Deep dive into APAC online travel agencies – Part 2

With increasing disposable income and expanding tourism, Asia Pacific has become the fastest-growing regional travel market. According to the World Travel and Tourism Council, five of the world’s ten fastest growing tourism cities are in Asia, making it the hot spot for the travel marketers. Propelled by high penetration of mobile, the region has been witnessing double digit growth in online booking, making it a priority region for global OTAs. However, the market is still dominated by local and regional players, even as global OTAs make strategic investments to make inroads.

In our series on Online Travel Channels in APAC, we have looked into major players shaping the digital travel space. In the first article of the series, we have discussed the giants in the region – Agoda, Ctrip and Make My Trip and their secret sauce to success. In this second part, we will be focussing on local players who are dominating the online travel space in their respective regions.

Fliggy

Fliggy (formerly known as AliTrip) – the travel booking site from Alibaba, is an important player in the China focusing on the upmarket segment – particularly the travel aspiring millennials and international travellers. Of the 10 million daily active users on Fliggy, 80 percent are millennials with college degree living on tier-1 and tier-2 cities – giving the platform a unique exposure and reach. Alibaba has also positioned it as a “premium” travel booking site focusing on outbound travel. The site is designed as youthful, refined, geared toward long-haul, leisure, experiential, as well as luxury trips, rather than the usual to short-term or domestic business travel. From its partnership with Marriot group to getting Booking.com to launch a flagship store on its platform, Fliggy has been making a series of strategic partnerships to create a global brand. Leveraging Alibaba’s ecosystem, which is used by 699 million mobile monthly active users, the platform is positioning itself as a travel marketplace covering the 360 degree of travel to provide consumers with better travel products and service experience. This means a traveller with high purchasing power can plan and book their travel on Fliggy, buy additional items necessary for travel from Alibaba owned e-commerce site Taobao while using Alipay for transactions, ensuring a seamless user experience throughout.

Rakuten Travel

Japan’s online leisure/unmanaged business travel market is the second largest in Asia Pacific region. Founded in 2002, Rakuten Travel is one of Japan’s largest online hotel reservation website with over 3.7 million room nights booked per month. The channel receives 5.34 million unique visitors every month. The firm has access to more than 20,000 domestic and 15,000 international hotels and has a presence in South Korea and China. Rakuten Travel, which is the most popular OTA in Japan, is owned by Rakuten Group, which provides more than 70 e-commerce services beyond travel. The group, often compared with Amazon connects services within its ecosystem enabling users to access all services within the system by using a single login ID, and the same loyalty program for a seamless experience. The company has invested heavily into artificial intelligence and big data for understanding changing consumer behavior and effective personalization.

Traveloka

Traveloka, one of late entrants in the market and founded by three friends in Indonesia, is one of the biggest success stories in the online travel space in South Asia.  The channel which offers flights, hotels, trains, tours & activities, transfers and packages is present in Southeast Asia’s six primary markets — Indonesia, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam and the Philippines. With the introduction of PayLater, an online credit system without the need for a credit card, Traveloka is poised to make further inroads into the region where relatively low penetration of credit / debit card has remained a hindrance to online payment. The channel is also actively pushing into the lifestyle category and has recently rolled out a discovery platform featuring restaurant and wellness activities. The Traveloka mobile app has been downloaded more than 30 million times, making it the most popular travel booking app in the region. With Expedia’s investment into the channel making it the first billion-dollar start-up in Indonesia, the company has been adding more products and services including bundles to mobile applications to make it a one-stop-shop for customers to book and redeem travel themselves.

As hoteliers, are you ready to tap into the Asia Pacific market? Are you managing these channels well and keeping them automatically updated with rates and availability on a regular basis?

Reach out to us for your connectivity needs to make the most of your online revenue- https://goo.gl/3gKUJZ

 

 

Why Guest Reviews Matter? Even the negative ones

From the very beginning, a hotel’s success has a direct correlation with its reputation. if guide books and peer recommendations were the earlier source of motivation, in the age of digital, the new normal is to surf the web for hotel reputation – which alarmingly can be your biggest asset or liability.

