and the Portuguese Ministry of Tourism. WTTC President & CEO, Gloria Guevara said: “The challenge for the future is to ensure that growth is maintained and is sustainable, providing benefits for local communities, be they in large cities or remote rural areas, and ensuring a great experience for the traveler.”
A new report has been published recently, targeting the Indian hotel market. The report is based on hotel market performance statistics provided by STR with analysis by Horwath HTL. This report examines the performance of hotels in India in H1 2018. This report examines the performance of hotels in India in the half year from Jan - June 2018. Additionally, the focus of the report was changed to present two interesting aspects: performance in H1-18, of hotels that were reported for H1-17, so as present an ‘apples- to apples’ comparison; performance in H1-18 of hotels that were opened in 2017 - thus giving an idea of the level of penetration that these hotels achieved over their initial months of operation. Take a look for more data and statistics.
Guest experience is top-of-mind for hoteliers and should be for bottom-line reasons. According to Hospitality Technology’s 2018 Customer Engagement Technology Study, almost half (48%) of consumers say that high-tech features in the guestroom will influence them to book at a particular hotel. In a broader sense, 33% said that a hotel simply having cutting-edge technology would drive a booking decision. IT investments for hotels, however, are notoriously skimpy – with the average technology budget coming in at 4% of overall revenue in 2017 according to Hospitality Technology’s 2018 Lodging Technology Study. Certain tech trends stand out when it comes to the future and those are the ones that should be considered and leveraged by hoteliers.
Hoteliers have to make tough decisions on where and when to invest in technology upgrades, which starts with understanding whether the latest gizmo is the next integral piece of the guest experience or a passing fad. How often should a hotel upgrade its high-speed internet? Do guestrooms need voice-recognition speakers? How critical is virtual reality or a robot that works as a concierge? Speakers on a panel titled “Technology: A hotel’s best—and most feared—ally” at the Hotel Data Conference discussed some of the key issues surrounding hotel technology. Topics included prioritizing investment on upgrades, the staying power of the latest technology improvements, and data security.