Weekly Roundup Weekly Roundup #39: Travel, Tech and Social Media Laura Badiu // September 28, 2018 // 6 minute readWeek 39/2018It’s Friday, meaning one thing on our blog: it’s time for the Weekly Roundup! As usual, we paid close attention to the news this week to see what goes on in the hospitality business. Below, you can find a few news and stories, so take a look and don’t forget to follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram!We’ll be back next Friday with another Weekly Roundup. Until then, we wish you a great weekend! Industry NewsTrustYou and Frontdesk Anywhere Integration Enables Facilitated Direct Messaging For Hotels:We’re excited to announce a new successful partnership with Frontdesk Anywhere, the award-winning, cloud-based property management system. Our Guest Messaging tool is now seamlessly integrated into Frontdesk Anywhere’s multi-use platform in order to help hoteliers from around the globe improve internal efficiency and increase guest satisfaction scores. Alongside the standard features of a smart, intuitive PMS, users will now be able to directly communicate with guests, as well as set tasks and automated messages. Although invisible to travelers, the integration between Frontdesk Anywhere and our messaging features enables a higher level of personalization and gives hoteliers valuable insights into the guest journey and the ability to adjust services accordinglyBest Western Debuts Two New Boutique Hotel Brands:Our client Best Western Hotels & Resorts announced the launch of two new boutique hotel brands — Sadie Hotel and Aiden Hotel — both being marketed to hotel owners and developers who have existing properties that they want to convert to these new lifestyle-driven brands. Sadie is being marketed as an upscale brand, while Aiden will be marketed for the upper midscale hotel category. Both categories, especially the midscale space, are highly competitive with new hotel brands. Just last week, for instance, Choice Hotels debuted its newest midscale brand, Clarion Pointe. Like Sadie and Aiden, it too is geared toward hotel owners who want to update existing properties with new brand identities in the in-demand midscale hotel category.More Americans -Including Millennials- Seeking the Expertise of Travel Agents:The vast majority of Americans (75 percent) would consider working with a travel agent to plan their vacations, while some 27 million travelers plan to do so just within the next year, according to new research from AAA Travel. The outlook remains positive for years to come, with younger travelers embracing the expertise of travel agents. In fact, millennials are just as likely as baby boomers to say they are planning to use a travel agent for a trip in the next 12 months. Despite continual advances in technology that allow travelers to plan and book vacations for themselves online, nearly half of Americans (46 percent) feel that working with a travel agent adds value to their trip. Trends and InsightsHow to Make Your Hotel’s Book Direct Offering Unique:In a world dominated by big brands and businesses, where standardization is the path to efficiency, customers consistently look for something out of the norm. This is clearly the case in the travel industry; it’s one of the major reasons Airbnb has been so successful. Travelers can get bogged down by same-same marketing, and middle-of-the-road hotel experiences. They want something unique, authentic, and personalized. To get more direct bookings, your offering has to reflect these desires. So how do you make your property stand out from the competition and convince guests to avoid booking via online travel agents? Find the answer in this SiteMinder article. 2019 Budgeting Trends Whitepaper: HEBS Digital has released a new whitepaper which analyzes digital marketing initiatives and trends that may arise throughout the year. When constructing a budget, it’s important to think about upgrades the property needs to make regarding digital technology and marketing strategy. Knowledge of where the industry's key benchmarks are headed is critical to budgeting appropriately and knowing where to focus the efforts to see results. According to STR, the US hotel industry is projected to see growth, slow yet steady, through 2019. However, supply will continue to outweigh demand in many major markets (2.3% vs 2%). Occupancy is increasing by 0.3%, ADRs are growing by 2.4%, and RevPAR is increasing by 2.7% (STR, Tourism Economics. Bleisure and Sharing Services Growing in Popularity Among APAC Business Travelers, Reveals Research:Business travel is on the rise. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, an estimated US$1.2 trillion was spent on this segment around the world in 2016, nearly one quarter (23%) of total travel & tourism spending. It notes that business travel within Asia is growing at twice the pace of the rest of the world, and looks set to overtake the top-spending Americas within the next 10 year. There is also a growing trend among these corporate travelers to include local leisure activities as part of their working trips. This is also the finding of Amadeus “The Journey of Me” research that discloses that more than 60% of business trips in Asia-Pacific (APAC) now include a leisure portion. The rise of bleisure – combining business and leisure activities into one travel experience – is accompanied by a concurrent growth in popularity for sharing services, it added. TechnologyThe Importance of Cybersecurity and You:Cybersecurity for business is a complicated topic. It always has been and hospitality is highly impacted by this concept. Due to its complexity, many don’t grasp the importance of cybersecurity. To help you better understand its importance, this article from Caplinked gives a brief introduction to cybersecurity, information security, and keeping data safe online. The 2017 State of Privacy and Awareness Report states that 70% of employees lack the knowledge and awareness to prevent cyber incidents. Despite common misconceptions, you don’t need incredibly expensive software to stay safe. As the old saying goes, knowledge really is power in this case.Voice Automation Is Becoming Part of Guest Experience:For every possible voice automation request you could make, it seems there are an equal number of articles or panel discussions on the topic. It’s hard to miss how the trend of supporting guest requests through artificial intelligence and voice automation has created “buzz” around the industry. However, voice automation goes beyond service requests. Instead of just talking about hotels adopting smart speaker technology with new services, this article takes a deeper look at how smart speakers will become an integral part of our industry, why we should care now, and how being on top of this trend makes us better hoteliers.