Weekly Roundup: Travel, Tech and Social Media

Happy Friday, everyone!

We are back on track with the week’s most important and interesting news from the travel sector. The first week of February greeted us with new hotel openings, studies, partnerships, and of course, reports and consequences of the US travel ban. We also have for you a selection of trends and technology, all of which will impact the travel industry and its ramifications.

Enjoy your reading and don’t forget to check our Weekly Roundup next Friday, for more news and insights.

Industry News

TripAdvisor secures a tenth of all online travel traffic:

An estimative study conducted by SimilarWeb, a digital marketing intelligence and website traffic platform, reveals that TripAdvisor captured around 1.1 billion visits during 2016, representing an 11% share of the travel industry’s top 100 sites in the US.

Best Western’s new “White Label” franchise:

In 2017, Best Western expands even more, with its new and revolutionary white label franchise, SureStay Hotel Group. Only a few months after being introduced into the marketplace, SureStay approved 30 hotels in North America and one in Bangkok and is planning to open 100 more by the end of the year.

Accor Hotels partners up with Qatar Airways:

A new partnership rises this week between Accor Hotels and Qatar Airways. The two companies have joined forces to offer their customers an even more enjoyable travel experience. Their business plan includes a way for the Qatar Airways’ loyalty programme members to convert their Qmiles into LeClub Accor Hotel points at the conversion rate of 4,500 Qmiles for 1,000 LCAH points. This will allow them to purchase free nights and discounts on their next stay in over 3,400 hotels.

WTM London sets a new record in travel industry deals:

The new-look three-day event World Travel Market London 2016, which saw a joint-record total attendance of almost 51,500 participants, is expected to generate a record £2.8 billion in travel and tourism industry deals in 2017.

Companies cut business travel after Trump’s travel ban:

One of the most discussed and controversial subject of the start of 2017 is, of course, president’s Trump new travel ban. A survey conducted by the Association of Corporate Travel Executives brings forward a 36 percentage of respondents who said their company would reduce travel “somewhat” and 3% that said business travels will drop significantly.

Travelers cancel trips in the USA in consequence of Trump travel ban:

On the same note, it seems that not only companies are affected by Trump’s travel ban, but also the common traveler. Concern is rising among customers, leaving travel plans for 2017 uncertain.

Expedia calls Trump’s travel ban “Detrimental to business” in new lawsuit:

On an attempt to get the travel ban subject out of the system, at least for this week, let’s talk about Expedia’s lawsuit. From a financial standpoint, President Trump’s executive order temporarily blocking travel to the U.S. from the seven countries is going to cost money for Expedia and other travel companies. General counsel Robert Dzielak is backing up the lawsuit, by saying that the travel ban could have a detrimental impact on business and employees.

Consumer research uncovers travelers’ online search and booking behaviours:

In order to make it big, in any type of business, you need to know yourself, your products, your competitors, but most importantly, your target market. TrustYou’s Junior Marketing Manager, Nick Johnson, came up with an extended white paper, which reveals the most common behaviours of travelers, while searching and booking a hotel. You can download it for free and get the insights of the first step into an enjoyable travel experience.

Trends and Insights

The year of the modern female traveler:

With 2016 being the year of female empowerment, women’s march and all female cast remakes of cult films, it was only natural that 2017 will continue on the same note, including the travel industry. Skift reveals that female leadership in travel companies is the next, deeper level of serving female travelers. Since it’s already a well known fact that women influence 85% of all purchasing decisions and account for 58% of online sales, many brands are now in need of stepping up their game regarding female designed products and experiences.

Crowded cities are planning to limit tourism growth:

Cities like Barcelona, Paris, Rome or Florence have always been a staple on pretty much everyone’s travel bucket list, but it appears that the high tourist congestion and pollution are starting to leave a deep mark. James Thornton of Intrepid Group, the world’s largest adventure travel company, says: "If travelers are having a negative impact on places or people they visit, then we need to find ways to mitigate that".

Barcelona bans new hotel openings:

Since we just mentioned Barcelona, it’s important to know that, although the city has seen galloping growth in tourism since the millennium, it has now adopted the most drastic ban on new vacation accommodations yet seen in any European city. Due to its over crowded, damaging tourist traffic, Barcelona’s city center has banned all new hotel beds.

The evolution of accessible travel:

This week, Skift has released a podcast, targeting the delicate, yet powerful subject of travelling with a disability. The two guests are Peter Slatin, founder and president of Slatin Group, which provides education and training to help businesses and Brett Heising, CEO of brettapproved.com, a travel and entertainment review site for users with physical disabilities or mobility impairment. Tune in to hear about why the travel industry shouldn’t overlook customers with disabilities and how companies can best serve the market.

5 tips every hotel website should feature for a better UX:

A hotel’s website represents its virtual business card. The first few seconds that a traveler spends on a hotel’s website determine if he/she will end up by committing to it. TrustYou’s Marketing Director, Valerie Castillo, has 5 tips and tricks that could help a hotel’s web page get a better UX and keep the traveler dedicated and satisfied.

The top 10 most romantic hotels in the world:

Valentine’s Day is just around the corner and there’s no better way to celebrate than by exploring the world. So if you have a special someone in your life or if you just want to treat yourself, make sure to check our colleague Charline’s post about the best possible retreats for this time of the year.

Technology

Mobile first index for hotel website:

According to Google, 90% of people leave a mobile website if it isn’t meeting their high standards. Therefore, hoteliers are advised to make sure that their website is mobile-friendly and has content that performs better on smaller screens, since Google will consider what a website looks like when viewed from a mobile device, in order to rank it in results.

Booking via mobile:

While on the subject and to reinforce the importance of the mobile device in the travel industry, htrends.com conducted a survey with 164 travel experts, regarding the reinvention of the industry. The mobile came out as a clear winner, since it seems Americans don’t mind booking accommodations and airfare on small screens. According to research in 2016, 51.8% of travelers who booked trips via digital means will do so using a mobile device. That is up from 43.8% this in 2015.

Expedia experiment to reduce hotel booking stress:

Expedia is currently working on an experiment with the help of volunteers, in order to understand people’s emotions when they’re navigating its website. With the help of electrodes and one way glasses, Expedia wants to formulate ways to reduce stress or frustration that arises in users while trying to make a booking online.

Travel marketing with virtual reality:

Gordon Meyer, director of virtual reality (VR) company YouVisit, will tell you that travel is the ideal space for the technology to make an impact because it provides a visual medium to showcase destinations and experiences that is far more vivid and experiential than flat, two-dimensional media. "The pairing of travel and VR just makes so much sense," he said. "It's a perfect-use case for VR."

DNA test for a more personalized travel experience:

Travel Unwrapped is a company already known for its affinity towards the cultural and personal touch in travel and now they are taking things ever further. In an attempt to provide a better cultural exposure and a more meaningful experience, Travel Unwrapped recently began offering potential customers a DNA test, so that they could select destinations based on their genetic makeup.

Hotel cybersecurity, a new must:

After a recent hacking incident at Romantik Seehotel Jaegerwirt, in the Austrian Alps, it is imperative to talk about the risks that hotels are exposed to in this technological era. When it comes to hacking, it is not only the financial part which strikes concerns, but also the physical harm of a hotel’s employees and customers.

Laura Badiu

Laura is a passionate bookworm and a gifted writer. Since joining TrustYou’s marketing team, she has embraced topics in the travel and hospitality sector with enthusiasm. Using her degree in Journalism, Laura creatively weaves words into insightful stories with a focus on reputation management.

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