There are several things that contribute to a hotel’s reputation – starting from pre-booking experience to service during stay – guests take note of many small and big details and form an opinion. The rating is just the reflection of the opinion. If your property provides impeccable service, create great experiences, then the positive reviews you have earned will improve your appeal and influence potential guests. The more satisfied guests you have, the more likely they are to return and spend more money, as well as recommend you to others.

According to a study by Deloitte, 59% consumers say that review sites have the most influence on their booking decisions. Another one, conducted by Cornel Hotel School in association with STR and Review Pro suggest that guest satisfaction has a direct impact on the business performances of the hotel. The study, in fact, predict, an increase of 0.89% increase in ADR due to 1 point increase in the hotel’s review score across all online and offline channels.

With Google, OTAs and review sites like TripAdvisor giving more weightage to review score, managing online reputation has become a focal point of hotel operations. With revenue being directly linked with demand, revenue management has now expanded from simple rate management and is now encompassing customer relations and social media into its strategy.

Truth to be told, reputation management is not an easy task, especially when it comes to negative reviews. Guests often over-expect and over-react which get reflected in the reviews. Interestingly, in 2017, the top 4 sites accounting for 74% of review volume are Booking.com, Google, TripAdvisor and Facebook.  Clearly, guests aren’t restricting their opinions to travel sites, but also to search engine and social media. Hotel cannot prevent reviewers from expressing their opinion. However, there is only thing they can surely do – respond, more do for negative reviews.

A recent study by Harvard Business Review suggests, replying to guest reviews results in better ratings. Interestingly, the study, which has studied TripAdvisor ratings over thousands of hotels, have found that there is a sharp drop in the rate of short negative reviews when the management starts responding to negative feedback.

Sure, it is not easy to please every guest. However, your willingness to accept constructive criticism shows your commitment to address the issues raised by the guest, which in turn assures your potential guests. Be polite and courteous, try to understand your guests’ concern and respond in a professional way.

However, guests share feedback on various review, travel and social media sites – which often lay scattered and unstructured. Online reputation management tools consolidate these guest reviews from various review websites including TripAdvisor, Bookign.com, Expedia, Agoda, Qype, Holidaycheck, Yelp, Expedia, Facebook, Twitter etc. and provide them to hotels in structured reports. Data is then compiled together into review reports which include guest details (as it appears on the site) along with their feedback and the rating they provide to the hotel. Most advanced review management sites nowadays use sentiment analysis to understand the guest’s emotion towards various aspects of the property. Keywords relevant to the properties are then identified, and ranked based on their popularity, frequency of mentions, and guests’ sentiments towards that category.

A strong visible position on guest review websites indicate that your Price Quality Index is working well, that will enable you to make the right pricing decisions based on RevPAR performance.  This will allow the hotel to flex their rates based on several pricing strategies depending on booking levels. However, there are no short cuts. It is an evolving process that must start today! As we move towards the age of consumer controlled brand conversations, hotels need to integrate customer feedback into their business approach and strategy planning.

By staying actively engaged with guests, hotels can ensure a more consistent and loyal base. Are you listening?

eRevMax wins STPI Export Awards for promoting gender diversity

eRevMax wins STPI Export Awards for promoting gender diversity
Recognized for ‘Highest Percentage of Women Employees -IT’

 Global travel technology innovator – eRevMax, has been awarded an STPI Export Award under the category ‘Highest Percentage of Women Employees -IT’ (Exports upto Rs 25 crore). This award was presented at ‘STPI Export Awards’ held during INFOCOM 2018 in Kolkata last week.

eRevMax has been proactively working towards breaking down barriers in a male-dominated industry and achieve greater gender representation through a diversity agenda. An equal opportunity company, women represent about 35% of its workforce, with the ratio even higher in the leadership positions. The company’s progressive HR policies have ensured that the overall attrition of female members is substantially lower than the average industry standard.

