Weekly Roundup Weekly Roundup #4: Travel, Tech and Social Media Laura Badiu // January 26, 2018 // 6 minute read Week 4/2018 Greeting and welcome to the Weekly Roundup! It’s been another busy week in hospitality, so we gathered and summarized a few interesting news, that you can find below. As usual, we have everything, from news to trends and technology stories, so make sure not to miss them! Also, you can follow our social media accounts, to see what we are up to during the week: you can find us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and Instagram! Have a wonderful weekend! Industry News Ctrip launches online platform to offer enterprises customized travel services: Chinese online travel agency giant Ctrip launched the country's first online tourism customization service platform for enterprises last Thursday, as more companies travel at home and overseas for business or team-building. On the platform, enterprises will enjoy customized services from over 4,000 professionals who will design tourism packages to cater to their specific demands. The online services will make the consulting and designing process more efficient and transparent thanks to a large pool of tourism resources and precise match-making based on big data, according to Ctrip. Enterprises will also have access to Ctrip's customized tourism services via over 6,000 offline travel agencies. OTAs serve up even bigger trouble for hotels: Across Asia-Pacific, OTAs on average undercut prices on hotel websites by an average of 11.4 per cent or US$12.06, according to data from Triptease, released in its Spotlight on… Direct Bookings: Asia-Pacific whitepaper. A breakdown of undercutting rates, based on Triptease’s clients in the region, shows that the scale of undercutting is far worse in certain countries, including Vietnam, China, Thailand and Malaysia, with some seeing a rate as high as 30 per cent. As a result, many hoteliers in APAC are turning to direct bookings to alleviate the problem. With insight from industry insiders and Triptease’s experience working with 17,000 clients worldwide, Spotlight on… Direct Bookings: Asia-Pacific suggests eight strategies for boosting revenue from hotel websites. The U.S hotel industry projected to post record-breaking performance levels through 2019: Although it seems like 2018 just started, projections for the next year are already being made. The U.S. hotel industry is projected to post record-breaking performance levels through 2019, according to STR and Tourism Economics’ initial forecast of 2018 released this week at the Americas Lodging Investment Summit (ALIS). For 2019, STR and Tourism Economics project the U.S. hotel industry to report a 0.1% increase in occupancy to 66.2%, a 2.3% lift in ADR to US$132.81 and a 2.4% rise in RevPAR to US$87.89. The highest overall rate of RevPAR growth is expected in the Luxury segment (+2.4%), while the lowest is projected among Upscale (+1.9%) and Upper Midscale (+1.9%) chains. Trends and Insights How Live Chat Can Improve The Guest Experience: For the hospitality business, live chat comes to the rescue in a time when 2 in 3 customers would rather communicate through written messages than over the phone and hotel guests are significantly more satisfied when communicating through text messages and social media compared to those who do not. The need for immediacy is stronger than ever and providing a feature which enables travelers to communicate easier and faster comes as a huge plus for any hotel. Luckily, live chat does just that, in an effortless and cost-effective way. In our latest blog post, we break down the reasons why live chat can improve the guest experience and help your hotel business and we offer insights into our own live chat feature, recently integrated into the guest messaging module of our feedback platform. 6 Hospitality Trends to Prepare For in 2018: With developing technology and a growing industry, it’s more important now than ever before to embrace new trends and stay ahead of the industry curve. IBC Hospitality Technologies is one of the many companies that came out with an overview of the most important hospitality trends of 2018. Among them, they talk about increased demand for personalization, loyalty programs, technology integration AND keeping all data in one place, a concept that we are making the most out of, through our guest feedback platform! It’s good to know that we are definitely keeping up with the trends in the industry. U.S. Millennial travelers still prefer hotels over Airbnb: According to a new report on the future of U.S. Millennial travel, American travelers between 20 and 36 years of age prefer full-service hotels to an Airbnb rental, even as the home-sharing service expands in 65,000 cities and in preparation for an imminent IPO. Resonance Consultancy reveals this and many other insights in the 2018 Future of Millennial Travel Report: A survey of America's fastest growing tourism demographic, a 70-page trend briefing released this month. The report surveyed more than 1,500 active U.S. Millennial travelers finding that despite 52% of respondents saying they regularly or occasionally use owner-direct rental services like Airbnb, it is actually among their least preferred accommodation choices. Technology Top 10 Must-Have Hotel Technologies in 2018: It is safe to say that hotel success and technology go hand in hand and hotels must step up their "technological game" if they hope to differentiate themselves and engage with guests. Being ahead of the curve will not only increase your profits, doing something new will get you extra exposure, drive loyalty and bring in new guests. StayNTouch has recently published a new and insightful guide, meant to break down the most relevant technologies that hotels should adopt in 2018, such as self-service, cybersecurity and compliance, VR and augmented reality. Voice search will change travel marketing faster than you think: For travel marketers and those in charge of building brands and setting a visual tone, the rise of voice interfaces needs to be considered and planned for soon. The shift will happen quicker than we realize, and may represent as large of a shift as the rise of bottom-up social media. As the technology gets more advanced, the voice will insert itself into the modern marketing funnel in a meaningful way. How will this look? In the research phase, perhaps it is being read an article from a top travel publication about the destination you have in mind to visit in four months. Perhaps a device is narrating the work of the novelist Graham Greene when you’re thinking about a trip to Hanoi. When it comes to purchasing, maybe it will be as simple as saying: Send me the best flights on Oneworld based on these dates. It is clear that the final meter won’t be conducted via voice, but the channel will have an important role in the ecosystem.