Weekly Roundup #38: Travel, Tech and Social Media
It’s great to have you back on our blog, for a brand new Weekly Roundup! As usual, we made it our mission to keep 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!
Have a wonderful weekend!
Hotel rates have gone up in the majority of 40 cities monitored by global hotel metasearch site Trivago. Average Paris hotels recorded the highest monthly rise in September, with a 45% increase to €167 a night. Vancouver saw the most significant decrease over August with the average price per night falling 12% to €187. London remains one of the most expensive European cities with an average hotel price per night of €142, as does Lisbon with €121 per night. Rates have risen by 29% in Vienna and by 38% in Berlin on average this month, making both cities the most expensive they have been so far this year. Average hotel prices in several cities in the US, including Las Vegas, are also the highest they have been this year.
A new study by online travel agency eDreams ODIGEO looks into the emotional drivers that motivate Europeans to travel. Based on findings of an IPSOS survey of over 3,600 people across seven European markets, combined with insights from eDreams ODIGEO’s own user experience laboratory, the study identifies 15 emotional drivers during the journey - from inspiration to the return home - condensed into six categories. Check out the extended article, which contains a table of the percentage of Europeans for whom emotional categories such as pleasure seeking and personal connection are the main motivators.
The owner of a fraudulent reviews business has been sentenced to prison and fined in what TripAdvisor considers a milestone for the internet. The Criminal Court of Lecce in Italy ruled - in a case among the first of its kind - that writing fraudulent reviews under a fake identity is punishable under Italian criminal law. As such, the owner of PromoSalento, which sold fake reviews to Italian hospitality companies, was ordered to spend nine months in prison and pay 8,000 euros in damages. "We see this as a landmark ruling for the Internet. Writing fake reviews has always been fraud, but this is the first time we've seen someone sent to jail as a result," says Brad Young, TripAdvisor's vice president, associate general counsel.
Trends and Insights
It’s officially budget season, and the growing list of priorities and considerations is currently top of mind when planning for a successful 2019. With so many investment options out there, it’s difficult to really know what will bring the most success in 2019. For most hoteliers, one of the biggest considerations has been the type of technology they need to invest in. Aside from the standard technology systems hoteliers need for day-to-day operations, our VP of Marketing, Valerie Castillo, has put together a few tips and suggestions on what to take into consideration when planning the 2019 hotel tech stack. From analyzing past performances to following the latest tech trends in the industry, we covered the best strategies that can boost hotel’s 2018 tech stack.
Chinese residents born after 1990 are fueling a surge in international travel, with a preference for local experiences, independent accommodations, and long-haul destinations. Plus, they're spending substantially more money to fund those trips. In the seventh edition of Expedia Group's Hotels.com Chinese International Travel Monitor, researchers found Chinese millennials spent 80% more on travel between May 2017 and May 2018 than they had in the prior 12 months. The report is based on interviews conducted by market research firm Ipsos of more than 3,000 Chinese residents aged 18 to 58 who had traveled overseas in the past 12 months, along with proprietary data from Hotels.com and other research.
The tourism sector’s shift in focus towards innovation and experiences, and traveler demand for diverse and immediate experiences in cities will underpin the discussions of the UNWTO Conference on City Breaks: Creating Innovative Experiences (15-16 October 2018) in Valladolid, Spain. Development of city breaks can enhance tourism’s benefits for societies and the economy, which is at the core of UNWTO’s mission. The conference, the first of its kind, will address different areas of specialization that can help urban destinations be successfully positioned for city break tourism. It will explore the range of innovative activities that cities can offer tourists and focus on how innovation in technology, governance, and partnerships can ignite public-private collaboration and generate opportunities along the entire tourism value chain.
In an era of Alexa, Siri, and Cortana, travel brands are still trying to work out the best way to maximize voice search. But they shouldn’t wait too long. Steven Taylor, global chief brand officer for AccorHotels, said his company is watching the technology “incredibly closely” and trying to understand how smart assistants are changing search. “I think voice search is a phenomenal area of opportunity and potential disruption,” he said. “This could have an absolutely massive, transformational, revolutionary impact on the distribution ecosystem that travel has known for the last decade. So that’s a particular area coming out of Silicon Valley that we’re watching very closely.”
When it comes to hotels, much has been discussed on how chatbots have the potential to dramatically improve the level and quality of guest service, as well as reducing the strain on hotel staff to attend to the needs of all the guests. Chatbots greatest ability currently is to provide 24/7 communication to clientele, answering frequently asked questions, giving recommendations, and offering additional services or products such as room service or upgrades. For potential customers or current guests, this artificial intelligence (AI) is a great way to get instant insights at any time of day, and to find answers to enquiries they may be too embarrassed, or find too trivial, to contact staff about. The impact on guest satisfaction is clear and chatbots can certainly contribute to having more happy guests at your hotel, but have you considered the potential revenue benefits chatbots may offer? Here are some ways an investment in AI might see your bottom line become a little healthier.