“At STPI, we believe that diversity strengthens the innovative capacity of a company. eRevMax is one such company that is leading by example, and we are proud to recognise them for having the Highest % of Women Employees in IT at the recent STPI Export Awards 2017-18. The responsibility of increasing gender diversity at workplace doesn’t end at just hiring a woman. It must be conducive enough for them to sustain. We congratulate eRevMax for taking a sustainable approach towards creating an inclusive workplace.” said Sh. Manjit Nayak, Additional Director, STPI Kolkata.

“This award is a validation of eRevMax’s efforts in bringing a holistic transformation by promoting gender equality and diversity. As part of our company culture, we are committed to providing our women employees with an ecosystem that is supportive of personal and career aspirations. With this award, we have restated our position as the preferred ‘Employer of choice’ in West Bengal,” said Reuel Ghosh, CEO, eRevMax.

eRevMax is a global travel technology software company with development centres in Kolkata and Bengaluru and sales offices around the world. The company, with its three core product brands – RateTiger, LiveOS and AgentX101, provides channel management, price intelligence, analytics, connectivity and business management solutions to hotels and travel agents worldwide.

eRevMax to unveil AgentX101 at WTM London 2018

The ‘first of its kind’ 360-degree management solution for Travel Agents & Tour Operator

eRevMax, the global hospitality technology leader, will unveil its revolutionary new integrated management solution for Travel Agents & Tour Operators – AgentX101 – at WTM London 2018, being held between 5 – 7 November at ExCel Centre.

AgentX101, powered by LiveOS, is the latest addition to eRevMax’s award-winning suite of products for the hospitality industry professionals that are looking to manage their business efficiently and optimize profits.

“We have always endeavored to build innovative technology that is intelligent, easy-to-use and affordable – to help simplify revenue management and connectivity needs of the hospitality industry. With AgentX101, we go one step further in empowering over 600,000 travel agents and tour operators worldwide, to streamline their daily operations and focus on creating, managing and delivering memorable journeys for their clients,” said Reuel Ghosh, CEO, eRevMax.

The first of its kind management platform for Travel Agents and Tour Operators, AgentX101 provides 360-degree visibility into production sources and suggests actions and alerts to maximize potential. Already tested by some of the biggest names in the industry, the web-based solution will help travel agents automate their daily tasks, improve decision making with real time data, and gather all business information in one place.

eRevMax will also be showcasing it’s recently launched Central Reservation System along with new enhancements in RateTiger and LiveOS.

The company is co-hosting the HospitalityUnited.Club Drinks Reception @Stand TT720 on 6 November 2018 at 5pm. To register, contact us on marketing@erevmax.com

 

The Week, That Was – September 2018 Week 1

In five minutes or less, keep track of the most important news of the week, curated just for you. We present to you hand – picked news on latest industry perspectives and some general updates. Read on!!

eRevMax completes integration with IDS Next PMS

Hotel connectivity expert eRevMax has completed integration with leading hospitality technology solution provider IDS Next.Mutual hotel customers can now get the benefit of automatic distribution of availability and rate to third party online booking sites whenever they are updated in the property management system and receive reservations from OTAs.

http://bit.do/ewp76

How hoteliers are setting their tech budgets for 2019

Hotel companies are preparing their annual budgets for 2019, and technology is an important investment as guests expect more and more out of their stays.

http://bit.do/ewp8h

How travel agents are working differently with technology

In an article on Phocuswire in March 2018, Trisept Solutions’ president and CEO John Ische positions the relationship between agents and technology as the ability to create what he termed “genuine intelligence” about a traveler.

https://www.phocuswire.com/Travel-advisors-technology-changes

Airbnb for Work expands beyond travel

Team-building, relocations and off-site meetings are part of the new strategic direction for Airbnb For Work as it looks to capitalise on its “exponential growth” in providing accommodation to business travellers. A few weeks ago it announced that some 700,000 companies have had employees sign up and book with Airbnb for Work, with more than 275,000 enterprises directly engaged with Airbnb to help manage their travel.

https://www.tnooz.com/article/airbnb-for-work-expands-beyond-travel/

Why Middle East travel deserves a closer look!

