Weekly Roundup #45: Travel, Tech and Social Media
Hello and welcome to the Weekly Roundup! You know how this goes: as always, we gathered the most important news of this week, so you could quickly recap them and to see what goes on in the travel and hospitality industry. Take a look below and don’t forget to follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram!
Until the next Friday, we wish you an amazing weekend!
Tools to help professional vacation rental managers save time and control who can book their properties are part of a new suite of products launched this week by Booking.com. The company developed the tools based on input from professionals that manage some of the 5.7 million listings of homes, apartments, and other private accommodations available on the site. One tool created based on such feedback allows property managers to set filters that determine which Booking.com users will be able to book their properties – such as only guests with verified phone numbers or only guests that have made a reservation on Booking.com in the past. Partners can also now instantly report guest misconduct and block those guests from making future bookings.
Our partner, accommodations wholesaler Hotelbeds Group is phasing out its Tourico Holidays and GTA brands as it goes forward under a new identity. Since coming under the ownership of private equity firm Cinven and the Canadian Pension Plan Investment Board, the company has gone through something of an acquisition spree, picking up two of its biggest rivals in as many years. But as part of a wider brand refresh, Hotelbeds will drop the “Group” from its name and kill off both GTA and Tourico Holidays over the coming months. When the rebrand is complete, the company will use Hotelbeds for most of its business, with Bedsonline used exclusively for traditional retail travel agents.
Growth in U.S. domestic travel is leveling off after displaying months of robust growth, according to a survey by the U.S. Travel Association. In addition, U.S. Travel said that the international market will not expand any further in the next six months. The organization found that although overall travel to and within the U.S. grew 1.6% year over year in September, its Travel Trends Index (TTI) found that domestic travel rates decelerated to a 1.8% increase, with business travel appearing to have plateaued and leisure travel accounting for the small growth. International travel was up 4.4% in September year over year, but U.S. Travel said that since inbound had dropped 2.2% in September 2017, the year-over-year improvement "is liable to appear over-inflated."
Trends and Insights
Increasing direct bookings - every hotelier’s goal in order to save commissions from OTAs. Online travel agencies have certainly changed the travel industry. Independent hotels benefit from big names and major brands such as Booking.com or HRS and their marketing strategies and budgets. For many hoteliers, however, the high commission fee of 10% to 25% is the downside. As a result, direct bookings on the brand website have become strategically very important. Reviews that guests submit after their stay and their prominent positioning on the hotel's website, as well as a strategic distribution, are vital. In our latest blog post, we discussed three smart review marketing strategies that can help hotels to generate more direct bookings.
Global market research company Euromonitor International released this week a new report “Megatrends Shaping the Future of Travel” at World Travel Market (WTM) London. Caroline Bremner, head of travel research at Euromonitor International comments, “In a rapidly changing global environment, megatrend analysis is critical for companies seeking to drive sustainable growth and remain relevant as competition increases and new ideas disrupt entire industries” The new research reveals how the travel industry is developing within the fast-changing global economic and social environment. Three key emerging travel industry trends identified by the report are: The Joy of Missing Out #JOMO, plastic waste, and access economy taking flight.
The latest Virtuoso Luxe Report shows travel in 2019 will be highly personalized and inspired by a desire to experience new destinations in unusual ways. Every year global luxury travel network Virtuoso surveys its industry-leading force of travel agencies and advisors in 50 countries, including 28 locations in the U.K., to forecast what the coming year will bring. The Luxe Report, which has established Virtuoso as a trusted trend predictor, unveils consumer preferences in high-end and experiential travel. Check out the extended article for the upcoming travel trends and most popular destinations.
Koddi analyzed the top 10 markets in the APAC region and found that metasearch volume ranks Trivago 1st, TripAdvisor 2nd, and Google 3rd. This ranking contradicts what we see in the Western markets, where Google is usually the dominant metasearch player. One reason why Google isn’t a highly ranked market in APAC is that Google Hotel Ads is not widely available in Mainland China, the region’s largest market. This isn’t breaking news since Google has not been a commonly used search engine in Mainland China since its exit in 2010.
Blockchain technology shows huge potential for the hospitality and travel industry. Some very interesting projects are currently in development and a handful are already live. As more of these projects show real success, the industry as a whole will begin to adopt the technology, operational efficiencies will increase, and the experience for the end consumer will be radically improved. As the technology evolves and becomes more sophisticated there will be massive breakthroughs for hospitality and travel providers. We recommend reading the entire story, to learn more about the current and future use cases of blockchain technology.