Weekly Roundup #21: Travel, Tech and Social Media
Greetings fellow readers and welcome to our Weekly Roundup once again! This week we gathered some more interesting content for you, so make sure to take a look before heading into the weekend! We have fresh news and stories from the travel sector. Also, don’t forget to follow us on our social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram!
Until the next time, enjoy your weekend!
Frasers Hospitality to almost double footprint in China:
Our client Frasers Hospitality announced, on the 18th May, the grand opening of Fraser Suites Dalian, arriving hot on the heels of four properties that opened in Changsha, Tianjin and Shenzhen last year. The global hospitality operator is seeing strong uptake for its portfolio of brands, as it expects to grow its inventory by around 85 percent over the next few years, expanding to 30 properties across China. “We see demand being driven not only by the inbound market but also by domestic travelers in the country. From FY2016 to FY2017, we observed a growth in the number of room nights booked by Chinese travelers, who account for almost half of all our guests in China. Given the fact that 75 percent of China’s business travel spend is domestic, we will continue to grow our footprint in first- and second-tier cities,” said Mr Choe Peng Sum, Chief Executive Officer, Frasers Hospitality.
Russia considers ban of Booking.com over U.S. sanctions: Russia’s Culture Ministry has ordered the federal tourism agency to look into banning the popular Booking.com website as part of countermeasures against the latest U.S. sanctions. Russian tour operator Svoi TS asked to ban Booking.com, TripAdvisor, and Airbnb after the United States imposed sweeping sanctions against some of Russia’s biggest firms and businessmen for "malign activities,” the online outlet Tourprom.ru reported in April. This week, the Culture Ministry instructed Russia’s Rosturism agency “to consider a proposal to ban the activities of Booking.com in Russia” by June 4, the RBC business portal reported on Tuesday. “No Russian tour operator can compare with Booking.com,” RBC quoted head of Svoi TS Sergei Voytovich as saying. The potential ban would prohibit customers from using Booking.com to book hotels in Russia. Users in Russia accounted for the highest share of Booking.com’s traffic in the world, according to the SimilarWeb ranking service.
With Chinese millennials, travel marketers take generational leap forward:
Estimated as a number more than 400 million, millennials are a force to reckon with in China’s outbound travel growth. But marketing to this key demographic requires a close watch of trends and recognizing the cultural nuances and complexities, as shared by key travel figures during the ‘Connecting destinations with Chinese millennials’ session yesterday. Chinese millennials are hardly a uniform market, with each subset – post-80s, post-90s and post-00s, etc – displaying its own quirks and preferences, according to Roger Qiu, general manager of Europe, Middle East & Africa, destination marketing of Ctrip Group. “Each segmentation is complicated,” he added. Travel brands also have to ensure “authenticity” while making content “cool and quick” to appeal to Chinese millennials, who have demonstrated a keen willingness to adopt new mobile apps and websites, noted Kirsty Burkill, head of marketing – Asia at Merlin Entertainments.
Trends and Insights
Wait, did TripAdvisor really influence 10% of global tourism spending in 2017? The influence of TripAdvisor on how tourists choose to spend their money is continuing to increase, according to research commissioned by the reviews website. Research firm Oxford Economics finds that TripAdvisor’s reviews and scores influenced around $546 billion of travel spending during 2017 – this represents 10.3% of all global spending on tourism which reached a total of $5.3 trillion last year. The study, entitled Sizing the Worldwide Travel Economy, also reveals that viewing TripAdvisor content led to consumers taking extra trips to new destinations, as well as encouraging longer stays in new destinations and properties. The report estimates that consumers spent an extra $80 billion globally on 32 million extra trips in 2017 that would not have happened without TripAdvisor.
Research finds ‘guest personalisation and strong brand’ key for hotel success: A new report from SiteMinder has revealed the key focuses and drivers of success for hoteliers across the globe. In its annual global survey, SiteMinder asked hoteliers, from both independents and groups, in all regions around the world to evaluate their priorities, challenges, strategies, and sentiments on everything from distribution plans, budgeting, staff hiring, technology adoption and of course, future success. Chapter five of ‘SiteMinder’s Global Hotel Business Index 2018: What are the key drivers on a hotelier’s path to success?’ asked hoteliers for their view on the guest perspective and what would bring their hotel the most success in 2018. Online reviews (81%) and high quality images (72%) ranked first and second, and transport and accessibility (20%) were seen as the lowest priorities. You can check out the findings in the extended article.
Increasing number of professionals can't unplug on vacation:
Summer is typically when workers take time off to relax and recharge. But just because employees take vacation days doesn't mean they're completely checking out, according to a new survey from staffing firm Accountemps. While 44 percent typically don't check in at all with the office, the majority will. In fact, 70 percent of respondents ages 18 to 34 will maintain some contact with work compared to only 39 percent of those ages 55 and older. Professionals plan to take an average of nine vacation days this summer, but the frequency of office check-ins varies by market. Findings from similar surveys show employees are more connected to the office than ever: In 2016, a majority of workers (59 percent) said they never check in while on vacation; that number fell to 47 percent in 2017 and 44 percent this year.
Thomas Cook maps out new tech initiatives:
European tour operating veteran Thomas Cook Group has acknowledged that “customers continue to shift online” with online revenues for the business up by 18% across the group. However, specific references to its digital strategy appear haphazardly throughout today’s half-yearly earnings, perhaps doing a disservice to its improvements in this part of the business. At the highest level, it is getting more online bookings. It says: “On a booked basis, we have grown online revenue by 18% across the group, with particular progress in the UK which is up 33% year on year. The investments in our websites have continued to increase visits – up 5% across the group – and conversion, particularly on mobile, which is up 23%. Overall, mobile bookings have grown by 55%, showing improvement across all of our markets.”
The Hotel Technology Ecosystem - What Does the Future Hold?
Following many years of trial and error, hoteliers have begun to utilize emerging tech that allows them to prioritize, and better yet, understand the modern guest in new and exciting ways. This evolution didn't happen overnight, but rather at the hands of industry experts eager to take one-dimensional technology solutions competing for attention, and bring them together to form a cohesive ecosystem. Where hoteliers previously only had one way of connecting systems (serial interfaces), they now reap the opportunity to connect to different systems via IP interfaces and APIs. With this newfound connective freedom, the hospitality industry can embrace exciting advances in the realm of voice integration, intuitive databases serving as more than just a PMS, and so much more. This post talks about the future of hotel technology, in the form of digitalization, intuitive PMS solutions, integrations and guest dashboards, and attribute-based selling.