Travel spend by travellers from just some of the countries, the six who make up the Gulf Co-operation Council (GCC) – Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) – is likely, says Statista, to grow from $64 billion three years ago, to $94 billion by 2020. In 2025 the sum could reach $140 billion, it adds. The GCC is assessed by the World Tourism Organisation as accounting for well over 60% of the region’s outbound market.

http://bit.do/ewp8K

China’s Big 5 hotel platforms have 96% of the market

Analysis of China’s online hotel booking market in the second quarter of the year shows that almost the entire market is controlled by five businesses. Trustdata, a mobile internet big data monitoring company in China, found that Ctrip, Meituan, Qunar, Tongcheng-eLong and Fliggy accounted for 96.4% of online hotel bookings in the second quarter. The big five were also the fast-growing platforms for the quarter, suggesting that their dominance is getting stronger.

https://www.tnooz.com/article/chinas-big-5-hotel-platforms-have-96-of-the-market/

Connect with us for your connectivity needs to make the most of online revenue. https://goo.gl/3gKUJZ

Thanks and have a good day!

The Week, That Was – August 2018 Week 1

In five minutes or less, keep track of the most important news of the week, curated just for you. We present to you hand – picked news on latest industry perspectives and some general updates. Read on!!

Online Travel in LATAM

Do you know the most productive online travel channels in LATAM? Improve your online revenue by selling on the right channels with RateTiger.

Read further to know more –  https://www.erevmax.com/blog/?p=539

Abasto Hotel experiences 65% revenue growth with RateTiger Channel Manager

Abasto Hotel Buenos Aires, a property in Argentinian capital, has improved its online sales by over 80% leveraging eRevMax‘s gold standard of connectivity with leading OTAs.

Are you looking to expand your hotel channel connectivity?  https://www.erevmax.com/blog/?p=542

Online accounts for 80% of under-30s travel bookings, OTAs dominate (for now)

The New Horizons IV report found more than 80% of bookings were made online by under-30s in 2017, with an increasing number of bookings being made on mobile devices and through social media channels.

https://www.tnooz.com/article/youth/

What Are Bumper Ads And Why Does Your Hotel Need Them?

Bumper ads are the 6 second video formats that are saving the longest 30 seconds of any consumers time. However, it is not just consumers that should be praising them to the skies. They can provide your hotel with countless benefits, including high impact brand building.

https://blog.netaffinity.com/what-are-bumper-ads-and-why-does-your-hotel-need-them/

What hotels need to know about evolving metasearch distribution trends

Metasearch engines (MSEs) hold the promise of helping hotels increase their share of direct bookings. For any hotel or chain to pursue a direct booking strategy, the MSE channel needs careful planning and consideration.

https://www.phocuswire.com/Fornova-global-metasearch-trends

Connect with us for your connectivity needs to make the most of online revenue.
https://goo.gl/3gKUJZ

Thanks and have a good day!

The Week, That Was – July 2018 Week 4

In five minutes or less, keep track of the most important news of the week, curated just for you. We present to you hand – picked news on latest industry perspectives and some general updates. Read on!!

Hotel GDS Description – how to get it right?

The GDS still is, and will most likely remain, a noteworthy channel for ARI distribution and reservations for hotels. Both recreation and corporate travel operators utilize it to search and book hotels. Numerous OTA sites likewise utilize the GDS for room stock. Hence, it is critical that your hotel is available on GDS.

https://www.erevmax.com/blog/?p=531

Expedia: The travel trends of Latin American consumers

Most Latin American travelers are more likely to spend their travel budgets on domestic trips, according to a study from Expedia Group Media Solutions.

