Weekly Roundup #4: Travel, Tech and Social Media
Greeting and welcome to our Weekly Roundup once more! As always, we gathered the most important news of this week, so you could quickly recap them and to see what goes on in the hospitality business. Make sure to check out the headlines below and don’t forget to follow us on social media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram!
Until the next time, have an amazing weekend!
International tourist arrivals grew 6% in 2018, totaling 1.4 billion, according to the latest UNWTO World Tourism Barometer. UNWTO’s long term forecast issued in 2010 indicated the 1.4 billion mark would be reached in 2020, yet the remarkable growth of international arrivals in recent years has brought it two years ahead. UNWTO estimates that worldwide international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors) increased 6% to 1.4 billion in 2018, clearly above the 3.7% growth registered in the global economy. In relative terms, the Middle East (+10%), Africa (+7%), Asia, and the Pacific and Europe (both at +6%) led growth in 2018. Arrivals to the Americas were below the world average (+3%).
Ctrip, China’s biggest online travel agent, is planning to expand its businesses to Europe in 2019, CEO Sun Jie announced at the company’s annual meeting. Ctrip has been plotting its global expansion over the past few years, first focusing on securing a firm foothold in Asia markets. The company revealed that since it launched its global strategy, the proportion of its overseas users has been climbing. Ctrip has more than 300 million registered users and nearly half of its monthly active users come from outside of China.
The dominance of English on the web and poor security could prove barriers to more people coming online, says a study. Booking Holdings’ Next Billion Online report, which looks at Asia’s digital transformation, shows that 76% believe the dominance of English has meant many cannot participate in online channels. In addition, 84% believe poor online security could be an issue, and 76% say the lack of affordable internet, as well as 72% say the lack of affordable devices are barriers. Further potential barriers cited in the report include government censorship (71%) and the lack of useful local content (68%). The study, which surveyed more than 1,000 digital leaders and experts in China, India, and Indonesia, also reveals that 79% view the internet as a necessity and 82% see it as a “fundamental right.”
Trends and Insights
Our VP of Marketing shares her opinion on a new hotel pricing technique in this Phocuswire exclusive article. If there’s one lesson that hoteliers can take away from services like Netflix, it’s that personalization truly pays off - both figuratively and in a more tangible, financial way. Hospitality is now more diverse than ever, due to a large offering in terms of accommodations, services and, more recently, even pricing. Personalization methods have evolved over the years, and it seems that we are now approaching a new type: the one of hotel pricing. As The Wall Street Journal mentioned in a recent article, a new hotelier in Miami, Life House, is currently testing an algorithmic pricing system based on customer profiles, history, spending habits, and even social media followers. Life House was quick to acknowledge that not all guests are equal, and their profiles can differ significantly, meaning that a “one-size-fits-them-all” approach might prove to be ineffective.
Back in ancient Rome, gladiators would signify the end of a fight with either a thumbs up or a thumbs down, which was basically a very simplified, and rather brutal, sort of review. From the humble beginnings of word-of-mouth to an entire industry, feedback has certainly come a long way and it’s not stopping here. It’s become second nature to look up and consider online reviews, whether we want to purchase an electronic, choose a restaurant, or book a hotel. Yet why exactly do we base our decision on reviews? What psychological processes are influencing our choices? We’ve decided to look further into the psychology of online reviews and get a deeper understanding of how and why other people’s feedback matters so much to consumers. Make sure to read this article to get more insights into the psychology of online reviews.
A new Kalibri Labs' report found that hotel brand's direct booking campaigns stabilized or strengthened primarily by growing loyalty programs. After two-and-a-half years of promoting direct bookings, room-night demand through Brand.com in the United States is on average 50 percent higher than OTA room-night demand, the report finds. While the industry benefited from a burst of initial direct business as a result of large-scale advertising campaigns, true long-term gains were realized once hotels began updating their mobile applications to offer more perks for booking direct.
TUI Destination Experiences, under whose umbrella the TUI Group has bundled its activities, excursions, and round trips, is testing the next generation of experiences. The world’s leading provider of destination experiences is currently conducting tests in Palma de Mallorca on the use of augmented reality on excursions and activities. While the raised umbrella of the city guide still dominates the picture during city tours today, tourists with stereoscopic augmented reality glasses could spray a touch of science fiction in the future. The glasses allow holidaymakers to explore places individually without losing any inside knowledge. In the future, information, photographs, videos, and 3D models will be shown right in front of what you are looking at.
Hoteliers are constantly looking for new ways to interact with guests, engender loyalty, and offer an experience that makes their hotel stand out as unique, fun and different. Hotel Nia, a new 250-room Autograph Collection hotel located in the heart of Silicon Valley, recently introduced a new guest technology program that aims to accomplish all three of those initiatives. It has partnered with b8ta, a new kind of retail store designed for discovering, trying, and buying new innovative products. At the beginning of December, Hotel Nia began housing six products for guests to test out complimentary either in their room or throughout the property. Guests then have the option to purchase the products with a select discount upon completion of their stay. Read more in the extended article.