Weekly Roundup #18: Travel, Tech and Social Media

Week 18/2018
Friday can only mean that it’s time for the Weekly Roundup! It’s been another busy week in the hospitality business, so we got through our weekly mission and gathered some more recent news and stories. Also, we highly encourage you to follow us on social media, if you don’t already, since we post interesting updates and content on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram!

Until the next one, have a wonderful weekend!

Industry News
Accor Pushes Further Into Luxury With $567 Million Mövenpick Deal:
This came as the biggest news of the week: our client AccorHotels has confirmed an all-cash deal to buy Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts for $567 million (€482 million), in a move to further expand its luxury portfolio. Rumors of the potential acquisition surfaced at the end of last week but CEO Sebastien Bazin was unable to confirm things during an appearance at Skift Forum Europe. Mövenpick has 84 hotels in 27 countries with a particularly strong presence in Europe and the Middle East. “With the acquisition of Mövenpick, we are consolidating our leadership in the European market and are further accelerating our growth in emerging markets, in particular in Middle East, Africa and Asia-Pacific,” Bazin said.
KAYAK Launches Flight Tracking On Command With Notifications For Amazon Alexa:
KAYAK introduces flight notifications for Alexa-enabled devices to help users confidently track a flight's status and arrival time. With flight notifications for Alexa, users can now ask KAYAK to send an alert right when a flight lands or schedule a notification to go off at a specified time before the flight's arrival. "Previously to track a flight's arrival time, users would need to visit the airline's website directly, type in the flight number and repeatedly refresh for real-time arrival updates. Now, we're doing all of that for you by sending you the information you need at the exact moment you need it," said KAYAK Chief Scientist Matthias Keller. "Flight notifications are a glimpse into the future of what lies ahead for AI and how it will assist in making travel planning easier, more personalized and more context aware."
Priceline Celebrates 20th Anniversary With $50 Million In Savings Over 20 Days:
To thank travelers on the eve of its 20th anniversary, Priceline today introduced the “Tweniversary” campaign, which includes 20 consecutive days of deals and extensive discounts across all of Priceline. Tweniversary was developed to help travelers save $50 million over 20 days. A new deal is going live each day at 6am ET from Monday, April 30, through Saturday, May 19. The deals include savings on thousands and thousands of flights, hotels, car rentals, cruises, travel packages and credit card rewards. The promotions are tied to many of the world’s most sought-after destinations, spanning North America, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. The campaign will also include offerings specific to Mother’s Day.

Trends and Insights
How “Google My Business” Can Increase Your Hotel’s Bookings:
Reviews influence booking decisions, and, needless to say, responding to reviews across the web should be an important part of your hotel’s marketing strategy. Over the past several years, Google hotel reviews have grown in importance as well. In fact, Google reviews highly impact local search rankings for hotels. The more reviews for your business and the more qualitative your reviews are, the more visible your hotel is for potential guests. According to Search Engine Land, local Google reviews are on the rise, with an astounding 278% exponential increase in reviews for US local based businesses (from 2015 to 2016). In this context, managing your hotel’s reviews on Google becomes an important part of successfully managing your reputation and making your hotel visible in search. If you haven’t done it already, it’s time to set up your hotel on Google My Business and make sure you’re offering accurate, up-to-date information to travelers, and that you are actively engaging with guests on the Google platform.
Business Travelers Demand Leisure Booking Experience:
The latest Business Travel Trends Report by Expedia Affiliate Network reveals that employees increasingly expect the same choice, technology and intuitive booking platforms that they find with leisure travel. Following a survey of corporate travelers and interviews with senior travel buyers and TMCs, the report – titled How TMCs are keeping up with the corporate traveler – highlights that 68 percent of travelers book at least half of their travel outside approved tools, which EAN says affects policy compliance and duty of care. Rates and choice were the top reasons given for off-channel bookings, with 47 percent of travelers claiming they can find better rates outside of approved tools. 38 percent say they’ve seen better prices on OTA sites, while 36 percent comment that they have been unable to find desirable properties through their employers’ official channels.
Fake Hotels: The New Weapon Of Choice For Fraudsters:
Travel fraud is escalating at an unprecedented rate. In 2017 alone 4,700 travelers were impacted by fraud. The new findings from ABTA, the City of London Police and Get Safe Online also revealed accommodation booking to be one of the main types of travel fraud. In many cases, the fraud was related to fake hotels – a scam in which a fraudster will list a fake hotel and then use stolen credit cards to make a booking via the online travel agent’s (OTA) website. The OTA will then receive chargebacks for bookings after making a payment to the fake hotel. By this point, the fraudster will have withdrawn all the funds paid by the OTA and won’t respond to any contact attempts, leaving the OTA with a financial loss.

Study Shows Travel Websites Should Tighten Cybersecurity:
The websites of major companies in the travel industry do not provide users with adequate protection from hackers, according to an analysis by the digital security company Dashlane. Dashlane checked to see if websites required passwords to be eight characters or more; if they prevented passwords from being created with either all numbers or all letters; if they offered a password-strength assessment tool; if they sent a user activation email after an account was created; and if they required two-factor authentication - such as a password complemented by a specific USB stick.  Websites that employed at least four of those measures were awarded a passing grade. Using that methodology, Dashlane gave failing grades to 89% of the travel industry websites it analyzed and only six of them passed.
Where Is Hotel Technology Going?
Although a lot of people have their own opinions about hotel-related technology, the fact remains that new solutions can improve the business, improve management, increase productivity and revenues. One of the biggest reasons why people in the hospitality business aren’t so open to new technology solutions, computers, and robotics is because their business relies on “the human touch” to provide great service and make their customers happy. A lot of them fear that they will lose their human touch and not be able to create one-on-one interactions with their customers. This article provides insights into the direction in which hotel technology is heading. Read the extended post to find out more about PMSs, IoT smart rooms, AI and machine learning.

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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