More than 50 percent of Latin American travelers use online travel agencies (OTAs) during the trip planning process, ahead of airline, hotel or destination websites. Forty-nine percent of travelers book their trip on an OTA – the strongest conversion from planning to booking among Latin American travelers. More than half use their smartphone when looking for travel inspiration and more than one-third conduct travel research on their mobile device. Unsurprisingly, mobile usage spikes in-trip, when more than 75 percent of Latin American travelers utilize their smartphone.

http://hotelnewsnow.com/Articles/287311/Expedia-The-travel-trends-of-Latin-American-consumers

Open pricing: A new strategy for maximising hotel revenue

Open Pricing is changing the way that hoteliers set hotel room rates. For properties from large to small, it has the potential to increase revenue and forever change hotel revenue management practices. So, how does it work? Is it a good fit for you? If you wanted to try it, where would you start?

Read on to find out more- https://suite.booking.com/blog/hotel-revenue-management-pricing-strategy-basics/

How independent hotels extend peak seasons

Independent hotels around the U.S. are boosting business outside of peak season through special events and promotions. Whether it’s a hotel that’s open year-round or one that’s only open a few months during the year, hoteliers and sales-and-marketing experts at independent hotels have found ways to bring in business beyond their peak season.

http://hotelnewsnow.com/Articles/287492/How-independent-hotels-extend-peak-seasons

What does the future hold for hotel booking websites?

The hospitality industry is regularly changing and hotel booking websites are no exception. Observing the current changes in the OTA market can give us a clue on what will it look like in the future.

https://insights.ehotelier.com/insights/2018/07/27/what-does-the-future-hold-for-hotel-booking-websites/

Google on why consumers like to know more before they travel

Google, which derived the insight by analyzing search trends as well as speaking to consumers, says that building anticipation, boosting confidence around traveling to somewhere new and stretching budgets are the primary drivers for consumers wanting to know more before they go.

https://goo.gl/ukWC8y

Connect with us for your connectivity needs to make the most of online revenue.
https://goo.gl/3gKUJZ

Thanks and have a good day!

 

 

Hotel GDS Description – how to get it right?

The GDS still is, and will most likely remain, a noteworthy channel for ARI distribution and reservations for hotels. Both recreation and corporate travel operators utilize it to search and book hotels. Numerous OTA sites likewise utilize the GDS for room stock. Hence, it is critical that your hotel is available on GDS.

We have put together a few tips and tricks on how hotels are getting the most out of their GDS channels through descriptive content. The Hotel GDS Description (HOD) goes about as your hotel’s electronic leaflet. It is conceivably your brand brochure for tour operators and travel agents to access and get all the pertinent details with your property description, hotel amenities and data about neighborhood attractions etc. Here are the top GDS HOD Tips:

  1. General hotel description – Try to keep your hotel description very targeted – put the hotel USPs and try to provide key differentiators and why a guest must chose your hotel over competitor’s.
  2. Facilities and Services – List out all your amenities and services – provide restaurant details, timings, cuisine along with details of in-house services like salon, spa, gym, pool etc. Also, drop in a line about safety and security as these tend to be a key concern today.
  3. Area Information: Mention any specific locational advantage you might have. Or else list out the nearby attractions to draw interest. Whether your hotel is downtown or near the airport, remember to put your Geo code for correct location identification.
  4. Property Address – Make sure you put your hotel’s full address and zip code correctly. Sabre uses the official street address to geocode the property. If you don’t have a street number, use 1, to ensure better visibility and bookability.
  5. Driving Directions – Provide details on the easiest way to reach your property, whether it is from the airport, train or bus stations or from downtown. Also, provide a phone number in case a guest is stuck and wants to connect to the hotel.
  6. Room Type Name – GDS’s provide 30 characters to cover this, so be creative. But remember to make sure that it’s easy to understand the room type by the name you provide to it.
  7. Room Type Description – Try to use this section to attract your guests with room details and inclusions like in-room coffee machine, free wi-fi, luxury bathing products, etc. The description should also adhere to the kind of property it is – luxury, corporate, budget etc.
  8. Presentation – It is best to keep the description language crisp and fluid. Travel agents prefer short sentences or bulleted description. It helps to capture relevant points while covering all the necessary information.
  9. Nearby Attractions – Include details about attractions in the area, timings, distance and directions to the place. This makes your hotel more appealing and train your concierge or front office staff to have details about shows /tickets at these attractions.

