Weekly Roundup #6: Travel, Tech and Social Media
It’s time for another Weekly Roundup on our blog, so make yourself comfortable and let’s quickly recap what happened this week in hospitality and travel. We have news, stories, trends, and technology pieces, all summarized for you. Don’t forget to follow our social media accounts, for even more updates: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram.
Until the next roundup, have a lovely weekend!
We’ve had a super productive and exciting week since we published our very first eBook of 2019. This time, we focus on the very concept of direct messaging and how hoteliers can leverage it in such a way that it would lead to better satisfaction rates and even more revenue. Our comprehensive eBook provides insights into what direct messaging is, how it works, how it can be implemented by hotels, and why they should definitely make use of this new mean of communication. We have also focused on thoroughly describing our own guest messaging solution, which helps hotels communicate with their guests in a more effective way, while also enabling more direct bookings, upsells, and better satisfaction rates. Make sure to access The Complete Guest Engagement Guide and learn for yourself how to profit from direct messaging!
At the Americas Lodging Investment Summit, executives from several data analysis companies put 2018 performance and activity into context, shared how the next few years are shaping up and what hoteliers should be aware of when it comes to the data. Compared with 2017, U.S. hotels ended 2018 with a 0.5% increase in occupancy to 66.2% and 2.4% growth in average daily rate to $129.83, leading to revenue per available room of $85.96, up 2.9%. For 2019, STR and Tourism Economics downgraded their forecast slightly, projecting that flat occupancy and 2.3% ADR growth will lead to 2.3% RevPAR growth in 2019.
According to a report from SiteMinder, Booking.com brings in the highest total booking revenue to hotels, though a new crop of third-party channels is diversifying the space. The channel management platform analyzed more than 87 million online bookings in 2018 to identify the top 12 hotel booking revenue makers in major travel destinations around the globe. With the exception of the United States - where Expedia was the top revenue-generating channel for hotels - each region saw Booking.com at the top of the list.
Trends and Insights
Google’s new hotel listings place more emphasis on the featured properties with larger images and bigger fonts for hotel descriptions and prices. The display on mobile is much more prominent, meaning there’s little space for organic search results to appear above the fold. The goal for hotels is to obtain a spot on the first page of hotel listings, with a definitive description of the brand and a visible image of the hotel in order to drive traffic and conversions.
SiteMinder, the global hotel industry’s leading guest acquisition platform, has released its annual lists of the channels that brought the highest total booking revenue to hotels in Asia and other top travel destinations around the world in 2018. The diversity of the lists this year reflects a rise in consumer choice that is forcing hotels to compete for business on more booking channels than ever before. SiteMinder’s managing director, Mike Ford, says the increased diversity is also indicative of a booking landscape that has exploded in recent years and is showing no signs of slowing.
Almost three-quarters of travel professionals are not yet prepared to take advantage of voice technology, despite recent research showing that 20% of all Google searches are made via voice. Also, the sales of smart speakers, the fastest-growing consumer tech segment, are set to grow by 50 percent in 2018-192. The poll by Travel Technology Europe also hinted that, while there is a long way to go before voice integration becomes mainstream, the desire, recognition, and budget for embracing voice remains present; with 29% of respondents stating that they were ‘planning to invest’ in the technology during 2019.
The hotel industry’s innovation challenge was on full display at last week’s HSMAI Digital Marketing and Strategy Conference in New York City. Google’s chief evangelist of brand marketing, Gopi Kallayil, provided examples and statistics about "assistance as the new battleground". In his keynote, Google’s Kallayil likens our smartphones to an additional organ of the human body, one that’s connected to all publicly available knowledge and serves people in multiple ways: a watch, a wallet, a camera, a remote control, and so on. This pervasiveness, Kallayil asserts, has created “rapid, cultural shifts and changed the way people expect things from their brands,” making people more curious, demanding, and impatient.