Weekly Roundup #38: Travel, Tech and Social Media
Hi there, everyone! Welcome back on our blog, for the Weekly Roundup! You know how this works: as usual, we prepared this week’s most interesting news about hospitality and overall travel and you can find it all here: news, stories, technology posts, everything that you need to know before heading off into the weekend.
It’s already a well-known fact that Amazon Echo, the hands-free and voice-controlled device to provide intelligent personal assistance, has become increasingly popular for hotels to receive their guests’ wishes through talking to “Alexa” in their hotel room. Now, we are excited to announce that Chicago’s Acme Hotel paired our very own direct messaging service and Amazon Echo to combine all guest requests via text, email, Facebook messenger and voice control in TrustYou’s dashboard. This comes as a reinforcement of our continuous efforts of helping hotels meet the needs and requirements of the modern guest and to digitize the industry with constant product updates and technological advancements.
It’s been a great week for our partner Wego as well. The metasearch site has picked up more funding from another Middle East venture firm as it looks to expand its metasearch model across the region. Its latest round brings Middle East Venture Partners on board. MEVP looks at early and growth stages of innovative companies and has $120 million of assets under management. The amount raised is undisclosed. This August Wego picked up a reported $12 million from MBC, one of the Middle East’s leading media groups. MBC has also taken part in the current round and has a number of other joint investments with MEVP.
Our client Thomas Cook revealed ambitious plans of expanding ten-fold in China over the next year. Working with local joint venture partner, the investment group and Club Med owner Fosun, Thomas Cook China expects business in the country to eventually match markets in Europe. Thomas Cook China managing director Alessandro Dassi revealed that the company will have served 20,000 customers by the end of September and there was now real momentum in the business.
Trends and Insights
We published a new blog post this week and this time we focus on helping hoteliers attract and maintain international travelers. We know that it may be easier to relate and engage with local visitors rather than with international tourists. The language barrier and the cultural differences are just some of the reasons why it can seem slightly harder to communicate with someone from a different country and/or continent. However, you have to keep in mind that we are living in the era of globalization and hoteliers must learn how to adapt to every single type of traveler out there. Meeting all guests’ expectations means that your reputation gradually improves, which leads to more bookings and revenue.
A new study examines how digital disruption is redefining the customer’s travel experience across the hospitality industry in Asia. Mergers and acquisitions, technological innovations and the rise in short-term rental sites and OTAs are just a few of the changes that the hotel industry has been facing over the last few years. Asia’s hospitality sector boasts a growth of 4% to 5% per annum making it attractive for companies such as Airbnb, HomeAway, Expedia, and Agoda to enter the market. Customers are now better informed with sites like Tripadvisor and Airbnb, giving them alternative choices for accommodation. They have also become more empowered through social media, where their voices can drive change.
The average leisure traveler from the United States is a super-consumer between the ages of 18 and 34 who takes about three trips a year and spends $3,019, according to research from Phocuswright. On a recent webinar titled, “The U.S. leisure traveler: Understanding consumer lifestyle behavior,” Phocuswright Research Analyst Mark Blutstein offered insights on the average U.S. leisure traveler and heavy leisure travelers. Bottom line is, leisure travelers are: young and affluent and tech-savvy super-consumers. Also, it seems that frequent travelers are more likely to be loyalty members.
A recent analysis of hotel website and customer shopping behaviour conducted by the Sabre Digital Experience team, showed travellers are relying more on mobile phones and tablets for both hotel shopping and booking, spending less time on webpages as a result, but showing more willingness to book once they’ve checked availability in a hotel’s booking engine. The survey was conducted during the first half of the year and it revealed the following: Look-to-book up 19 percent year-over-year; Significant increase in mobile traffic; More revenue per site visit. You can check the extended post for more insights.
Egencia, the business travel arm of Expedia, Inc., found surprising differences in the perceptions and confidence levels of global business travelers on the impact of emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and virtual reality (VR) on corporate travel. Results from the 4th edition Egencia Business Travel and Technology Survey* show business travelers abroad remain much more pessimistic about the potential of emerging technologies to improve the business travel experience, compared to confidence levels of U.S. business travelers. More than half (55 percent) of U.S. business travelers believe AI advancements can improve their travel experiences, with 62 percent rejecting the belief that AI and VR could end mankind as we know it today.