Weekly Roundup: Travel, Tech and Social Media
Happy Friday! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. In case you missed this week's headlines, take a look at our latest roundup for a breakdown of the latest industry news and trends. Happy reading and don't forget to tune back next week for more!
When it comes to hotels, Google the search engine is transitioning toward becoming a booking platform. The nature of Google search results has changed, as well, as most organic search results have been buried below the fold.
The key advantage Google has over any other travel player is that its total dominance of search gives it the ability to deliver huge customer volumes to any new tools. So when Google launches a new travel product, people had better take notice.
"Being a global platform, especially with our enhanced mobile tools, we see such a literally humongous opportunity for us. That’s our task, really, to make the travel experience fantastic. Focusing on the user experience, and focusing on a diversity of offerings, can get us to the next level.", says Pepijn Rijvers, CMO at Booking.com
While price-comparison platforms such as TripAdvisor and Google are busy turning themselves into hotel (TripAdvisor) or hotel and flight (Google) booking sites, online travel agencies such as Booking.com and now Expedia, through its Trivago unit, are getting into the business-to-business side of the hotel industry by offering hotels booking engines and website help, as well as search engine marketing tools.
Expedia Inc. CEO Dara Khosrowshahi thinks the competition with Airbnb has been a sideshow but will be increasingly direct in coming years as Expedia and HomeAway build up apartment and home inventory in cities
Maintaining brand reputation during ever-changing turbulent times is what keeps Hamish Dodds, president and CEO of Hard Rock International, awake at night. The answer to success in reputation management is organizational dexterity—unlike the “good old days” when a giant brand footprint was the primary driver, he said during a presentation at the recent Hotel Investment Conference Asia Pacific.
Hotel customers are enjoying a new way of reaching out to the Hyatt hotel chain through social media. Through a marketing partner called Conversocial, the hotel operator is testing Facebook Messenger as a social channel for customer service. This tool opens up new channels of support engagement. It puts the Hyatt corporation squarely in the center of where many conversations are happening, while offering immediate assistance to a new audience.
Trends and Insights
The rise of travel terms such as bleisure (business and leisure) and framily (friends and family) points to growth in the family travel segment. Sometimes attaching days to the end of a business trip so that a spouse and children can come along, sometimes multiple generations of a family traveling to a destination, sometimes families with children escaping together. If you’re not already, it’s time to shape up your family-friendly amenities, consider your messaging, and get in front of the family segment. But where are they?
Marriott CEO Arne Sorenson, who will lead the merged companies, said part of Starwood's appeal was its strong presence in the lifestyle brand category. Its hotels, such as W Hotels and Aloft, are known for their edgy design, creative food and beverage offerings and hip public spaces — all features that appeal to younger travelers.
Travelers face a dizzying number of decisions in the process of planning a trip. Increasingly people are turning to their smartphones for immediate answers to their travel questions. Lisa Gevelber, Google’s VP of marketing, shares how travel marketers can keep up with these new mobile behaviors.
What is the role of the RM profession, that was born during easy times, in today’s more challenging business environment? The best way to answer that question is to look at how the best revenue managers have redefined their job description.
Reflect your positioning on a matrix. Does your positioning make sense? How often are you more or less expensive than your competitors? Do you take into account your positioning and value offer when deciding of your daily rates? One more element to consider in your hotel revenue management plan.
How can you know what you should be doing for your next website? What are the hotel marketing elements that must be taken into account in the design? And which ones should be avoided? The design, architecture, and development of a hotel’s website is paramount in its success for obvious reasons, not the least of which is direct revenue.