Keep your Hotel GDS Description up to date. Whenever you introduce a new service or roomtype or if there are new attractions nearby, remember to update your hotel description. Always provide correct information and present in a nice and concise manner. Always keep your USPs on the top to catch the attention of the travel agents.

Indian budget hotel endorses RateTiger Channel Manager for online distribution

Kolkata based IndiSmart Hotel has endorsed RateTiger for simplifying online distribution. The property has been using eRevMax’s cloud-based Channel Manager and Shopper for managing their online sales channels and has improved their business operational efficiency.

IndiSmart is a budget hotel with 76 rooms, conveniently located in the IT hub of Kolkata, India. The property caters to business travellers and hence the booking window is lesser than the usual duration with 48-72 hours. Given most bookings are coming from online, it’s important for the hotel to have real-time rate and availability on OTAs.

“We have been able to bring all OTA channels under one window for all possible modifications like rate and inventory. The option of changing rates and inventory at any point of time on a single click has really made online distribution really simple. Rate shopping also helps us to analyse the market condition, to understand our stand and projection,” said Jayanta Bhattacherjee, Front Office Manager, Indismart Hotel.

Prior to RateTiger, the hotel has tried other solutions. However, the result was far from satisfactory.

“The main issue was rate disparity and manifold changes in the extranets manually were really cumbersome. We can handle the OTAs easily and in a better way now with RateTiger. The support team is very good as well,” concluded Mr. Bhattacherjee.

 

The Week, That Was – July 2018 Week 3

In five minutes or less, keep track of the most important news of the week, curated just for you. We present to you hand – picked news on latest industry perspectives and some general updates. Read on!!

Expedia says packages are better for hotels than room-only

Hotels are achieving higher average daily rates (ADR) from consumers who book packages rather than just rooms, according to data from Expedia Group.

The online travel giant said consumers buying packages paid around 30% more in ADR than those making standalone hotel bookings.

https://www.tnooz.com/article/expedia-says-packages-are-better-for-hotels-than-room-only/

 Indian budget hotel endorses RateTiger Channel Manager for online distribution

Kolkata based IndiSmart Hotel has endorsed RateTiger for simplifying online distribution. The property has been using eRevMax’s cloud-based Channel Manager and Shopper for managing their online sales channels and has improved their business operational efficiency.

https://goo.gl/gyX3Jr

Hotels.com launches hideaway hotels category

Hotels.com has introduced the Hideaway Hotels category in response to a lift in bookings in the last two years, with a 60% spike in guests leaving positive reviews for off-the-grid hotels.

https://goo.gl/N3SCFX

Is hotel luxury dead?

When hotel discount brokers offer “luxury” accommodations at $49 a night, as occurred during the recent Independence Day holiday, does the word “luxury” have any useful meaning?

Read the interesting article: http://exclusive.multibriefs.com/content/is-hotel-luxury-dead/travel-hospitality-event-management#When:13:51:00Z

 How Booking.com is trying to solve travel’s pain points

The CMO of Booking.com explains how the company is trying to ease some of those unhappy surprises. Learn more about it by watching the video.

https://goo.gl/4AoyiF

Google tests location tab for hotel knowledge panels

Google is testing a new location tab and section within the hotel knowledge panels. The location tab contains information that tells you what is around the hotel, including sections such as highlights, top sights and a getting-around section.

https://goo.gl/v4eKcn

Connect with us for your connectivity needs to make the most of online revenue.
https://goo.gl/3gKUJZ

Thanks and have a good day!