Weekly Roundup #5: Travel, Tech and Social Media
The Weekly Roundup is back and it seems like we’ve had another busy week in hospitality. You know how this works: we kept a close eye on the recent news and summarized them for you, so you could quickly recap them before the weekend. So make sure to check out these headlines, follow us on social media for even more updates and have a great end of the week!
Ctrip.com International, Ltd. and Hong Kong-based Shangri-La Hotels and Resorts have signed an agreement to offer more unique experiences to Chinese consumers across Asia and the world. The agreement enables Shangri-La Group’s brand of hotels and resorts including Shangri-La, Kerry, Hotel Jen, and Traders to be directly connected and promoted on Ctrip’s platform. The two globally recognized Asian hospitality companies will work together, drawing on Ctrip’s scale of resources and technology and Shangri-La’s iconic service and international standards of quality to provide enhanced experiences for Chinese travelers.
According to a study by the Center for European Economic Research (ZEW), hotels are given inferior positions in the search results, for example, if they quote cheaper prices on their own website. "Not every positioning and recommendation on major booking portals such as Booking.com and Expedia is therefore in the interest of the users," the study says. Ranking positions significantly affect which hotels are booked on Internet portals – and which are not. The researchers evaluated search results on Booking.com and Expedia as well as the metasearch site Kayak. They found out that every fourth offer on the hotel's website was cheaper than on the booking portal.
Triptease is introducing a wider portfolio of services as it looks to give hotels more control over their distribution. The U.K.-based company says its new suite includes a guest intelligence platform so that hotels can identify the most valuable guests on their websites and then track them across the "entire customer journey - from acquisition to transaction - to make sure they book directly at the hotel." The new product joins others in the company such as parity management services and messaging/bot tools.
Trends and Insights
Skift has recently released their annual travel industry trends forecast, Skift Megatrends 2019. It appears that the traditional demarcations between lodging categories are all starting to blur. Hostels are borrowing from posh luxury hotels in terms of elevating the guest experience. Midscale hotels are looking to hostels for inspiration on how to “activate” their public spaces. Camping has become glamping. The report also emphasizes on how consumers don’t seem to be puzzled by all these blurred lines, although the industry itself is. You can check out more insights and findings in this extended post or the Megatrends Report.
A desire to avoid humans, virtual companions, and new points-of-sale are among the consumer trends shaping the hospitality industry this year. Sabre Corporation has identified these trends as part of its 2019 Global Consumer Trends in Hospitality study, done in partnership with global insights company TrendWatching. Some travelers are open to company – primarily in the form of virtual companions. In 2019 and beyond, the study reports, consumers will want more than simple information from chatbots and digital assistance – they’ll want to be entertained, educated, and befriended.
Last year proved to be a strong one for the U.S. hotel industry, with occupancy, average daily rate (ADR), and revenue per available room (RevPAR) all trending positively. For 2019, STR and Tourism Economics optimistically project another year of growth. Changes in supply, however, will impact local market occupancy levels and hoteliers’ pricing power, with many hotels experiencing more intense competition among key guest segments. To maintain profit margins and stay ahead of the curve, consider your business in light of the top seven hospitality trends presented in this article.
Hotel Falls out of Love with Its Robots: Although technology, AI, and robots are the new “popular kids” in hospitality, it seems like completely replacing human staff is not the greatest idea. Japan’s Henn-na Hotel - the world's first hotel to be run mostly by robots – has gone back to human staff. The robots were responsible for every aspect of the hotel including check-in, luggage collection, concierge, and in-room assistance. Due to malfunctions and several complaints, the hotel’s reception, concierge, and bellhop duties will now be carried out by human employees.
Technology, social activism, and environmental concerns are among the key trends that look to impact the US$220-billion Muslim travel market, according to a new report by Mastercard and CrescentRating. According to the Halal Travel Frontier 2019 report, developments in sustainable travel and new immersive technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality, and artificial intelligence are attracting innovative products and services that cater to Muslim travelers.