Weekly Roundup #40: Travel, Tech and Social Media
On our blog, Friday equals the Weekly Roundup, so welcome back to another dose of hospitality new and stories! We’ve gathered and summarized the most interesting news that was published this week, so make sure to take a look before heading off into the weekend. Also, you can follow our social media accounts - Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram - for even more updates.
Until the next roundup, have a wonderful week!
Our client Accorhotels has announced an expanded partnership with meetings, events, and hospitality technology company Cvent. Accorhotels will now utilize Cvent’s Business Transient solutions exclusively across its more than 4,500 hotels worldwide to manage its corporate travel programmes. The two brands will also collaborate on the creation of new technology for hospitality professionals The Business Transient tools allow hotels to manage their RFP process, market to corporate travel buyers, and improve operational efficiency.
Lodging Econometrics (LE) has released its bi-annual Global Construction Pipeline Trend Report, which compiles the construction pipeline counts for every country and market around the world, states that the total global construction pipeline stands at 12,839 projects/2,158,422 rooms which are at all-time highs. The construction pipeline is up an extraordinary 86% by projects over the cyclical low established in 2011, when global counts were at 6,907 projects/1,257,296 rooms. There are 5,988 projects/1,133,017 rooms currently under construction worldwide. Projects scheduled to start construction in the next 12 months are at 3,945 projects/570,731 rooms, both counts are at record highs. Projects in the early planning stage stand at 2,906 rooms/454,674 projects, just 134 projects short of the record high established in the fourth quarter of 2017.
Market research company Euromonitor International released this week new data on the future of the travel industry. The research shows the travel industry is set to record strong growth with international arrivals reaching 2.4 billion by 2030, corresponding to USD 2.6 billion in incoming receipts. China, France, and the US will be the main beneficiaries of international arrivals. Nadejda Popova, travel industry manager at Euromonitor International comments, “Rising incomes and middle classes lead to growing confidence among consumers globally. Young and urban consumers are seeking out new travel experiences, driving travel and tourism trends along with more targeted services and products than ever.”
Trends and Insights
Half (51%) of Americans haven't had a vacation in more than a year, including four in ten (38%, up a point from last year) who say it's been more than two years, according to the 10th annual Vacation Confidence Index released by Allianz Global Assistance. A vacation is defined as a leisure trip of at least a week to a destination that is 100 miles or more from home. The survey found that others have vacationed more recently: three in ten (29%, down two points from last year) Americans took a vacation in the past four to 12 months, and two in ten (18%, up four points from last year) within the past three months. The importance of taking a vacation has also decreased over the past two years: in 2016, 65% of Americans said an annual vacation was important to them, compared to 59% in 2017 and 58% in 2018, leaving four in ten (41%) who say an annual vacation this year is not important.
African-based specialist hospitality, real estate, and leisure consulting company, HTI Consulting, summarised the top five performers across 13 African cities for the first half of 2018 as indicated by STR Global, a company that provides hotel data benchmarking, analytics, and marketplace insights. “Overall many key African hotel markets reflected a positive turnaround in tourism in the first half of 2018,” says CEO of HTI Consulting, Wayne Troughton. “Though many of these markets continue to trade off a low base, the positive growth in room nights sold bodes well for future occupancy increases and hotel supply,” he states. "The opportunities exist for this industry to enjoy further growth.”
More travelers are treating themselves to solo trips, be it for business, leisure or ‘bleisure’, according to online travel agent Agoda. Agoda's 'Solo Travel Trends 2018' survey, conducted by YouGov, found that relaxation and time to unwind is the number one motivator for solo leisure travel globally (61%), which compares to 48% when traveling with friends. Solo travelers surveyed also ranked getting away from routine (52%) and exploring new cultures (45%) as top motivators. There are some interesting numbers when looking at the ages of solo travelers as well. Asian solo travelers are more likely to be younger, with millennials at 41% and Generational Zers at 38%. In the West, it is a different story. Solo travelers tend to be among Baby Boomers (39%) and Generation Xers (24%).
AccorHotels has led a €5 million round in Travelsify, a content analytics platform that uses artificial intelligence to help brands differentiate and monetize their products. Founded in 2016, Travelsify has amassed a database of more than 400 million traveler and expert reviews, comments, and blog posts related to hotels, restaurants, and vacation rentals. The system uses AI to analyze the content in those posts to help brands understand the attributes - what Travelsify calls DNA descriptors - that matter most to consumers. “Better matching and delighting guests with the right hotels is at the heart of AccorHotels’ mission,” says Ian Di Tullio, senior vice president of guest services at AccorHotels.
Technology remains the new frontier but plenty of hotels are still getting it wrong, according to the man who pioneered the boutique hotel movement in the United States. Ian Schrager, who founded the Morgans Hotel Group and has launched a number of other brands, said hotels are too focussed on showing gadgets rather than using technology to make things easier for guests. “Up to now, I don’t think we’ve been using technology well.” Schrager said that hotel companies need to remember that they are in the hospitality business and that the guest experience needs to be “doing something that astonishes people,” with added “excitement” and “glamor.”